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To Do: June 17–July 1, 2015

Twenty-five things to see, hear, watch, and read.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett in concert, the Hudson River Dance Festival, and more New York events.  

1. See ‘Ellsworth Kelly’
At 92, still on top.
Kelly absolutely kills it in maybe his best-ever show. Among the shaped, stacked, and variously contoured canvases and wall sculptures, find unimaginable degrees of optical power, almost solar levels of internal light, and an abstract presence so palpable that everything you’re seeing—shadows, shapes that toggle back and forth, flip-flops of perspective—seems absolutely real. —Jerry Saltz
Matthew Marks Gallery, through June 20.

2. Watch The Last Ship
No, not the musical.
This high-tech military thriller from Michael Bay was an unsurprising smash when it debuted last July, merging pyrotechnics, war-movie intensity, and a paranoid sci-fi plot trying to get to the bottom of the end of the world. Now it’s back, and it’s bigger, more convoluted, and a hell of a lot louder: the perfect summer show, basically. —Matt Zoller Seitz
TNT, June 21 at 9 p.m.

3. See Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
Cheek to cheek.
Lady Gaga’s world-stopping Sound of Music medley at the Oscars confirmed what we’ve known at least since 2014’s Cheek to Cheek, her album of duets with Tony Bennett: The girl is more than a meat dress. The duo’s four nights together at Radio City will provide an opportunity to experience two classic New York voices—and their only slightly creepy rapport. —Lindsay Zoladz
Radio City Music Hall, June 19 through 23.

4. See GoodFellas
Keep stirring the sauce.
Often, you go to revival houses to catch up on gems you’ve never seen; sometimes it’s to cement your bond with films you already have seen, and to do so in the company of an enthusiastic audience. That’s why you should run to this 25th-­anniversary showing of Martin Scorsese’s rollicking GoodFellas, about mid-level mafioso Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). The joke is that these men—Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci—are not mythic outlaws but impulsive, none-too-bright psychopaths guaranteed to self-destruct. The fun is watching Scorsese cook. —David Edelstein
Film Forum, June 19 through 25.

5. See Lucinda Williams
Louisiana’s finest.
The queen of alt-country has a husky voice that keeps taking on more complex, aching facets; she’s also, plain and simple, a guitar-wielding badass, capable of transforming a sprawling Brooklyn park into the back room of a Delta bar.
Prospect Park Bandshell, June 25.

6. Read Stephen King’s Finders Keepers
Book two of a so-far-so-good trilogy.
When King has fun, so do his readers, even—or especially—when his fun is at their expense. The resident psycho here is Morris Bellamy, who stalks a reclusive Salinger stand-in, then steals his cash and unpublished sequels. In this, King’s sequel to Mr. Mercedes, Bellamy’s nemesis turns out to be another, much nicer fan who discovers his stash. Their final confrontation is, like King’s crazy fan base, well earned. —Boris Kachka

Classical Music
7. Hear the New York Philharmonic
Lawn listening.
Break out the hampers: The orchestra ushers in summer with a four-borough tour of New York’s parks (sorry, Staten Island) and a program of American bonbons for violin and orchestra featuring Joshua Bell. —Justin Davidson
Central Park, June 17.

8. See Marc Maron
WTF is he doing here?
The journeyman stand-up turned podcasting superstar emerges from his garage and delivers his cranky charm in 3-D form.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, June 26.

New Music
9. Go to Bang on a Can Marathon
Pace yourself.
The annual orgy of new music on the summer solstice makes it easy to wander in and out throughout the day and evening, but you might want to be in the house for the 8 p.m. world premiere of Cloud-River-Mountain, co-composed by founding Bang on a Can triumvirate Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, and David Lang, plus the German-born China transplant Robert Zollitsch, a.k.a. Lao Luo. —J.D.
Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, June 21.

10. & 11. See Lauren Worsham and Jeremy Jordan
Broadway’s in good hands.
Neither Worsham nor Jordan is a typical ingénue, though they’ve both played the part well (she in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, he in Newsies). Jordan’s tenor has an intriguing dark side, on display in his longer run; Worsham’s one-night-only “Corsets and Combat Boots” will showcase her way with both operetta and punk.
54 Below, June 24 (Worsham); June 22 through July 3 (Jordan).

12. Listen to Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment
With a star turn from an invisible partner.
Dopily charismatic and preternaturally wise, Chicago’s Chance the Rapper is carving out his own kind of stardom, stealing the spotlight only to shine it evenly on all his friends. And there’s no greater act of humility than giving top billing—as he does on his band’s fantastic (and free) new album Surf—to the trumpet player. It’s hard to make hip-hop this smiley without veering into corniness, but Surf bursts with radical joy. —L.Z.
On iTunes.

13. Watch Larry Kramer in Love & Anger
The destiny of him.
From Hollywood screenwriter to scandalous novelist to AIDS messiah, Larry Kramer has always found ways to afflict the elite and unbury the hatchet. At last, a feature-length documentary does justice to this complicated, controversial, and necessary figure. —Jesse Green
HBO, June 29 at 9 p.m.

14. See Voodoo
A Renaissance renaissance?
Renaissance composer Harry Lawrence Freeman embodied the moment’s promise and disappointment, cranking out nearly two dozen operas that mixed spirituals and Wagner, before fading into lifelong obscurity. Now a trio of companies is reviving a work that made it to the stage and live radio in 1928, then was never heard again. —J.D.
Miller Theatre, June 26 and 27. Harlem

15. See A New Brain
Finn again.
Each summer, the “Encores! Off-Center” series does for neglected Off Broadway musicals what the regular winter “Encores!” series does for Broadway. This season begins with William Finn’s 1998 autobiographical tale of a songwriter who faces, as Finn did, an emergency that threatens his life—and, worse, his talent. James Lapine co-wrote the book; Jonathan Groff stars. —J.G.
New York City Center, June 24 through 27.

16. See Morrissey
With a very special guest.
After nixing so many dates on his past two North American tours that one music blog created a “Here’s Every Tour Morrissey Has Ever Canceled” listicle, the patron saint of ennui finally returns to New York (Blondie will make a presumably mood-lightening appearance). Please please please let him play what you want. —L.Z.
Madison Square Garden, June 27.

17. Read Joshua Cohen’s Book of Numbers
Better buy the hardcover.
“If you’re reading this on a screen, fuck off,” writes “Joshua Cohen” (the narrator, not the author) at the beginning of this sometimes difficult, frequently hilarious high satire of our digital world. Cohen the character’s job of ghostwriting a secretive tech guru’s autobiography allows Cohen (the writer) to run a ten-foot skewer through Silicon Valley. A book after William Gaddis’s heart that will be around well after most summer reads have been recycled (or deleted). —B.K.
Random House.

18. Relive Into the Woods
Once upon a time …
Last year’s Meryl Streep movie was the latest incarnation of the great Stephen Sondheim–James Lapine musical, but where (and how) did it start? The authors, plus some of the stars of the original 1987 production (including Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, and Chip Zien), get together with moderator Mo Rocca for a discussion and live performances. —J.G.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, June 21.

19. See the Royal Ballet
A very welcome visit.
After a decade-long absence, the stellar company comes to town with three enticing programs that take a wide-ranging look at British ballet-makers through the ages: Ashton’s transporting The Dream, McMillan’s meditative Song of the Earth, and a selection of works by present-day bright lights Christopher Wheeldon, Liam Scarlett, and Wayne McGregor. —Rebecca Milzoff
David H. Koch Theater, June 23 through 28.

20. Watch Complications
Everyday hero.
What if Jack Bauer was just some guy? That’s the question posed by this lively series about a suburban doctor (Jason O’Mara, a superb Everyman) who intervenes to save a young boy from a drive-by shooting, then becomes his protector. The inherent ludicrousness of the premise doesn’t dent enjoyment; there’s a bare minimum of winking, and it’s fun to try to guess how a show that probably should’ve been a movie will extend to series length. —M.Z.S.
USA, June 18 at 9 p.m.

21. Listen to A$AP Rocky
More than a few club bangers here.
The specter of A$AP Yams—the visionary behind the rise of Rocky, Ferg, and others, who died earlier this year—pervades Rocky’s sophomore studio album. But on At.Long.Last.A$AP, Rocky also steamrolls beyond his earlier southern-­trap offerings, showing himself to be a much more fully formed rapper.
Polo Grounds/RCA.

22. See Oklahoma!
A bright golden haze, upstate.
If you think you know the Rodgers-and-Hammerstein classic well enough, it may be worth an hour-and-a-half trip up the Hudson for this new take, featuring community food-sharing, a six-piece “Americana band” arrangement (pedal steel, mandolin, banjo, etc.), and life force Mary Testa as Aunt Eller. —J.G.
Bard SummerScape, Annandale-on-Hudson, June 25 through July 19.

23. Watch Scrotal Recall
Unfortunately named, but endearing.
Hiding in plain sight among Netflix’s lackluster recent original offerings, this British rom-com has an odd premise—hopeless romantic Dylan gets a chlamydia diagnosis and decides to contact all his past lovers—but it’s carried out with an implausibly light touch. The three leads have charisma to spare, and each of the six episodes, toggling between Dylan’s past and present, flies by; it’s total binge-watching material.

24. See Hudson River Dance Festival
For the first time ever.
Against an enviable backdrop, three contemporary troupes—Parsons Dance, Ballet Hispanico, and Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance—each perform; Taylor’s all-American, fizzy yet poignant Company B is as summery as it gets. —R.M.
Pier 63, Hudson River Park, June 17 and 18.

25. See Agnes Denes’s ‘The Living Pyramid’
You won’t find this in Egypt.
Denes’s last large public work in New York was a field of wheat in the shadow of the Twin Towers; this summer she’s built a 30-foot pyramid teeming with foliage on the banks of the East River.
Socrates Sculpture Park, through August 30.