Top 10 NJ Arts Events of the Week: ‘Casablanca’ (featuring NJ Symphony), Southside Johnny, more

casablanca nj

“Casablanca,” featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, will be shown in Morristown, Feb. 11, Newark, Feb. 12, and New Brunswick, Feb. 13, with live music by the New Jersey Symphony.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Feb. 17.


Timed to set the mood for Valentine’s Day, the 1942 Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman movie “Casablanca” — one of the silver screen’s all-time great love stories — will be screened with live music by the New Jersey Symphony at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.; Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.; and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. The orchestra will be conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos.

• “The Beatles: Get Back — The Rooftop Concert,” a 60-minute film featuring the rooftop concert portion of The Beatles’ epic “Get Back” documentary that debuted last year on Disney+, will be shown at the IMAX Theatre at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, Feb. 11-13 at 1 p.m.

• “Julia Scotti: Funny That Way,” a documentary about the trans comedian Julia Scotti (formerly known as Rick Scotti), will be screened at the Atlantic Moviehouse in Atlantic Highlands, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. The event also will include a set of live standup comedy by Scotti herself.

Southside Johnny performs in Asbury Park, Feb. 12.


As they have done before, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes will present a Valentine’s Day Week show titled “Stupid Cupid” and dominated by love songs at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. This year’s show is scheduled for Feb. 12, with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Ms. Lisa Fischer will present “Be My Valentine: An Evening of Love Songs,” Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the newly reopened main stage at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

Fischer has sung backing vocals for artists such as The Rolling Stones and Luther Vandross, but is also a Grammy-nominated recording artist in her own right, and was featured in the Oscar-winning 2013 documentary, “Twenty Feet from Stardom.”

A Trenton native who now lives in Princeton, singer-songwriter Bradd Marquis will present his show “The Music of Sam Cooke: A Change Is Gonna Come” for the first time in his home state, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Shea Center for Performing Arts at William Paterson University in Wayne, as part of the WP Presents series.

He’ll be backed by a nine-piece band on classic Cooke songs as “You Send Me,” “Chain Gang” and “Twistin’ the Night Away,” and describes the overall show as “a concert where I talk about his life and have lots of dramatic moments, to coincide with the storytelling.”

Spectrum Dance Theater will present “Strange Fruit” in Montclair, Feb. 10-13.


The Peak Performances series at Montclair State University will present a dance/theater piece, “Strange Fruit,” Feb. 10-11 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 13 at 3 p.m. at the school’s Kasser Theater. Choreographed by Donald Byrd and performed by Seattle-based Spectrum Dance Theater, “Strange Fruit” was inspired by the song of the same name, written in anguished response to racial lynchings and famously sung by Billie Holiday.

According to the Peak Performances website, in Byrd’s choreography “the facts of lynching act as springboards into a highly personal interior space and state of mind.”

After each performance, there will be a discussion moderated by Thomas F. DeFrantz, professor of theater and performance studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Byrd has said these discussions are “integral” to the piece itself.

The Russian Ballet Theatre presents Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark; Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton; and Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Investors Bank Performing Arts Center in Sewell. The ballet will feature new choreography by Nadezhda Kalinina. “Although we are telling the classic story of ‘Swan Lake,’ there are tweaks here and there that make the show new and exciting,” said co-producer Gulya Hartwick in a press release. “We have all new choreography. Usually there is one jester, we have five of them. We did what we could to make the production more lively and more colorful.”


Vivid Stage (formerly Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre) will present a workshop production of “Twirl,” Feb. 17-20 and 24-27 at the Oakes Center in Summit. Written by Joe Sutton, “Twirl” was inspired by a phone call that Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas’ wife Ginni made to Anita Hill, who had accused him of sexual harassment years early (though it does not purport to be about the Thomases and Hill, per se).

The Nutley Little Theatre will present “Clark Gable Slept Here,” Feb. 11-13, 18-20 and 24-26. Michael McKeever’s 2014 play is a dark comedy about behind-the-scenes maneuvering when a male prostitute is found dead in a Hollywood star’s hotel room, the night of the Golden Globes awards show.


“Clue” at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn (Through Feb. 20)

“The Promotion” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch (Through Feb. 20)

“On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Feb. 27)

“Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985-1993” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through March 13)

“Bruce Springsteen Live!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through March 20)

“In Time and In Tide” by Armisey Smith and “Red Portraits” by Caren King Choi at Gallery Aferro, Newark. (Through April 1)


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


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