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What to See at New York's Lincoln Center This Summer

June 14, 2016 - by Alison Durkee
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Visitors to New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts this summer will enjoy a packed slate of performances and events that include ballet, international theatre troupes, free concerts, and a day-long celebration of Lou Reed. Read on for our picks for what to see at Lincoln Center in the summer of 2016.

sleeping beauty abt

Photo by Doug Gifford

Though Lincoln Center’s ballet programming is typically dominated by the New York City Ballet, visitors can see American Ballet Theatre taking the stage this summer, in residence at the Metropolitan Opera House through July 2. The company’s summer repertoire includes the classic favorites Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty, as well as such lesser-performed works as The Golden Cockerel. Ballet superstar Misty Copeland will be taking the stage for several performances throughout the season, dancing such iconic roles as Juliet and Swan Lake lead Odette/Odile. Dance lovers can also nab a ticket for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which will be performing at the David H. Koch Theater from June 8-19.

daniel dae kim king and i

Behind the Opera House lies Lincoln Center Theater, where theatre fans can catch Marin Mazzie and Lost star Daniel Dae Kim (through June 26) in the long-running revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King & I. The building’s smaller theatres, meanwhile, will be occupied by new work this summer. Oslo, a new play by J.T. Rogers, tells the story of the back-channel discussions that led to the groundbreaking Oslo Peace Treaty in 1994. The play, directed by King & I director Bartlett Sher, will run from June 16-August 28. War, a family drama by cutting-edge playwright Brandon Jacob-Jenkins, will run through July 3 as part of the theatre’s contemporary LCT3 programming.

importance of being earnest royal opera lincoln center

Music fans can head to the newly renamed David Geffen Hall to hear the lively sounds of the New York Philharmonic as they take on Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons from June 2-4. The event is part of the Philharmonic’s 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL, which celebrates contemporary music by bringing together a vast variety of musicians and composers for concerts throughout the city. Other events in the festival include performances by the Aspen Music Festival and School; the Brooklyn Youth Chorus; and an adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest co-produced by the Royal Opera. The Philharmonic will also offer summer concerts throughout the city’s parks, with events scheduled for Central, Prospect, Van Cortlandt, and Cunningham Parks. In July, classical music fans will also be able to enjoy Summer Evenings, a series of three chamber music concerts hosted by Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society.

A packed calendar of musical concerts can also be found at Jazz at Lincoln Center: summer programming at the theatre includes performances by Michael Feinstein and Trio da Paz, along with late night sessions and more. Film buffs can head to the Film Society at Lincoln Center, where summer offerings will feature a slate of film festivals, including New Italian Cinema, the Human Rights Film Festival, and the Asian Film Festival

golem performance lincoln center

Photo by Bernhard Mueller

The campus-wide festivals produced by Lincoln Center are sure to be the true highlight of the summer programming. From July 13-31, Lincoln Center’s programming will get global in scope at the Lincoln Center Festival, which presents dance, theatre, opera, and music from around the world. The Kanze Noh Theatre, one of Japan’s oldest traditional companies, will be making a rare appearance outside Japan for several Noh performances throughout the festival, while Japan’s renowned musical theatre troupe the Takarazuka Revue will bring their all-female production of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago to the David H. Koch Theater. Shakespeare’s Globe will transport their production of The Merchant of Venice from across the pond, and the British multi-media theatre troupe 1927 will bring their excellent technological fable Golem to the Lincoln Center stage. Other highlights include a production of Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet adaptation of The Winter’s Tale, performed by the National Ballet of Canada; the arresting new Chinese opera Paradise Interrupted; and a performance of the classic comedy Les Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Parisian troupe Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord.

Another highlight of Lincoln Center’s festival programming is Mostly Mozart. Taking place from July 22-August 27, this year’s lineup includes a revival of Mark Morris Dance Group’s Mozart Dances; staged concerts of the operas Cosi fan tutte and Idomeneo; panel discussions; and, of course, performances of Mozart’s work by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra.

If you’d rather enjoy Lincoln Center in the warm summer weather, put on your dancing shoes and head to Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park for Midsummer Night Swing. Each evening of the festival, which runs from June 21-July 9, opens with a dance lesson, so there’s no excuse for non-dancers to miss out. Lincoln Center’s programming also spills out onto Lincoln Center Plaza for Lincoln Center Out of Doors July 20-August 13. The packed lineup includes performances by Patti Smith, M. Ward, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and tap legend Maurice Hines. A major highlight is The Bells: A Daylong Celebration of Lou Reed on July 30, which begins with Tai Chi and moves on to screenings, a sound installation, readings, and a marathon playing of Lou Reed tracks. On July 23, Lincoln Center will host an outdoor Family Day, featuring a family dance party, performances by the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Philadelphia dance collective Illstyle & Peace, and more.

deltas brasil summerfest

Deltas Brasil SummerFest

For those looking for some free culture outside of these festivals, Lincoln Center will also be offering a regular slate of free programming at their Rubinstein Atrium. News buffs can head to the Atrium on June 15 for a special event with VICE Media. Other offerings include free concerts with such artists as Tammy Faye Starlite and Alsarah and the Nubatones, along with the France Rocks Festival and Brasil SummerFest.

For more information, visit lincolncenter.org.

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