Fall 2014 Arts Preview

The 49 amazing cultural events you have to attend this season.

By Carly Carioli, Peter Keough, Carolyn Clay, Greg Cook & Jeffrey Gantz


fall arts preview

Photo Illustration by Evelyn Celedon

AE-1
 
 
Turns out, one of the smartest people in one of the smartest cities on earth is a former NASA roboticist who lives in Cambridge and draws stick figures for a living for a Web comic called XKCD. In What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, Munroe presents his intricately researched insights into the stuff that keeps us up at night: What would happen to the planet if you cut a water-draining portal in the bottom of the ocean? How much physical space does the Internet take up? At what point will Facebook contain more dead people than live people? As a bonus, he was kind enough to put his flourish on some numbers for us in this issue.

Munroe reads from What If? on 9/2, Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, brattlefilm.org.
 

AE-2
 

fall arts preview boston

Photo provided

No other author comes close to capturing the blue-collar essence and deep-rooted tribalism of old-school Boston than Dennis Lehane. Our crime-fiction spirit animal returns this fall with a new novel based on his screenplay (instead of the other way around, as per usual). The screenplay, in turn, was based on his previous short story, “Animal Rescue.” All of the above involve reluctant Boston tough guys, the Chechen mob, and a baby pit bull left for dead. The book shows up September 2, and the movie version—which includes an appearance by the late James Gandolfini—arrives on September 12.

Lehane reads from The Drop on 9/4, Newtonville Books, Newtonville, newtonvillebooks.com.
 

AE-3
 

Photo provided

Photo provided

You open the door expecting Sidney Poitier and in walks Theo Huxtable. Malcolm-Jamal Warner, of The Cosby Show fame, plays the brilliant African-American doctor who discombobulates his white fiancée’s rich liberal parents in Todd Kreidler’s stage adaptation of the 1967 Stanley Kramer film. The Huntington Theatre Company’s collaboration with DC’s Arena Stage was ­directed by Obie winner David ­Esbjornson.

9/5–10/5, Boston University Theatre, Boston, huntingtontheatre.org.
 

AE-4
 

fall preview boston

Photograph by Andrew Whitton

The Hub’s signature, twice-annual music festival is hitting its stride, with three nights of pop, indie rock, and hip-hop on City Hall Plaza. The biggest get of the weekend is Lorde—slated to soundtrack the next Hunger Games movie, she arrives at the peak of her spooky teenage powers. The heaviest buzz, though, is around the long-awaited Boston return of the Replacements, who are old enough to be her grandparents. Nas and the Roots, Girl Talk, Neutral Milk Hotel, Spoon, the 1975, the National, and more than a dozen others are along for the ride.

9/5–9/7, Government Center, Boston, bostoncalling.com.
 

AE-5
 
 
Los Angeles collage master (and 2009 MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant winner) Mark Bradford is no stranger to Boston. In fact, it was Rose Art Museum director Christopher Bedford who brought the artist’s 2010 retrospective to the ICA. Bedford is behind this new show at the Rose in which the artist turns weathered street posters into big, maplike compositions that recall the heights of mid-20th-century abstract expressionism. The show’s capper is a new 100-foot-long mural in the museum’s front windows. While there, check out Chris Burden’s permanent installation, Light of Reason, debuting September 10, in which the ’70s performance artist assembles 24 Victorian streetlights to create a smaller version of his landmark installation outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“Sea Monsters” runs 9/11–12/21, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, brandeis.edu/rose.
 

AE-6
 
 
Scott Edmiston helms a strong cast as SpeakEasy Stage Company presents the Boston premiere of the recent off-Broadway musical. It’s based on Todd Haynes’s acclaimed 2002 film about an Eisenhower-era housewife with a forbidden yen for her African-American gardener. The book is by Tony winner Richard Greenberg, the score by the Grey Gardens duo of Scott Frankel and Michael Korie.

9/12–10/11, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston, speak easystage.com.
 

AE-7
 
 
The Rat and the Channel may be gone, but dozens of Boston bands are getting back together for this 13-concert festival by the people who bring you WMBR’s local-music showcase “Pipeline!” See every gig, and you’ll catch a band that opened for the Beatles (the Remains) and a guy who used to be in the Velvet Underground (Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band), not to mention several decades’ worth of faves, including the F.U.’s, O Positive, the Flies, the Bags, Gigolo Aunts, and Mary Lou Lord.

9/12–10/12, various locations, pipeline.wmbr.org.
 

AE-8
 
 
The pioneer sculptor Alexander Calder put an American spin on French surrealism to create his signature mobiles—flat leaves of painted metal balanced on the ends of wires, dancing in the air via motors or just the breeze. This major survey demonstrates that the results were some of the most cheery and playful abstract art of the past century.

9/6–1/4, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, pem.org.
 

AE-9
 
 
Based on the ’80s television series, this Antoine Fuqua thriller was shot locally last year and features Denzel Washington as the manager of a housewares store—played by the abandoned Lowe’s in Haverhill—who challenges the Russian mafia. It’s sort of like Taken by way of Taxi Driver, as Denzel fights to save a teenage prostitute played by Kick-Ass’s Chloë Grace Moretz.

Opens 9/26.
 
AE-10
 

fall arts preview

Photograph by Marco Borggreve

So long as he can keep from knocking himself unconscious, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s new music director, Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons, will open his tenure with a one-night-only program on September 27. That one sold out long ago, so instead, grab tickets to Nelsons’s opening subscription-series program, which will offer Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, the suite from Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin—a specialty of former BSO music director Seiji Ozawa—and Tchaikovsky’s final work, Symphony No. 6, the “Pathétique.” It’s standard repertoire, but in his concerts so far Nelsons has shown he can make the standard sound new.

10/1–10/3, Symphony Hall, Boston, bso.org.
 

AE-11
 
 
Stellar presenter ArtsEmerson opens its fifth season with the return of Montreal-based circus exemplars Les 7 Doigts de la Main (PSY) in the 2006 work Traces, which the New York Times dubbed “a fix of pure urban adrenaline.” Set in a shelter as vague catastrophe looms, it fields a cadre of artists who offer creation—in the form of acrobatics abetted by street elements and contemporary dance—as an antidote to destruction.

10/1–10/12, Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, artsemerson.org.
 

AE-12
 
 
The mercurial genius behind the critically adored indie-pop bands the Magnetic Fields and Future Bible Heroes, Merritt has made a career of contrasting a classicist’s sensibility with novelty, simplicity, and strict self-imposed limits; his signature musical masterwork is a triple album called 69 Love Songs. Now he’s venturing into poetry. Inspired by an obsession with the smartphone game Words with Friends, he’s written a four-line rhyming poem for each of the 101 two-letter words that you’re allowed to use in Scrabble, with illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast.

10/1, Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, harvard.com.
 

AE-13
 

fall arts preview boston

Photo by Tommy Garcia/Bravo

Top Chef, a two-time Emmy winner, is heading to Boston for its 12th season on Bravo. The reality competition, which has spawned countless imitators and turned its competitors into culinary superstars, is now doing for food—in Tom Colicchio’s estimation—what Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup did for pop art. We chatted with the glabrous patriarch about the challenges of filming in Boston, his admiration for Ken Oringer, and “the monster” he’s created when it comes to dining out. —Chris Hughes
 

AE-14
 

fall preview boston

Photograph by Joel Benjamin

Fast becoming a specialist in seminal gay dramas, Zeitgeist Stage Company follows its poignant production of The Normal Heart with this 35th-anniversary staging of Martin Sherman’s 1979 drama about the brutal persecution of homosexuals by the Nazis.

9/19–10/11, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, zeitgeiststage.com.
 

AE-15
 

fall arts preview boston

Photo by Eva Heyd

Call it the mutant offspring of hippie macramé and feminist efforts to reclaim traditional women’s crafts. This survey of rugs and ropes, piled coils, dangling fringe, and immersive crocheted spider webs outlines the 50-year history of what’s come to be called fiber art—featuring work by such giants of the genre as Magdalena Abakanowicz and Sheila Hicks.

10/1–1/4, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, icaboston.org.
 

AE-16
 

fall preview boston

Photograph by Zach Dilgard

If you’ve ever seen an episode of Wahlburgers—the A&E program that follows the inner workings of Dorchester’s most famous family—you probably know Paul Wahlberg as the frantic perfectionist. In the show’s debut season, Paul was often shown pacing between his two Hingham restaurants, Alma Nove (named for his mom, the series’s breakout star) and Wahlburgers, picking up trash, whipping up burger specials for celebrity acquaintances, and dodging characters with names like Nacho. “For the life of me I can’t figure out what people are interested in with me,” Paul said at a recent taping, shrugging off cameramen, audio guys, and a clique of random assistants. “I just do my thing.” Off camera, away from Mark’s real-life entourage and the contrived drama of reality television, Paul is relatively calm, often turning introspective when it comes to his favorite topic: food, of course. With season two providing must-watch TV this fall, we sat down with the chef whose moniker is featured on the marquee: a green logo that’s about to become a lot more familiar, as Wahlburgers swells into a national chain. —Chris Hughes

Read Chris Hughes’s full Q&A with Paul Wahlberg here.
 

AE-17
 
 
While waiting for the debut of Batfleck in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and his adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Boston noir Live by Night, Ben Affleck fans can get their fix with this did-he-or-didn’t-he thriller, directed by David Fincher (The Social Network, House of Cards). In an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller, Affleck plays a man whose wife vanishes on their anniversary—and, under the gaze of a rabid media, becomes the prime suspect. Read the book if you can’t wait, but be warned: Rumor has it Flynn penned a new ending for the film.

Opens 10/3.
 

AE-18
 
 
A fireball when he won the 1960 International Chopin Piano Competition at age 18, Maurizio Pollini has matured into an artist of supreme classical structure (his father was an architect) as well as restraint. Now 72, he’s one of the world’s great pianists. He’s also known to cancel tours for health reasons, so keep your fingers crossed. This program will include two of the greatest works of the Romantic repertoire: Schumann’s Kreisleriana (inspired by the literary alter ego of E. T. A. Hoffmann), and Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2—the one with the funeral march and hair-raising 80-second finale.

10/5, Symphony Hall, Boston, celebrityseries.org.
 

AE-19
 
 
He worked in southern California and died young, which is probably why ­Altoon’s scratchy, scrawled, sexual-innuendo-filled abstractions are little known here. But when this survey debuted at the L.A. County Museum of Art in June, the L.A. Times raved: “For a brief, shining moment in the 1960s, John Altoon was the great American painter of the great American sexual revolution.”

10/8–12/21, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, brandeis.edu.
 

AE-20
 
 
Death? According to Newton’s most famous doctor, we’re doing it wrong. A surgeon at Brigham and Women’s and professor at Harvard Medical School, Gawande is best known as a staff writer at the New Yorker, and for the trio of books—Better, Complications, and The Checklist Manifesto—that have made him the philosopher king of the healthcare era. His new book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, tackles medicine’s final frontier—how best to confront the end of life.

10/9, First Parish Church, Cambridge, harvard.com.
 

AE-21
 
 
Artistic director Harry Christophers opens Handel and Haydn’s bicentennial season—that’s right, the society is nearly as old as the U.S.—with a celebratory concert of Baroque greatest hits. The program will include Bach’s Singet dem Herrn, “Summer” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Handel’s coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest (a.k.a. the theme music of Champions League soccer), plus his Music for the Royal Fireworks. A great evening of music, but also a great occasion: How many institutions reach 200?

10/10 and 10/12, Symphony Hall, Boston, handelandhaydn.org.
 

AE-22
 
 
In 2013, Pittsburgh-born dancer Kyle Abraham became a MacArthur Fellow, and also had a hit at Jacob’s Pillow with “Pavement,” a take on the 1991 John Singleton film Boyz n the Hood. This October, he’s bringing to Boston his repertory program, inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 20th anniversary of the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa, and the 1960 protest album We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite.

10/10–10/12, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, icaboston.org.
 

AE-23
 
 
Who knew that Dedham was a dead ringer for a town in Indiana? Director David Dobkin shot this Midwest comedy-drama in the Boston area with a snarky Robert Downey Jr. as a Chicago lawyer who returns home to discover that his estranged father—the title jurist, played by Robert Duvall—has been charged with a shocking crime. Should he defend the old bastard or let him twist in the wind? Anyone who’s visited the Plymouth County Courthouse will feel at home during the trial scenes.

Opens 10/10.
 

AE-24
 

fall arts preview boston

Photograph by Formento & Formento

It’s never been smooth sailing for Aerosmith, which got its start in Boston four and a half decades ago. Guitarist Joe Perry’s particularly bumpy ride has included manipulative managers, a well-documented history with drugs, and a turbulent relationship with frontman Steven Tyler. In his new memoir, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, Perry tells his side of the story—from the late-’70s turmoil that led to his five-year split from the group, to a comeback in the ’80s, and his on-again, off-again parrying with Tyler. (As recently as 2010, the group openly admitted that it was seeking a new singer.) We checked in with Perry via phone from the West Coast, where the band was in the midst of a late-summer tour. –Michael Christopher
 

AE-25
 
 
Still charming audiences some 20 years after the release of the Disney film that inspired it, Julie Taymor’s Tony-winning blockbuster is nothing if not a feast for the senses. When it returns this fall, one night of the run will be an autism-friendly performance, with more than a dozen modifications to the production, including a “reduction of jarring sounds” and the elimination of strobe lights. It’s the first such performance by Broadway in Boston, in conjunction with the organization Autism Speaks.

10/11, Boston Opera House, Boston, boston.broadway.com.
 

AE-26
 
 
Catalyst [email protected] and Underground Railway Theater team up for the area premiere of a piece conceived by English actor/director/playwright Simon McBurney and cowritten by his troupe, Complicité. The play leaps back and forth between an early-20th-century dialogue featuring Cambridge don G. H. Hardy and Indian math prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan, and a present-day love story with an English math professor and an Indian-American businessman. It took numerous 2007 British theater awards, and the New York Times deemed it an “engrossing inquiry into the beauty of mathematics and the equations that bind human destinies,” while assuring that even an arithmetical bozo could appreciate it.

10/16–11/16, Central Square Theater, Cambridge, centralsquaretheater.org.
 

AE-27
 
 
Huntington Theatre Company shines a spotlight on Massachusetts General Hospital in this 2011 play by Elizabeth Egloff about the 1846 discovery of ether as an anesthetic. The play focuses on medical innovators Horace Wells and William T. G. Morton, pitting altruism against ambition as American healthcare becomes big business. Former Hartford Stage honcho Michael Wilson directs.

10/17–11/23, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston, huntingtontheatre.org.
 

AE-28
 
 
Lyric Stage Company will still be mopping up the gore from its Stephen Sondheim thriller Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (which runs through October 11) when it takes on some quieter stuff. Sarah Ruhl’s (The Vibrator Play) 2012 epistolary play is based on 30 years of correspondence ­between two giants of American poetry: Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop.

10/17–11/9, Lyric Stage Company, Boston, lyricstage.com.
 

AE-29
 
 
Singing mostly English music, Blue Heron has established itself as one of America’s finest Renaissance choirs. For the centerpiece of its opening 2014–2015 concert, music director Scott Metcalfe has a newly edited work that he’s excited about: an anonymous “Mass for St. Augustine of Canterbury” that was found in the 16th-century Peterhouse Partbooks. The work will also be recorded, and will eventually be available as volume four of Blue Heron’s Peterhouse Partbooks CD series.

10/18, First Church, Congregational, Cambridge, blueheronchoir.org.
 

AE-1-30
 

fall arts preview boston

Photographs courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The 18th-century master painted for four successive Spanish monarchs, but is today best known for his dark visions—sordid aristocrats, witches’ sabbaths, atrocities after Napoleon’s armies invaded Spain. See for yourself in what the Museum of Fine Arts is billing as the “largest Goya exhibition in North America in a quarter century.”

10/12–1/19, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, mfa.org.
 

AE-31
 
 
Now in its sixth year, the BBF has become the keystone event of the Hub’s literary calendar—it always feels like our smartest weekend of the year. Better yet, almost all of it is free. This year’s keynotes include appearances from hometown historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Boston-born novelist Susan Minot, Lightning Thief author Rick Riordan, and jazz great Herbie Hancock, who’s been lecturing at Harvard and working on a memoir. But that’s just the beginning; expect presentations from mayors, scientists, midfiction bestsellers, and more.

10/23–10/25, various Copley Square locations, bostonbookfest.org.
 

AE-32
 
 
Before 4-D and IMAX, there was the gonzo-horror showman William Castle. He not only made scary movies during the ’50s and ’60s, but he also devised terrifying theatrical innovations that ventured beyond the screen. They include “Emergo” (a fake skeleton leaping into the audience) for House on Haunted Hill, “Percepto” (buzzers under seats) for The Tingler, and a visit from Joan Crawford for Strait-Jacket. Spoiler alert: The Brattle Theatre will attempt to duplicate some of these in its retrospective.

10/24–10/29, the Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, brattlefilm.org.
 

AE-33
 

fall arts preview

Photograph Courtesy of WKLB

Our blue-hearted bastion of liberalism is (God help us) enjoying a country renaissance, much of it right on this block. This summer, the Zac Brown Band sold out Fenway Park two nights in a row, and Loretta’s Last Call, a country-themed restaurant, opened right across the street. Across town, the Harp—a bar better known for sports-watching than line dancing—has seen a 15 percent increase in attendance during its country-themed Friday nights.

Want to get down with the hoedown? Read the how-to here.
 

AE-34
 
 
Company One offers the New England premiere of Aditi Brennan Kapil’s controversial trio of plays in which Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are reborn as denizens of the Western world. Brahman/I: A One Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show is a manifesto issued by a hermaphrodite comedian. The Chronicles of Kalki is a girl-gang thriller in which the gang leader may be an avatar of Vishnu. And Shiv is a father/daughter drama in which a young Indian woman tries to fit in in America. M. Bevin O’Gara and Summer L. Williams share directing duties.

10/24–11/22, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, companyone.org.
 

AE-55
 
 
Founded at Dartmouth College in 1971, Pilobolus is known for imaginative contortions and interactions of human bodies—this is, after all, the outfit that set a Guinness World Record by squeezing 26 individuals into a Mini Cooper. The company’s Celebrity Series program had not been announced at press time, but possibilities from its current repertoire include “On the Nature of Things” and “The Inconsistent Pedaler.”

10/24–10/26, Citi Shubert Theatre, celebrityseries.org.
 

AE-36
 

fall arts preview boston

Photo Courtesy of the City of Boston

This fall, the former mayor will be back on the trail—this time campaigning for his legacy, in support of his memoir Mayor for a New America. This is no mumble-fest: The book, written with James Michael Curley biographer Jack Beatty, shows the Menino that insiders knew him to be—passionate, whip-smart, combative. He briskly sketches his career, from his time in the City Council to the Boston Marathon bombings, and throws elbows along the way at past foes, from Ray Flynn to John Kerry to John Connolly. If you catch Menino at a bookstore or library near you (or the Boston Book Festival, on October 25), we dare you to call him retired to his face.

Menino reads from Mayor for a New America at First Parish Church on 10/27, Cambridge, harvard.com.
 

AE-37
 
 
As if anyone needed a ­refresher course in the group that put Sweden on the pop map for good, there’s a new ABBA album—recorded live at Wembley in 1979—­arriving in September, featuring a song that never made it onto any of their albums. A month after that, the massively successful ABBA musical Mamma Mia returns to town.

10/28–11/2, Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre, Boston, boston.broadway.com.
 

AE-38
 

fall arts preview

Photo provided

Ever since Henry David Thoreau left his shack in the woods, the Concord Transcendentalist has been an American touchstone. This exhibition surveys recent art inspired by, in the museum’s words, Thoreau’s desire for “a society mindful of its relationship to nature and an improved approach to civil organization and governance.”

10/31–4/26, ­deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, decordova.org.
 

AE-39
 
 
BJM defines itself as “part ballet, part modern, part street dance,” and that’s a fair statement of what the company looked like in January 2013 when it presented Barak Marshall’s madcap Harry at the ICA. For this visit, the Canadians are bringing the Boston premiere of Closer, a 2006 duet by former New York City Ballet principal and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied set to Philip Glass, plus works by Cretan-born choreographer Andonis Foniadakis and Grupo Corpo’s Rodrigo Pederneiras.

11/1–11/2, Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, worldmusic.org.
 

AE-40
 
 
You can learn from movies, especially when an expert walks you through the facts and fantasies. That’s the point of “Science on Screen,” a long-running series that subjects cinema classics to live academic interrogation. A highlight this fall is James Cameron’s 1989 sci-fi thriller about divers who encounter an alien species. Cameron lately has done legitimate scientific exploration in the deep seas, but Graham Shimmield, executive director of Maine’s Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, will analyze this early feature and determine if Cameron’s all wet.

11/3, Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, coolidge.org.
 

AE-41
 
 
Some of us still remember when these Berklee kids were kicking around Boston under the name the Blue Pages. Now relocated to New York and signed to Def Jam, American Authors are riding high behind their chart-topping breakthrough hit “Best Day of My Life.” Expect a homecoming-type welcome for this stop on their fall tour.

11/4, Paradise Rock Club, Boston, thedise.com.
 

AE-42
 

fall arts preview boston

Images courtesy of Robert Perdziola/Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet’s 50th-anniversary season may be over, but the company is opening its 51st with a new production of what may be the most revered ballet ever, Swan Lake. It will have new sets and costumes by Robert Perdziola, who designed the sets and costumes for Boston Ballet’s new Nutcracker in 2012. And artistic director Mikko Nissinen is also adding a prologue that will explain how Odette got abducted and turned into a swan in the first place.

10/30–11/16, Boston Opera House, Boston, bostonballet.org.
 

AE-43
 
 
The most famous cabaret-punk star ever to graduate from Lexington High, Palmer has become a lightning rod for questions of artistic integrity in the Internet age. A true grassroots phenomenon, she’s run afoul of indie elites for her digitally savvy DIY marketing campaigns, which have made her one of the most successful musicians in all of social media. This fall, she’s turned her TED talk on how she raised more than a million dollars on Kickstarter—“The Art of Asking,” with 5.8 million views and counting—into an eponymous book for Hachette. It also covers her early days as a Harvard Square performance artist, her salad days with the rock duo the Dresden Dolls, and her marriage to famous English author Neil Gaiman. Details were still congealing at press time, but she’s planning a midnight reading followed, less than 24 hours later, by a musical performance.

Reading, 11/10 at Porter Square Books, Cambridge, portersquarebooks.com; performance, 11/11 at Royale, Boston, royaleboston.com.
 

AE-44
 
 
In 1998, Boston Baroque and its music director, Martin Pearlman, received a Grammy nomination for their recording of Monteverdi’s 1610 seminal work, a CD that remains competitive in a crowded and stellar field. Boston has not suffered for performances of this piece that’s both a love song to the Virgin Mary and a kind of sacred opera—just last year, Green Mountain Project and the Cantata Singers brought it to the stage. But it will be interesting to see if and how Pearlman’s interpretation has changed, and also how, performing in intimate Jordan Hall, he replicates effects that were likely intended for the vast space of St. Mark’s in Venice.

11/14–11/15, Jordan Hall, Boston, bostonbaroque.org.
 

AE-45
 
 
Light and transparency define Italian starchitect Renzo Piano’s renovation of the university museums, much of which has been closed during six years of construction. The facility reopens with familiar favorites (see: Van Gogh’s self-portrait), plus a special presentation of Mark Rothko murals, painted in 1963, that once hung in a Harvard dining hall. These abstract expressionist canvases have been in storage since the ’70s after their pigments faded. Light will be projected to “color correct” the paint, conveying to visitors its original richness.

11/16, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, harvardartmuseums.org.
 

AE-46
 
 
ArtsEmerson fields the only East Coast engagement of L.A.-based Center Theatre Group’s reconstitution of the recent Broadway staging of Horton Foote’s classic about an elderly Texan lady’s AWOL journey back to the crumbling middle-of-nowhere from which she hails. Foote specialist Michael Wilson directs, with octogenarian star Cicely Tyson reprising her Tony-winning turn as Carrie Watts, and singer/actress Vanessa Williams as her bossy daughter-in-law.

11/20–12/7, Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, artsemerson.org.
 

AE-47
 
 
Drawing on the culture of West Africa and the African diaspora, and adding influences from Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean, Ronald K. Brown creates dances that are at once intensely physical and intensely spiritual, with prayerful moves one moment, and hip-hop, capoeira, and West African drumming the next. World Music/CRASHarts gave his troupe Evidence its Boston debut at the old Zero Arrow Theatre (now Oberon) in 2005; this time out it’s at the ICA, where it last appeared in 2009.

11/21–11/22, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, icaboston.org.
 

AE-48
 
 
Founded in 1994, this modern-dance company from Mexico City recently sent out an audition notice for applicants “with a strong ballet and modern technique but mostly a high energy and a strong personality,” so that’s what you should expect. Pérez Salas’s repertoire includes a collage of Mexican composers titled “Made in Mexico (Hecho in Mexico),” and “Ex-Stasis,” with music by Meredith Monk.

11/22–11/23, Citi Shubert Theatre, Boston, celebrityseries.org.
 

AE-49
 
 
World premieres are on the menu at American Repertory Theater this season, which follows its debut of the J. M. Barrie musical based on the Miramax film Finding Neverland (through September 28) with this world premiere by the author of The Vagina Monologues. Eve Ensler’s meditation on obsessive political correctness pits “a dumpster-diving Freegan” against her more compromise-friendly mom, who is running for a Senate seat, to create a comic collision of mainstream liberalism.

11/29–1/4, Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge, americanrepertorytheater.org.