THINKING BIG: Stage West’s New Jerusalem looks back to 17th Century Amsterdam, where Jews were allowed to live but were not allowed to talk about religion. At all. And that stipulation proves to be too stifling for philosopher Baruch de Spinoza, who discusses That Which Shall Not Be Talked About with anyone who will listen. And those discussions offer plenty of mind vitamins for the audience. “If you go to New Jerusalem, and you should, be prepared to have your assumptions about God, man and nature challenged,” David Novinski writes on theaterjones.com. Not to worry, though. “Aggravating, circular religious debates are not inherently entertaining,” Punch Shaw writes on dfw.com. “But this show works, thanks to some deft direction by Jerry Russell that prevents things from becoming stagnant.” Catch it through Jan. 29.
SWING, SWING, SWING: The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo begins on Saturday and, this being Fort Worth, you can expect to hear some Western Swing coming from the stage. But Western Swing’s survival hasn’t always been a sure thing. As Erik Swanson of Dallas band Shoot Low Sheriff tells dfw.com, “We’re too country for jazz and too jazz for country.” Give the story a read for a good introduction into how the genre got its start in Cowtown and a primer on the bands keeping it alive today.
FIRST SXSW FILMS ANNOUNCED: The Cabin in the Woods, the Joss Whedon-produced horror film, will open the film portion of South by Southwest on March 9. It’s directed by Drew Goddard, who directed Cloverfield. Other notable films announced by the festival include Small Apartments, which brings Billy Crystal back to the screen, and Marley, a Bob Marley documentary.