Top 10 NJ Arts Events of Week: Exit Zero Jazz Fest, Hoboken Arts and Music Fest, Anita Baker, more

by JAY LUSTIG
samara joy exit zero

MEREDITH TRUAX

SAMARA JOY

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through May 11.

MUSIC

The spring edition of the biannual Exit Zero Jazz Festival takes place May 5-7, on five stages throughout Cape May: Convention Hall, the Convention Hall Deck, Rotary Park, Carney’s Main Room, and Carney’s Other Room. As always, the music will not be confined to jazz, but also touch on Latin music, funk, R&B and more.

Performers will include Samara Joy (this year’s Grammy winner for Best New Artist), Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Carlos Henriquez’s “Tito Puente & Tito Rodríguez Centennial Celebration,” Adonis Rose & the Big Easy All-Stars, Orrin Evans, Camille Thurman, Charlie Sepulveda & the Turnaround, Ocean Avenue Stompers, Brother Joscephus & the Love Revolution, Joanna Pascale, Brassville and others.

The Loser’s Lounge — the long-running New York collective that is led by keyboardist Joe McGinty and specializes in pop and rock covers from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s — will headline this year’s spring edition of the free, biannual Hoboken Arts and Music Festival, taking place on May 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They will present a tribute to The Kinks, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The festival, which runs on Washington Street in downtown Hoboken from the Observer Highway to Seventh Street, features two music stages in addition to arts and food vendors, children’s activities and more all along Washington Street. Other performers will include Cliff Westfall, Elk City, Frankie Morales & the Mambo of the Times Orchestra, The Brooklyners and Hudson City Rats.

ANITA BAKER

• Anita Baker — who released her debut album The Songstress, featuring her first hit, “No More Tears,” 40 years ago — will bring her Songstress Tour to the Prudential Center in Newark, May 10 at 7 p.m., with Babyface opening. The tour’s only other currently scheduled New Jersey show won’t be until the fall, when Baker performs at the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Nov. 24.

Norm Lewis, a Tony Award nominee (for “Porgy and Bess”), will perform at the Vanguard Theater Company’s 2023 Gala, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Upper Montclair. Students from Vanguard’s VTC Next programs also will perform, and Lin-Manuel Miranda has provided a video introduction for the evening. In conjunction with the gala, there will be an online auction with vacation packages, Broadway tickets and more, that ends May 6 at 10 p.m.

• “Shore to Rock Hunger,” a benefit for the Fulfill food bank (formerly known as the FoodBank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties), will take place at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, May 11 at 7:30 p.m., with Southside Johnny, Jesse Malin, Jill Hennessy and Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner among the performers. Disc jockey Tom Cunningham (whose weekly “Springsteen on Sunday” show can be heard on 107.1 The Boss), Jeff Kazee (of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes) and Brian Kirk (of the band Brian Kirk & the Jirks) will be honored for their support of Fulfill. Kazee also will perform (with his Early Elton trio, devoted to the early songs of Elton John), as will Kirk.

JOHN PIZZARELLI

The John Pizzarelli Big Band will present a tribute to jazz singer-guitarist Pizzarelli’s late father, the great guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli (who died in 2020, at the age of 94), May 5 at 8 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.

John Pizzarelli will also perform with his trio (featuring bassist Mike Karn and pianist Isaiah J. Thompson) in a show featuring songs from his new album Stage & Screen at The Vogel at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. Stage & Screen includes both classic songs (such as “Where or When,” “Just in Time” and “As Time Goes By” written for Broadway and film musicals as well as relatively new songs such as “When Somebody Loved Me” (from “Toy Story 2”) and “I Love Betsy” (from “Honeymoon in Vegas”).

Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan will make a guest appearance with the Matt O’Ree Band, May 5 at 7 p.m. at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Singer-songwriter-guitarist O’Ree was a touring guitarist with Bon Jovi in 2015.

Music was a vital component of the ’90s TV series “Twin Peaks,” and SModcastle Cinemas in Atlantic Highlands will recognize that May 7 at 7 p.m. with concert titled “The Music of Twin Peaks Live,” featuring the musicians Audra Mariel, Chris Alfano, Cody McCorry, Kevin Grossman, Mike Noordzy, Mya Anitai and Steve Honoshowsky, led by Rolando Alvarado. According to the SModcastle website, the show “celebrates the transcendent soundscapes, iconic themes, and deepest cuts from David Lynch’s acclaimed series.”

JENNY ANDERSON

VICKI LEWIS

THEATER

Vicki Lewis — who starred as Beth in the ’90s sitcom “NewsRadio” and also has appeared in Broadway musicals such as “Anastasia,” “Chicago” and “Damn Yankees” — will be among the cast members of “The Prom,” which is being presented at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal from May 5 to May 21. John Scherer, who starred in “By Jeeves” on Broadway, will also appear in the musical, which is about four Broadway actors who travel to a conservative town in Indiana to help a lesbian high school student fighting to be able to bring her girlfriend to the prom.

FILM

In celebration of the great director Orson Welles’ birthday (which is May 6), the Barrymore Film Center in Fort Lee will offer rare opportunities to see four of his classic films on the big screen: “Touch of Evil,” May 5 at 7:15 p.m.: “The Stranger,” May 6 at 2:45 p.m.; “Citizen Kane,” May 6 at 7 p.m.; and “The Magnificent Ambersons,” May 7 at 2:30 p.m.

REVIEWS

“ANΩNYMO,” presented by Amorphy dance company, choreographed by Tzeni Argyriou, at Kasser Theater at Montclair State University. Part of the Peak Performances series. (Through May 7)

“Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express” at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn. (Through May 14)

“Tales From the Guttenberg Bible,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through May 21)

“Balloonacy” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through May 21)

“Shelley” at Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken. (Through May 21)

“Jairo Alfonso: Objectscapes” at Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit. (Through June 4)

“vanessa german: … please imagine all the things i cannot say …” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 25)

“Ladies and Gentlemen … The Beatles!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through June 25)

“Komar and Melamid: A Lesson in History” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through July 16)

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

“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, 2024)

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