Top 10 NJ Arts Events of Week: ‘Return of the Jedi’ with NJ Symphony; Drake; more

jedi with nj symphony

“Return of the Jedi” will be shown with live music by New Jersey Symphony in Morristown, Red Bank, New Brunswick and Newark.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around New Jersey, through April 4.


The 1983 film “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi” will screen, with The New Jersey Symphony (conducted by Nicholas Hersh) performing the John Williams-written, Oscar-nominated score live, at The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, April 4 at 7:30 p.m.; The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, April 5 at 8 p.m.; The State Theatre in New Brunswick, April 6 at 8 p.m.; and Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, April 7 at 3 p.m.


• Drake will end his It’s All A Blur Tour: Big As the What? tour with shows at The Prudential Center in Newark, April 4-5 at 8 p.m., with Lil Wayne and Lil Durk opening. Drake’s October album For All the Dogs received mixed reviews but features a slew of hit singles: “Slime You Out,” “8AM in Charlotte,” “Rich Baby Daddy,” “First Person Shooter” and “You Broke My Heart.”

Violist Wil B and violinist Kev Marcus — both classically trained, though their music combines influences from hip-hop, R&B and other forms of music, in addition to classical — will bring their group, Black Violin, to BergenPAC in Englewood, April 4 at 8 p.m., with the Sudanese-American musician Sinkane opening. Black Violin has received two Grammy nominations: one in 2021 for Take the Stairs, in the Contemporary Instrumental Album category; and one for their “The Message” collaboration with The Blind Boys of Alabama, last year, in the Americana Performance category.

New Orleans’ long-lived, funky, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band has three New Jersey appearances booked over two days: Concerts at The Vogel at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, March 29 at 8 p.m., and The South Orange Performing Arts Center, March 30 at 8 p.m., as well as a jazz brunch at The Vogel, March 30 at noon.


Violinist Joshua Bell, the music director of the London-based Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields chamber orchestra, will conduct and perform with the orchestra at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, March 30 at 3 p.m. The program will include Mozart’s Le nozze de Figaro Overture; Brahms’ Violin Concerto; and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2.

Also, at 2 p.m., George Marriner Maull of the New Jersey-based Discovery Orchestra will give a talk about the music to be performed, at NJPAC’s Chase Room. The talk can be attended at no additional charge by all ticket holders.


The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn will present the musical “Gun & Powder,” with previews beginning April 4, the official opening night on April 14, and the last show on May 5.

According to a press release, the musical — which had its world premiere at The Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, in 2020 — was “inspired by the true story of Mary and Martha Clarke, African American twin sisters who take extraordinary measures to settle their mother’s sharecropper debt and save her home. In 1893 Texas, the Sisters Clarke — passing as white — embark on a remarkable Wild West adventure that examines race, family, and identity with two electrifying women who transformed from farm girls to outlaws to legends.”

For a “sneak peek,” see the video below.


March 30 at 7 p.m. (the night before Easter Sunday), Cape May Stage will offer a free screening of the classic 1948 movie “Easter Parade” (co-starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire).

“Creative Easter attire” is encouraged, complimentary Easter treats will be served and there will be no admission charge, though non-perishable food donations and cash donations will be collected, to be given to the Cape May Community Food Closet.


The South Orange Performing Arts Center will present Moving Into the Future: New Jersey Choreographers’ Festival, in partnership with The State Council for the Arts, April 2-4.

The Moving Into the Future: New Jersey Choreographers’ Festival, taking place April 2-4 at 6 p.m. at The South Orange Performing Arts Center, will feature works by the following choreographers: Eun Hee Ahn (Korean Traditional Dance of Choomnoori), Heidi Cruz-Austin (DanceSpora), morgaine ann de leonardis, Loretta Fois, Cleo Mack (Rock Dance Collective), Gomathi Manoj (Soundarya Natya Kalalaya), Kevin McEwen (Kofago Dance Ensemble), Sameena Mitta (MeenMoves), Samuel Pott (Nimbus Dance Works), Ramya Ramnarayan Tirumala, Ariel Grossman (Ariel Rivka Dance), Charly (mignolo dance), Amber Sloan, Estrell x Supernova and Simone McCrear (winner of SOPAC’s Paul Bartick Emerging Artist Award). After their works are performed, the choreographers will talk about them.

The festival is being presented in partnership with The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the choreographers have won artistic fellowships from the Council, receiving financial support from it after being selected by an independent peer panel.

“It is a longstanding priority of the Council’s to not only support New Jersey artists, but to help ensure their work is experienced by communities and audiences across the state,” said the Council’s executive director, Allison Tratner, in a press release.


• “Free First Thursday” at The Montclair Art Museum, April 4 from 5 to 9 p.m., will include guided tours of the museum’s exhibitions, food trucks, a cash bar, and Miriam Jacobs giving a demonstration on fabric printmaking (see video below), with no admission charge.

Actress Valerie Bertinelli will sign copies of her new book “Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share,” April 3 at 6 p.m. at Books & Greetings in Northvale. Bertinelli has appeared as a host or judge on several Food Network shows and written five previous books.


“Rabbit Summer” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through March 30)

“A Trojan Woman” at Luna Stage, West Orange. (Through March 31)

“Caroline Burton: Way Finding” at New Jersey State Museum, Trenton. (Through March 31)

“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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