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To Do: April 19–May 3, 2017

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

1. Watch Girlboss
Hashtag lean in.
Britt Robertson delivers a star turn as Sophia Amoruso, the founder of the Nasty Gal fashion line; this hybrid business satire and workplace comedy shows how she built a clothing empire by age 28 (struggles came later). —Matt Zoller Seitz
Netflix, April 21.

2. Listen to Strength of a Woman
Nevertheless, she recorded.
Mary J. Blige, the Bronx-born “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” tells her own story of heartbreak and perseverance on her 13th album — the first since her 2016 split with Kendu Isaacs, her husband and manager. Keep tissues and dancing shoes close. —Craig Jenkins
Capitol Records, April 28.

3. See Happy Days
The “nice mom” goes deep.
Being buried in dirt to your waist may sound like a nightmare, but for a certain kind of actress it’s been a dream. Now Dianne Wiest joins the pantheon of Winnies in Beckett’s 1961 comedy of awfulness, or tragedy of hopefulness. —Jesse Green
Theatre for a New Audience, through May 28.

4. Read Leading Lady
Upward mobility.
The Hollywood Reporter
’s Stephen Galloway artfully captures the improbable rise of the movie business’s first-ever female studio chief, Sherry Lansing, whose journey from script reader to president of 20th Century Fox in 1980 to the head of Paramount is itself an underdog success story custom-made for Tinseltown.
Crown Archetype, April 25.

5. See Lisa Alvarado: Sound Talisman
Tapestry of a sacred state of mind.
Chicago’s Lisa Alvarado makes magical hangings of many colors. Mesmerizing music accompanies, making her show a walk-in wormhole to better states of being. —Jerry Saltz
Bridget Donahue, 99 Bowery, through May 21.

6. Watch Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History
Popping with moral force.
CNN’s latest documentary series focuses on music tied to big moments in history. The first episode deals with Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination; selections range from James Brown’s “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud” to Kendrick
Lamar’s “Alright.” —M.Z.S.
CNN, April 20.

7. Go to The Mata Festival
Global sounds to soothe the soul.
The music world can’t do much about D.C., but it can keep holding its international conclave of sounds you’ve never heard. Composers from 17 countries will gather for five nights, a snapshot of music planetwide today. —Justin Davidson
The Kitchen, April 25 to 29.

8. See Chairlift
Hello and good-bye.
The Greenpoint synth duo of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly has spent the past decade penning smart cuts a bit too cutting for Top 40. Alas, the pair has called it quits, but will perform a final show at the borough’s newest venue.
Brooklyn Steel, April 22.

9. See The Lost City of Z
Welcome to the jungle.
This visionary explorer film is worth seeing for the spooky renderings of cannibal tribes of the early-20th-century Amazon rain forest — and also, as global warming and development denude forests and tundras, to celebrate a vanishing kind of epic. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.

10. Listen to Humanz
Cool Britannia restoration.
Two years after reviving his Britpop legacy outfit Blur, singer-songwriter Damon Albarn has brought back its dance-friendly sister act, Gorillaz. The new album sorts through political upheaval with assistance from an army of rock, rap, reggae, and gospel luminaries, including Albarn’s old Oasis rival Noel Gallagher. —C.J.
Warner Bros., April 28.

11. See Pacific Overtures
Cups of tea, and history.
This still-brilliant 1976 Stephen Sondheim–John Weidman musical is about the U.S. “opening” of Japan in the mid-1800s. From its point-of-view-jumbling concept to its tiniest details, it remains as challenging as it is beautiful. —J.G.
Classic Stage Company, through May 27.

12. Hear The Blind Banister
On the master and his heir.
Jonathan Biss may well deliver the finest available interpretation of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, but the real reason to catch Biss with the New York Philharmonic is to hear him play Timo Andres’s recently composed spinoff. —J.D.
Geffen Hall, through April 25.

13. See Citizen Jane: Battle for the City
“Fearless Resident” stands up to bull(dozers).
Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary ably distills complex urban issues, down to a gladiatorial war of words between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses in which the city emerges triumphant. —J.D.
Opens April 21.

14. Watch Casting JonBenét
Auditions for the little girl lost.
This hybrid documentary returns to the scene of the infamous crime in Boulder, Colorado, and follows local actors seeking to perform in a reenactment of JonBenét Ramsey’s unsolved murder. Haunting, provocative, and utterly original.
Netflix, April 28.

15. Go to the New Quad Cinema
Swept away by art-house revival.
Quad Cinema wasn’t much to look at, but from 1972 until 2015 it ran movies for niche audiences and hosted second runs of films that ended limited runs elsewhere. It’s back with a new owner, new state-of-the-art projection, and new curators for its first-run and revival repertoire. Among its opening treats is a Lina Wertmüller retrospective. —David Edelstein
Open now.

16. Hear Der Fliegende Holländer
Setting sail.
The conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin has become a regular in the Met’s pit, but operagoers are listening to him with new ears since his appointment as music director, a post he doesn’t officially take up until 2020. The exuberant Canadian leads his first Wagner at the Met. —J.D.
Metropolitan Opera, April 25 and 29.

17. See Carol Rama: Antibodies
Anatomy of an irregular genius.
This sprawling retrospective gathers over 100 of the late Italian painter’s unsettling artworks to show how she operated beyond the conventions of her day, exploring ideas about the body in artworks suffused with brilliance and energy.
New Museum, opens April 26.

18. Read Locking Up Our Own
A big spring book to argue about.
Former Supreme Court clerk and public defender James Forman Jr. traces the explosion of black incarceration in D.C. from the ground up, focusing on the unexpected role in it of African-Americans, some of whom he considers complicit in the devastation. —Boris Kachka
Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

19. See Peter Sacks: New Works
Surfacing fragments of memory.
The South African–born artist “excavates in reverse,” layering everyday materials imbued with memory like burlap or denim into densely textured visual feasts for the 14 paintings plus collages on display here.
Marlborough Gallery, 40 W. 57th St., through May 6.

20. Read The Dinner Party and Other Stories
Contemporary life as a parade of sad clowns.
Joshua Ferris’s three novels work the line between comedy and tragedy. His stories, by comparison, are compact gems of timing and everyday absurdity, and finally here they are in one place. —B.K.
Little, Brown, May 2.

21. Hear P. J. O’Rourke and Peter Sagal
Facing the true facts.
Political satirist P. J. O’Rourke and host of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me Peter Sagal discuss the election and our current political climate, along with O’Rourke’s new book, How the Hell Did This Happen?
92nd Street Y, May 2.

22. See The Revolution
Reunited in honor of the Purple One.
Celebrate the life and work of Prince, one year gone, on a forthcoming spring jaunt from his band, which collaborated on Parade and Purple Rain and acted as the backing group for 1999 and Dirty Mind. —C.J.
Webster Hall, May 3.

23. Read Anything Is Possible
A novel in stories, about the town left behind.
A kind of sideways sequel to her last novel, My Name Is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout’s examination of the tortured family and stunted town that Barton left behind not only stands on its own; it’s more rich and raw than its parent narrative. —B.K.
Random House, April 25.

24. See Sleight
Low-budget superhero soars.
A street magician with magnetic powers is drawn into a local drug dealer’s crew and a life of crime, but he’ll need to test the true limits of his gifts to save his little sister.
Opens April 28.

25. See Michaela Eichwald: Frank
Dreams burst forth on canvass.
Eichwald ups the optical ante of her work with this show. Large abstract works intertwine biomorphic shapes with fuzzy colored fields, showing the artist’s visual and conceptual growth. —J.S.
Reena Spaulings Fine Art, 165 E. Broadway, through April 23.