The Year in Arts: The best in music, dance, television, art, theater

From Ariana Grande to art in the #MeToo era, with Globe critics’ Top 10 picks in TV, music, theater, art, and dance for 2018.

Interior of the Everett Square Theatre in Hyde Park, photographed in 2011.

‘Let’s hope this is the start of something big’: Long-shuttered Hyde Park theater gets new roof

The repairs could bode well for the future of the Everett Square Theatre, the building’s owner said.

Boston, MA., 12/101/2018, Five year old Jaelani Taromino, a cardiac patient at Boston Children's Hospital, conducts the Boston Pops. Keith Lockhart along with musicians from the Boston Pops and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus spread holiday cheer to patients at Boston Children's Hospital. Four New England Patriots players attended. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff


Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops ring in the holidays at Children’s Hospital

Tanglewood Festival Chorus singers, along with brass and rhythm section musicians, sailed through a medley of holiday favorites for the young patients and their parents.

The Greater Boston Stage Company puts up two holiday classics, including “It’s a Wonderful Life” (above), at its Stoneham theater.

Week Ahead

It’s a good time of the year for a show, and it doesn’t have to be ‘The Nutcracker’

There are many musicals, plays, and concerts to be enjoyed all over Greater Boston, not just in the city.

Latest Theater/Dance headlines

hot ticket

‘Disney on Ice’ glides into Agganis Arena

Your favorite characters are all here, sporting skates: Elsa, Anna, and Olaf from “Frozen,” plus characters from “Aladdin,” “Finding Dory,” and “Toy Story.”

Dance Review

Tharp says yes to music, imagination, and ambition

“Minimalism,” it turns out, is relative. Twyla Tharp was looking for what she could say yes to.

The Year in Arts 2018

Best dance performances of 2018

From Balanchine to the Beantown Tapfest, a year of dance highlights.

The Year in Arts 2018

On their toes, spinning tales

While some 2018 dance performances stood out, why did so many find storytelling so difficult?

The Year in Arts 2018

Female directors provoked and excelled in leading roles

Women of color surged to the fore among the year’s most memorable productions.

Holiday Arts Preview 2018

Holiday arts preview 2018

// Best things to see, do this holiday season

From dancing sugarplums to a musical “Grinch,” there’s a bounty of theater, music, TV, and other attractions to enjoy.

More Theater/Dance headlines

21Riverside SpeakEasy Stage Company production of BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY. Celeste Oliva and Tyrees Allen. Credit: Nile Scott Studios

The Year in Arts 2018

Don Aucoin’s Top 10 in theater in 2018

“Hamilton,’’ “Measure for Measure,’’ and “The Black Clown’’ lead the way.

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Janet Jackson joins her brother Michael and the Jackson 5 as members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, earning induction on Thursday along with Stevie Nicks and Def Leppard, the top fan vote-getter.

Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) and Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) in Sony Pictures Animation's SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.

Things to Do

The Weekender: Holiday gift guide edition!

The Globe’s picks for the best ways to spend your weekend.

The best books of 2018

Our critics share their favorites in fiction, general nonfiction, mystery, sports, and graphic novels.

From left: Jasmine Brooks, Paola Ferrer, Mauro Canepa, and Armando Rivera rehearse a fight scene in “Two Mile Hollow” at Chelsea Theater Works.


Playwright Leah Nanako Winkler subverts the tropes of the privileged class

In her “Two Mile Hollow,” the “white people by the water” aren’t white.

Kaitlyn Mayse stars as Ella in “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.”

Actress Kaitlyn Mayse isn’t filling the same shoes as those earlier Cinderellas

In the touring production that arrives at the Emerson Colonial Theatre, the princess is her own woman.

The first collection by National Slam Poetry winner Melissa Lozada-Oliva of Newton is “Peluda.’’

The Story Behind the Book | Kate Tuttle

On learning to love yourself through poetry

The first collection by National Slam Poetry winner Melissa Lozada-Oliva of Newton is “Peluda.’’

Patrice Naiambana and Ekow Quartey in “Barber Shop Chronicles.”

Stage Review

Conversation, camaraderie, and contention in ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’

Amid changes in their countries and their lives, African men talk it through in the American Repertory Theater production.

Dancing snowflakes in Jose Mateo Ballet Theater's “Nutcracker.”

A sweet and engaging ‘Nutcracker’

Mateo’s slightly streamlined version of the ballet, set to a recorded score, focuses on the ballet’s dreamlike fantasy from the moment the curtain arises.

The work of nature photographer Ansel Adams will be featured in an exhibit opening at the MFA on Thursday. Above: Adams’s Clearing Winter Storm, taken at Yosemite National Park about 1937.

Your Week Ahead

Five things to do around Boston, Dec. 10-16

Ansel Adams exhibit at the MFA, tips on traveling better from globe-trotting journalists, the Cultural Survival Bazaar, and more.

HIP HOP NUTCRACKER Touring Company By Tim Norris

The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world

This week’s picks by Globe critics.

Brooklyn, NY - 28 July 2017. A crowd estimated at 9,000 filled the Prospect Park Bandshell, with an estimated 3,000 outside the fence, for a concert by Esperanza Spalding and Andrew Bird at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Esperanza Spalding on stage. (Photo by: Ed Lefkowicz /VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images)

Things to Do

The Weekender: Visionary singers, stirring stories, and RuPaul’s ‘Holi-slay Spectacular’

The Globe’s picks for the best ways to spend your weekend.

Qya Cristal, Taryn Lane, and Ryan Landry in Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans’ “A Nightmare on Elf Street.”

Stage Review

Gold Dust Orphans dip into horror for ‘Nightmare on Elf Street,’ and it’s a giddy slay ride

Neither Ryan Landry nor his Orphans have ever had any difficulty choosing which side of the naughty-or-nice line to stand on.

A scene from Dava Whisenant’s “Bathtubs Over Broadway.”

Movie Review

In Focus: Appliances take center stage in ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’

A documentary about the strange and hidden world of industrial musicals.

Dennis Krausnick (center) rehearsed playing Polonius, with Jason Asprey as Hamlet and Tina Packer as Gertrude in Lenox.

Dennis Krausnick, actor and playwright who helped found Shakespeare & Company, dies at 76

Mr. Krausnick taught thousands of students and also directed or acted in countless productions.

From left: Bobbie Steinbach, Pier Lamia Porter, and Benjamin Evett in New Repertory Theatre’s production of “1776.”

Stage Review

In ‘1776,’ the (less interesting) room where it happens

Nontraditional casting is not enough to energize this stodgy musical at New Repertory Theatre.

Roger Ailes (center right) with Richard Nixon in 1968 in a scene from “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes.”

Movie Review

Roger Ailes: the man who created Fox News

A new documentary looks at a very influential career.

Christopher Swan in Alaska.

The VIP Lounge with stage actor Christopher Swan

The Barre, Vt., native is a Sox fan and excited about coming to Boston for a two-week run (Dec. 18-30) of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella — The Musical” at the Emerson Colonial Theatre.

Davron S. Monroe and Yewande Odetoyinbo in “Breath & Imagination” at Lyric Stage.

Stage Review

‘Breath & Imagination’ — and virtuosity, too — at Lyric Stage

Davron S. Monroe excels as the great Boston tenor Roland Hayes.

Man of the Hour. Choreographer: Itzik Galili. (c) Grant Stinnett

Dance review

Boston Dance Theater makes impressive local debut

Co-directed by Boston-born dancer Jessie Jeanne Stinnett and acclaimed Israeli choreographer/dancer Itzik Galili, the company promises to be a lively addition to New England arts.

Boston Ballet members in “The Nutcracker” at the Boston Opera House.

Dance Review

Boston Ballet keeps its ‘Nutcracker’ in tune

The holiday classic owes its popularity in large part to its fabulous score, as Boston Ballet’s new music director, Mischa Santora, made his official company debut.

November 11, 2018, York, PA- Gavin Lee stars as the Grinch alongside Mackenzie Mercer as Cindy Lou Who in Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at Penn State York’s Pullo Center. (Jordan Bush for The Boston Globe) Topic: 18holidaytheater

Stage Review

How the ‘Grinch’ stole my good mood

Talented star Gavin Lee can’t save this musical adaptation at the Wang Theatre, which misses the impish wit of Dr. Seuss’s tale.

Your Week Ahead

Five things to do around Boston, Dec. 3-9

Hanukkah at the MFA, the Harvard Square Holiday Fair, and more.

story behind the book | kate tuttle

When Broadway ruled the top 40 charts

Todd S. Purdum’s latest book, “Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution.”

11Messiah Photo by Kathy Wittman, Ball Square Films. Boston Baroque Messiah at NEC's Jordan Hall. Credit Kathy Wittman (3).

The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world

This week’s picks by Globe critics.

Boston, MA 11-28-18: Lawrence Rines as the Bear is pictured during a dress rehearsal of the Boston Ballet's Nutcracker held at the Boston Opera House. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

Things to Do

The Weekender: ‘Nutcracker,’ ‘Grinch,’ and endangered elves

The Globe’s picks for the best ways to spend your weekend.

Maurice Parent, Doug Gerber, Davron Monroe, and Nile Hawver during rehearsal.

With ‘Breath & Imagination,’ troupe aims to make a powerful first impression

Front Porch Arts Collective’s inaugural production at Lyric Stage celebrates the trailblazing classical singer Roland Hayes, an inspiration to the black artists who are presenting his story.

Kyle Vincent Terry and John Douglas Thompson portray Emile Griffith in his heyday and in old age in “Man in the Ring.”

Stage Review

In Huntington’s potent ‘Man in the Ring,’ a fighter battles himself

Michael Cristofer’s drama about boxer Emile Griffith is directed with inventive muscularity by Michael Greif.

Actors play 30 characters who chatter and bicker while getting their hair shorn and beards trimmed in Inua Ellams’s “Barber Shop Chronicles.”


In ART’s ‘Barber Shop Chronicles,’ true confessions and unfiltered talk

Playwright Inua Ellams shaped his play from conversations he overheard in African barbershops.

The cast of “A Nightmare on Elf Street.”

Stages | Terry Byrne

From the Gold Dust Orphans, reindeer games and a slice of Freddy Krueger

The troupe’s annual holiday mash-up may be their last at Machine, the Orphans’ theatrical home for two decades.

Your Week Ahead

Five things to do around Boston, Nov. 26-Dec. 2

Get your fill of holiday traditions, from the Boston Ballet’s annual staple to a seaside Christmas walk and more.

Holiday Style | Magazine

The traditions of Boston’s beloved Christmas magicians

Inside stories of Christmas from the professional entertainers whose work shifts overlap with Santa’s.

Press photo of H.E.R.

The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world

This week’s picks by Globe critics.

A scene from “The Tragic Ecstasy of Girlhood’’ at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.

critic’s notebook

For a fraction of a ‘Hamilton’ ticket, you could open the door to theater excellence in Boston

Small theaters in the city offer bargains — and the possibility of being transported somewhere special.

John Legend.

Things to Do

The Weekender: Beethoven, Beatles, bisexuals, and Black Friday

The Globe’s picks for the best ways to spend your weekend.

The company of ExtraOrdinary (Gretjen Helene Photography)

Stage Review

‘ExtraOrdinary’ showcases an eventful decade of Diane Paulus

Alternately pulsing and wistful, the ART revue amounts to a Rorschach test on the subject of the Tony-winning Paulus, featuring performances from “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,’’ “Jagged Little Pill,’’ “Waitress,’’ “Pippin,’’ and other musicals presented there since she became artistic director.

Jessie Reyez is slated to perform at the Sinclair on Friday, Nov. 23.

5 things to do in Boston this weekend

Here are ways to get out of your home and not be bored in the city this weekend.

Visitors enjoyed the holiday lights display beside a reflecting pool at Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

Your guide to surviving winter — with a little fun thrown in

We’ve got 120 days until spring and too much holiday angst to have no survival plan for the next few months. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”

‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ is Broadway-bound

The production that made its world premiere in Boston over the summer will start previews June 28 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in New York.

Alex Alpharaoh wrote and stars in the solo show “WET: A DACAmented Journey,’’

Stage Review

Tracing an immigrant’s precarious journey in ‘WET’

Alex Alpharaoh’s solo show, presented by ArtsEmerson, recounts a life thrown into turmoil by President Trump’s attempt to rescind the DACA program.


Grouches are ‘Grinch’ actor Gavin Lee’s specialty

“I love the way audiences connect with these outcasts,” says the star of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” who also played Squidward in “SpongeBob SquarePants” on Broadway.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute

special section

// The Kennedy Institute opens

Ahead of the opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, the Globe Magazine explores the history of the project and Kennedy’s vision for it.

Harvard Art Museums

special section

// Raising the roof at Harvard Art Museums

An in-depth look at the new complex designed by architect Renzo Piano.