February 24, 2024

The movie musical has made a comeback this winter, with some unexpected surprises. The latest release, “Mean Girls,” based on the 2004 comedy and the 2018 Broadway show, has caught audiences off guard with its sudden bursts of song. Tina Fey’s updated script is softer and less mean, but largely ineffective. Even with modern social media references, the film fails to resonate with today’s teens and only makes viewers long for the original. Likewise, “Wonka,” released in December, falls short with its star casting and forced whimsy, drawing more viewers back to the 1971 adaptation with Gene Wilder.

On the dance front, Compagnie Hervé Koubi’s latest work, “Sol Invictus,” showcases a gravity-defying performance from the dancers that resembles poetry. The piece is a reminder of the common humanity that unites us all. Meanwhile, in the music scene, the Asheville-based rock band Wednesday has been making waves with their blend of shoegaze and alt-country.

Art enthusiasts have the opportunity to experience the work of Belgian-born artist Stéphane Mandelbaum, whose bold drawings reflect the horror and complexity of the times. His raw power and imaginative depictions in these fifty-seven works leave a lasting impression. New York City Ballet is also set to unveil freshly minted works and continue its seventy-five-year march through history, including ballets by Christopher Wheeldon, Balanchine, and more. Lastly, off off-Broadway audiences can witness Eric Berryman’s “Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me,” a performance of “toasts” from African American folk culture. Berryman’s reënactment of these songs and oratory is both a history lesson and an almost spiritual experience.