Top 10 NJ Arts Events of the Week: TidalWave fest, Guns N’ Roses, ‘Avenue Q,’ more

TIDALWave preview

Ronnie Dunn, left, and Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn.

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


Brooks & Dunn, Thomas Rhett, Jelly Roll, Dustin Lynch, Jo Dee Messina and the newly controversial “Try That in a Small Town” singer Jason Aldean will be among the performers at the TidalWave Music Festival, taking place on the beach in Atlantic City, Aug. 11-13. More than 30 artists will perform on two stages over the festival’s three days.

This will be the festival’s second year. Last year’s inaugural event featured Morgan Wallen, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Chase Rice and others.

In the weird concert combinations department … Guns N’ Roses headline at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m., with The Pretenders opening. Guns N’ Roses has released just one album of original songs in the last 30 years (2008’s Chinese Democracy), and has gone through many lineup changes, but toured steadily in recent years, with three original members (singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan) joined by keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Melissa Reese, guitarist Richard Fortus, and drummer Frank Ferrer.

The Pretenders also headline at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.



Endea Owens, best known as the bassist for the house band of television’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” will headline the Montclair Jazz Festival‘s free “Block Party” at Lackawanna Plaza, Aug. 12 from noon to 10 p.m. Other performers will include guitarist Charlie Sigler; Christian McBride, who will spin records under the name DJ Brother Mister; and students and alumni of Jazz House Kids educational programs. A Family Jazz Discovery Zone, with activities for children, will also be offered from noon to 5 p.m.

The main day for the Montclair Jazz Festival will be Sept. 9, with Regina Carter, Antibalas, Steve Turre, Edmar Castañeda, and others.

The Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center will present a tribute to the great pop composer Burt Bacharach, who died in February, at Lincoln Harbor Park in Weehawken, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. Singers Imani Rousselle, Felicia Temple and Ben Jones will be backed by a five-piece band led by pianist John Di Martino. There is no admission charge.

John Gallagher Jr., a Tony-winning actor (for “Spring Awakening”) whose other Broadway credits include “American Idiot” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” will perform original music at Remember Jones’ second annual “Summer Slay!” concert at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. Remember Jones will headline with a full-band set, other performers will include Blaise (with guests Heather Hills and David Ross Lawn) and Tony & the Kiki, and drag performers Jolina Jasmine and Tastie will co-host.

The Demolition String Band will host “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” a free night of classic country music — by Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and others — at Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. The long lineup of guest performers will include Laura Cantrell, Karyn Kuhl, Tammy Faye Starlite, Queen Esther, Jon and Deena of The Cucumbers, Heidi Leib and Steve Strunsky of the Lonesome Prairie Dogs, Glenn Morrow and Rebecca Turner.


The Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan will present the gleefully subversive musical “Avenue Q” — a sometimes raunchy comedy in which some characters are human and some are Muppet-like puppets — Aug. 12-13 and 18-20. There is a sweet love story at the musical’s core, though co-creators Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (music and lyrics) and Jeff Whitty (book) touch on potentially controversial subjects in songs such as “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet Is for Porn.”



The fourth annual, free New Brunswick Heart Festival, taking place Aug. 12 from 3 to 6 p.m. on Livingston Avenue in downtown New Brunswick, will feature a wide variety of family-oriented arts performances and activities, including appearances by the band Hot Peas ‘n Butter, tap dancer Omar Edwards and his band The New York Jazz Gypsies, the R&B/jazz band LMNOP and spoken word artists Rashad Wright and Queena and, as well as backstage tours of the State Theatre, a sculpture exhibition by Liu Shiming at Mason Gross Galleries, dance classes, craft and food vendors, balloon animals, face painting, a health and wellness tent, and more.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will kick off its new Classics for Kids! series with “an elaborately staged reading” of “The Little Prince,” using Rick Cummins and John Scoullar’s 2000 stage version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella. The event will take place on Aug. 12 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre at Drew University in Madison. STNJ artistic director Bonnie J. Monte will direct and cast members will include veterans of many past TNJ productions such as Jon Barker, Greg Jackson, Isaac Hickox-Young and Billie Wyatt, as well as Peri Gilpin, best known for co-starring in the sitcom “Frasier” as the title character’s friend and co-worker Roz.

Future offerings in the Classics for Kids! series will include a Tanglewood Marionettes production of “The Dragon King,” Nov. 4, and a staged reading of “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen, Dec. 16.

The cover of Poor Righteous Teachers’ 1991 album, “Pure Poverty.”


The rap group Poor Righteous Teachers, known for their socially and politically aware lyrics, had some minor hits in the ’90s, and brought some national attention to the Trenton hip-hop scene. Members will participate in a free event, “Manifest the Rhyme: A Public Talkback with the Poor Righteous Teachers,” which will be presented by Passage Theatre at the Mill Hill Playhouse in Trenton, Aug. 13 at noon.


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

“A Tailor Near Me” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through Sept. 3)

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

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

“Victor Ekpuk: Language and Lineage,” presented by Princeton University Art Museum at Bainbridge House, Princeton. (Through Oct. 8)

“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)


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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