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

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Top Picks: PBS's 'Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do,' Ian Ethan Case's 'Run Toward the Mountains,' and more
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today