1 Director Joe Dowling, who leaves the Guthrie in June, wanted one last go-round with playwright Arthur Miller, and he chose "The Crucible," an epic theatrical fable steeped in mob suggestion, fear and state authority. This production feels Shakespearean in its language, broad strokes and stentorian vigor, but the urgency and high stakes manage to strip much of the lacquer and reveal this bizarre moment's power in our imagination. www.guthrietheater.org
5 If you're a devotee of director George Miller's earlier Mad Max adventures, you're in for a thrilling reunion. If you haven't met this international treasure yet, prepare for a treat. This epic of the car chase genre is a gleefully violent vertigo ride, defeating your expectations about what action movies do. "Mad Max: Fury Road" is amazing, dark, disreputable, playful fun, pure madness wrapped in fanboy pulp. And it's breathtaking every step of the way.
3 After all his erratic Twin Cities shows, Ryan Adams' latest great album might come as something of a surprise: "Live at Carnegie Hall," a three-hour, 42-song collection from two solo acoustic gigs in New York. Simply put, he had very good nights. Old faves such as "Dear Chicago," "My Winding Wheel" and "Come Pick Me Up" sound more pristine here than on the original records. Even his wacky between-song humor was strong. This might be the alt-rock/alt-country hero's most accessible record.
2 While "Mad Men" and "Veep" get all the attention among Sunday night TV shows, HBO's newer comedy "Silicon Valley" has been outshining them in quality with a similar array of unsavory backroom deals and conniving characters — albeit very unsexy, unwashed, sunlight-challenged types in California's billionaire-nerd computer industry. Co-created by Mike Judge, the show boasts a Grade A cast of mostly unknowns and scripts that move as fast as the data-compressing programs they somehow have gotten us interested in.
4 Twin Cities-launched bestselling crime novelist John Sandford now lives in New Mexico, but "Gathering Prey," his 27th in the "Prey" series, tears all over the Midwest, with a crucial scene at a Caribou Coffee shop in the Mall of America. Detective Lucas Davenport pursues a Manson-like cult that gets away with murder in California and heads east, with stops in Sturgis, S.D.; Davenport, Iowa, and a rap-metal festival in Wisconsin.