Top Picks: PBS's 'Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do,' Ian Ethan Case's 'Run Toward the Mountains,' and more

'Mozart in the Jungle' actor Gael García Bernal takes the baton in real life, Peter Case’s 'HWY 62' plays like a John Steinbeck novel set to music, and more top picks.


Musical theater

Broadway legend Chita Rivera has done a lot of livin’ onstage. The Tony Award winner electrified audiences in such hits as “West Side Story,” “Chicago,” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” And she’s not done yet. PBS’s “Great Performances” spotlights Rivera’s talent in a program that features archival clips as well as recent interviews with directors, choreographers, and actors. Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do airs Nov. 6 at 9 p.m. ET.

Maestro to ‘Maestro’

In a page from the book of life imitating art, Gael García Bernal, who plays Rodrigo De Souza in Mozart in the Jungle, took the baton from Los Angeles Philharmonic director Gustavo Dudamel to conduct at the Hollywood Bowl earlier this month. It was captured on film for the Season 2 opener for the Amazon series (coming January 2016) in which the New York Symphony goes on strike, and Rodrigo heads west. A short video of Dudamel coaching Bernal prepped the live audience for the surprise. Check it out at

Duncan Wilder

Acoustic forte

Few musicians tackle the challenging double-necked guitar, and perhaps few have done it with the intellectual intensity and skill of Ian Ethan Case. (He’s also the brother of Monitor staff writer Christa Case Bryant.) Case’s inventive multilayered compositions are like nothing you’ve heard before. His new album, Run Toward the Mountains, is both meditative and commanding. See and hear for yourself at

Lonesome highway

Peter Case’s HWY 62 plays like a John Steinbeck novel set to music. The troubadour, who has spent his four-decade career driving cross country between gigs, sings about everyday Americans weathering the Great Recession. In “Water From a Stone,” Case laments, “The landlord’s mad, but it don’t make sense/ they’re clearing out tenants and raising the rents.” Case’s hooks and pop choruses galvanize country blues songs such as “New Mexico” (featuring Ben Harper) and “Pelican Bay.” 


Dances with cello

Talk about a match made in culture heaven. Misty Copeland, who recently became the first female African-American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, and genre-defying cellist Yo-Yo Ma recently teamed up on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Check out their fluid collaboration at

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