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To Do: March 11–March 25, 2015

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

American Crime, The Iceman Cometh Off Broadway, and more New York events.  

1. See The Duff
It won’t give you anxiety dreams.
It does go for nearly every familiar high-school-comedy trope, but The Duff is still wonderful, witty, and charming. A winning cast headlined by Mae Whitman (as a senior who discovers she might be her hot pals’ less attractive sidekick) takes a cruel premise and turns it into something unique, creating a surprising atmosphere of ­acceptance and affection. —Bilge Ebiri
In theaters.

2. See ‘In the Studio
Treats throughout two galleries.
With masterworks from more than 30 museums, this extravaganza devoted to the magic of an ­artist’s own space enraptures and dazzles. The downtown show takes Jasper Johns’s In the ­Studio painting as its starting point; uptown, you’ll find work from photographers like Richard Avedon and Cindy Sherman. —Jerry Saltz
Gagosian Gallery, 980 Madison Ave. and 522 W. 21st St., through April 18.

3. See Flexn
Uptown, baby, uptown.
The flex dancers of ’90s Brooklyn likely never dreamed that their ingenious style—all fluidly floating limbs and stark isolations—would make its way to the Upper East Side. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of flex-OG Regg Roc and visionary Peter Sellars, 21 Brooklyn flexers will bring their eye-popping moves to the Armory’s cavernous Drill Hall. —Rebecca Milzoff
Park Avenue Armory, March 25 through April 4.

4. Read Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant
Fire-breathing dragons and maidens fair.
Ishiguro is a deft gut-renovator of genres, bending conventions to accommodate the complete range of human feeling. His long-awaited seventh novel is an orcs-and-warlocks quest set in post-­Arthurian Britain—a bold departure, even for Ishiguro, but the love story at its center shimmers with a mythic and melancholy grace. —Boris Kachka
Knopf, March 3.

5. Watch iZombie
Undead but not uncool.
Liv Moore (Rose McIver) was just your average medical resident until she was transformed into a zombie during an outbreak, and now she’s super-pale and craves brains like whoa. Creators Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero knew what they were doing with Veronica Mars, and they bring the same snappy wit and style here. —Margaret Lyons
The CW, premieres March 17 at 10 p.m.

6. See The Director Must Not Be Credited
Nine films from Danish bad boys.
Twenty years ago, Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg gave the world their “Dogme 95” manifesto, calling for a rejection of such cinematic impurities as special effects and music for which no source was visible. To my chagrin, I made fun of it then—but wouldn’t it be wonderful for, say, Iron Man 4? In lieu of such miracles, head to this series, featuring several more obscure titles and opening with one of the best: Vinterberg’s closet-skeleton party drama The Celebration. —David Edelstein
Museum of Arts and Design, March 13 through May 8; schedule at

7. Watch Blues Summit in Chicago
Jam session for the ages.
This concert aired on PBS 40 years ago as part of the Soundstage series and hasn’t been repeated since. It’s a tribute to Muddy Waters, and it features the likes of Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Miles, and Dr. John. —Matt Zoller Seitz
PBS, March 14 at 9 p.m.

8. See The Iceman Cometh
Before he leaveth.
O’Neill’s dead-end drama gets a stellar mounting from Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Go for Nathan Lane (thank God for his showmanship) and the Cro-Magnon Brian Dennehy; stay (four hours and 45 minutes) for the superb ensemble of “Who’s Who in Dipsomania.” —Jesse Green
BAM Harvey Theater, through March 15.

9. Listen to Future Brown
Join the party.
The beats made by the electronic-music collective Future Brown are at once sultry, glitchy, and icy-cool—think slow jams for cyborgs. For the group’s great self-titled debut, they’ve assembled formidable guest vocalists, from the breathy avant-R&B singer Kelela to the 19-year-old breakout rapper-singer Tink. —Lindsay Zoladz
Warp Records.

10. See Ernani
Singing in 16th-century Spain.
Ronald Reagan was president the last time Plácido Domingo sang and James Levine conducted Verdi’s tale of romantic rebels. Now the indestructible tenorissimo’s voice has dipped into baritone range; he leaves it to Francesco Meli to star opposite the phenomenal Angela Meade, while he sings the ruthless king, Don Carlo. —Justin Davidson
Metropolitan Opera, opens March 20.

11. Watch American Crime
Timely television.
The 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley digs into a complex (fictional) murder case that mourning mom Felicity Huffman wants to reduce to a hate crime. As her character takes her grief to ugly places, the show candidly asks the kind of questions (could you have sympathy for a racist?) that could inspire some spirited hate-watching.
ABC, Thursdays at 10 p.m.

12. Hear Sutton Foster
Everything goes.
Does starring in seven Broadway musicals count as practice? In any case, Sutton Foster finally gets to Carnegie Hall in a concert with the New York Pops. Her program features numbers familiar from those shows, like “Anything Goes,” and a visit from Violet co-star Joshua Henry, who may threaten the hallowed rafters with “Let It Sing.” —J.G.
Carnegie Hall, March 13.

Classical Music
13. Hear Thomas Adès’s Totentanz
A macabre explosion.
There isn’t a composer alive who can summon a satanic whirl as masterfully as Adès does, and British critics reacted to the world premiere of this work in London with quivering rapture. For the U.S. premiere, Adès makes his New York Philharmonic conducting debut. —J.D.
Avery Fisher Hall, March 12 through 14.

14. See The Nether
Asking the tough questions.
Jennifer Haley’s dark, taut play is a bit of a creepfest—it’s about a not-too-far future in which adults can play out pedophilic fantasies in a beautiful virtual reality—but it’s also a sharp look at what privacy, crime, and love constitute in an ever-more-digital world. Thirteen-year-old ­Sophia Anne Caruso displays Fanning-level chops as one of those virtual children.
Lucille Lortel Theatre, through March 22.

15. See Merchants of Doubt
Spreading not-so-sciencey science.
If you’ve ever wondered how intelligent people can parrot absurd ideas—that the science of man-made climate change isn’t settled, that toxic chemicals aren’t really so toxic, that a measles vaccine is more dangerous than measles—meet the “charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire” of this enlightening, infuriating documentary by Robert Kenner. You need to know them (and where they come from) to beat them. —D.E.
In theaters.

16. See Perfume Genius
Bewitching crooner wafts through town.
Mike Hadreas is the kind of live performer who stuns a room into rapt silence. Which is a convenient superpower to have, since his latest album, 2014’s fantastic Too Bright, is full of haunted pauses and breathe-too-loud-and-you’ll-miss-it intensity. See him at Stage 48—but maybe don’t invite that friend who’s always talking way too loudly at the movies. —L.Z.
Stage 48, 605 West 48th Street, March 19.

17. Read Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Man, know thyself.
The Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s full-throated review of our species may have been blurbed by Jared Diamond, but Harari’s conclusions are at once balder and less tendentious than those of his famous colleague. He’s never shy in his opinions but willing to admit he doesn’t know it all. —B.K.

18. See McFarland, USA
A lot better than you’d think.
An inspirational underdog sports movie about a white coach (Kevin Costner) teaching a group of Hispanic kids a thing or two about distance running should be terrible, but McFarland, USA demonstrates that even the most debased of genres can be salvaged with a little thought and sensitivity. By focusing on community and giving these characters more depth than usual, the film transcends its predictable trappings. —B.E.
In theaters.

Classical Music
19. Hear Meredith Monk
Multi-hyphenate extraordinaire.
Fifty years into her performing career, the ­singer-dancer-guru of a gentle avant-garde is composer-in-residence at Carnegie Hall. Though composing and performing are virtually indistinguishable for her, now she’s produced WEAVE, a piece of orchestral music that she will hear from a seat in the auditorium. Two days later, she’s back onstage, surrounded by a huge complement of friends and musicians. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, March 20; Zankel Hall, March 22.

Theater Music
20. & 21. Listen to Side Show and On the Town
New cast albums score. On disc, Side Show sounds more intimate than it did onstage and is all the more moving for it. Meanwhile, the two-CD recording of On the Town gives us the complete score in its original orchestrations: a must-have for fans of the ­Bernstein-Comden-Green classic. —J.G. Broadway Records and P.S. Classics.

22. Listen to Cannibal Ox
Back after 14 years.
In 2001, this Harlem duo released The Cold Vein, the type of hip-hop album your older brother gave you in a stack along with Organized ­Konfusion and Black Star. Their sophomore ­album feels like a breath of nostalgic fresh air, buoyed by thumping, MF Doom–assisted lead single “Iron Rose.”

23. Watch Secrets and Lies
Did he or didn’t he?
Ryan Phillippe’s blank stare is his best asset in this remake of an Australian whodunit in which he’s accused of killing a neighbor’s son; Juliette Lewis investigates and mostly resists his charms.
ABC, Sundays at 9 p.m.

24. Read Hinkle Fieldhouse: Indiana’s Basketball Cathedral
Just in time for March Madness.
The seasoned college-basketball writer Eric Angevine dug through file cabinets and archives to report on the landmark gym that inspired ­Hoosiers.
The History Press.

25. Listen to Years and Years
Fourth time’s the charm.
On the Y & Y EP, their fourth, this trio finally has a super-danceable, radio-friendly hit: “King,” a perfect vehicle for their ’90s-ish electronic pop.
Polydor Ltd.