The Best Things To Do In NYC This Week, From A John Lennon Tribute To A Book Fair
A Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens in New York @ Merchant’s House Museum
Start December by hearing one of the most famous holiday tales. This version of A Christmas Carol stars Kevin Jones as Charles Dickens, working from the same script the man himself used in 1867 for a month of sold-out shows in New York. The performances take place in the intact Greek Revival double parlor of the landmarked Merchant’s House Museum, where audiences will sip mulled wine and nibble Dickensian fare amid 19th-century furniture and holiday decorations while enjoying the immersive drama, which runs through January 5th.
Opens Tuesday, December 3rd // Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East Fourth St., Manhattan // Tickets: $45–$105
Inside Juggling @ National Sawdust
Keep all your balls in the air at Inside Juggling, a conversation punctuated by all sorts of flying objects. Virtuosic juggler Sean Gandini is in town to perform in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten; he’ll sit down for a wide-ranging discussion with Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Caroline Shaw and multi-instrumentalist Mark Stewart, moderated by NationalSawdust+ series curator Elena Park. Throughout the talk, Gandini Juggling troupe members will perform, and there will also be appearances by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and pianist David Moody.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 7:30 p.m. // National Sawdust, 80 North 6th St., Brooklyn // Tickets: $20
Der Freischütz @ Baruch Performing Arts Center
See a startling take on Carl Maria von Weber’s masterpiece of German Romanticism at Heartbeat Opera’s latest, Der Freischütz. This contemporary American rendering of a “twisted German fairytale,” rarely performed in the United States, takes on pervasive gun culture, sadistic bullying, the embodiment of female desire, and the gates of Hell. The opera has been radically restaged and re-orchestrated to feature raunchy drinking songs, sublime arias, a Faustian bargain, and “one of the scariest scenes in all of opera.”
Opens Wednesday, December 4th // Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave., Manhattan // Tickets: $30 and up
Salzburg Marionette Theater’s The Nutcracker @ Flushing Town Hall
Another performing company that’s landed on our shores this month is the Salzburg Marionette Theater, hailing from Austria and founded in 1913. The dozen-strong troupe will bring their hand-carved and hand-painted puppets, with which they’ll perform Peter Tschaikowsky’s Christmas classic The Nutcracker. The unique, family-friendly performance will be enchanting to children and adults alike, and teens get in for free.
Wednesday, December 4th, 7 p.m. // Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Queens // Tickets: $14
Repeal Day Party @ Various
Booze it up at the Repeal Society’s fourth-annual Repeal Day Party, a trip back in time with New York Distilling Company at three different locations. At NYDC’s home The Shanty, there will be live music from Mike Davis and the New Wonders and performances by Francine the Lucid Dream, Audrey Love, Seedy Edie, and Dandy Dillinger, plus distillery tours with master distiller Allen Katz. At Barrows Tasting Room, find live jazz from Ricky Alexander and the Early Bird Jazz Band, plus burlesque by Medianoche. And at KGB Bar’s Red Room, go green with absinthe tastings and a variety of risqué and bawdy performances. Vintage attire recommended.
Thursday, December 5th, 8 p.m. // Various locations // Tickets: $16
Hung with Care @ 3 Dollar Bill
Frolic festively to Big Gay Hudson Valley’s holiday spectacular, Hung with Care. The queer variety show promises a “scintillating sleigh ride of twisted tunes” as well as circus, burlesque, and more. Performers include Shelly Watson, Pearls Daily, Jack Barrow, GoGo Gadget, Ravenessa, and Topher Bousquet.
Friday, December 6th, and Saturday, December 7th // 3 Dolar Bill, 260 Meserole St., Brooklyn // Tickets: $30
John Lennon Tribute @ Symphony Space
Rejoice in the life and music of a cultural icon at the 39th-annual John Lennon Tribute charity concert, presented by Theatre Within and Music Without Borders. The star of the evening is Natalie Merchant, who will be presented with the 2019 “John Lennon Real Love Award.” She’ll be joined by a bevy of other performers, including Joan Osborne, Rachael Yamagata, Willie Nile, Sam Amidon, Bobbie Harden, and many more. Proceeds benefit Theatre Within’s workshops for children and adults impacted by cancer.
Friday, December 6th, 8 p.m. // Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, Manhattan // Tickets: $89–$270
Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair @ Old Stone House
As the holiday spending spree gathers strength, try a less frenzied sort of consumerism: the eighth-annual Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair. The literary event features one-of-a-kind tomes and ephemera purveyed by an array of rare-book dealers from across the borough. You’ll find scrappy Bushwick street-sellers Better Read Than Dead, rare cookbooks from Lizz Young, woman-owned Enchanted Books from Sheepshead Bay, antiquarians Honey & Wax, the House of Speakeasy Book Truck, Red Hook’s Freebird Books with volumes on NY history and culture, and more.
Saturday, December 7th, 11 a.m. // Old Stone House, 336 Third St., Brooklyn // Free
Elements of Oz @ NYU Skirball
Celebrate the 80th anniversary of one of the most beloved movies of all time at Elements of Oz, a live performance and augmented-reality mashup deconstructing The Wizard of Oz. Created by “crossmedia” performance group The Builders Association, the show incorporates background stories about the making of the movie, sections performed live onstage, excerpts from the original novel, YouTube tributes, fan theories, and critical interpretations all woven together into one strange whole. Throughout, audiences are asked to keep their phones on, as an interactive app creates “the technicolor land of Oz of our imaginations.”
The Sorceress @ Museum of Jewish Heritage
If you need an antidote to all things Christmas, check out one of the earliest works by the father of modern Yiddish theater. Avrom Goldfaden wrote the magical musical fantasy The Sorceress in 1878, and it was first performed in America in 1882; this production’s orchestration is based on pre-Holocaust musical arrangements that were saved from destruction by the Vilna Ghetto’s “Paper Brigade.” Then, mark your calendar for the December 25th performance, which includes an all-you-can-eat Chinese food buffet with pastrami egg rolls and fortune cookies filled with Jewish proverbs.
Opens Sunday, December 8th // Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., Manhattan // Tickets: $56 and up