Top 10 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Ukraine benefits, Jimmy Webb, NJ Festival Orchestra, more

voices for ukraine benefit nj

The Strand Center for the Arts in Lakewood presents a benefit, “Voices for Ukraine,” March 27.

The Strand Center for the Arts in Lakewood will host a benefit titled “Voices for Ukraine,” March 27 from noon to 6 p.m. Performers will include veteran singer rock and R&B singers JT Bowen, the rock band The Wag, the Irish-American band Ballyhaunis, Daly Irish Dance, and performers from local churches and police and fire departments and the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh organization. Proceeds will go to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in Lviv, the Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund, and Agudath Israel of America.

Also, the Jersey City Theater Center and the Ukrainian JC organization will present a benefit featuring Ukrainian and Jersey City Artists, “Stand With Ukraine,” March 24 at 6 p.m. at Jersey City Theater Center Studios. Offerings will include music by the folk group Ukrainian Village Voices, jazz pianist Fima Chupakhin’s quartet and singer-songwriter Sylvana Joyce; and readings by Olena Jennings, Vasyl Makhno, Susan Justiniano/RescuePoetix and Oksana Rosenblum.

Looking a little further into the future, Jenks Club at Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant will host “Point Beach Cares: Concert for Ukraine,” April 10 at 5 p.m., with Bobby Bandiera & Friends, Steve Forbert, The Ukrainian Chorus of Dumka of New York, JoBonanno & the Godsons, The Eddie Testa Band, Green Secret and more. Proceeds will go to the international charity organizations Caritas and World Central Kitchen.

Here is a roundup of other arts events taking place around the state, through March 31.




Jimmy Webb is best known as a songwriter, whose songs such as “MacArthur Park,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Up, Up and Away” and “Galveston” have become big hits for other artists. But he has also been a recording artist, releasing albums of his own songs since 1968, though his latest album, 2019’s SlipCover, was made up mostly of songs written and originally recorded by others (including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and The Beach Boys). He’ll sing, accompanying himself on piano, at the Avenel Performing Arts Center, March 27 at 3 p.m.

Pianist Inon Barnatan will play all five Beethoven piano concertos with the New Jersey Symphony over four days, beginning March 31 at 1:30 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark with the Piano Concerto No. 1 and Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor.” Barnatan and the Symphony will repeat this program April 1 at 8 p.m. at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, then play the second, third and fourth Beethoven piano concertos at NJPAC, April 2 at 8 p.m., and the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, April 3 at 3 p.m. New Jersey Symphony music director Xian Zhang will conduct.

The New Jersey Festival Orchestra will present a program titled “Voices From the Artic,” March 26 at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Westfield, and March 27 at 3 p.m. at The Concert Hall at Drew University in Madison. David Wroe will conduct and Jaewon Kim will be featured on violin, and the program will include works by Finnish composers Einojuhani Rautavaara (Cantus Arcticus III, Swans migrating) and Jean Sibelius (Violin Concerto in D minor), as well as Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique.

Pianist Yifei Xu will discuss the program in pre-concert lectures, an hour before each event.


 The Seldom Scene, one of the most popular bands in the progressive bluegrass scene since the early 1970s, performs at Roy’s Hall in Blairstown, March 26 at 8 p.m., with the Joe Cirotti Trio opening. The group’s lineup has changed many times over the last 50 years; current members include Ron Stewart on banjo and fiddle, Dudley Connell on guitar, Fred Travers on dobro, Lou Reid on mandolin and Ronnie Simpkins on bass. Reid is the longest-tenured member, having joined in 1986.


Paul Schrader, best known as a screenwriter (“Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “The Last Temptation of Christ”) and film director (“First Reformed,” “American Gigolo,” “Blue Collar”), is also a playwright. And the Black Box Performing Arts Center in Englewood will produce his Cairo-set crime story, “The Cleopatra Club,” March 24-27 and 31 and April 1-3 and 7-10 at 8 p.m.


Passage Theatre Company will present “Junior High #2: The Hedgepeth-Williams Story” at Hedgepeth Williams Middle School in Trenton, March 31 and April 1 at 7:30 p.m. and April 2-3 at 3 p.m. This new family-oriented production, recommended for ages 10 and older, is based on the true 1940s story of Gladys Hedgepeth and Berline Williams challenging the policy of segregation at this middle school (then known as Junior High No. 2), which led to the New Jersey Supreme Court decision to ban segregation in the state’s schools. This play was created by Passage Theatre in partnership with a group of the school’s seventh-graders, and will be performed by the students along with professional actors.

All performances will be followed by talkbacks with the actors and others involved in the production.

The play will also be available via Internet stream.

• The Rock and Roll Playhouse is a New York-based group that plays music of musical icons — everyone from ABBA to The Grateful Dead — for children in the 1-7 range. March 27 at noon, they will play the songs of Bruce Springsteen at The Vogel at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank.


“The Bridges of Madison County” at Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal. (Through March 27)

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

“Black & White to Magnificent Color!,” group show at Watchung Arts Center (Through April 9)

“Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985-1993” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through April 10)

“Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision” at Newark Museum of Art. (Through May 8)

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


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