Entertainment & Arts

Weekend Picks: National Ballet of Ukraine, Audra McDonald, Gustavo on Schumann and more

Tetiana Holiakova, National Ballet of Ukraine
Tetiana Holiakova dances the lead role in National Ballet of Ukraine’s staging of “Sleeping Beauty.”

Our weekly roundup of weekend arts events includes the National Ballet of Ukraine at the Orpheum Theatre, Hershey Felder playing Ludwig van Beethoven in Laguna Beach and Tony winner Audra McDonald with the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. Also, the Los Angeles Philharmonic devotes itself to the works of Schumann, “The Carolyn Bryant Project” tackles a dark chapter from the civil rights era and Orchestra Santa Monica bids its conductor adieu.

National Ballet of Ukraine

As part of the company’s first U.S. tour, the National Ballet of Ukraine stops two nights in downtown L.A. to perform the Tchaikovsky favorite “Sleeping Beauty,” based on the classic fairy tale, as well as Ludwig Minkus’ adaptation of the Cervantes novel “Don Quixote.” The Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway. “Beauty” is at 8 p.m. Friday; “Quixote” is 7 p.m. Saturday. $42-$157.

Emmett Till and the ‘Carolyn Bryant Project’

Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc’s fact-based drama “The Carolyn Bryant Project” revists rural Mississippi in 1955 and the fateful interactions between African American teen Emmett Till and a white woman that led to Till’s murder. The CalArts Center for New Performance presents the premiere at REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., L.A. 8:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $20, $25.

Writer-performer Andrea LeBlanc costars in "The Carolyn Bryant Project" at REDCAT. CalArts Center for New Performance

Felder portrays Beethoven

Dun-dun-dun duuuuun! The musical bio-drama “Hershey Felder: Beethoven” finds pianist-actor-playwright Felder exploring the life and work of the legendary composer, with particular attention paid to such beloved works as the “Moonlight” Sonata and the “Emperor” Concerto. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday; additional performances through May 27. $95.

Hershey Felder
Hershey Felder stars in "Hershey Felder: Beethoven" at Laguna Playhouse. Craig Schwartz

Audra McDonald at the Dorothy Chandler

Spend an afternoon with the only performer to win six Tony Awards when Audra McDonald graces the stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion this Sunday. Backed by the L.A. Opera Orchestra, the singer-actress offers a program heavy on show tunes and standards, as well as songs written especially for her lustrous lyric-soprano voice. 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. 3 p.m. Sunday. $19 and up.

Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald will perform Sunday with the L.A. Opera Orchestra. Autumn de Wilde

L.A. Phil shifts focus to Schumann

Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Phil begin winding down the orchestra’s 2017-18 season with “Schumann Focus,” a mini-fest for all things Robert Schumann. The series, which concludes in June, kicks off with the 19th century composer’s Symphony No. 1 (Thursday-Friday) and Symphony No. 2 (Saturday-Sunday). Both programs also include Schumann’s Piano Concerto featuring pianist Mitsuko Uchida. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $20-$215.

Pianist Mitsuko Uchida is part of the "Schumann Focus" series. Los Angeles Times

Orchestra Santa Monica wraps season

Retiring Music Director Allen Robert Gross lifts the baton one last time to conduct Orchestra Santa Monica’s season closer. The program includes Kurt Weill’s Symphony No. 2 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, “Pastorale.” New Roads School, Moss Theater, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica. 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $30.

Allen Robert Gross
Allen Robert Gross will take his final turn conducting Orchestra Santa Monica this Sunday. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

‘Zarzuela Project’ at Olvera Street

A passion project of L.A. Opera General Director Plácido Domingo, “The Zarzuela Project” is a community-centered educational program celebrating a form of musical theater that has its roots in 17th century Spain. A pair of al fresco performances will take place at Plaza Kiosko, El Pueblo Historical Monument, Olvera Street, 125 Paseo de la Plaza, L.A. 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday. Free.

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