From Broadway to anime to J-pop, November is just as colorful as the leaves gliding through the air. Add to that a cutting-edge Noh-inspired stage spectacle, a classical collegium performance and the return of the undisputed ukulele master, and you’ve got an irresistibly epic rundown.
This month’s highlights include:
Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 12:00 p.m.
We Are Perfume: World Tour 3rd Document
Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue
This new documentary follows the veteran all-girl pop trio on a two-month international live tour (which made a stop at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom last November). While traveling around the globe to cities across Asia, Europe, and the United States, audiences will see Perfume’s powerful live performances and catch never before seen behind-the-scenes footage. Witness the group’s single-minded approach to their performances—the joy, anguish, and struggles, not only in the music, but also in fashion and pop culture.
Nov. 2 & 8
The Anthem of the Heart
Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Avenue
From the creative team behind Anohana, The Anthem of the Heart tells the story of Jun, once a happy young lady with a tenacious personality. Jun has torn her family apart by saying something hurtful, and her ability to speak has been sealed away by the Egg Fairy in order to stop her from hurting others. Now, Jun lives in the shadows and avoids the limelight. But when she is nominated to become the executive member of the Community Outreach Council and appointed as the main lead in the council’s musical, Jun will have to find her voice and the wisdom to temper her words. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.
Nov. 3, 5-8
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street (Brooklyn)
An angel’s garment, possessed of mysterious powers, falls to a remote island on Earth, where it is found by a poor fisherman. To get it back, the angel offers up her greatest celestial gift: a dance of incomparable beauty. Dance icons and former New York City Ballet principals Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, contralto Katalin Károlyi and tenor Peter Tantsits, and puppets by Chris Green come together in this inspired reimagining of a Japanese Noh theater classic. With choreography by David Neumann, costumes by Belgian fashion icon Dries Van Noten, and an original score by Nathan Davis—performed live by the International Contemporary Ensemble and Brooklyn Youth Chorus—Hagoromo merges genres to send a stranded spirit back to heaven.
Friday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Bach Collegium Japan
Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue
The lively music of three Baroque titans is performed by the Bach Collegium Japan, one of the preeminent period instrument ensembles. Vivaldi’s wind concertos crackle with high energy, while Handel’s cantata reveals his brilliant vocal writing. The trumpet has prominent roles in two Bach works, reaching stratospheric heights in the festive “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 2 and accompanying the soprano in the joyous Cantata No. 51—a work with a concluding “Alleluja” that’s an ecstatic game of tag between the instrument and voice. Additional performers include Masaaki Suzuki, Conductor and Harpsichord; and Joanne Lunn, Soprano.
Nov. 6-Nov. 15
The Downstairs, 66 East 4th Street
$25, $20 students/seniors
World premiere! Created by Tom Lee and Japanese master puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V, Shank’s Mare is the story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space. Using traditional kuruma ningyo puppetry, live feed video projection, miniature sets and a live score by Bill Ruyle (hammer dulcimer) and Chieko Hara (shamisen and flute), the piece explores life and death and how tradition is passed on.
Premieres Nov. 8
Longacre Theatre, 220 W 48th Street
Beloved television star and popular social media icon George Takei (Star Trek, Heroes) stars in this unforgettable new musical alongside Telly Leung (Godspell, Glee) and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Mulan) in her highly anticipated Broadway return. Inspired by Takei’s true-life experience, Allegiance is an untold American story spanning from the lush California heartland to the windswept prairies of Wyoming to the European battlefields of World War II—a multi-generational tale of one Japanese American family’s love, optimism and unparalleled heroism in the face of unimaginable circumstances.
Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.
The Concert Hall @NYSEC, 2 West 64th Street
There are ukulele players…and then there’s Jake Shimabukuro. Declared a “hero” by Rolling Stone, the Hawaiian-born musician has taken the humble instrument to new levels, blending bluegrass, flamenco and classical techniques in a lightening quick flurry of finger picking. He first came to the world’s attention back in 2006, when his rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” recorded in Central Park, went viral on YouTube. Since then, he’s continued to hone his talent, through both original compositions and covers. His latest album was this year’s Travels, which alongside traditional Hawaiian standards, contained covers of classic pop songs, including the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.”
Nov. 10-11, 16, 7:30 p.m.
Ghost in the Shell: The Movie
Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Avenue
One of the most iconic sci-fi franchises of all time returns to the big screen with an all-new action-packed feature film that will blow audiences away. When the prime minister of Japan is assassinated by a mysterious cyborg, Major Motoko Kusanagi comes up as the prime suspect. It’s up to the agents of Public Security Section 9 to discover the true nature of the murder, and clear Motoko’s name. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles.
Nov. 13-14, 7:30 p.m.
Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street
$30, $25 Japan Society members
North American premiere! This highly conceptual multimedia dance work transports audiences back and forth between a seemingly quotidian space and an outlandish world. Inspired by a series of workshops with students from a school for the deaf in Tokyo, Spectator unveils non-narrative stories of tender emotion, woven through director/choreographer Shuji Onodera’s original movement vocabulary coupled with video imagery, projected text, an intimate apartment room stage set and slapstick humor. The cast includes Naoya Oda from the celebrated butoh company Dairakudakan along with Maki Yamada and Mai Nagumo, two participants from Onodera’s initial workshops for deaf students. The Friday, November 13 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception.
Sunday, Nov. 15, 7:00 p.m.
Club Bonafide, 212 East 52nd Street
Racha Fora was formed in 2010 originally as a quartet by two Japanese and two Brazilians in Boston. Racha Fora issued its debut album in 2012, which was focused on group flutist Hiroaki Honshuku’s compositions, and embarked on a tour of Japan, which became an annual affair. They just released their second album from the JazzTokyo label, Racha S’Miles: Racha Fora’s Tribute to Miles, in which Miles Davis standards from the 1950s and 1960s are reborn in the 21st century featuring NEA Jazz Master (and key saxophonist for Davis in the 1970s) Dave Liebman.
Monday, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.
O•MO•TE•NA•SHI Journey – Dreams In Full Bloom at Kajiki’s Artist Show 2015
Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue
Free, email email@example.com to RSVP
This special musical/dance event produced by the International Flower Association (IFA) features an opening performance from OMOTENASHI Journey – Dreams in Full Bloom. Named after the Japanese word for warmth, understanding, respect, gratitude, and kindness, OMOTENASHI Journey has performed for the annual Japanese cultural festival Japan Day at Central Park in May 2015 and for an opening act of the Off Broadway musical comedy The Jackie Mason Musical: 702 Punchlines and Pregnant at St. Luke’s Theatre in June 2015. For a video and list of performers, click here.
IN THE BOX
Martha Graham Dance Company – Studio One, 55 Bethune Street
VIP $100, advance $30, students $20
Inspired by Schrödinger‘s cat, bodies express the complex story of human vital forces—violence, hatred, pity, tenderness, sex, love and pleasure. Life came from nothing. When it transforms, what is unchanged and what is the truth? We all live and live vigorously, sometimes greedily. Now comes along this ultimate question….why? Technology affects them, like many of the random events that entangle us in a constantly changing landscape. For IN THE BOX, visual effects follow two dancers’ every step and move, and computer graphics and flooding light play with flesh and bones while three dimensional sounds stimulate the senses. Directed by nissy (Hiroyuki Nishiyama), choreographed by Miki Orihara, featuring music by Senri Oe and starring Miki Orihara and Nana Tsuda, IN THE BOX portrays the process in search for the meaning of life, challenging the audience to find their own “box.”
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