Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through July 21.
• After releasing his After Hours album in March 2020, The Weeknd announced an arena tour to begin in June of that year. But the pandemic made him postpone the dates, and he later scrapped them entirely and booked a larger tour, of stadiums, changing the name of the tour from After Hours to After Hours Til Dawn because of the release, in January of this year, of another album, Dawn FM. Both albums have had major hits, including “Heartless,” “Blinding Lights” and “Save Your Tears” (all from After Hours) and “Take My Breath” and “Sacrifice” (both from Dawn FM).
• Veteran blues singer-songwriter Taj Mahal performs at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, July 20 at 8 p.m., in a quartet format featuring bassist Bill Rich, percussionist Kester Smith and guitarist Bobby Ingano. His latest album, Get On Board: The Songs of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, is a collaboration with his longtime friend and former Rising Sons bandmate Ry Cooder.
• This summer’s edition of NJPAC’s annual Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City series of free outdoor concerts begins with DJ Felix Hernandez’s Rhythm Revue Dance Party, June 14, with other headliners including Digital Underground, July 21; Brenda K. Starr, July 28; Treach, Aug. 4; Jon B., Aug. 11; Milo Z, Aug. 18; and the Dazz Band, Aug. 25. All shows take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Chambers Plaza in front of NJPAC’s main entrance.
• Homestead Bar & Kitchen in Morristown, which opened in 2020, has recently become more ambitious with its musical bookings. Todd Sheaffer, who fronts Railroad Earth and From Good Homes, performed there on April 24, and upcoming shows include Grateful Dead-associated guitarist Steve Kimock, Aug. 14; Steely Dan cover band Reeling in the Years, Aug. 24; Spafford, Sept. 21; and Perpetual Groove, Oct. 16.
The next major concert at The Homestead, though, is Waterleaf, a benefit for the Shawnee Creek Watershed Conservancy. It will take place July 17 from 3 to 7 p.m. and feature the Americana/roots group The Shawnee Mountain Boys (featuring current and former Railroad Earth members Tim Carbone, Johnny Grubb, Mike Robinson and John Skehan, along with guitar singer and guitarist Blake Christiana of Yarn), Bobby Syvarth (celebrating the release of his new EP, Silver Lake Boulevard) and Wig Party.
• After a two-year hiatus, the Hoboken music store Guitar Bar will host its eighth free play-along concert, featuring The Guitar Bar All-Stars, at Sinatra Park in Hoboken, July 21. All are invited to bring acoustic guitar or other stringed instruments and play along with members of the Guitar Bar staff; the goal is to organize the world’s largest band. For those who want to practice before the show, Guitar Bar will post instructional videos for the songs on its Facebook page. Among the songs to be played are Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Wet Leg’s “Chaise Lounge,” Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun” and Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels.” The event starts at 7 p.m., but organizers encourage participants to arrive by 6:30 to register.
• To celebrate the release of their new album, eX, the country duo Williams Honor (Reagan Richards and Gordon Brown) has planned a three-day “Williams Honor eXpo” for their home state, with a round-table discussion about record making led by Brown (and filmed for later broadcast) July 20 at 7 p.m. at the ShowRoom Cinema in Asbury Park; a full band concert at Johnny and June’s at the Berkeley Carteret Hotel in Asbury Park, July 21 at 7 p.m.; and then another concert, July 22 at 7 p.m. at The Saint in Asbury Park. The Saint show will feature some of the group’s favorite rock covers as well as the eX material, with “many special guests” promised.
• Teddy Thompson and Jenni Muldaur — who recently released a joint EP, Teddy & Jenni do Porter & Dolly: A Tribute to the Duets of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton — will present a concert of favorite country duets, July 17 at 7 p.m. at Woodbridge High School. (see video below)
It is an outdoor show, and there will no admission charge.
Thompson and Muldaur are planning to release two more EPs in this vein, devoted to the duets of George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, respectively.
• “Broadway on the Boardwalk” — a series of free concerts on Kennedy Plaza in Atlantic City, featuring Broadway actors and hosted by Dena Blizzard — began on July 11 and continues on July 18 with a “Disney Night” (songs from “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” “Frozen” and more) and then “Six” and “Chicago,” July 25; “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” Aug. 1; “Wicked,” Aug. 8; and “Beetlejuice,” “Kinky Boots” and “A Beautiful Noise,” Aug. 15. All shows start at 8 p.m.
• Karen Ziemba (a Tony winner for her work in “Contact”) and her husband, Bill Tatum, co-star in “America’s Sexiest Couple,” which had a preview at Cape May Stage on July 13, officially opens on July 14, and runs through Aug. 14. Written by Ken Levine — an Emmy winner for “Cheers” who also has been nominated for his work on “Fraser” and “M*A*S*H” — “America’s Sexiest Couple” is about two former sitcom co-stars who have to confront their past when unexpectedly reunited with each other, years later.
• Opportunities abound around the state, this month, to see “In the Heights,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit 2005 musical exploring the dreams and frustrations of a group of young people living in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, over three hot summer days. Light Opera of New Jersey presents it at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, July 15-17 and 22-24, and there also will be productions at the Music Mountain Theatre in Lambertville, July 15-17 and 22-24, and the Ritz Theatre in Haddon Township, July 15-17, 20, 22-24, 27 and 29-31.
“Much Ado About Nothing,” presented by Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at St. Elizabeth University in Florham Park. (Through July 31)
“Ecstatic Decrepitude,” works by Peter Schumann at ArtYard, Frenchtown. (Through July 31)
“Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill: Photographs by Jerry Dantzic” at Newark Museum of Art. (Through Aug. 21)
“Maxwell Mustardo: Dish-Oriented” at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Sept. 4)
“For the Culture, by the Culture: Thirty Years of Black Art, Activism, and Achievement” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Sept. 25)
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