A new season of cultural delights is opening up across the pond in New York, so we peer into the future to bring you our selection of the best upcoming performances in the worlds of theatre, cinema and live TV...
This spring sees the curtain open on a number of new and high profile productions on Broadway, including revivals of big name shows with equally big name cast members.
Philip Seymour Hoffman takes to the boards as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's timeless Death of a Salesman for a 13-week run, while Gore Vidal's satirical tale of two presidential candidates The Best Man is reinvigorated by an all-star cast including Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergman and James Earl Jones. Already an acclaimed Broadway star for his roles in The Producers and Brighton Beach Memoirs, Matthew Broderick returns to the spotlight in new musical Nice Work If You Can Get It loosely based on Gershwin's 1926 Jazz Age musical Oh, Kay!, and Ricky Martin takes on the role of narrator Che in an update of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1978 smash hit musical Evita.
On the big screen
Spring heralds the arrival of a fresh crop of arts and cultural events in NYC, including a number of film festivals. Kicking things off is the New York International Children's Film Festival, which takes place at various venues across the city throughout March. As the United States' largest film festival for kids and teens, it highlights unique and thought-provoking films made outside of the Hollywood system, from animated shorts to full-length features, covering nearly every style and age-group. Breakout films from previous festivals include Hayao Miyazaki's much-loved Spirited Away and Danny Boyle's Millions.
Get in on the local action and feel like a real New Yorker at the Lower East Side Film Festival, running from 6 - 18 March. With a focus on showcasing high-quality, low-budget filmmaking in an intimate atmosphere, screenings take place at the Sunshine Cinema - recommended in our guide to New York's best arthouse cinemas - among other venues. You can even bring your own booze!
Starting on 21st March, the distinguished New Directors/New Films festival is now in its 41st year of celebrating the innovative work of emerging directors. Screenings take place at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Film Society of Lincoln Center; institutions renowned for a commitment to works of art that inspire and fuel creativity. Past directors featured early in their careers by the New Directors/New Films festival include Pedro Almodovar, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Steven Spielberg and Wim Wenders. In the video below documentary filmmaker Ken Burns talks about his film Brooklyn Bridge, and the effect its inclusion in the festival had on his career.
In the studio
If you miss the chance to see your favourite Broadway show or film festival, you can still get in on the action by attending a studio taping of one of the many popular TV shows filmed in New York City. The wait for tickets might be a long one, but if you're organised you can apply for them in advance, and best of all - they're free and available whatever time of year you decide to visit.
Some of the most in-demand shows include The View, The Martha Stewart Show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report and Saturday Night Live. For full details of where and how to get tickets, taping days and age restrictions, visit NYCGo.com.
Morning news and lifestyle programmes for which you can just turn up include The Today Show for NBC which has an outside crowd audience (at 30 Rockefeller Plaza), The Early Show for CBS (another outside audience at General Motors building plaza at 5th Ave/E 59th St) and Good Morning America for ABC which has a studio audience for its weekday editions - don't forget to bring ID (Times Square at Broadway/W 44th St).
Virgin Atlantic operates five daily flights to New York from London Heathrow.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.