Things to Do in Boston This Weekend

Concerts, films, comedy, and more.


AcousticaElectronica photo courtesy toUch Performance Art



Photograph 51

The groundbreaking 1953 discovery of the double helix structure of DNA is still popularly credited to James Watson and Francis Crick, but without the x-ray diffraction photography of their colleague Rosalind Franklin, those dudes wouldn’t have had a clue. Franklin could have shared the Nobel Prize but sadly she died before it was awarded in 1962. Even while she lived, however, her career was dogged by sexism. This play, named for the key image in the discovery, tells her story.

$26-$60, through April 14, Central Square Theater, 450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge


Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day comes this recent Broadway smash hit set in Dublin, about a struggling Irish singer-songwriter whose music manages to get the attention of a Czech immigrant who becomes his muse and songwriting partner. If it all sounds a bit cliché, it did lead to real romance for the musical’s actual songwriting team, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who played the couple in the original film version. How’s that for a meet cute?!

$85, through April 7, Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston

An Inspector Calls

The National Theater’s celebrated, Tony-winning production of this J.B. Priestly thriller has arrived in Boston. From a simple premise—it’s 1919, and the titular inspector arrives at the doorstep of a wealthy family to inquire about the murder of a local working-class girl—Priestly unfolds a harsh critique of the early 20th century British socio-economic hierarchy. Ironically, his subversive work is now considered a classic, and required reading in many British schools.

$59-$159, Cutler Majestic Theater, 219 Tremont St., Boston


The Rape of Lucretia

At the same time that the Gardner Museum has mounted a whole exhibition around Botticelli’s Lucretia, the Boston Lyric Opera has mounted this production of Benjamin Britten’s opera version of the same story from ancient Rome. Even though, like the BLO’s forthcoming adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, the 1946 English language opera takes place in a distant world, it strongly reflects our present cultural reckoning with the horror and meaning of sexual violence.

$25-$152, through Sunday, Artists for Humanity EpiCenter, 100 West 2nd. St, Boston



This unique mix of dance, circus arts, and a good ol’ dance party is back for another weekend at OBERON. Conceived back in 2012 by ToUch Performance Art as a way of subverting the often-stiff vibes of traditional dance concerts, the show combines EDM and classical, go-go dancing and modern conservatory movement, rave lighting and 17th century literature. Not many have joined this artistic revolution, but that’s not stopping ToUch from waving their freak flag, not one bit.

$25-$55, Friday and Saturday, OBERON, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge


UNTITLED_I will be there when you die

Although the four performers are juggling, this piece by choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni is meant to be viewed as dance, or in the words of the Institute of Contemporary Art synopsis, “a hypnotic reflection on the passing of time.” No mere tricksters, the jugglers become living clocks, marking time’s endless march with each toss and catch. Might a sequel involving hacky-sack be next? Don’t hold your breath.

$25, Friday and Saturday, Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston


With spring approaching, Commonwealth Ballet presents a program of early works from Leonard Bernstein (Psalm 148, his first published work, and Piano Trio, his second) and George Balanchine (the first section of his Serenade). They’ll also perform local premieres from two living choreographers, Rosario Guillen (Portraiture) and Turning Key Dance artistic director Juliana Utz (Blue Wallpaper).

$25, Saturday and Sunday, Boston University Dance Theater, 915 Comm. Ave., Boston


A Feminist Romance Novel Live

“Three bold and thoroughly competent women, a broken-down car, a mysterious ranch, and a hilarious frenzy of sex, doubt, and betrayal.” So goes the tagline for this improv show, mixing two things that do not go together: first, the crushingly heteronormative/patriarchal plot of your average romance novel, and second, feminism, which seeks to destroy such trope-ridden tripe in a blaze of woman-powered glory. Who will survive? We won’t dare say, but it should be pretty amusing on the way.

$18, through March 29, ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Cambridge

Vicki Barbolak

Back in 2007, America’s Got Talent favorite Vicki Barbolak was named “America’s Funniest Mom” by Nickelodeon. There are ultimately too many moms in America to confirm this for sure, but Barbolak definitely makes a good case for herself. Everything about her is extra, from her outfits to her energy, and she’s not shy about revealing her dysfunctional side. Branding herself as “trailer nasty,” she’s a successor in some ways to Roseanne Barr, and, for many, probably a welcome replacement.

$25, Friday and Saturday, Laugh Boston, 425 Summer St., Boston




Paul Verhoeven’s over-the-top dystopian popcorn-muncher Robocop has aged oddly well over the past 32 years, as police work becomes more militarized, and the debate over how it should be done becomes more and more polarized. Of course, cultural readings aside, this movie’s just full of lurid, pre-CGI thrills and retrospective amusements, like the fact that villain is played by Kurtwood Smith, who more famously played Eric’s dad on That 70’s Show.

$14, 11:59 p.m., Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St., Brookline



A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn

St. Patrick’s Day is a big holiday around here, but as with Cinco de Mayo and Mardi Gras, there isn’t usually much culturally relevant going on—just an excuse to dress silly and day drink. All well and good, but if you’d like a more authentic cultural experience for St. Patty’s weekend, WGBH’s Celtic music DJ Brian O’Donovan has you covered with a full lineup of music and dance to stir whatever’s Irish in you, regardless of how the 23andMe came out.

$31-$52, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sanders Theater, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge

Photo by Lara Cocciolo


Bombino’s life and growth as a musician have been shaped by the uprisings of his people, the Tuareg of Niger, and the Nigerian government’s repression of Tureg music, as much as his experience of Western guitar heroes like Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knopfler. The style he and his Northwest African peers have forged in this landscape, sometimes called “desert blues”, has an uncanny feel to Western ears, as familiar as it is exotic, casting a unique spell.

$22, 8 p.m., The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge

the thomas crown affair

Photo provided



The Thomas Crown Affair

In this 1968 classic, filmed in and around Boston, Steve McQueen plays a rich thrill-seeker who pulls off a bank heist just for fun. The Law, however, doesn’t find it so funny, and soon enough he’s got an insurance investigator (Faye Dunaway) on his tail, but her feelings just might get in the way of her work. If that plot point feels a little outdated in 2019, the extensive use of split screen in this film might be a more intriguing historical artifact.

$12, 8 p.m., Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge