Jared’s arts picks for this week: Nancy Schön (top left), 17 Border Crossings (bottom left), Barnum (top right), Charlotte’s Web (bottom right)

Credit: WGBH News

Arts This Week: Nancy Schön, ‘17 Border Crossings,’ ‘Barnum,’ ‘Charlotte’s Web’

April 20, 2017

This week, Jared meets the artist behind the "Make Way For Ducklings" statue and reviews a week of theater in Boston.

Metamorphosis: The Art of Nancy Schön, on view at the Carney Gallery in the Fine Arts Center at Regis College through May 9. This exhibit is free!

Description: At Regis College in Weston, a select group of graduate students has stepped outside of the classroom to curate an exhibition of sculptures created by world-renowned artist Nancy Schön. Schön, famous for creating the "Make Way for Ducklings" sculpture in the Boston Public Garden, is giving back to the institution that gave her one of her first opportunities to exhibit her work to the public in 1977.

The students in the Museum Practicum course spent the Fall 2016 semester working closely with Schön. They traveled to her studio in West Newton to identify and select pieces for the exhibit, determined how the sculptures would be displayed, and planned the exhibition in the Regis Fine Arts Center.

Jared Says: "The exhibition is free, as are the ducklings in the Public Garden!"

17 Border Crossings, presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Paramount Center through April 29

Description: The history of passports, smuggling Kentucky Fried Chicken into other countries and the peculiarities of airline security: it's all covered in this one-man saga that unpacks how the mundane details that govern global travel become the actual journey. 17 Border Crossings is a surreal sojourn that transports us to very real places: Hungary, Serbia, Morocco, Colombia, Holland and Mexico, to name a few.

In the deft, mischievous manner of the trickster, Phillips manages to float huge questions that surround the fraught migrations of our era. With all the childlike curiosity and adult skepticism of monologist Spalding Gray, and the theatrical wizardry of a Robert Lepage, Thaddeus Phillips takes audiences by the hand on a trip around the world and shows us that when we cross the imaginary lines that divide up the world, the real borders come to light.

Jared Says: "Thoroughly theatrical, 17 Border Crossings delivers what I think is an enticing sense of the energy, emotions, and even aromas that surface in cultural crossings."

Barnum, presented by Moonbox Productions at the BCA's Calderwood Pavilion through April 30

Description: Produced by Sharman Altshuler, directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone, and music directed by Dan Rodriguez, this show traces the career of P.T. Barnum, America's greatest showman, from 1835 to 1881, the year he joined James A. Bailey to form "The Greatest Show On Earth". Over the objections of his grounded and level-headed wife Charity, Barnum attempts to create a show in which the main attractions are freaks of society. Included in this mix are the oldest woman alive, the smallest man in the world, a glamorous Swedish opera singer, and Jumbo the Elephant!

Although the "prince of humbug" makes sacrifices along the way, Barnum tells a story about hope and determination and how anyone can achieve their greatest goals if they dream big and bright enough and have the courage of their convictions. Moonbox has partnered with the local circus training group, Esh Circus Arts, to train cast members to perform all the circus routines themselves. For the production of Barnum, Moonbox is also partnering with ZUMIX, an East Boston-based nonprofit organization dedicated to positive youth development and building community through music and the arts.

Jared Says: "Barnum reminds us how much past is prologue."

Charlotte's Web, presented by Wheelock Family Theatre through May 14

Description: At Wheelock Family Theatre, a heartwarming story of a special friendship between a lovable pig and everyone's favorite spider. Charlotte weaves an enchanting web with aerial silks as she hatches a plan to give Wilbur's life new meaning. Aerial silk choreography, performed while suspended from fabric hanging from the ceiling, plays a main role in the production as aerialist Caroline Lawton spins her web as Charlotte. The classic tale is brought to life by Lawton and Michael Hisamoto as the rambunctious Wilbur.

When it seems that only a miracle will save Wilbur's life, a determined Charlotte spins words into her web to convince the farmer that Wilbur is "SOME PIG" worth saving. Weaving a story of friendship and love, E.B. White's magical story is revitalized on WFT's stage.

Jared Says: "A great message for families right now."

What do you think Jared should be checking out this week in Boston? Tell him about it on Facebook or Twitter!

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