Top 12 Arts Events of the Week: ‘Magic of Lights’; Ali Wong; Low Cut Connie; more

magic of lights nj

The PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel will present “Magic of Lights: Drive-Through Holiday Lights” from Nov. 19 to Jan. 2.

The PNC Bank Arts Center’s annual holiday season offering, “Magic of Lights: Drive-Through Holiday Lights,” opens Nov. 19 and will run through Jan. 2. Tickets (one required per car) are available via; they are good for any day, with discounts for weekday use, and extra charges for buses and limousines.

In this socially distanced form of family entertainment, you drive past two and a half miles of mammoth, holiday-themed light displays. Favorites from past years have included the Blizzard Tunnel, the 12 Days of Christmas, a Winter Wonderland and The Night Before Christmas.

Other events taking place around the state through Nov. 21 include:


This year’s TD James Moody Jazz Festival started Nov. 5, and its three concluding events take place this week. All will be at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark. They are:

Pianist Arturo O’Farrill and his Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The show will pay tribute to O’Farrill’s late father, composer and conductor Chico O’Farrill, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth, and include works of his such as his “Second Afro Cuban Jazz Suite.”


“Anat Cohen & the Newport All-Stars Salute George Wein,” Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. The renowned jazz festival producer, who died this year at the age of 95, will be honored by a concert featuring saxophonist and clarinetist Cohen along with bassists Christian McBride and Peter Washington, pianist Kenny Barron, drummer Johnathan Blake, trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist and flutist Lew Tabackin, the vocal trio Duchess and others.

The Maria Schneider Orchestra, Nov. 21 at 3 and 7 p.m.


The New York-based hip-hop and R&B radio station Power 105.1 presents its annual Powerhouse concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m., with Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch, Migos, Moneybagg Yo, Fivio Foreign, Polo G, Saweetie, Capella Grey, and SpinKing and Friends.

Low Cut Connie will present an installment of “Tough Cookies” — the weekly webcast it has done throughout much of the pandemic — for an in-person audience at The Saint in Asbury Park, Nov. 20 at 5:30 p.m., with a performance by the great soul singer Bettye LaVette, an interview with Gina Schock of The Go-Go’s (who has just published a memoir, “Made in Hollywood: All Access with The Go-Go’s”) and more. It also will be streamed online for free, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.; visit

The Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra will present “A Night at the Opera” at the West Side Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m., with Kyunghun Kim conducting and the orchestra playing music by Puccini, Mozart, Verdi and Bizet, sung by Angela Candela, soprano; Cloe SanAntonio, mezzo-soprano; Alexei Kuznietsov, tenor; and Michael Gracco, baritone.




The veteran Minnesota-based roots-rock band The Jayhawks performs at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. The show will be at the First Congregational Church at 40 S. Fullerton Ave. Led by singer-songwriter-guitaist Gary Louris, the band released, last year, XOXO, its 11th studio album and its first to include songs written and sung by all band members (keyboardist Karen Grotberg, bassist Marc Perlman and drummer Tim O’Reagan) in addition to Louris.

• Carl Palmer — best known as the drummer for the progressive-rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer in the ’70s — will bring his ELP Legacy band to the Shea Center for Performing Arts at William Paterson University in Wayne, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. The tour, originally planned for 2020 but postponed because of the pandemic, celebrates the formation of ELP, it debut self-titled album and its first hit single, “Lucky Man,” all of which occurred in 1970.

Singer Alexis Cole will perform on the New Jersey Jazz Society Virtual Social, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. She will focus on songs from her recent Sky Blossom: Songs from My Tour of Duty album, featuring standards she sang during her seven-year stint in the U.S. Army’s Jazz Knights band.

Also, writer and professor David Hajdu, the author of “Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn,” will give a talk on the subject of “Three Different Phases in the Composing Careers of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn,” Nov. 21 at 3 p.m.

Both streams will be shown on the website as well as on the NJJS Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be archived on and YouTube channel. There is no admission charge, but donations can be made.



Ali Wong will tape her stand-up shows at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 21 at 5 and 8 p.m., for her upcoming, third Netflix special, which follows the previous, very popular “Baby Cobra” (2016) and “Hard Knock Wife” (2018).


The Princeton Dance Festival takes place at the Berlind Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m., Nov. 20 at 2 and 8 p.m., and Nov. 21 at 2 p.m., with new and repertory works by choreographers Rebecca Lazier, Kyle Marshall, Justin Peck (staged by Michael Breeden), Larissa Velez-Jackson, Omari Wiles, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Germaine Acogny (staged by Samantha Speis). The festival will also feature a new work, staged by Tina Fehlandt, that was inspired by Mark Morris’ choreography and will be performed by Princeton University dance students.


The Dragonfly Multicultural Arts Center will present the United States premiere of “Gormenghast” — John Constable’s adaptation of the series of fantasy novels written by Mervyn Peake — at the duCret School of the Arts in Plainfield, Nov. 19-20 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 21 at 3 p.m.


“No Nukes” film and CD, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

“Dear Jack, Dear Louise,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through Nov. 21.)

“Next to Normal,” presented by Vanguard Theater Company at Vanguard Theater, Montclair. (Through Nov. 21)

“What Doesn’t Kill You” at NJ Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through Nov. 21)

“Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through Jan. 2)

“Doug Herren: Color-Forms/Ceramic Structures” at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Jan. 9)

“On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Feb. 27)

“Bruce Springsteen Live!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through March 20)


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


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Rita Corrie November 18, 2021 - 5:26 pm

I love Dragonfly Multicultural Arts Center! They have professional plays that are both multicultural and meaningful for today’s audience. Thank you for featuring them!


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