Here is a guide to notable arts events taking place throughout the state, through April 4.
• Harry Connick Jr. will appear in the world premiere musical production of “The Sting” that will be presented at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, beginning previews on March 29, officially opening on April 8, and running through April 29. The production will be based on the hit 1973 film that co-starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford as con men in 1936 Chicago, and won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Connick will play Henry Gondorff, the character portrayed by Newman. In addition to new songs, the production will feature music by Scott Joplin, including “The Entertainer,” the ragtime piece that was adapted by Marvin Hamlisch for the film, and became a Top 10 hit single.
• Bob Makin started writing his Makin Waves column 30 years ago, at the East Coast Rocker (now the Aquarian Weekly), and he’s still writing it today, for NJArts.net and other outlets. He’ll celebrate the anniversary with a 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. March 31 concert at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park featuring many musicians he has written about, including Williams Honor, The Vansaders, Colossal Street Jam, Nalani & Sarina, the Upstage Jam Band (featuring Paul Whistler, Vini Lopez, Joe Petillo and Billy Ryan), Deal Casino, Karen Mansfield, Mike Brody, Sutton Thomas, Tom Kanach, Leeds and Mike Daly & the Planets. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight March 27 with the word “Makin” in the subject line.)
• The Jersey band Lowlight got a nice break by landing the opening slot for a seven-show East Coast tour by The Pretenders in late March and early April. Dates will include March 30 at 8 p.m. at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank and April 2 at 8 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
• The sixth annual Hub City Music Festival, benefiting the Elijah’s Promise hunger organization, will include events throughout New Brunswick, all through the month of April, starting with a performance by psychedelic Afro-Cuban surf jazz band Noordzo, April 3 at 5 p.m., in the Art After Hours series at the Zimmerli Art Museum.
• The Glen Ridge Train Station, originally constructed in 1887, will become a 90-capacity music venue for its new, monthly Singer-Songwriter Series, which begins with a double bill of Zach Russack and Joe Cirotti, March 31 at 8 p.m.
• “Million Dollar Quartet” is a high-energy, crowd-pleasing jukebox musical loosely based on a 1956 jam session at which Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash sang and played together. A Tony-winning production ran on Broadway in 2010 and 2011, and a touring version comes to the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
• Comedian and actor Mike Epps will release a book, “Unsuccessful Thug: One Comedian’s Journey from Naptown to Tinseltown,” on March 27, and sign copies of it at Bookends in Ridgewood, March 29 at 6 p.m. (Naptown is a nickname for his original hometown, Indianapolis.)
• James Davis — creator and star of the Comedy Central show, “Hood Adjacent” — will perform stand-up at the Wilkins Theatre at Kean University in Union, April 4 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the Kean Stage series. The phrase “hood adjacent” was inspired by the fact that James Davis grew up in South Central Los Angeles, close to but not in the area considered the ghetto. Davis’ other credits include writing for “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and performing in Kevin Hart’s satirical series, “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to email@example.com by midnight April 1, with the word “Davis” in the subject line.)
• Autism Awareness Day is April 2, and in honor of it, the Newton Theatre will screen the recently released movie “Please Stand By,” featuring Dakota Fanning as an autistic writer, April 2-3 at 7 p.m. (see trailer below)
• “Anger/Appetite/Ambition/Art: A Symposium on Women Innovators in the Arts” will take place March 28 at the Conference Center at Montclair State University, with photographer Carrie Mae Weems giving a speech at 10 a.m., and a panel discussion at 1 p.m. with innovators from the worlds of dance (Ana “Rokafella” Garcia), theater (Stacy Klein, founder of Double Edge Theater), and music (Allison Miller).
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