The WEEK AHEAD: Jan. 15-21

Inside Track   The WEEK AHEAD: Jan. 15-21
This holiday WEEK AHEAD gives us a chance to reflect on the legacy of some historic Americans and one of Broadway's angels.

Rep. Ruth Messinger hosts a free evening of song and dance inspired by Dr. King… Driving Miss Daisy drives into Black History Month… Terrence McNally, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Julie Andrews and more celebrate JFK... and remembering Shannon Tavarez


Saturday, January 15
GO (FREE)? Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a free series of performances hosted by Rep. Ruth Messinger and featuring music from celebrated jazz trombonist Craig Harris and God's Trombones and members of the Green Pastures Baptist Church. Choreographer Bridget Moore and dancer Juel Lane lend movement to King’s historic “Drum Major Instinct” speech in Remembrance of Things Past. (6:30 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 155 W. 65th St. and Broadway; info)

Sunday, January 16
Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie in Next to NormalBEFORE IT CLOSES? The Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal portrays a typical American family dealing with an atypical disorder. Real-life husband and wife actors Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley currently star in this hauntingly beautiful show on Broadway. The current national tour features Alice Ripley in her Tony-winning performance. (Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave., info/tickets)

The 39 Steps' John Behlmann, Cameron Folmar, Jamie Jackson and Kate MacCluggageBEFORE IT CLOSES? After a Tony-winning turn on Broadway, and a successful stint at Off-Broadway’s New World Stages, the comic caper The 39 Steps bids New York adieu. Based on the classic 1935 Hitchcock film of the same name, The 39 Steps features four performers with the daunting task of portraying all 140+ fast-moving characters. (New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves., Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets)

Shannon photo3

GO? In Shannon Tavarez’s short life, she made a huge difference. The 11-year-old former Lion King star was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2010 and was told she needed a bone marrow transplant. Drives were organized in the hopes of finding a match, and Shannon’s inspirational story inspired 11,000 people to donate in her honor, eight of which had been contacted as a potential donor. Sadly, Shannon lost her battle in November, but her legacy lives on. In celebration of what would have been Shannon’s 12th birthday, a special donor drive will be held to encourage people to register as bone marrow donors. (1 PM-7 PM, Harlem School of the Arts, 645 St. Nicholas Ave., must be 18-55 years of age to participate, info)

Monday, January 17

The cast takes a bowGo? Broadway’s hit, star-driven show, Driving Miss Daisy launches a new talkback series on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This first talk will feature the play's Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Alfred Uhry, director David Esbjornson, and Dr. Vivaldi Jean-Marie, a professor of African American Philosophy and Cultural Studies at Columbia University. The series will continue into February in celebration of Black History Month. (Golden Theatre,?252 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave., Click here for information on talkback series and tickets)

Tuesday, January 18
GO? Ethan Hawke, Natasha Lyonne and Daphne Rubin-Vega star in the world premiere of the dark family comedy Blood From a Stone. Hawke stars as a man who returns home to his troubled, blue-collar family in Connecticut one Christmas to find that “troubled” doesn’t even scratch the surface of this stone. Directed by Scott Elliot. (The Acorn Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St., btwn. 9th & 10th Aves., info/tickets)

Wednesday, January 19
Richard ForemanGO? Avant-garde theatre pioneer playwright Richard Foreman (Idiot Savant) kicks off The Public Theater’s 2011 Public Forum series in a discussion with Newsweek’s Jeremy McCarter (also the series’ director). The collection of talks, lectures and debates focusing on politics, art and the media will continue in February with “Too Rich To Fail: A Town Hall Meeting on Americans and Their Money.” (Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., $25/event, info/tickets)

Thursday, January 20
GO? Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols host a night of stars in celebration of President John F. Kennedy, Jr. in the performing arts center that bears his name. Performers and presenters will include Julie Andrews, Harolyn Blackwell, Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, The Manzari Brothers, Terrence McNally, Lorne Michaels, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Paul Simon. This star-studded gala kicks off a three-week series of events and performances that commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy’s inauguration. (JFK 50 Years continues through Feb. 6, The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20566, Click here for a full schedule of events and performances)

Friday, January 21
Lee RockerGO? Grammy nominee Lee Rocker, bassist and vocalist for the band The Stray Cats (which he co-founded with Brian Stelter), will make his Broadway debut in the role of studio bassist Jay Perkins in Million Dollar Quartet. (Through Jan. 31, Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st St., btwn. 7th & 8th Aves., Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets)

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