Top 10 Arts Events of the Week: ‘Dreaming Zenzile,’ NJ Symphony, APEX Ensemble, more

somi dreaming zenzile

Somi will star in “Dreaming Zenzile” at the McCartre Theatre Center in Princeton.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Jan. 20.


Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Somi stars as the late Miriam Makeba in the musical “Dreaming Zenzile,” which will be presented at the Berlind Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, Jan. 15-16, 19-23 and 25-30 and Feb. 1-6 and 8-13. Somi also wrote this new work. The premise, according to the McCarter website, is that “At her final concert, South African musical legend and activist Miriam Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and the consciousness of a people. But the ancestors are calling — transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation.”

Makeba’s full birth name was Zenzile Miriam Makeba.

• “Rent,” the groundbreaking musical that opened on Broadway in 1996, will be celebrated with a 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour that comes to the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Jan. 19-20, and the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Jan. 21-23. The “Farewell” in the tour’s title refers to the fact that this will be the last shows for this particular production (which began as a 20th anniversary tour, in 2016).

The Vanguard Theater Company in Montclair had to delay its production of the late Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” because of the pandemic, but will present it Jan. 14-16 and 21-23. The musical, based on several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, won three Tonys after it opened on Broadway in 1987, and was made into a film in 2014.

Vladimir Feltsman will perform with the New Jersey Symphony, Jan. 14-16.


Vladimir Feltsman will play Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony, conducted by Andrey Boreyko, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. at the Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, and Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark. The program will also include Thomas Adès’ Shanty — Over the Sea (an NJS co-commission, in its world premiere); and Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1947).

The Light of Day festival has been postponed from January to March, though one event will be taking place as originally planned. E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg’s Max Weinberg’s Jukebox band will play classic-rock covers, by request, at the City Winery in New York, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.

Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City presents an All-Stars of Hip-Hop show, Jan. 16, featuring KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Kid ‘n Play, Roxanne Shanté, DJ Kid Capri, Mystikal, Uncle Luke, DJ Kool and The Alumni (featuring Greg Nice, Kwamé, Dana Dane and Monie Love) at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City.

The APEX Ensemble (formerly known as the Montclair Orchestra) performs at the Central Presbyterian Church in Montclair, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m., with music director David Chan conducting a program that will include Mendelssohn’s “Fair Melusina” Overture; Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. New York Philharmonic violinist Frank Huang will join the ensemble, and the music will be complemented by readings by Ari Laura Kreith, artistic director of Luna Stage in West Orange.

The program is titled “Immortal Beloved” and, according to promotional material, the music “explores love in all its forms.”

The orchestra will also a live stream via its website, and is selling tickets (click here) for a rehearsal at the church, Jan. 13 at 11 a.m.

The Centenary Stage Company‘s January Thaw Music Festival begins Jan. 15 at 8 p.m., with a concert by The Blue Dahlia at the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center in Hackettstown. Led by singer-songwriter and ukulele player Dahlia Dumont (who divides her time between Paris and New York), the band plays music influenced by jazz and French chanson, as well as klezmer, reggae, ska and more. (see video below)

The concert will also be streamed live via YouTube.


• Constantine Maroulis, who was nominated for a Tony in 2009 for his work in Broadway’s “Rock of Ages,” will perform with musicians featured in that show — including guitarists Joel Hoekstra (of Whitesnake and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and Tommy Kessler (of Blondie), and bassist Winston Roye (of Soul Asylum) — in a group billed as Broadway’s Rock of Ages Band at the URSB Carteret Performing Arts and Events Center, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. (For a chance to win two tickets, email by 11 a.m. Jan. 12, with “Ages” in the subject line.)


The “Dancing with the Stars: Dare to Be Different” tour, inspired by the hit TV series, comes to the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Jan. 11-12 at 7:30 p.m.; the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Jan. 19 at 8 p.m.; and the Event Center at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. The show will feature professional dancers from the show, including Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Artem Chigvintsev, Sasha Farber, Koko Iwasaki, Daniella Karagach, Pasha Pashkov, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, Britt Stewart and Sofia Ghavami. Plus there will be special guests. Kaitlyn Bristowe, who won the 2020 DWTS season with partner Chigvintsev after appearing on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” in 2015, will perform at all the New Jersey shows. Iman Shumpert, the professional basketball player who won the 2021 DWTS season with partner Karagach, also will perform in Morristown.


“1+1” at Black Box Performing Arts Center, Englewood. (Through Jan. 23)

“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)


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