Things to Do

The Weekender: French films, first-rate fests, and OMG ‘Evan Hansen’! 

“Dear Evan Hansen” runs through Aug. 4 at the Citizens Bank Opera House.
“Dear Evan Hansen” runs through Aug. 4 at the Citizens Bank Opera House.Matthew Murphy

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Hey there Weekenders, how go those dog days?

It’s official: We’ve entered the serious (or is it Sirius?) stretch of the summer, which means it becomes more tempting than ever to follow Fido’s lead and just tip over somewhere cool and dark until the sun calms down.

As nice as that sounds, this weekend I urge you to resist the call of the mild. Why? Because there’s so much going on, and it’s all high-quality stuff (meaning, not “Stuber”). So who wants to go outside? Do you want to go outside? (OK, that’s enough with the dog stuff.) Let’s go!


BIG LITTLE LIE: No parent of a teenage theater geek could possibly be unaware of this fact but I’m putting it out there anyway: It’s opening week for “Dear Evan Hansen” and you have to go. This aggressively contemporary tale of a social-media fib that whips itself into a viral whirlwind became its own sensation and scored a half-dozen Tony Awards in 2017, including the trophy for best musical. (Check out Globe correspondent Christopher Wallenberg’s recent chat with songwriting team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and writer Steven Levenson.) The Broadway in Boston presentation runs through Aug. 4 at the Citizens Bank Opera House. Grab tickets here.

WHY CAN’T I BE YOU: From “Big” to “Little” to the novel and 2003 hit film in between, we’ve seen various variations on the fable of “Freaky Friday” for years, but in Disney’s new musical adaptation, the freshened-up book by Bridget Carpenter and score by Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey put a “contemporary fairy tale spin” on this well-worn tale of trading places. (Plus, the more we tell this story, the easier it is for people to understand that I’m not being remotely figurative when I say I’m actually Lindsay Lohan on the inside.) It’s onstage at North Shore Music Theatre through July 21. Grab tickets here (and get half off if you’re under 18).


FRESH FROM THE PIERRES: Kicking off this week and running through July 28 at the Museum of Fine Arts is the 23rd annual Boston French Film Festival, which Globe correspondent Loren King says “delivers on the frequent festival claim of offering something for everyone.” Among this weekend’s offerings are Gaspar Noé’s “psychedelic dance/horror” film “Climax” on Friday; Pierre Salvadori’s “The Trouble With You” on Saturday; and Pierre Schoeller’s revolutionary epic (just in time for Bastille Day), “One Nation, One King” on Sunday. Find a full schedule and tickets here.

A photo of Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen from the film “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love.”
A photo of Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen from the film “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love.”Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

OWING MUSES: Leonard Cohen wasn’t such a big fan of his nicknames — from the common ones (“High Priest of Pathos”) to the not (“Patron Saint of Disappointment”?). “You get tired, over the years, hearing that you’re the champion of gloom,” he once told the BBC. After all, despite all of those dirgey jams, Cohen was a lover at heart — and it’s a side of the artist that comes fully to light in “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love,” a new documentary about Cohen and his longtime lover, friend, and muse, Marianne Ihlen, directed by Nick Broomfield (who “fell in love with their relationship”). It opens Friday.


FEST CASE SCENARIO: If festing of some sort is on the weekend agenda, you’ve got two solid options. At the fairgrounds in Marshfield, you can take in the aggressively chill Levitate Music and Arts Festival, with a weekend-long lineup of performers headlined by the Tedeschi Trucks Band on Friday, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats on Saturday, and Damian Marley on Sunday. Find a full lineup and tickets here. (And hurry because it’s almost sold out.) And farther afield in Greenfield, a limited number of weekend passes remain for the ever-more-powerful Green River Festival, this year featuring headliners Lucinda Williams on Friday, the Wood Brothers on Saturday, and the Devil Makes Three on Sunday. (But don’t miss psych-folk duo Mapache, or erstwhile Carolina Chocolate Drop and MacArthur Fellow Rhiannon Giddens.) Find a full schedule, tickets, and camping info (if you’re into that sort of thing) here.

TWEE THE PEOPLE: So lilting, so swoonworthy, so kitten-soft, so effervescently sensitive. . . . I still haven’t fully emerged from the wistful daydream inspired by my last encounter with Scottish twee-pop powerhouse Belle & Sebastian, so I daren’t return just yet — lest I drift irretrievably further into my reverie. For the rest of you, they’re at House of Blues on Saturday, playing tracks off a new album called “How to Solve Our Human Problems.” (I suggest listening to way too much Belle & Sebastian, for starters.) Get there early to get your hair blown back by Mary Timony’s swagtacular trio, Ex Hex. Grab tickets here.


GROWN UP: Ex-“SNL” star Rob Schneider is up in these parts to film a movie (uh-oh), and he’s making a stand-up stop on stage at the Wilbur on Saturday night. But if your relationship with Rob Schneider ended roughly around the same time as your relationship with whoever took you to see “The Waterboy,” let me assure you that was a long, long time ago, and Schneider’s more recent forays into conversational podcasting with his wife, Patricia Maya (“See What Happens”), present a very different side of Schneider. (Oh sweet Lord no, not that side again.) You know what? Maybe never mind. Tickets here.

PILLOW FLIGHT: This weekend at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket brings a 50th-anniversary appearance by the renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem. The 16-member company led by founding member and former principal dancer Virginia Johnson will honor late cofounder Arthur Mitchell with presentations of Darrell Grand Moultrie’s “Harlem on My Mind” along with works by Balanchine, Wheeldon, and Ochoa. Also onstage this weekend is the world premiere of the Shaker-inspired work “POWER” by Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group. Grab tickets here.

FAR OUT: And while you’re way out west, Globe critic Mark Feeney really dug “Woodstock to the Moon: 1969 Illustrated,” on view at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge through Oct. 27. It’s an exhibition of illustrations that gets right to the heart of “the clash of turbulence and continuity” that defined the time. Featuring prints, posters, newspapers, LP covers, manuscripts, and other illustrated artifacts, what could be a cluttered time capsule is actually an exhibition of “impressive concision.” “One could go on about the show’s skillful blending of rad and trad,” writes Feeney. Find more information here.


John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy are the subjects of “JFK Jr. and Carolyn’s Wedding: The Lost Tapes,” on TLC.
John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy are the subjects of “JFK Jr. and Carolyn’s Wedding: The Lost Tapes,” on TLC.Mike Segar REUTERS

OR STAY IN: Maybe the dog has the right idea. On the couch this weekend you can catch “Shangri-La,” the four-part Showtime documentary on music producer and pop guru Rick Rubin, famous for his work with the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Adele, Aerosmith, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga. The first weekly installment airs Friday at 9 p.m., but you can binge all four episodes on Showtime streaming apps starting Friday.

And with the 20th anniversary of JFK Jr.’s death approaching (July 16), you’ll be seeing a lot of his objectively ruggedly handsome mug around as appreciations and searching biographies try to recapture the allure of the “reluctant prince.” And if you really want to work that fake-royal angle, on Saturday night at 8 p.m., TLC is airing the two-hour special “JFK Jr. and Carolyn’s Wedding: The Lost Tapes,” which features never-seen footage of the 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette, and I am already on the couch with my bonbons waiting for it to start.

And that, heat-weary Weekenders, is all I’ve got in the doggie bag this week. Stay cool, stay hydrated, stay out of trouble, and however you spend your weekend, make it one you’ll miss come Monday.

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.