1. See The Inheritance
Playwright Matthew Lopez takes up the baton from both Tony Kushner and E. M. Forster with a sprawling two-play saga about interlinked generations of gay men in New York, inspired by the novel Howard’s End. You’ll need six hours — and probably at least as many tissues — to take on this winner of multiple Olivier Awards. —Sara Holdren
Ethel Barrymore Theatre, in previews, opens November 17. Buy tickets here.
2. See Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
Dun dun dun dun dunna dun dun.
If, like us, you’re already done with season three of Stranger Things and stressed out waiting for season four, you should know that Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, the Texas-based electronic musicians responsible for the show’s indelible theme song and score, are here to transport fans back to the fictional Hawkins, Indiana. —Craig Jenkins
Brooklyn Steel, October 19.
3. See Healing Arts!
For over 45 years, Healing Arts Initiative spawned now-well-known and beloved self-taught artists before dissolving, tragically, in 2016. This show bears witness to the genius of artists like Lady Shalimar Montague, Melvin Way, and Irene Phillips. See every kind of space, face, place, and world depicted. The Archives of American Art should house the entire collection. —Jerry Saltz
White Columns, 91 Horatio Street, through November 2.
4. Hear Les Arts Florissants
The sounds of suffering.
In life, Carlo Gesualdo inflicted vast amounts of pain on others as well as on himself, and four centuries later his madrigals remain creepily weird and deliciously raw. The crackerjack group performs them in the suitably somber Fuentidueña Chapel. —Justin Davidson
The Met Cloisters, October 20.
5. Go to Brooklyn Horror Film Festival
Bloody good horror.
Quickly one of the country’s premier indie horror showcases returns for a fourth year with an international bunch of features and shorts to freak you out and bum you out equally, as befits the era and genre. There’s a “home invasion” program, a subversive “head trip” section, a queer-focused slate, monsters (from the usual zombies and bloodsuckers to a giant jellyfish and homophobic cannibal cults), a malignant porno film (SXSW hit Porno), making-of docs by indie auteur Larry Fessenden, and a memoir of murdered schlockmeister Al Adamson. It closes with Joe Begos’s gory siege film VFW. —David Edelstein
Various locations, October 17 to 24.
6. Hear Dichterliebe
One song, two ways.
October brings two versions of Schumann’s song cycle: straight and staged.
Ian Bostridge delivers the first in his triple-distilled tenor, alongside a new cycle written for the occasion by Brad Mehldau, at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.
Soprano Julia Bullock gives the score a theatrical treatment in Zauberland (“Magic Land”), as part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, with new songs by Bernard Foccroulle and writer Martin Crimp. —J.D.
Zankel Hall, October 24; Gerald W. Lynch Theater, October 29 and 30.
7. See Polina Barskaya: Place
This beautiful gallery on the tenth floor of a large building in Chelsea often houses wonders — like the Ukraine-born, Brighton Beach–based Polina Barskaya’s affecting paintings of the artist at home in bed, reading at a table, with her boyfriend, and in other “places” that reveal the deep density of life. The works throw the viewer into the middle of a life lived in art and painting and a love of both. There are echoes of Andrew Wyeth but deeper, more personal, sexual. —J.S.
Monya Rowe, 224 West 30th Street, Suite 1005, through October 26.
8. Hear Latonia Moore and Ryan Speedo Green
Porgy and Bess songsters.
A vocal recital is to an opera what a fencing bout is to war: an elegant and intimate exploration of the same sweeping emotional terrain. Two stars of the Met’s new Porgy and Bess step away from Catfish Row and into the songbooks of Hahn, Beethoven, and Liszt, augmented by a few opera arias transplanted onto the small stage. —J.D.
Morgan Library and Museum, October 20.
9. Hear The Air Suspended
Another Elena Ferrante–inspired work.
The composer Christopher Cerrone writes slow, tintinnabulating music faster than most people can catch it. On the heels of a quietly rhapsodic new all-Cerrone album, The Pieces That Fall to Earth, the pianist Shai Wosner and the East Coast Chamber Orchestra perform the composer’s piano concerto The Air Suspended, inspired by Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels.
92nd Street Y, October 27.
10. See The Sound Inside
In a disquieting new play by Pulitzer finalist Adam Rapp, Mary-Louise Parker returns to Broadway as an isolated, tough-minded creative-writing professor who’s increasingly drawn to one of her students. —S.H.
Studio 54, in previews, opens October 17.
Buy tickets here.
11. See Cyrano
Peter Dinklage finally escapes Westeros and heads for 17th-century France to play the title role in a new musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano. Erica Schmidt wrote the book, with music by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National. —S.H.
Daryl Roth Theatre, in previews, opens November 7.
12. Hear The Day
With a rock-star cellist.
If there were a Bechdel test for multimedia spectacles, this collaboration of cellist Maya Beiser, dancer Wendy Whelan, and choreographer Lucinda Childs would ace it. David Lang wrote the music for a rhapsodic meditation and started the spoken-word script by searching the phrase “I remember the day that …” and seeing how many different ways Google search finished the sentence. —J.D.
The Joyce Theater, October 22 to 27.
13. See Downtown 81
From the streets of lower Manhattan.
The Metrograph has restored and will now rerelease this fascinating time capsule, shot from 1980 to 1981 as New York Beat but only finished and released in 2000. No less than Jean-Michel Basquiat stars as a graffiti artist–musician–pleasure seeker much like his pre-fame self in a Manhattan (chiefly Alphabet City) avant-garde art scene that’s equal amounts grime and hope. Critic Glenn O’Brien wrote the script, produced, and oversaw the post-syncing. (Basquiat couldn’t dub his own voice, being dead.) Look for John Lurie, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, James White, and Debbie Harry as a street person. —D.E.
Metrograph, October 25 to 27.
14. See Ocean Vuong
The soon-to-be household name.
In September, poet-novelist Ocean Vuong won a MacArthur “genius” grant, and his debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, was long-listed for a National Book Award. His New York appearances are selling out quickly, but you can catch him in conversation at NYU this month — for now.
NYU, 58 West 10th Street, October 17.
15. See Design in Motion
As the New York City Ballet closes its fall season, you can still catch the final days of the first retrospective of the company’s costume shop. The exhibition features the collaborations of 26 fashion designers, including Dries Van Noten, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Rosie Assoulin, and Thom Browne, with the costume shop for the NYCB’s annual Fall Fashion Gala. The highbrow event, first conceived by Sarah Jessica Parker in 2012, has been a “highlight of the dance season in New York ever since,” says New York’s Wendy Goodman.
Intersect by Lexus, 412 West 14th Street, through October 20.
*A version of this article appears in the October 14, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!