Here’s what to do in Boston this weekend


Into the Woods


Through June 29
Lyric Stage
140 Clarendon St., Boston
$25-$65, 617-585-5676

Lyric Stage Company has extended its run of Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 musical “Into the Woods”. The dense work is both a deconstruction of and a loving tribute to the fairy tale. All the stock characters are here, but they’re not quite how you remember, and neither is the plot—let’s just say it’s more complex than “happily ever after.”

Imagining Madoff


Through Sunday
Boston University Theater
264 Huntington Ave., Boston
$15-$36, 617-923-8487

The New Repertory Theater is presenting an extended run of this controversial play by Deborah Margolin, which imagines a conversation in prison between Bernie Madoff and Solomon Galkin, a fictional holocaust survivor and poet typically understood to be a stand-in for author Elie Wiesel. With topics ranging from baseball the depths of morality, it’s a work at turns humorous and dead serious.

Smart People

Through June 21
Calderwood Pavilion
527 Tremont St., Boston
$15-$60, 617-266-0800

This play by Lydia R. Diamond follows the lives of four people at Harvard as they wrestle with the big problems of life—love, success, self-actualization. How much does being a “smart person” really matter? Diamond toys with the idea that that all the supposedly self-determining choices we appear to make might already be hard-wired in us, already beyond our control.


Jenna and Mairi


Saturday, 8 p.m.
Outpost 186
186 Hampshire St., Cambridge

This instrumental duo, composed of fiddler Jenna Moynihan and harpist Mairi Chaimbeul, hailing from New York State and Scotland, respectively, met up as students at the Berklee School of Music. Working off their shared Scottish and Appalacian musical heritages, they create a sound both traditional and forward-looking, mixing in elements of jazz and pop in surprising ways.

J.S. Bach, Mass in B Minor

Saturday, 8 p.m.
Jordan Hall
30 Gainsborough St., Boston
$27-$57, 800-658-4276

Chorus pro Musica performs this canonical work by Bach, widely regarded as one of the finest choral pieces ever written. Completed in 1794, a year before his death, it nonetheless found Bach at the height of his powers. Though Bach was a Lutheran, this work is for a full Catholic mass in Latin—the reason behind this decision remain mysterious.


Sam Morril


Thursday through Saturday
Laugh Boston
425 Summer St., Boston
$20-$35, 617-725-2844

This comic, a native New Yorker, has a laid-back, subversive style of delivery, with sucker-punch-twist jokes that tend to creep up on you. “We never played catch,” he says of his neglectful father, “but we did play an epic game of hide-and-seek.” He’s unafraid to tease an audience afraid to laugh at his dark jokes—a strangely effective tactic.

Bob Newhart

Saturday, 7:15 p.m.
The Wilbur Theater
246 Tremont St., Boston
$43-$65, 800-745-3000

Bob Newhart made his name in the 60’s with a series of stand-up bits that took the form of one-sided telephone conversations—an oddly prognostic conceit, considering the endless bizarre one-sided phone conversations we’re now subjected to in the cell phone age. Every comic whose bread and butter is deadpan understatement owes something, whether directly or indirectly, to this living legend.


Lost Horizon

Monday, 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy St., Cambridge
$7-$9, 617-496-3211

This semi-forgotten 1937 Frank Capra film imagines a paradisiacal land in Tibet called Shangri-La, where no one ever grows old. Our heroes crash-land there, and must choose between an idyllic but cut-off life in this valley of immortality or a return to civilization. Interestingly, it was said by one-time J.D. Salinger companion Joyce Maynard to be the reclusive writer’s favorite movie.


Holly Lynton/Yana Payusova

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Through July 1
Miller Yezerski Gallery
460 Harrison Ave., Boston
Free, 617-262-0550

Two very different artists occupy the Miller Yezerski Gallery this month. Holly Lynton’s photography of daily life on local farms has a rough-hewn sublimity, celebrating the independent farmer without “buy local” sentimentalism. Yana Payusova’s collection of weird cartoon heads, entitled “Dinner Party for Thirty Souls”, is both charming and slightly disturbing. Who are these strange little people, and what’s their relation to each other?

Public Space? Lost & Found Exhibition

Through October 30
The Media Lab Complex
75 Amherst St., Cambridge
Free, 617-253-5229

This exhibition displays materials related to MIT professor Antoni Muntadas’s graduate seminar on public space, including projects by students of various years as well as Muntada’s own course materials. The wide-ranging subject is explored here in both its theoretical dimension—what do we mean by public space?—and its practical dimension—what can we do with public spaces?


Grant Jacoby and Dancers: Debut

Friday and Saturday
The Dance Complex
536 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$15, 617-775-5006

Local choreographer Grant Jacoby is presenting the first-ever concert by his new modern dance troupe this weekend, and it’s loaded to the gills. The show will feature works by Jacoby, company members Libby Carberry, Audrey MacLean and Katie McGrial, New York-based artists Liz Charky, griffindance, Mindy Toro, and Skyler Volpe and a piece by another Bostonian troupe, Paradise Lost.


Tanya Selvaratnam

Thursday, 7 p.m.
Porter Square Books
25 White St., Cambridge
Free, 617-491-2220

This author will discuss her book “The Big Lie”, a mix of memoir and investigative report. Like many modern women, Selvaratnam decided to delay having kids in favor of a career, but sadly, when she was finally ready, she discovered it was too late for her body. Feeling misled by her doctors, she set about to discover the truth about late motherhood.


Hallelujah the Hills

Friday, 10 p.m.
Great Scott
1222 Comm. Ave., Boston
$10, 21+, 800-745-3000

Formed in 2005, local indie rockers Hallelujah the Hills are frequently recognized as one of Boston’s best bands—our music scene’s worst kept secret. This show is the official record release party for their latest, “Have You Ever Done Something Evil?”, a concept album recorded almost immediately after lead singer Ryan Walsh had his tonsils removed. Now that’s rock and roll.

Sage Francis

Saturday, 8 p.m.
Middle East Downstairs
480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$15, 18+, 866-777-8932

Providence-based MC Sage Francis announced his retirement from life performance in 2010, with the hopes that a cessation of touring would improve his domestic situation. It didn’t, and this year he returned to the ring this year with the album “Copper Gone”, the mission statement of which is “When it seems like you’re going through hell, keep going.” Sage advice, to be sure.

Yann Tiersen

Sunday, 8 p.m.
The Sinclair
52 Church St., Cambridge
$20, 18+, 800-745-3000

Given this French composer’s favoring of elliptical patterns—a trait he shares with the great Phillip Glass—it’s not surprising that the title of his latest album is simply the figure eight symbol of infinity. The music is inspired by remote landscapes of Northern Europe such as Chez Yann, an island in the Celtic Sea, and Iceland’s Faroe Islands.


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