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Every Thursday, WGBH Arts Editor Jared Bowensums up the exhibitions, theater, movies and music you should check out in and around Boston and delivers news from the city's arts scene.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, in theaters Friday

Description: The seventh chapter, directed by J.J. Abrams, honors the filmmaking style of George Lucas’s original trilogy, with spaceships that looks more real than computerized. Harrison Ford is back as an aged Han Solo, and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia is now Gen. Leia.

Jared says: “You have these characters that you’ve always known, and now to revisit them in ‘The Force Awakens’…and to see this story have this evolution is very impactful.”

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, playing at the Brattle Theatre Dec. 18 through Dec. 20; Jared finally saw the Christmas classic Wednesday night at WGBH’s free screening for first-timers.

Description: When businessman George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) finds himself in such a financial bind on Christmas Eve that he considers suicide, his guardian angel walks him through his life to show him all the good that he’s done for the people of Bedford Falls.  

Jared says: “What really struck me is how dark this film is. I thought it was really extraordinary filmmaking, actually, because you have these long, lingering shots of Jimmy Stewart as he’s filled with this anguish.”

A LITTLE ORPHAN TRANNY CHRISTMAS, playing at Machine Nightclub through Dec. 20

Description: The Gold Dust Orphans have added new songs and dances to their wild parody of Christmas stories, celebrities and pop culture.

Jared says: “Here we see extraordinary costumes. The performances only get better and better and better. There’s such varied music here. It’s a very fun, adult night.”

BUYER & CELLAR, playing at the Lyric Stage Company through Jan. 3

Description: Just fired from his day job at Toontown, actor Alex More (Phil Tayler) gets the gig of a lifetime: working as the sole employee of Barbra Streisand’s immaculate basement mall. Tayler plays not only More, but also his boyfriend, the steely household manager, Babs herself – and even her husband, James Brolin.

Jared says: “You really marvel at Phil Tayler here, because he has to transition among these different roles on a dime, and he is so good at these varied characters.”

Looking for more arts coverage? This weekend on Open Studio, Jared shows how the international fair Art Basel has transformed Miami's arts scene and sits down with actor Phil Tayler, the star of Lyric Stage Company's "Buyer and Cellar."