What would it take to make your winter more interesting? A stage full of singing, dancing mean girls? A flashback to a golden era of Japanese art? Or maybe a visit by a forefather of electronic music? All this and more are happening on the arts scene in the winter months.
It’s an oft-forgotten bit of Boston history that Malcolm Little lived here as a young man, where, on his way to recreating himself as Malcolm X, he was known in Roxbury as “Detroit Red.” The celebrated writer/actor/rapper Will Power tells this story in “Detroit Red,” a new piece that combines the historical record with hip-hop lyricism. Power has explained, “I was interested in this young man who was kind of wayward, kind of a gangster, and kind of confused, and yet went on to become Malcolm X. What allowed him, pushed him to be that, when other people don’t?” The Broadway-bound play has its world premiere at Emerson’s Paramount Center Feb. 1‒16.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony-nominated play “Sweat” made its debut four years ago, but its concerns seem to grow more timely by the year. Playwright Lynn Nottage explores a big topic, the collapse of the American working class, through individual stories revealed in a bar in Reading, Pa., including those of two friends who have a tense reunion after serving prison time. The Chicago-bred director Kimberly Senior, who directed the Pulitzer-winning Broadway production of “Disgraced,” has updated “Sweat” for the Huntington Avenue Theatre production, which runs Jan. 31‒March 1.