Top 10 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Gogol Bordello, ‘The Nutcracker,’ more

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at the Prudential Center in Newark, Dec. 23.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Dec. 30.

(UPDATE: After this was posted, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Jersey City Nutcracker” were cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns.)


• Trans-Siberian Orchestra will present its unique progressive-rock holiday show, “Christmas Eve and Other Stories,” at the Prudential Center in Newark, Dec. 22 at 3 and 8 p.m. New staging and special effects are promised for the show, which is basically a rock opera about an angel sent to Earth with the mission of bringing back the Christmas spirit. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the group’s Christmas Eve and Other Stories album, its debut, which sold more than 3 million copies.

The Wonder Bar will present two shows billed as “What a Wonderful Year,” Dec. 29-30 at 7 p.m., with proceeds benefiting the local non-profit organizations Asbury Park African-American Music Project and Asbury Park Dinner Table. Dec. 29 performers will include Shady Street Show Band and Des & the Swagmatics (performing together), Dentist, The Mercury Brothers, Bobby Mahoney & the Seventh Son, Fake Pockets, Natalie Farrell, Chill Smith, Heather Hills, Soulfood and Dano. The Dec. 30 lineup is: The Foes of Fern, Alexander Simone & Whodat?, Jarod Clemons & the Late Nights, The Extensions, Flexiglass, Mister Tickle Hands, Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise, Renee Maskin, Jeff Linden and Dracula Kitty.



• Gogol Bordello will bring its boisterous gypsy-punk sound to the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m., and undoubtedly play its latest single, the typically high-energy “Roaring 2020s” (see video below). NuFolk Rebel Alliance will open.


There are a few more opportunities to catch “The Nutcracker” this holiday season.

New Jersey Ballet will team with the New Jersey Symphony for shows at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Dec. 22-23 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 24 at 1 p.m., and Dec. 26 at 1 and 6 p.m. (the Dec. 22 performance also will be available as a live stream).

Also, Nimbus Dance will present the “Jersey City Nutcracker” at the Nimbus Arts Center in Jersey City, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 23 at 3 and 7 p.m. This  “Nutcracker” is set in Jersey City itself, with choreography by Samuel Pott and featuring animated scene projections — of streets, parks, City Hall and so on — by Jersey City-based video artists Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger.


Middlesex County’s Plays-in-the-Park, which produces shows every summer outdoors at the Stephen J. Capestro Theatre at Roosevelt Park in Edison, will do something a little different this week, presenting “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Dec. 26-28 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. Dec. 26 matinee as well. The first version of the musical, which is about the Biblical character Joseph (from Genesis), was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice before the pair achieved renown with “Jesus Christ Superstar,” but wasn’t produced in its full form until after “Jesus Christ Superstar” became a hit.


Comedian Chris Gethard will present a live version of his “New Jersey Is the World” podcast, featuring comedic discussion of all things New Jersey, at House of Independents in Asbury Park, Dec. 26 at 7 p.m. Don Fanelli, Carson Kopp, Nick B and Mike D will also be featured.

“Jurassic Quest” will be presented in Edison through Jan. 2.


“Jurassic Quest,” a touring exhibition featuring more than 100 life-sized, animatronic dinosaurs as well as interactive, dinosaur-related activities, comes to the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison, Dec. 29-30 and Jan. 1 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Dec. 31 and Jan. 2 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank will present Langston Hughes’ 1961 “Black Nativity,” a “song play” retelling the Nativity story via music, dance and poetry, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.


New Jersey Repertory Company has launched an online poetry center, titled Mermaid Tavern, that will feature various poets throughout the year. The first installment, now available at the theater company’s web site, features works by NJ Rep executive producer Gabor Barabas, read by actors Ames Adamson, Susan Maris and Mike Folie.


“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University, Madison. (Through Jan. 2)

“A Jolly Holiday: Celebrating Disney’s Broadway Hits” at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. (Through Jan. 2)

“Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through Jan. 2)

“Doug Herren: Color-Forms/Ceramic Structures” at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Jan. 9)

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

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


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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