Best of the Week: Our Picks for February 1-5, 2016

See the stars of 'Love Story' return to Harvard, Diane Paulus's 'Pippin' return to Boston stages, and David Bowie star on the big screen.

Welcome to Best of the Week, our recommendations for what to check out around town this week. If you’re wondering what to do in Boston this week, check out these events.

Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal / Courtesy photo

Monday, February 1
Love Letters‘ Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal

Forty-six years ago, Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw shmooped their way to stardom as the lead characters of Harvard-set romance Love Story (written by ‘58 Harvard grad Erich Wolf Segal, and partly based on his classmates Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones). Now they return in A. R. Gurney’s epistolary play Love Letters, centering on two childhood friends and lovers as they correspond with each other over the years about their hardships, ambitions, and lives. The day before the curtains go up at the Shubert, O’Neal and MacGraw take the stage at Harvard to discuss their careers with arts journalist (and former Nieman fellow) Alicia Anstead.

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal in conversation: Free (RSVP required), February 1, 3 p.m., Kirkland House Junior Common Room, 95 Dunster St., Cambridge, 617-495-8676, Love Letters: $34+, February 2-7, Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St., Boston, 617-532-1116,


Pippin / Courtesy photo

Tuesday, February 2

The real life and times of Pippin (thought to have been born in 767) is a Game of Thrones-worthy tale about a disinherited hunchback who tries to kill his father, Charlemagne, only receive a severe punitive haircut and exile to the monastery of Prüm. In the (jazz) hands of Godspell creator Stephen Schwartz, choreographer Bob Fosse, and financial backers Motown Records, it transformed into something a little different. Revived by the American Repertory Theatre’s Tony-winning superstar Diane Paulus, the production coming to Boston Opera House this week is a Pippin for the 21st century—she’s taken this tale of a young prince in search of the meaning of life, and sent it to the circus.

$40-$125, February 2-14, Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston, 617-259-3400,

David Bowie as King Jareth in Labyrinth

David Bowie as King Jareth in Labyrinth / Film still

Wednesday, February 3

So, who’s ready for a Labyrinth reboot? Chances are, you’re either squealing in delight or recoiling in horror at that thought…and if it’s the latter, you might take comfort in the news that the Hensons will be actively involved. No matter what, the 1986 original, which turns 30 this year—meaning that yes, that goblin-snatched baby Toby Froud is all grown up now—will always have something that no remake ever will: David Bowie. Or, more to the point, David Bowie’s pants. In tribute to the legend’s passing earlier this month, the Brattle is hosting two screenings of this beloved Muppet fantasy adventure.

$11, February 3, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-876-6837,

Ubu Sings Ubu

Ubu Sings Ubu / Courtesy photo by Max Basch

Thursday, February 4
“Ubu Sings Ubu”

Think Miley Cyrus is controversial? You shoulda been in the audience for the 1896 premiere of Alfred Jarry’s absurdist play Ubu Roi, whose first word of dialogue—an utterance of French profanity—caused the audience to erupt into a howling, fistfighting violent mob. (Spectator William Butler Yeats reportedly rolled up his sleeves and joined the fray in defense of Jarry.) With that auspicious debut, Ubu Roi inadvertently set the stage for Dada and Surrealism. Now it sets the stage for “Ubu Sings Ubu,” a truly weird mashup in which our actors unite the dialogue of Ubu Roi run through Google Translate and thrash to the music of Jarry-inspired art-punk band Pere Ubu.

$25-$30, February 4-5, Oberon, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge, 617-547-8300,

Emily Kam Kngwarray

Emily Kam Kngwarray, Anwerlarr angerr (Big yam), 1996 / Artwork via Harvard Art Museums/National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Friday, February 5
“Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia”

The people native to Australia keep alive an astoundingly accurate oral tradition tens of thousands of years old. Stories from many millennia ago stay fresh in the minds of the storyteller; there is a spiritual continuity between the living and the dead, the human and the non-human, the eternal and the ephemeral. This is the “everywhen,” a concept of time that relies on “active encounters with both the ancestral and natural worlds,” the Harvard Art Museums note. Drawing on this idea, their upcoming exhibit—curated by Indigenous Australian Stephen Gilchrist—focuses on more than 70 works of Indigenous Australian art, including pieces by Rover Thomas and Emily Kame Kngwarreye (who have both showcased work at the Venice Biennale).
February 5–September 18, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St., Cambridge, 617-495-9400,