This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.
“The Nutcracker” is ballet tradition, passed down from one generation to the next. “Yes, I was in it — Mouse, Hoop — everything, just like everybody else,” said George Balanchine in Nancy Reynolds’s “Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet.”
His version at City Ballet, featuring more than 150 dancers and musicians, as well as two casts of students from the company-affiliated School of American Ballet, is grandly named “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.”
It’s not as if you could mistake his 1954 gem for anyone else’s. The children are both scrupulous and full of wide-eyed innocence. The Snowflake Waltz, with its onstage blizzard, is a choreographic wonder. And as for that glorious tree? It weighs one ton and grows from 12 to 40 feet. Back in the day, even as costs for his “Nutcracker” were skyrocketing, Balanchine wouldn’t budge: The ballet, he insisted, was the tree. GIA KOURLAS
Film: Charles Dickens on Screen
“Three flops in a row, up to your eyeballs in debt,” the character Ebenezer Scrooge taunts Charles Dickens, mired in writer’s block, as he stares at a sign promising his next story — a tale about Christmas — above an empty stand in a London bookstore window. “I’d think you’d be glad of some advice.”
Bharat Nalluri’s “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” opening Wednesday, Nov. 22, and adapted from Les Standiford’s book, imagines the conversations between author and characters that Dickens claimed haunted him during the six weeks in 1843 when he wrote “A Christmas Carol.” Dan Stevens — forever Matthew Crawley to “Downton Abbey” enthusiasts — plays the rock star-esque Dickens, plagued by money woes and a debilitating fear he might never write again; Jonathan Pryce is his profligate father, and the source of his feverish nightmares; and Christopher Plummer is ice-veined Scrooge.
Pair it this Thanksgiving weekend with the Steven Soderbergh-produced Western series, “Godless,” streaming Wednesday on Netflix, in which Michelle Dockery — Mr. Stevens’s “Downton” love, Lady Mary — gets some screen time of her own. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Classical Music: James Levine Leads Verdi’s Requiem
Perhaps the greatest disappointment of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2017-18 season was the company’s decision to cancel a new production of Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” by the visionary, controversial director Calixto Bieito, in an attempt to cut costs. At least its replacement will sound a somber note in memoriam: The company’s emeritus music director James Levine will make a rare appearance to lead four concert performances of Verdi’s titanic Requiem.
A star team of soloists — Krassimira Stoyanova, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Aleksandrs Antonenko, and Ferruccio Furlanetto — will join Levine and the Met orchestra and chorus in bringing to life the composer’s hyper-dramatic funeral mass, written to honor the death of the patriotic Italian novelist Alessandro Manzoni. WILLIAM ROBIN
Theater: ‘The Wolves’ at Lincoln Center
It comes as a shock, in the final scene of Sarah DeLappe’s dazzlingly fierce and funny debut play, “The Wolves,” when one character mentions another by name. Until then, we know them all — nine teenage girls, members of an indoor soccer team called the Wolves — only by jersey number: 7, a bullying alpha, reckless with her talent; 25, the team captain, unironic in ordering the ladies to circle up; 46, the newbie, excruciatingly awkward and, in Tedra Millan’s beautifully nuanced performance, exceptionally endearing.
The chance to spend time with them again is reason to celebrate the return of Lila Neugebauer‘s kinetic production. Seen Off Broadway twice last season, it’s in previews at Lincoln Center Theater, where it opens on Monday, Nov. 20, with almost the entire original cast. A finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize, “The Wolves” is perfectly attuned to this moment — taking for granted that young women are whole human beings, and aware that not everyone sees them that way. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES
TV: Ashley Jensen in ‘Love, Lies & Records’
Last year — after a career playing the effervescent sidekick in “Extras,” “Ugly Betty” and “Catastrophe” — the Scottish actress Ashley Jensen glammed up in fuchsia lipstick and a matching leather jacket for a long-overdue lead as a London publicist turned Cotswolds sleuth in “Agatha Raisin,” an original series from the streaming site Acorn TV.
Alas, a second season wasn’t to be. But Acorn’s programmers, bless ’em, are back on Ms. Jensen’s bandwagon with “Love, Lies & Records,” starting Monday, Nov. 20. Co-produced with BBC One (it debuts a few days earlier in Britain), the six-part drama stars Ms. Jensen as a registrar in Leeds, where she invariably summons precisely the right words for life’s big moments — births, deaths and marriages — while bumbling through her own relationships, hampered by an office indiscretion and a blackmailing colleague. Kay Mellor, who was inspired to create the show after registering her own mother’s death, has called it “anti-Brexit,” centering story lines on same-sex marriage, immigration and transgender struggles. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Art: Anne Truitt at the National Gallery
Anne Truitt’s otherworldly but deeply humane wooden monoliths are unmistakable demonstrations of the positive value of restraint. You can’t see every one of the 20 or so layers of paint that went into a piece like the nearly seven-foot tall, golden yellow “Summer Remembered,” but it shimmers distinctly with the artist’s focused concentration.
With the exception of three years in Tokyo in the late 1960s, Truitt (1921-2004) spent her working life in Washington, D.C. The National Gallery of Art’s sampling of sculptures and drawings that span most of Truitt’s career is an opportunity to see her work in exactly the light — and latitude — she made it for. WILL HEINRICH
Pop: Noname and Kweku Collins in Chicago
Energy drinks aren’t for everyone, but you don’t need to consume them to enjoy the arts programming that Red Bull sponsors each year in cities around the world. For music fans, the company’s latest venture — 30 Days in Chicago, a monthlong festival with an emphasis on hip-hop and R&B — is a pick-me-up in itself.
The lineup this week is particularly strong, with performances by Noname, the lyricist behind last year’s acclaimed “Telefone” (Nov. 21 at Concord Music Hall); the promising Canadian crooner Daniel Caesar (Nov. 20 at Reggie’s Rock Club); and the thoughtful rapper Kweku Collins (Nov. 25 at Space), among others.
While tickets for many shows have sold out, it’s worth checking out the resale market for a chance to see these blazing young talents in action. SIMON VOZICK-LEVINSON