Top Picks: NBC's 'Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular,' Mark O'Connor's new album 'MOC4,' and more

The Kilroys assembles an annual list of top work by women in American theater, National Geographic looks back at the '90s in the miniseries 'The 90s: The Last Great Decade?,' and more top picks.

Once in a While

Spectacular Fourth

This Independence Day, NBC will televise Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular live from New York City. Before the pyrotechnics begin, Nick Cannon will host an all-star show, featuring Ariana Grande, Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert, and Lionel Richie. The Brooklyn Bridge provides a stunning backdrop for the country’s largest Fourth of July fireworks show. The show airs on NBC on July 4 at 8 p.m., and will be rebroadcast at 10 p.m.

Revisiting the ’90s

National Geographic is going back to the time of Bill Clinton’s presidency and when grunge icon Kurt Cobain ruled the stage with its miniseries The ’90s: The Last Great Decade? For three consecutive nights, the network will explore the events of those years, such as the Gulf War, the Rodney King riots, the Anita Hill hearings, and the rise of reality TV. The miniseries will include interviews with people such as Gen. Colin Powell and “Friends” star Matthew Perry. It debuts July 6 at 9 p.m. Viewer discretion is advised.

Women Playwrights

In pursuit of a more balanced gender representation on the hallowed boards of traditional theater, The Kilroys has assembled what it plans as an annual list of top work by women in American theater. Inspired by Franklin Leonard’s “The Black List,” an annual survey of Hollywood’s favorite unproduced screenplays, the group surveyed more than 100 top theater professionals to come up with “The List,” 46 plays to recommend to regional, off-Broadway, and Broadway producers. The hope is to offset the statistic that nearly 80 percent of plays in American theater are written by men. Check it out at www.thekilroys.org/thelist.

History of twee

Ever wonder how Brooklynites with their ukuleles and jars of pickles became so ... precious? Marc Spitz explains how the cultural epicenter of a handcrafted aesthetic came to be in Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film. Beginning with the works of Walt Disney, passing through musical trendsetters such as Velvet Underground, and up to the quirky “Portlandia” TV show, Spitz traces the cultural evolution and celebration of the sweetly shy outsider who is more committed to childhood and decency than a hardened adult world.

Classic meets bluegrass

American violin virtuoso Mark O’Connor is back with his mission to embrace as many musical traditions as possible with his latest release, MOC4. The classically trained string player has partnered in the past with the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma in his pursuit of a larger musical canvas. In this release, he fiddles with a mean bluegrass trio and teams up with some of his own protégés on duets that embrace the haunting rhythms and melodies of Americana.

Jazz favorites

If you like the gentle rhythm and sway of old-fashioned jazz love songs, Lisa Redfern presents 12 classic standards ranging from “My Romance” to “Bye, Bye Blackbird” on Once in a While. Redfern, an award-winning singer-songwriter from Maine known for her warm, folksy voice, adds a bit of nightclub glamour to her repertoire with this new album and gives old favorites a sweet new sound. Check it out at www.lisaredfern.com.

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