Top 10 NJ Arts Events of Week: Joshua Bell, The Smithereens, ‘Having Our Say,’ more

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Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around New Jersey, through Nov. 30.


Joshua Bell will both conduct and play violin with the New Jersey Symphony, Nov. 30 at 1:30 p.m. and Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, and Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. The program will include Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Violin Concerto; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4.

“Giants of Jazz,” an annual series of tribute concerts organized by bassist John Lee at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, will return Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. with a show honoring pianist Kenny Barron. Among the many musicians who will be on hand to pay homage are Johnathan Blake, Bill Charlap, Cyrus Chestnut, Paquito D’Rivera, Steve Davis, Dezron Douglas, Essiet Okon Essiet, Roberta Gambarini, Mark Gross, Freddie Hendrix, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, Jeb Patton, Renee Rosnes, Jon Regen, Rufus Reid, Evan Sherman, Terell Stafford, Erena Terakubo, Diego Urcola, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Lenny White and David Wong.

The New Jersey Hall of Fame-inducted rock group The Smithereens, featuring Robin Wilson of The Gin Blossoms on lead vocals, will perform at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Nov. 24, in a show that will also kick off the Asbury Park Toy Drive; new unwrapped toys will be collected at the door. Dead Äire, featuring Jim Monaghan of WDHA and Tom Kaminski of WCBS 880, will open the 7:45 p.m. show.



The Vanguard Theater in Montclair will present “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” from Nov. 30 to Dec. 17. The jukebox musical is set in Philadelphia in 1959, where Billie Holiday is making one of her last nightclub performances before her death, and features some of the great jazz singer’s trademark songs. Tracey Conyer Lee — who previously appeared in several other productions of this musical, elsewhere — will star as Holiday.

The bestselling book “Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years” — an oral history of sisters and Civil Rights activists Sarah “Sadie” L. Delany and A. Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, compiled by Amy Hill Hearth — was published in 1993, and Emily Mann adapted it into a play titled “Having Our Say” just a couple of years later. That play ran on Broadway in 1995, earning Mann a Tony nomination; Mann also wrote the screenplay for the 1999 TV film version.

As part of its current season, The George Street Playhouse will present Mann’s stage adaptation of “Having Our Say” at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 17.

The Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken will present the world premiere of “The Christmas Tree Farm” — Adam Szymkowicz’s holiday comedy, which is set, yes, on a Christmas tree farm — from Nov. 30 to Dec. 23.



Bruce Beasley’s “Dorion” with projections by Ricardo Rivera of The Klip Collective at Grounds for Sculpture.

Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton will present the third and final installment of its “Night Forms” series — in which those attending can stroll through the sculpture park at night, with images and lighting effects creatively projected onto the sculptures by Ricardo Rivera of the Philadelphia-based Klip Collective — from Nov. 24 to April 7.


Co-produced by the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and the Somerset-based Experiential Theatre Company, “Grimmz Fairy Tales” tells updated versions of classics such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel” and “Cinderella” via hip hop- and pop-flavored music, dance, and storytelling that’s laced with both humor and positive messages. It will be presented at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., and is recommended for children in grades K-8. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email with the word “Grimmz” in the subject line to by 10 a.m. Nov. 28.)


Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has hosted several science-oriented television series, will give a talk titled “This Just In: Latest Discoveries in the Universe,” Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark.

• The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University will present “When Pages Breathe,” a series of three events that have to do with oral interpretations of literary works.

Nov. 28 at 4:45 p.m., a solo performance, by Bryce Coley, of Kelvin’s Grullon’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” will be presented in the Lewis Center’s Drapkin Studio, followed by a discussion with the creative team.

Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. at the Lewis Center’s CoLab venue, Martyna Majok, who wrote the book for an upcoming musical adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” — a different adaptation from the one that premiered last month at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn — will discuss the process of literary adaptation.

Also, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7, a multimedia installation titled “When Pages Breathe: Immersive Elocution of Literature” will be on view at the CoLab. The installation explores works by Fitzgerald, Shakespeare and Toni Morrison, and incorporates visual art, music and projections.

All of the “When Pages Breathe” offerings are free, though tickets are required for Coley’s performance; visit


“Terri Fraser: I Am Here” at Whittemore, Tewksbury. (Through Dec. 9)

“Searching for Drama,” works by Allan Gorman at BrassWorks Gallery, Montclair. (Through Dec. 15)

“It’s Not Paint!,” works by Lisa Lackey at Hillside Square Gallery, Montclair. (Through Dec. 15)

“Dead Ringers: Portraits of Abandoned Payphones,” photographs by Amy Becker at Gallery Aferro. Newark. (Through Dec. 21)

“The Brodsky Center at Rutgers University: Three Decades, 1986-2017” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through Dec. 22)

“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)

“Night Forms” at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton. (Through April 7)

“George Inness: Visionary Landscapes” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 30)


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