01/30/2013 01:15 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

NYC-ARTS Top Five | Black History and Making Roots

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Here are our picks for the week of January 29 through February 4:

1. Black History Month Events & Exhibits

During the month of February, provocative talks, exhibits and exciting performances going on throughout the city take a look at black leaders, activists, artists and authors who have made their mark in American history and culture.

2. American Songbook at The Allen Room
Wed, Jan 30 - Sat, Mar 2

Broadway stars Lea Salonga, Karen Akers, and Kristin Chenoweth will dazzle in a celebration of composer/lyricist duos John Kander and Fred Ebb and Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. Also on the bill during this 15-night festival: R&B maven Valerie Simpson, Mavis Staples with Tom Morello, country music gem Kathy Mattea, and others representing jazz, folk, rock and pop.

3. Trisha Brown Dance Company at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Wed, Jan 30 - Sat, Feb 2

Trisha Brown, one of the greats of modern dance, has announced that the two New York premieres in this program will be her last. "Les Yeux et l'âme" is danced to the Baroque music of Rameau's "Pygmalion" opera. "I'm going to toss my arms -- if you catch them they're yours" reunites Brown's fluid movement with longtime collaborators Burt Barr and Alvin Curran amid a setting of industrial fans. Three seminal repertory works complete an evening to remember.

4. Making Roots, and Making TV History at the Museum of the Moving Image
Mon, Feb 4

The miniseries Roots, which aired in 1977, was one of the most influential television shows of all time. It still resonates today, having changed forever the way slavery and African Americans were depicted on TV. Stars of the series, Ben Vereen, Lou Gossett Jr., LeVar Burton and Leslie Uggams, will talk about the show in a program presented in collaboration with the PBS series Pioneers of Television.

5. Canstruction 20th Annual Competition at the Wold Financial Center
Fri, Feb 1 - Mon, Feb 11

Twenty-five teams of architects, engineers and contractors get one adrenaline-filled night (January 31) to meticulously stack and color-coordinate more than 100,000 cans of food into ingenious feats of engineering. The massive structures will then be on view to the public until they are dismantled and donated to City Harvest.