Top 10 NJ Arts Events of Week: ‘The Lost Princess of Oz,’ UB40 and The Original Wailers, more

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Alyssa Harris and Lindsay Jorgensen in “The Lost Princess of Oz.”

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Aug. 25.


Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater presents a new multimedia dance musical, “The Lost Princess of Oz” — based on the 1917 novel of the same name, from L. Frank Baum’s “Oz series” — Aug. 19-21 and 26-28 at the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University in Long Branch. The libretto is by Shannon Hill, with an Appalachian-flavored score by Chris Becker, and AXCBT founder and director Gabriel Chajnik serves as choreographer. Reagan Richards and Gordon Brown of the country-rock duo Williams Honor will appear, respectively, as the story’s talking hen and as Baum, whose “Oz” series previously served as the basis for both the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz” and the hit musical “Wicked.”


After skipping two years because of the pandemic, the Freehold-based Surf, Lounge and Exotic Sounds label Hi-Tide will resume its annual Summer Holiday: Asbury Park festival, Aug. 19-21 at Asbury Lanes and The Asbury hotel, with bands including Los Straitjackets, Southern Culture on the Skids, Messer Chups, Man or Astro-Man?, Black Flamingos, Televisionaries, Slowey & The Boats, The Swingin’ Palms, Charlie Halloran & The Tropicales and others.

• The Playbillies will play bluegrass versions of Broadway songs, Aug. 24-27 at 7 p.m. at the Brookside Cabaret at the Carriage House restaurant at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. The band features Mike Rosengarten on banjo, Matt Cusack on bass, Armando Gutierrez on guitar and Erica Swindell on fiddle. (See a video below of them performing George and Ira Gershwin’s “Bidin’ My Time,” from “Girl Crazy.”)

Al Anderson, far left, and the Original Wailers will perform at NJPAC in Newark, Aug. 21.

Four reggae acts — UB40, The Original Wailers, Maxi Priest and Big Mountain — will perform at Prudential Hall of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. The Original Wailers feature Al Anderson, originally from Montclair, a guitarist who played on classic albums by Bob Marley & the Wailers and Peter Tosh, and toured extensively with Marley. UB40 features singer Matt Doyle, who joined last year, but also four musicians who were original members of the group in 1978: guitarist Robin Campbell, bassist Earl Falconer, drummer Jimmy Brown and percussionist Norman Hassan.

In celebration of the 118th anniversary of the birth of Red Bank native Count Basie, Jazz Arts Project will present a free show titled “One O’Clock Jump” (after one of Basie’s signature songs) and featuring performances by the Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band, The Chuck Lambert Band and the Jazz Arts Academy All Stars, Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. at Red Bank’s Johnny Jazz Park.

As you might guess from its name, the band Foreigners Journey, which is fronted by “American Idol” alumnus and Tony nominee (for “Rock of Ages”) Constantine Maroulis, plays the hits of two classic-rock bands that had impressive strings of hits from the mid-’70s to the late-80s, Foreigner and Journey. The group will perform at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m., as well as the URSB Carteret Performing Arts and Events Center, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m.

“Let It Be” — the musical, featuring Beatles songs, that ran on London’s West and Broadway in New York in 2012 and 2013, respectively — will have an extended run at Sound Waves at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Aug. 19-22 and 24-28.

Claudia Wells as Jennifer Parker in “Back to the Future.”


The Clairidge in Montclair will screen the 1985 blockbuster “Back to the Future,” Aug. 20 at 6 p.m., after a question-and-answer session with three actors who appeared in the film: Claudia Wells (who played Jennifer Parker, the girlfriend of the film’s hero, Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly), Harry Waters Jr. (who played bandleader Marvin Berry) and Donald Fullilove (who played Mayor Goldie Wilson). Also, the film’s DeLorean Time Machine will be on display outside the theater.


The Canal Day Music and Craft Festival, taking place Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hugh Force Canal Park in Wharton, will offer kayak and boat rides, a traveling zoo, arts and crafts displays, pony rides, fireworks and roots music on two stages, with artists including The Wag, Sonrise Mountain Revival, The Norton Smull Band, The Big Noise Brass Band, The Long Hill String Band, Loretta Hagen, Background Noise, The Pishy Cloots, and The Fabulous Rhythm Aces (featuring Son Lewis).

One of the standout players on the 1969 New York Mets’ World Series-winning team, Cleon Jones, has written a memoir, “Coming Home: My Amazing Life With the New York Mets,” and will sign it at Bookends in Ridgewood, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m.


“Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill: Photographs by Jerry Dantzic” at Newark Museum of Art. (Through Aug. 21)

“The Hummingbirds” at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch. (Through Aug. 28)

“Maxwell Mustardo: Dish-Oriented” at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Sept. 4)

“Land of the Free” at MANA Contemporary, Jersey City. Works by Vincent Valdez, Hugo Crosthwaite and Joe Minter. (Through Sept. 17)

“For the Culture, by the Culture: Thirty Years of Black Art, Activism, and Achievement” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Sept. 25)

“New Jersey Arts Annual: Reemergence” at State Museum, Trenton. (Through April 30)

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