scorecardresearch Skip to main content

What’s happening in the local arts world

Tom Nelis and Starr Busby in American Repertory Theater's production of "Moby-Dick," which runs through Jan. 12.Maria Baranova


Pop & Rock

KINDRED THE FAMILY SOUL Philadelphians Fatin Dantzler and Aja Gordon have been linchpins of the neo-soul scene since their emergence in the early ’00s. Jan. 5, 8 p.m. $30 and up. City Winery, Boston. 617-933-8047,

EZRA FURMAN The singer-songwriter opens a four-week residency called “Intimacy,” returning to the city where she launched her music career for shows featuring old and new material, as well as fellow travelers like Photocomfort and Hallelujah the Hills. Jan. 7, 7 p.m. $12. ONCE, Somerville. 617-285-0167,

BLANCO BROWN “The Git Up,” this Atlanta-based genre-blurrer’s debut single, was an irresistible slice of electro-country that lit up TikTok last year, and his first album “Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs” built on its promise with bouncy basslines and twangy melodies. He’s part of a Live Nation-sponsored tour of Nashville up-and-comers that also features Chris Lane and Ernest. Jan. 11, 7 p.m. $30 and up. House of Blues. 888-693-2583,



Folk & World

THE DEAD SOUTH This Saskatchewan band is typically characterized as bluegrass, but given the number of other influences they tap, from old-time banjo tones to brooding Americana, that is too limiting a classification (plus, you won’t find many bluegrass outfits sporting a cello player). Fellow Saskatchewanian Danny Olliver and Legendary Shack Shakers also perform. Jan. 7, 7 p.m. $25-$45. House of Blues. 800-745-3000,

THE ELECTRIC HEATERS/THE DERANGERS You get a double-shot of instrumental twang with this bill: Matt Heaton and the Electric Heaters play something they call “Retro-sonic Surf Noir,” with the accent on reverb; the Derangers tread similar paths, with nods in a western direction (spaghetti and otherwise) as well. Jan. 10, 7 p.m. $12. The Burren, Somerville. 617-776-6896,

THE HILLBENDERS PRESENT WHOGRASS It’s safe to say that these bluegrassers are partial to the music of the Who; they’ve brought their version of “Tommy” (“A Bluegrass Opry”) to the area on several occasions, and now they’ve expanded their scope for a tour of the entire catalog of Townsend and Company. Jan. 11, 8 p.m. $35. The Center for Arts, Natick. 508-647-0097,



Jazz & Blues

TIM GEARAN & THE SHRIKES The blues and roots man about town is a gritty vocalist, stinging lead guitarist, and smart, soulful songwriter. With the Shrikes, he plays self-described “junk yard psych country blues.” Jan 7, 8 p.m. No cover. Sally O’Brien’s, 335 Somerville Ave., Somerville. 617-666-3589,

NINA OTT QUARTET The Dot Jazz Series presents jazz pianist, organist, and composer Ott, who hails from Detroit, where she started playing piano at age 7. For this gig, her band includes bassist Christopher Lopes, drummer Dean Johnston, and Grammy-winner Eguie Castrillo on congas, playing her post-bop jazz and Afro-Cuban-influenced originals. Jan 9, 7:30 p.m. $15. Peabody Hall, Parish of All Saints, 209 Ashmont St., Dorchester.

NATE ARONOW NEXTET Pianist Aronow and his engaging band – saxophonist/flutist Doug Sondak, guitarist Ken Ormes, bassist Reed Butler, and drummer Dr. David Mann — have been playing their thoughtful and exciting contemporary jazz originals at various local venues for years. The Nextet will be followed by top-notch house band Standards by Starlight, who play until 11 p.m. Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m. No cover. Post Underground at the Brookline VFW, 386 Washington St. (downstairs), Brookline.




BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA French conductor Alain Altinoglu returns to Symphony Hall and brings along his countryman, organist Thierry Escaich, for a BSO debut that promises to pull out all the stops. Program includes Poulenc’s Concerto For Organ, String Orchestra, and Timpani and Saint-Saen’s Symphony No. 3, “Organ Symphony.” Jan. 9-14. Symphony Hall. 888-266-1200,

A FAR CRY The trees are withered, the sky is gray, the holidays are over, and it’s the perfect time to listen to music about death, right? Jamaica Plain’s conductorless string orchestra has you covered, with a program of Takemitsu, Mahler, and Shostakovich featuring soprano Sonja Tengblad and bass-baritone Dashon Burton. Jan. 10, 8 p.m. Jordan Hall. 617-553-4887,

RESTED FIELD The Boston experimental trio and guests haunt a Newton dwelling for three hours in “House of the Ax,” an immersive, interactive “performance installation” that invites audiences to move about the space, see, and be seen. Jan. 11 and 12.




PASS OVER An award-winning drama by Antoinette Nwandu that nods to Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot’’ and to the Exodus story in its portrait of two young black men, Moses (Kadahj Bennett) and Kitch (Hubens “Bobby’’ Cius) who dream of making it to the promised land of a better future. Then a stranger (played by Lewis D. Wheeler) enters their world. Directed by Monica White Ndounou. Through Jan. 25. SpeakEasy Stage Company and Front Porch Arts Collective. At Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,


THE CAKE Karen MacDonald stars as Della, a conservative Christian baker whose religious beliefs collide with her personal ties when Jen (Chelsea Diehl), the daughter of her deceased best friend, asks her to bake a cake for Jen’s same-sex wedding. Bekah Brunstetter’s comic drama is directed by Courtney O’Connor. Jan. 10-Feb. 9. Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 617-585-5678,

MOBY-DICK Heaven knows what Herman Melville would make of this world-premiere musical adaptation by the team of Dave Malloy (music, lyrics, and book) and director Rachel Chavkin, who developed the musical with Malloy. But the novelist would have to acknowledge that Malloy and Chavkin have devised an arrestingly expressive theatrical language to tell his story. The duo — who previously collaborated on another monumental 19th century novel-turned-musical, “Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812’’ — take pains to directly connect “Moby-Dick’’ to the 21st century, particularly in their “Hamilton’’-like diverse casting. Through Jan. 12. American Repertory Theater. At Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. 617-547-8300,



DANCE CALIENTE While this week traditionally marks a slow spell for dance performance, it’s a great time to explore your options for participatory dance, and Dance Caliente makes it a party. This first Sunday afternoon dance party of the year welcomes all levels – from total beginner to seasoned veteran — with or without partner. Participants can explore social dance styles ranging from salsa to swing, with instruction available along the way, if requested. Jan. 5, 2:30-5:30, $10-$12. First Parish UU Church, 630 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington. 781-396-1232,


FOLLIES FOR BOSTON Created by Melanie Cox, this interactive Boston She Party production showcases “strong and saucy” female characters in jazzy reinvented pop numbers and steamy historical mash-ups, with live music by The Midnight Riders. Jan. 5, $49-$65. Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre. 617-426-5000,

WINTER DANCE FEST This promising festival highlighting three nationally acclaimed companies over consecutive weekends is a first ever for Global Arts Live, so even though it’s a couple of weeks away, you might benefit from looking into tickets now. The quirky, urban dance-fueled Montreal troupe Rubberband opens on Jan. 25, followed by Philadanco (Feb. 1), celebrating an astonishing 50th anniversary season. A repertory program by Parsons Dance (Feb. 8) includes the Boston premiere of a new work by Trey McIntyre. $40-$65 ($95 for all 3). Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre. 617-876-4275,



GOLDEN SPIKE In the geologic record, a “golden spike” is a striking shift, a tipping point. Artists Isabel Beavers, Allison Gray, and William Van Beckum use painting, photography, and sculptural installation to consider the notion through a variety of prisms, including art history, the environment, human desire, and time’s long progression. Through Jan. 31. Brookline Arts Center, 86 Monmouth St., Brookline. 617-566-5715,

CYNTHIA PACKARD: REFLECTIONS Chase Young Gallery kicks off its 30th-anniversary year with an exhibition of paintings by Packard, who has been with the gallery since it opened. The Provincetown artist is known as a colorist, but her figures, still lifes, and more are also expressively tactile, made with tar, wax, shellac, and even fire. Through Jan. 30. Chase Young Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-859-7222,

NAT MARTIN: STUDIO VIEWS Haunted by climate change, Martin started constructing models of a destroyed earth and planets potentially fit for human occupation, then photographing them. His dark, atmospheric, even Turneresque images appear as if shot through the lens of a planetary rover investigating an alien environment that may be habitable but is far from hospitable. Through Feb. 2. Kingston Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-423-4113,



WOMEN TAKE THE FLOOR The MFA, like most museums worth a damn, has been interrogating and rebuilding its own practices to better reflect the world we live in now — and the litany of ills from the world we’d like to leave behind. That means a more inclusive agenda where race and gender are concerned, and this show, a re-installation of the third floor of the museum’s Art of the Americas wing, was conceived to focus “on the overlooked and underrepresented work and stories of women artists.” Through May 3, 2021, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300,

N.C. WYETH: NEW PERSPECTIVES The Portland Museum of Art calls it “a long overdue assessment” of Wyeth’s career, which already sounds like an apology. We can’t ascribe to the father the gifts of the son — that would be Andrew, whose chilling scenes of American life stand alongside Edward Hopper’s as among the most enduring — but we certainly can examine the lineage a little more closely. Through Jan. 12. Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148,

ERRE: THEM AND US The Mexican-American artist ERRE built a border wall at Mass MoCA for his new exhibition. Any questions? There should be plenty, and the artist offers much food for thought with a nuanced satire on the increasingly common brutality of division. Through summer 2021. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams. 413-662-2111,




GODFREY A Chicago native, Godfrey didn’t get much sympathy from his Nigerian father when he had to walk five blocks to school on cold days. “When I was your age,” he remembers his father saying, “I walked a hundred miles to school, and when we got there, the school was not there. We had to build the school right there.” Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m. $25. Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston. 617-248-9700,

GOOD LUCK COMEDY J. Smitty and Sam Ike host this showcase for stand-up comedians and DJs at different rooms every month. This edition features Chanel Ali, who was a part of the prestigious “New Faces” showcase at the Just for Laughs Festival in 2019. Jan. 10, 9:30 p.m. $20. The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Somerville. 617-684-5335,

SOMETHING WICKED: A COMPLETELY IMPROVISED SHAKESPEAREAN PLAY For fans of the Bard, an ImprovBoston troupe creates a five-act play based on a suggestion from the audience. Jan. 10, 10 p.m. $12-$15. ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Cambridge. 617-576-1253,



PIXAR THEMED TRIVIA Who is Buzz Lightyear’s best friend? What’s the iconic address Dory recites in Finding Nemo? What is Lightning McQueen’s signature saying? Families that know the answers finally have an opportunity to show off their animated expertise this trivia night. Over food and drinks, cartoon lovers can test their knowledge of the vast cinematic universe. Jan. 6, 7 to 9 p.m, Free. The Friendly Toast Restaurant, 35 Stanhope St.

STEAM FAMILY WORKSHOP: PAPER MAKING What is old can be new again. So says the Boston Children’s Museum, which is teaching kids to make recycled paper. Children ages 7 and up will take crumpled, drawn-on sheets and transform them into usable prints in a hands-on, albeit messy, process. Jan. 10, 11 a.m. to noon. $18. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St.

FUN DODGEBALL Dodgeball isn’t just for gym classes and schoolyard bullies anymore. This all-ages event breaks the stereotypes around the sport and brings it back into the limelight for families and friends to enjoy once again. Just add a dose of healthy competition to the mix. Jan. 11, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., $10-$15. Andrew Peabody School Gymnasium, 70 Rindge Ave., Cambridge.



Jan. 30 Tori Kelly at House of Blues

Jan. 31 Miniature Tigers at Brighton Music Hall

Feb. 1 Cold War Kids at House of Blues Boston

Feb. 4 Amber Liu at Paradise Rock Club

Feb. 5 Poppy at Brighton Music Hall

Feb. 8 Earthgang at Royale

Feb. 10 Tove Lo at House of Blues Boston

Feb. 17 Hayley Kiyoko at House of Blues Boston