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.

NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812, playing at the American Repertory Theater through Jan. 3

Synopsis: A 70-page chunk of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” about love and fate becomes an electro-pop opera, with the cast singing and dancing among audience members, in a salon straight out of 19th-century Moscow.

Jared says: “It’s really extraordinary how you experience this show...This really does explode all around you...It’s fantastic.”

CAROL, in theaters Friday

Synopsis: An elegant, middle-aged woman (Cate Blanchett) out Christmas shopping meets an alluring young clerk (Rooney Mara), and the two fall into an illicit -- for 1950s New York -- love affair. The story is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt.”

Jared says: “This is really brilliant filmmaking by Todd Haynes in that it’s very quiet as it moves along, and really, you have Oscar contenders here in Cate Blanchett and an unrelenting captivating Rooney Mara.”

JOY, in theaters Friday

Synopsis: Inventor Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) started a business dynasty with her self-wringing Miracle Mop, but she had to battle her family (Robert De Niro, Virginia Madsen), a QVC exec (Bradley Cooper), and financiers to get there.  

Jared says: “It’s a really fantastic story about a woman’s conviction, and it’s really fascinating.”

THE BIG SHORT, in theaters now

Synopsis: Four finance whizzes know the economic collapse of 2008 is coming and decide to bet on it. The story is based on Michael Lewis’s hugely popular nonfiction book of the same title.

Jared says: “You should go in knowing that you’re going to come out with the incredible anger that basically, the banking industry, government -- as we all know it now, turned a blind eye to how the housing crisis was about to happen.”

Looking for more arts coverage? This week on Open Studio, Jared presents his favorite features and interviews of the year, including stories on incredible exhibitions in and around Boston that you can visit over the holidays.