Arts Watch: What to Do in December

Here are some recommended local events happening this month.

MANDY PATINKIN and TAYLOR MAC

Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac will star in a benefit production for the Classic Stage Company at Abrons Arts Center Dec. 14 – 30.

Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac at Abrons Arts Center: The Classic Stage Company brings together Tony Award-winning actor Patinkin and downtown actor, performance artist and playwright Mac for The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville. This fully staged workshop tells the history of humanity through music, ranging from Rodgers and Hammerstein to R.E.M. Patinkin (Homeland, The Princess Bride, Evita, Sunday in the Park with George) and Mac (Good Person of Szechwan at the Public, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at CSC) created the piece, which centers on the two survivors of a flood of biblical proportions who find that their common language is song and dance. Heavyweight five-time Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Contact, Young Frankenstein) directs and choreographs, with music direction by Paul Ford.

Dec. 14-30 // Showtimes vary // 466 Grand St. // tickets start at $65 and culminate in a New Year’s Eve benefit performance for Classic Stage Company.

Fri., Dec. 6Dixon Place Presents the Niles Ford Urban Dance Collective, REJOICE: The New York company returns to perform two contemporary pieces that pay tribute to late founder and choreographer Niles Bailey Ford. Nathan Trice joins as guest choreographer.

Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 21 // 161A Chrystie St. // 7:30 p.m. // $16 adv./$20 door.

Sat., Dec. 7 – Movement Scores for Families at the New Museum: Kate Cahill, an architect and dance researcher, leads a series of experiments and activities that investigate location, navigation and orientation inspired by animal migration. Participants engage in different exercises, including map-making and movement games that draw on their personal experiences. Part of the First Saturdays for Families program.

The Sky Room at 235 Bowery // 10 a.m. // free.

Weds., Dec. 11 – Fatima Shama on Immigrants in NYC at Tenement Talks: Join the commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs for an insightful discussion on the challenges and successes of supporting and integrating millions of immigrants into the fabric of New York City.

103 Orchard St. // 6:30 p.m. // free.

Weds., Dec. 20 – Jackie Hoffman’s “Heeb for the Holidays” at Joe’s Pub: Famed Second City veteran comedian Hoffman makes her long-awaited return to Joe’s Pub, promising topics ranging from what happens to a Jewish, straight woman on a gay cruise during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and how an unwanted aging actress survives in a New York overtaken by billionaire toddlers.

Through Dec. 24 // 425 Lafayette St. //  7:30 p.m. // $30.

Weds., Dec. 25 – Klez for Kids & Synagogue Tours at the Museum at Eldridge Street: The museum is open all Christmas Day, day offering hourly synagogue tours and family-friendly scavenger hunts. At 1 p.m., sing, dance and learn Yiddish at an annual family concert. Clarinetist Greg Wall and his band Klezmerfest lead a musical tour of Eastern European Jewish culture, ending with a festive audience-enacted shtetl wedding.

12 Eldridge St. // $12 adults; $8 students/seniors; children under 3 free // 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mon., Dec. 30 – Punch Brothers at Bowery Ballroom: Hyper-talented mandolin man (known as the best in the world to some) Chris Thile leads his New York-based progressive bluegrass troupe through songs that reflect everything from country influences to edgy acoustic pop for three raucous nights to close out 2013.

Also Sunday, Dec. 29 and New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 31  // 6 Delancey St. // 9 p.m., $20.

Tues., Dec. 31 – Thurston Moore and John Zorn at The Stone: Guitarist and Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore kicks off a weeklong residency honoring the late Lou Reed with John Zorn on New Year’s Eve. Moore and Zorn recently released an album together. Zorn was a frequent collaborator with Reed; Reed and his partner Laurie Anderson also often played and curated at The Stone in years past.

Moore and Zorn take the stage at 8 p.m.; at 10 p.m., Moore and Mike Watt play a set to ring in 2014 // Ave. C at Second Street // $25.