Top 10 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Suzanne Vega, ‘Riverdance,’ more

by JAY LUSTIG
rodrigo gabriela nj

EBRU YILDIZ

Rodrigo y Gabriela will perform in Newark, April 15, and Glassboro, April 16.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through April 21.

MUSIC

• Rodrigo y Gabriela — the dynamic Mexican acoustic guitar duo whose last album, 2019’s Mettavolution, won the Contemporary Instrumental Album Grammy in 2020 — will perform at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, April 15 at 8 p.m., and at Pfleeger Concert Hall at Rowan University in Glassboro, April 16 at 8 p.m. Influenced by heavy metal and classic-rock, the Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero have covered songs by bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Metallica, and their 2021 cover of Metallica’s “The Struggle Within” was Grammy-nominated in the Instrumental or A Cappella Arrangement category.

Suzanne Vega, who released a live album titled An Evening of New York Songs and Stories in 2020, will present a concert with the same name at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, April 21 at 7:30 p.m., with accompaniment by her longtime guitarist Gerry Leonard. The album contains some of her signature songs (“Luka,” “Tom’s Diner,” “Marlene on the Wall”) as well as lesser known material such as “New York Is a Woman,” “New York Is My Destination” and “Ludlow Street” and a cover of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to njartscontest@gmail.com by noon April 18 with the word “Vega” in the subject line.)

The Lewis Center for the Arts and Department of Music at Princeton University will present an open-to-the-public master class with the inventive jazz guitarist (and Princeton alumnus) Stanley Jordan, April 21 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lee Music Room at the Lewis Arts complex.

DEBBIE GRAVITTE

The “American Songbook at NJPAC” series — which features Broadway and cabaret stars performing classics from the Great American Songbook, and talking about them — returns to the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark, April 21 at 7 p.m. (with Melissa Errico and Debbie Gravitte) and April 22 at 7 p.m. (with James Monroe Iglehart and Jim Dale). Ted Chapin, who served as president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization from 1981 to 2021, will host and interview the artists, and the shows will be taped for later broadcast on NJ PBS.

Pianist Maria Yefimova will present a lecture and recital celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Russian composer and pianist Alexander Scriabin, April 15 at 2 p.m. at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College in Toms River. The event is free, though advance registration is required.

THEATER

The “Genesis Festival of New Voices and New Plays,” presented by the Crossroads Theatre Company at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, will feature hour-long staged readings of excerpts from new works by Guy Davis, Richard Wesley, Divinity Roxx, Gabriel Bámgbósé, Seret Scott and Abena P. A. Busia. The readings will take place April 15-16, 19-20 and 22-23 at 7 p.m.

NEXTstage Repertory will present “Head Over Heels,” a musical featuring songs by The Go-Go’s and from Go-Go’s singer Belinda Carlisle’s solo career — including “We Got the Beat,” “Vacation,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” — at the Sitnik Theatre at Lackland Performing Arts Center, Hackettstown, April 21 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., April 22-23 and 29-30 at 8 p.m., and April 23-24 and May 1 at 2 p.m. “Head Over Heels” ran on Broadway in 2018.

Gandini Juggling presents “Smashed2” in Montclair, April 21-24.

DANCE/THEATER

As part of the Peak Performances series, the London-based Gandini Juggling troupe will present “Smashed2” at the Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, April 21-22 at 7:30 p.m., April 23 at 8 p.m., and April 24 at 3 p.m. (see video below) Like “Smashed,” presented by Peak Performances in 2018, “Smashed2” combines elements of theater, modern dance and juggling, with dazzling precision and, at times, goofy humor.

• “Riverdance” will bring its 25th anniversary tour, featuring a “reimagined” version of the show (celebrating traditional Irish dance and music, as well as dance and music from other cultures around the world) to the State Theatre in New Brunswick, April 19-21 at 8 p.m. Children of original “Riverdance” cast members will be featured, as will TikTok sensations Matthew and Michael Gardiner, and Morgan Bullock. The 25th anniversary tour began in 2020 but was interrupted because of the pandemic.

FAMILY

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison will present abridged, family-oriented productions of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” April 16 and 10 at 11 a.m., and Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet,” April 16 and 30 at 2 p.m.

REVIEWS

“The Maximum Minimum” at Gallery Space, Rahway. (Through April 15)

“The Niceties” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through April 17)

“The Wanderer” at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn. (Through April 24)

“Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision” at Newark Museum of Art. (Through May 8)
“Elizabeth Colomba: Repainting the Story,” presented by Princeton University Art Museum at Bainbridge House, Princeton. (Through May 8)

“Tenacity & Resilience: The Art of Jerry Pinkney” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 26)

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