Top 10 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Leonard Bernstein tribute, more

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars will perform in South Orange, Feb. 15.

A guide to notable arts events taking place in New Jersey, through Feb. 20.

• Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, a group formed in Guinea 15 years ago by refugees of the Sierra Leone Civil War, will play the music of their homeland at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. (with a Q&A session moderated by Sheila Anderson of WBGO-FM following). 

• Uncle Floyd will present his Annual Valentine’s Day Comedy Show Feb. 14 at the Stanhope House in Stanhope, with doors opening at 6 p.m.

For those looking for a more traditionally romantic way to celebrate the holiday, the Matt Wade Band will perform R&B and soul love songs in a show titled “I’ll Make Love to You …,” Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. at House of Independents in Asbury Park.

“Reel Montclair: Academy Award Edition,” a discussion on the upcoming Academy Awards and the state of filmmaking today, will take place at Leshowitz Hall at the  John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. The event is co-produced by The Film Institute at Montclair State and New York Film Critics Series, and features longtime Star-Ledger film critic Stephen Whitty, Alison Bailes of SiriusXM satellite radio’s Insight channel, Stephanie Zacharek of Time magazine and Eric Kohn of Indiewire. There will be no admission charge, though advance registration is required. (Note: The event was postponed from Feb. 9 due to inclement weather). 

• Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio and his band The Scotchplainsmen will perform songs of John Lennon and other material at Crossroads in Garwood, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m.

An impressive group of musicians will play classic country covers at Little City Books in Hoboken, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. The lineup includes Amy Rigby, Dave Schramm, Smokey Hormel, Gene D. Plumber, Amy Allison, Tammy Faye Starlight, Jon and Deena from The Cucumbers, Johnny Aries, Kate Jacobs and Jangula.

To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark will present a concert titled “One Hand, One Heart: One Hundred Years of Leonard Bernstein” — featuring songs from “West Side Story,” “On the Town,” “Candide” and more — Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Performers will include singers Mary Testa, Natascia Diaz, Lisa Howard, Kelli Rabke, Max Clayton and Mike Schwitter, the vocal group Marquee Five, the Broadway by the Year Chorus (featuring Alex Getlin, Chelsea Lee Wheatley and Matt Weinstein) and a four-piece band.

SETH CASHMAN

DAN LEVINSON

The first jazz record, by the Original Dixieland Jass Band, was made 100 years ago, in February 1917, and clarinetist-saxophonist Dan Levinson will honor the anniversary with a show titled “Centennial Celebration of Recorded Jazz,” Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morris Township. Levinson will play jazz songs of the era with his Roof Garden Jazz Band, also featuring cornetist Mike Davis, trombonist Matt Mussleman, pianist Jeff Barnhart and drummer Kevin Dorn.

The Guitar Bar Jr. music store in Hoboken will host a benefit for the ACLU, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.. It will be titled “Songs of Liberty and Justice,” and include performances by Jon and Deena of The Cucumbers, Tammy Faye Starlight, Christine Santelli, Glenn Morrow, Dave Calamoneri, John Bauers, Tiphanie Doucet, Twiddling Thumbs, Jim Testa and others, with Elena Skye and Boo Reiners hosting. 

President’s Day, Feb. 20, is the day for an annual Family Day festival at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, as well as the nearby Crossroads Theatre and United Methodist Church. Offerings from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will include the Lightwire Theater (see video below), sand art, a coloring station and more at the State Theatre; the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble, a drum circle, children’s musician Mr. Ray, face painting and more at the Crossroads Theatre; animals from the Philadelphia Zoo at the United Methodist Church; and an ice sculpting demonstration, a truck from the New Brunswick Fire Department and more on Livingston Avenue.

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