Top 10 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Beyoncé, NJ Lottery Festival of Ballooning, ‘Crossing Borders,’ more

by JAY LUSTIG
beyonce preview nj

Beyoncé will perform at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford July 29-30.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Aug. 3.

MUSIC

Beyoncé, who hasn’t toured as a solo artist since 2016 (though she did do a co-headlining tour with her husband Jay-Z in 2018), brings her Renaissance World Tour to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, July 29-30 at 7 p.m. Beyoncé has been performing virtually all of the songs from her 2022 Renaissance album — including hit singles “Break My Soul,” “Cuff It” and “America Has a Problem” — as well as other songs from throughout her career, and a slowed-down version of the classic “River Deep — Mountain High” in tribute to Tina Turner, who died in May.

WES ORSHOSKI

SNOOP DOGG

Rappers Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have a lot of history together. They co-starred in a stoner comedy, “Mac & Devin Go to High School,” in 2011, and collaborated on the movie’s soundtrack album, which included their hit “Young, Wild & Free.” And they toured together in 2016. This summer they are together again on their High School Reunion Tour, which comes to the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, June 30 at 6 p.m., and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. Too $hort, Warren G, Berner and DJ Drama will also perform.

The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, will offer music, on two stages, throughout the weekend of July 28-30, with Fitz and the Tantrums, Everclear, KC & the Sunshine Band, children’s entertainer Laurie Berkner, Bollywood playback singer Parth Oza and others. The festival, which takes place at the Solberg Airport in Readington, will feature up to 100 hot air balloons ascending twice each day, a “Running With the Balloons” 5K race, drone shows, and other family-oriented activities.

• Rickie Lee Jones — whose most recent album, April’s Pieces of Treasure, included her versions of Great American Songbook classics such as “Just in Time,” “September Song,” “All the Way” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” — will perform at the Newton Theatre, July 28 at 8 p.m. She will perform in a quintet format featuring veteran jazz players Russell Malone (guitar), Rob Mounsey (piano), Paul Nowinski (bass) and Mark McLean (drums).

Huntertones, a Brooklyn-based sextet featuring a three-piece horn section, will play its unique mix of jazz, funk and rock at Ross Farm in Basking Ridge, July 30 at 5 p.m. Check them out here:

THEATER

The 12th annual “Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) Festival,” spotlighting new plays by Latine playwrights, will take place at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, Aug. 3-6, with a variety of free events, including a reading of Tony Meneses’ “A Thousand Maids,” which will be part of the theater’s upcoming 30th anniversary season.

A community kick-off event will be presented, Aug. 3 at 5 p.m., with music by singer and guitarist Gil Cruz (of the band Xol Azul), followed by a 7 p.m. reading of “A Thousand Maids.” Readings of “Vos!” (by Christina Pumariega) and “Rebecca Oaxaca (Lays Down a Bunt)” (by Kristoffer Diaz) will take place Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 5 at 3 p.m., respectively.

A concert by Alea — a singer-songwriter originally from Colombia, and now based in New York — will be presented, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. And the festival will conclude with a reading of “Black Beans Project” by Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez, Aug. 6 at 3 p.m.

The community kick-off and the Alea performance will take place outdoors, on the Two River Theater Plaza, while the readings will take place indoors.

“The Play That Went Wrong,” a comedy about a play — a mystery titled “The Murder at Haversham Manor” — that is beset by a riotous series of technical problems, will be presented by Trilogy Repertory in the Plays in the Park series at the Pleasant Valley Park Amphitheater in Basking Ridge, July 28-29 and Aug. 3-5 at 8 p.m. Lawn chairs and flashlights are recommended. There is no admission charge, though donations are accepted.

The play ran on Broadway from 2017 to 2019, and is currently being produced off-Broadway at New World Stages.

The Theater Project will present “Black Lives/Blue Lives,” July 31 and Aug 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood. The event will feature two monologues that explore the relationship between race and policing — Steve Harper’s “Black Lives: What I Know” and Bill Mesce Jr.’s “Blue Lives: What Cops Know” (adapted from Adam Plantinga’s book, “400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman”) — followed by a conversation in which audience members can participate. The Theater Project has presented this programs at schools, churches and other organizations throughout the state for the past two years.

Writer John Patrick Shanley — whose acclaimed works include the plays “Doubt: A Parable” and “Outside Mullingar” and the screenplay to “Moonstruck” — will participate in conversations after staged-reading workshop presentations of his new work “The Lost Years,” July 28-29 at 8 p.m. at the Black Box Performing Arts Center in Englewood. Members of the production’s creative team will also participate in the conversations.

The Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway screens “My Last Best Friend,” July 28.

FILM

Eric Roberts and Rico Simonini, co-stars of the new thriller “My Last Best Friend” (watch trailer below), will participate in a question-and-answer session after it screens at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, July 28 at 8 p.m.

REVIEWS

“NJ & Me: Imperfect Together” at Drawing Rooms, Jersey City. Works by Alan Ostroski, Anne Percoco, Anne Trauben, Dorie Dahlberg, Doug Madill, Eileen Ferara, Edward Fausty, James Pustorino, Jean-Paul Picard, Jessica Rohrer, John T. Meehan III, Kevin McCaffrey, Lauren H. Adams, Sue Ellen Leys, Tim Daly, Tim Heins. (Through July 29)

“Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself),” outdoor show presented by Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Saint Elizabeth University in Morristown. (Through July 30)

“And a Nightingale Sang …” at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University, Madison. (Through July 30)

“Satellites” at Premiere Stages series at Kean University, Union. (Through July 30)

“Each One Teach One: Preserving Legacy in Perpetuity” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Aug. 27)

“Claybash 2023” at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Sept. 3)

“Where There’s Smoke” by Lance Weiler at ArtYard, Frenchtown. (Through Oct. 1)

“Spiral Q: The Parade” at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton. (Through Jan. 7)

“Local Voices: Memories, Stories and Portraits” at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton. (Through Jan. 7)

“George Inness: Visionary Landscapes” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 30)

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