Along with spring art shows and play openings, this season marks the start of a stretch of free outdoor events, from a museum crawl up and down Fifth Avenue to a celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday in Bryant Park.
Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection
The Whitney Museum of American Art opens a two-floor, 200-artist show of portraits from the museum’s own holdings. The more than 300 works on display, all created in the last 116 years, include the celebrated, by artists including Edward Hopper, Alice Neel, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol, and the recently-acquired that will receive their first showings at the museum. Divided into 12 sections, the exhibition explores glam celebrity portraits from the early days of motion pictures, including Edward Steichen’s magazine shots, as well as street photography like Helen Levitt’s Spanish Harlem images. Artists’ likenesses also appear, including Robert Rauschenberg’s photograph of Cy Twombly, and a portrait of Jasper Johns captured by Richard Avedon. Among the recent works is a wax candle sculpture by Urs Fischer of artist Julian Schnabel.
Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s CollectionOpens April 27The Whitney Museum of American Art99 Gansevoort St., between Washington and West StreetsMuseum hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; closed TuesdayAdmission $22For more information, visit whitney.org or call 212-570-3600
Museum Mile Festival
Exploring just one of the Upper East Side’s art destinations can often become a full day excursion, but the annual Museum Mile Festival makes seven of the area’s cultural meccas accessible and family friendly for an evening. During the festival, now in its 38th year, galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cooper Hewitt, the Jewish Museum and others open to the public for free. Street performers and chalk artists take over Fifth Avenue, which is open to pedestrians only during this three-hour stretch, and musicians perform outside the museums. A retrospective of painter László Moholy-Nagy’s work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Roz Chast’s cartoons at the Museum of the City of New York are among the shows on view.
Museum Mile FestivalTuesday, June 14Fifth Avenue, from 82nd Street to 105th Street6-9 p.m.Begins at 5:45 p.m. at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd StreetFREEFor more information, visit museummilefestival.org or call 212-606-2296
The Photography Show from AIPAD
This 36th-annual photography showcase at the Park Avenue Armory convenes 86 galleries from across the globe showing a variety of work, from 19th-century prints to 1960s photojournalistic images to contemporary landscapes. Participants include Minneapolis’ Weinstein Gallery, which shows portraits by Alec Soth of respondents to the artist’s Craigslist ad while he was staying in a Tokyo hotel. "Ballerina" by Morton Bartlett, which is bound for exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is an example of the artist’s photographs of plaster dolls that he crafted and posed.
The Photography Show from AIPADApril 14-17Park Avenue Armory643 Park Ave., at E. 66th StreetShow hours: April 14 and 16, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; April 15, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; April 17, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.Admission $30For tickets, visit aipad.com/tickets, or call 202-367-1158 for more information
A Shakespearean Birthday Bash
The Drilling Company, which performs annual, free outdoor Shakespeare productions in a parking lot on Norfolk Street, celebrates the playwright’s birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death with a day of monologues, music and death scenes. Free to the public, the event includes live music by the Natalie Smith Band, and, in a nod to a funeral, a jazz procession with the Jambalaya Brass Band. The celebration concludes with performances of death scenes from "Othello," "Romeo and Juliet," "Cymbeline" and other plays.
A Shakespearean Birthday BashFriday, April 22Bryant ParkSixth Avenue and 42nd Street12:30-8:30 p.m.FREEFor more information, visit http://shakespeareintheparkinglot.com
"Annie Get Your Gun"
Non-profit Upper East Side theater group St Jean’s Players stages Irving Berlin’s classic musical about the gun-wielding Annie Oakley as its spring production. The theatrical account of Oakley’s rise to stardom in William "Buffalo Bill" Cody’s traveling show has seen numerous productions, with stars such as Ethel Merman and Bernadette Peters as Oakley, and is known for its numbers like "Anything You Can Do" and "There’s No Business Like Show Business." The production at St. Jean’s Auditorium opens May 6.
"Annie Get Your Gun"May 6-May 22St. Jean’s Auditorium167 E. 75th St., between Lexington and Third AvenuesFriday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.Tickets $25For tickets, visit stjeansplayers.org or purchase at the door 30 minutes before the show begins
Wall to Wall Stephen Schwartz
As part of Symphony Space’s spring theater celebration, its Wall to Wall event, an evening length program and a key point of the performance hall’s annual calendar, is dedicated this year to the work of composer and writer Stephen Schwartz. Nearly 100 performers, including Patti LuPone and Liz Callaway, put their spins on songs by the New York native responsible for the music from "Godspell," "Pippin" and modern classic "Wicked."
Wall to Wall Stephen SchwartzSaturday, April 16Symphony Space2537 Broadway, at 95th StreetSets at 3 p.m. 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.FREEFor advanced reservations and a full list of performers, visit symphonyspace.org