scorecardresearch Skip to main content
Globe Magazine

30 of the best dance, theater, book, art, and classical music events in New England this spring

The Globe’s arts writers share their picks for can’t-miss events of the season.

Clockwise from top left: A photograph from the Todd Webb in Africa exhibition; Jamez McCorkle in "Omar"; Simone Leigh’s Cupboard IX; a scene from Justin Peck's ballet "Everywhere We Go"; and The Great Mystery by Kent Monkman.Globe staff


By Karen Campbell

Boston Ballet

A highlight of the company’s busy spring is Our Journey, a contemporary program anchored by the world premiere of a major new work by choreographer Nanine Linning. Set to a live performance of Debussy’s luminous La Mer and Sirènes, the work is a collaboration with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and aims to illuminate the importance of ocean preservation. The program also features Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go, a 25-dancer epic ballet set to a nine-movement orchestral score by Sufjan Stevens. April 6-16, Citizens Bank Opera House, 539 Washington Street, Boston, 617-695-6955,

Urban Bush Women

Co-presented with Jacob’s Pillow and Williams College, the company’s Haint Blu represents a multi-year, multi-community development process. The work explores generational histories and ancestral lines, using movement as a source of remembering, reclaiming, releasing, and restoring. This site-responsive presentation takes place throughout the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art campus, including outdoors. April 19-22, Mass Moca, 1040 Mass Moca Way, North Adams, 413-662-2111,

Newport Contemporary Ballet

Formerly known as Island Moving Company, the newly named company’s Elements program ranges from neoclassical ballet to contemporary dance. It features world premieres by Caleb Mitchell, Juan Rodriguez, and Yoshito Sakuraba, plus Gerald Arpino’s seminal Light Rain and the first live audience performance of artistic director Danielle Genest’s Skeleton Crew, originally made for a live-stream production during the pandemic shutdown. March 16-18, 24-25; Keats Theatre At St. Andrew’s School, 63 Federal Road, Barrington, Rhode Island, 401-847-4470,


Camille A. Brown & Dancers

The groundbreaking, Bessie Award-winning company presents a late-afternoon program in partnership with the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire’s Juneteenth Celebration. Brown, who also brings impressive cred from her work on Broadway, television, and in film, is acclaimed for creating incisive, provocative work that taps into personal and cultural experiences reflecting Black identity. June 18, The Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 603-436-2400,


The Peking AcrobatsHandout

Peking Acrobats

This new production by the celebrated troupe features fresh elements by performers from the Shanghai Circus and promises an extravaganza of physical virtuosity and brilliant stagecraft. Expect not just spectacular acrobatics but also extraordinary feats of balancing and juggling, plus a hefty dose of good humor. March 31, Paramount Theatre, 30 Center Street, Rutland, Vermont, 802-775-0903,

Ballet Hispánico

Portland Ovations’ “Raise the Barre” series presents the landmark Latinx company in Noche de Oro: A Celebration of 50 Years. This wide-ranging anniversary program mines a half-century of work showcasing the company’s signature blend of Latin dance with classical and contemporary techniques to create vivid, dynamic performances. May 11, Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Portland, Maine, 207-842-0800,

Ballet Hispánicopaula lobo


By Francie Lin

Boston Comics in Color Festival

Billed as Boston’s only comic arts festival devoted to stories by and about people of color, Comics in Color packs a lot into one Saturday, with special guest speakers, discussions, cosplay, and live art demonstrations as well as an artist alley where you can mingle with your favorite creators. This year — the family-friendly festival’s third — will showcase special guest illustrator Alitha Martinez, workshops with MassArt’s Sparc! The Artmobile, and a film screening with the Roxbury International Film Festival. April 29, Reggie Lewis Track And Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street, Roxbury Crossing,

Boston Comics in Color FestivalHandout

Nantucket Book Festival

One of the state’s most vibrant book festivals, Nantucket’s is chock-full of big-name authors giving readings in charmingly intimate town settings — a paradise for any reader or writer hoping for connection and inspiration. This year’s headliners include Tracy Kidder, Ilyon Woo, Hernan Diaz, Jodi Picoult, Imani Perry and Stacy Schiff. Most programming is open to the public; registration and tickets are required for some events. Full author list and schedule will be posted in May. June 15-18, Various Locations on Nantucket,


Friends of Otis Library Spring Book Sale

Bulk up your library with new treasures while helping a local community, at this three-day sale. Find a huge selection of books for all ages, extensively sorted and shelved for easy browsing with your coffee. The proceeds fund community projects (last year’s sale raised money for an online children’s book club and a virtual STEM program for teens and young adults, among other ventures). This year’s event features a large collection of children’s books for $1 or less; on Sunday, you can fill a bag for just $5. April 21-23, Otis Library, 216 Main Street, Norwich, Connecticut, 860-889-2365,

Newburyport Literary Festival

This lively weekend of readings and discussions takes advantage of both beautiful downtown Newburyport and live streaming: Friday and Saturday’s in-person events focus on local authors and poets; Sunday’s online-only portion (registration required) celebrates writers throughout the United States and abroad. Peter Orner, in conversation with Andre Dubus III, will open the festival. Saturday’s speakers include Kamila Shamsie and William Landay, while Sunday features Rebecca Makkai and Allegra Goodman, among others. April 28-30, Various Locations In Newburyport, 978-465-1257,

Bristol BookFest

For readers who love a deep dive, this two-day program is built around a single work of literature. It begins with a free keynote talk on Friday evening, continues with a paid Saturday roster of discussions and speakers and a themed dinner, then ends with a free closing reception. This year’s subject is The Odyssey by Homer, a touchstone tale that remains fresh despite its 3,000 years. Princeton classics professor Barbara Graziosi will deliver the keynote address. March 31-April 1, Various Locations In Bristol, Rhode Island, 914-645-7009,


Bookstock – The Green Mountain Festival of Words

This three-day gathering is dedicated to the rich literary landscape of Vermont and New England at large. It features writing workshops, book signings, and readings for all ages — past authors have included Martín Espada, Archer Mayor, and Katherine Paterson — as well as live music and a famously huge used book sale on the village green. All events, held in historic venues throughout picture-perfect Woodstock, Vermont, are free, thanks to Bookstock’s dedicated, almost entirely volunteer staff. June 23-25, Woodstock, Vermont,


By Don Aucoin


A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner (for Sweat and Ruined), Lynn Nottage mines a more comic vein with this play about second chances and daring to dream. It’s set in a truck stop diner where the kitchen staff have recently been released from prison. Clyde (April Nixon), the cafe’s owner, is a tyrant, but the workers draw inspiration and a sense of solidarity from the head chef, Montrellous (Harold Surratt), who exudes serenity. They join him on a quest to create the perfect sandwich. Directed by Taylor Reynolds. Coproduction by The Huntington and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. March 24-April 23, The Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 617-266-0800,


Wesley-Guimarães and April Nixon in "Clyde's"Muriel Steinke

Dreaming Again

Genevieve Aichele’s play about the lives of immigrants and refugees in New Hampshire is based on more than 40 interviews Aichele conducted with people who left their homes in other countries and resettled in the Granite State. With a cast of five and three musicians — several of whom are immigrants themselves — Dreaming Again features music that spans numerous cultures, arranged by Agnes Charlesworth. Directed by CJ Lewis. After ticketed showings, the play will tour in schools through April 8. March 24-26, New Hampshire Theatre Project, 959 Islington Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 603-431-6644,

Wild Goose Dreams

In this play set in Seoul by the innovative Hansol Jung (Wolf Play), two lonely people meet online and have to deal with the complications of love in the digital age. Yoo Nanhee (Eunji Lim) is deeply conflicted about having defected from North Korea, because it meant leaving her father behind. Guk Minsung (Jeffrey Song) is a South Korean “goose father” who has sent his wife and daughter to America in search of a better life, then struggles to maintain his connection to them. Directed by Seonjae Kim. March 17-April 8, Speakeasy Stage Company, Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion At Boston Center For The Arts, 617-933-8600,

And So We Walked

An autobiographical solo play by Cherokee performance artist and activist DeLanna Studi about a contemporary Cherokee woman who makes a six-week, 900-mile journey along the Trail of Tears with her father, hoping to gain a fuller understanding of her own identity and personal history, and that of her nation. They are walking the same path traveled by her great-great-grandparents during the forced relocation of Indigenous peoples in the 1830s. The play was inspired by Studi’s own journey over the entire trail in the summer of 2015 with her father, on foot and by car. Directed by Corey Madden. April 26-30, Artsemerson, Emerson Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston, 617-824-8400,

The Children

Lucy Kirkwood’s psychologically complex, quietly shattering climate-change allegory takes place in the contaminated aftermath of a tsunami-caused meltdown at a nuclear power plant. British married couple Robin (Richard Donelly) and Hazel (Candice Brown), both retired physicists who worked at the plant, are startled by a visit from a former colleague, Rose (Phyllis Kay), whom they haven’t seen in decades. Rose confronts them with an enormously challenging request, one that touches on moral culpability and generational responsibility. Without any preachiness, playwright Kirkwood asks the audience a question, too: In the face of a worsening environmental crisis, what do you plan to do about it? Directed by Steve Kidd. April 27-May 14, The Gamm Theatre, 1245 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, Rhode Island, 401-723-4266,


In 1997, the same year James Cameron’s blockbuster film about the ill-fated ocean liner was released, this unrelated musical opened on Broadway. This Titanic hews to the factual story, focusing on the ship’s officers, crew, and passengers while examining the causes of the 1912 disaster that claimed more than 1,500 lives. With music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone, Titanic won five Tony Awards, including best musical, and ran for more than 800 performances on Broadway. Directed by Marc Robin. June 7-24, Maine State Music Theatre’s Pickard Theater, Bowdoin College, 1 Bath Road, Brunswick, Maine, 207-725-8769,


By Murray Whyte

Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has one of the best collections of the work of Katsushika Hokusai outside of Japan, but this exhibition is more ambitious than a simple airing of its embarrassment of riches. The show will present some 100 works by Hokusai, including paintings, drawings, and woodblock prints, alongside 200 more pieces by the artist’s “teachers, students, rivals, and admirers,” illustrating Hokusai’s impact both on his contemporaries and on generations of artists long after his death in 1849. A source of reverence for such Impressionists as Claude Monet and Mary Cassatt, Hokusai had a profound influence on Western Modernism. March 26-July 16, Museum Of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, 617-267-9300,

Wave by Annabeth Rosenfrom the museum of fine arts, boston

Portals: The Visionary Architecture of Paul Goesch

After World War I, a generation of German architects took to sketching fantastic future worlds on the promise of a newly-established democracy. The Nazi Party had other plans, and Goesch, one of those architects, fell victim to its pursuit of its own brutal notions of utopia: He suffered from schizophrenia, was institutionalized, and was finally murdered by the Nazis. The Clark Art Institute will be showing some of Goesch’s little-known visions, alongside a slate of his better-known contemporaries, such as the Russian Modern master Wassily Kandinsky. March 18-June 11, The Clark Art Institute, 225 South Street, Williamstown, 413-458-2303,

An image from Outside the Frame: Todd Webb in AfricaSam Walker/© Todd Webb Archive

Outside the Frame: Todd Webb in Africa

In 1958, the United Nations commissioned photographer Todd Webb to document the impact of rapid economic development spurred by foreign investment on landscape and daily life in a number of African countries: a sparkly new Texaco station in Togo, or neat rows of stainless-steel campers parked in the desert in Somaliland (now Somalia) to house workers at a new well drilled by the Sinclair Oil Co. The results, sparsely published and largely ignored by the UN, depict an Africa grappling with a sudden rush to Westernize, often amid struggles for independence from its Colonial overlords who stood to benefit most from its rapid change. MArch 24-June 18, Portland Museum Of Art, 7 Congress Square, Portland, Maine, 207-775-6148,

Simone Leigh’s Cupboard IXfrom institute of contemporary art boston

Simone Leigh

The first-ever comprehensive survey of the work of Simone Leigh debuts at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston this spring, a landmark in the ever-expanding career of one of the country’s most respected artists. The show follows a recent international coup: Leigh and the ICA were deep in planning the show when they decided to submit Leigh in competition for the official American representative for the 2022 Venice Biennale, which was realized last April, to broad accolades. Leigh’s show in Boston brings almost every element of that powerful display here. Always at issue for Leigh is Black representation and history, which she explores through a variety of media — but ceramics is her first language, and always at the heart of any of her exhibitions. April 6-September 4, Institute Of Contemporary Art Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, 617-478-3100,

The Great Mystery by Kent Monkmanfrom the hood museum

Kent Monkman: The Great Mystery

Monkman, who is Cree, has built a career of reframing Colonial visions of North American Indigenous cultures from a Native perspective, often with an absurdist point of view. This was perhaps most vividly on display in a recent commission for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where Monkman made two massive paintings that incorporated elements of iconic European history paintings from the Met’s collection and rebuilt them with Indigenous perspectives in mind. In this show, Monkman returns to his earliest interest: Abstract Expressionism. His reengagement with it comes at the height of his strength as an artist; he’s now well equipped to grapple with the form’s enigmatic power, and co-opt it for his own purpose. April 8-December 23, Hood Museum Of Art At Dartmouth College, 6 East Wheelock Street, Hanover, New Hampshire, 603-646-2808,

Built from the Earth: Pueblo Pottery from the Anthony and Teressa Perry Collection

This show, of historical ceramic pieces from the Pueblo people of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, puts on view the remarkable artistry they infused in everyday objects — a practice that continues robustly today. Works included will be drawn from eight Pueblo communities in New Mexico: Acoma, Cochiti, Laguna, Santa Ana, Santo Domingo, San Ildefonso, Zia, and Zuni. June 24-October 22, Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, Vermont, 802-985-3346,


By A.Z. Madonna

Boston Early Music Festival

Boston hosts its biennial bonanza of early music in person for the first time since 2019, with the theme “A Celebration of Women.” This summer’s centerpiece opera is Henry Desmarest’s 1694 Circé, with libretto by poet Louise-Geneviève Gillot de Saintonge. The weeklong festival is packed with concerts from guests traveling from both near and far, including Prague’s Tiburtina Ensemble, Belgium’s Vox Luminis, and Boston’s own La Donna Musicale and Rumbarroco. Don’t forget to swing by the exhibition at the Courtyard Marriott and maybe try your hand on a viola da gamba. June 4-11, various venues in Boston, 617-661-1812,

Old Man and the Sea

Paola Prestini, composer and cofounder of Brooklyn arts incubator National Sawdust, presents a work-in-progress preview of a new opera that reimagines and expands upon Hemingway’s classic novella, co-created with librettist Royce Vavrek and conductor, choreographer, and director Karmina Šilec. Artistic polymath Helga Davis, a former visiting curator at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, takes center stage as the story’s narrator. March 25, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, 413-662-2111,

Dive In by Leigh Webber leighwebber.comLeigh Webber/Photo by Leigh Webber leighwebbe


The final production of Boston Lyric Opera’s 2022-23 season features the New England premiere of Omar, a BLO co-commission from the mind of Grammy and MacArthur Fellowship-winning multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, in collaboration with composer Michael Abels, behind the scores for Get Out and Us. Starring Jamez McCorkle in the title role and directed by Kaneza Schaal, the opera narrates the autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, an Islamic scholar born in present-day Senegal who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the United States. May 4-7, Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-542-6772,

New England Philharmonic music director Tianhui Ng.Handout

People in Between

The New England Philharmonic’s season finale was curated by freshman music director Tianhui Ng to honor people caught amidst world conflicts. Mid-20th century Ukrainian composer Thomas de Hartmann clandestinely wrote his 1943 Violin Concerto for a Jewish violinist at a time when Nazis were occupying the composer’s home; it receives what is likely its first Boston performance. The program also includes Shostakovich’s wartime Symphony No. 7, written during the siege of Leningrad, and a 2020 piece by Uzbekistan-born Tatar composer Adeliia Faizullina for orchestra with solo quray, an ancient end-blown flute that is a signature instrument of the Tatar and Bashkir peoples. May 7, Tsai Performance Center at Boston University, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 855-463-7445,

Flamenco and Tapas

Monadnock Music’s first event at the DublinArts & Muse Gallery features flamenco music performed by Boston-based guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan, a prolific performer of solo classical guitar music from around the world as well as the founder of ¡Con Fuego! — a trio that fuses Spanish folk and classical music. Tapas and Spanish wines to be served; program details to be announced. May 19, DublinArts & Muse Gallery, 1459 Main Street, Dublin, New Hampshire, 603-852-4345,

Newport ClassicalHandout

Newport Classical

This Rhode Island chamber series hosts three springtime concerts over the next several months. First up, the duo of Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev and Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa, offering a program that mixes pieces from the classical canon with those by rising composers (April 21); next, the Kenari Quartet offers virtuosic saxophone arrangements of Bach and Mendelssohn alongside saxophone ensemble pieces by Jennifer Higdon and David Maslanka (May 19); finally, rising star violinist Stella Chen performs with pianist Henry Kramer (June 9). Recital Hall at Emmanuel Church, 42 Dearborn Street, Newport, Rhode Island, 401-846-1133,

Send comments to