Top 12 Arts Events of Week: Neeme Järvi with NJ Symphony, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Chita Rivera, etc.

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Neeme Järvi conducts the New Jersey Symphony at NJPAC in Newark, March 25-26.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through March 30.


As part of its 2022-23 centennial season, New Jersey Symphony is welcoming back several former music directors to conduct concerts. One of them is Neeme Järvi, who served in that position from 2005 to 2009. He will appear with the orchestra at Prudential Hall in NJPAC, March 25 at 8 p.m. and March 26 at 3 p.m., with the program including Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten; William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1, “Afro-American”; and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

• Chita Rivera — a Broadway legend via her performances in musicals such as “West Side Story,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Bye Bye Birdie” — will sing and talk about her life at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. SiriusXM satellite radio host, musician and actor Seth Rudetsky will interview her and also play piano for her.

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Doucet and his Louisiana-based band BeauSoleil, international ambassadors of Cajun music since the 1970s, will perform at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair at 8 p.m. March 25. The group, masters of traditional music who also play original songs, became the first Cajun band to win a Grammy in 1998, and has one other win and nine other nominations to its credit. Doucet says this tour will be the group’s last.


Last year, blues-rock guitar hero Kenny Wayne Shepherd released a 25th anniversary re-recording of his 1997 album Trouble Is …, and he has been performing the album in its entirety, though with the songs in a different order, on his current tour, which comes to the Count Basie Center for the Arts, Red Bank, March 28 at 7:30 p.m.; the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, March 30 at 8 p.m.; and the Music Box at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, March 31 at 9 p.m.

The Grammy-nominated album, which was Shepherd’s second (but his first to feature singer Noah Hunt), included the hits “Blue on Black,” “Slow Ride” and “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway,” as well as covers of Bob Dylan’s “Everything Is Broken” and Jimi Hendrix’s “I Don’t Live Today.”

Willie Nile and fellow singer-songwriters Joe D’Urso, Emily Grove and Joe Rapolla will share the stage — performing, telling stories and backing each other — at a “Songwriters by the Sea” show at the Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, March 24 at 8 p.m. There will also be an opening set, featuring Monmouth University students Max & Jenaé and Madeline Knight, along with George Wurzbach.

Jimmie Herrod, a 2021 finalist on television’s “America’s Got Talent” who also has toured with Pink Martini, will perform in the New Voices, New Visions series at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, March 25 at 8 p.m. Check out a video of him singing the Irving Berlin-written “Say It Isn’t So,” below.


Junot Díaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2007 novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” has been adapted into a one-man show of the same name that will be presented at the Shea Center for Performing Arts at William Paterson University in Wayne, March 29 at 10:30 p.m. Elise Thoron did the adaptation and will direct this show, which will be performed by Kelvin Grullon.

There is no admission charge but attendees must register in advance.


Centenary State Company will present Christine Foster’s “Off the Map” at the Kutz Theatre at the Lackland Performing Arts Center in Hackettstown, from March 23 to April 2. The play, according to a press release, is about a couple who “have retired to the wilds of Central America, where they quickly discover that things are not as they were expecting, neither in their relationship, nor in their new property. A mysterious mound is discovered by a pair of archeologists who arrive on the scene, making a shattering discovery which will challenge all their beliefs about what is every truly real and what is imagined.”

Foster will also give a seminar on writing plays, March 24 at 5:30 p.m., and participate in talkbacks after the 8 p.m. March 24 and 2 p.m. March 26 shows.

This is the world premiere of the play, which received a reading in Centenary’s 2022 Women Playwrights Series.


Poet and Princeton University professor Paul Muldoon will moderate a discussion with Broadway actor and mime Bill Bowers, graphic novelist and New Yorker cartoonist E.S. Glenn and poet and playwright Claudia Rankine in the “Atelier@Large: Conversations on Art-making in a Vexed Era” series, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the James Stewart Film Theater at Princeton University. There is no admission charge but advance tickets are required.

“The Baker,” starring Ron Perlman, will be shown at the Garden State Film Festival.


The Garden State Film Festival will take place March 23-26, with screenings and other events — mostly in Asbury Park but also in Ocean Grove and Cranford. Most of the screening will be on March 25 and 26. The festival will get underway with a “Meet the Filmmakers” event, March 23 at 7 p.m. at Asbury Lanes; and then activities at Asbury Lanes, March 24 at 7 p.m., including a cocktail reception followed by opening ceremonies, the screening of a short film, “Conservation Dog,” and then a feature film, “The Baker,” co-starring Ron Perlman, Harvey Keitel and others.

In this film, Perlman plays a small-town baker who is actually, according to the festival’s website, “a man with a secret past and dangerous skills” who finds himself in a situation in which he “must avenge his son’s death all the while protecting his young granddaughter.”

The New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival will take place at Showboat in Atlantic City, March 24-26, with screenings, panel discussions, vendors and appearances by actors such as Michael Paré, Clint Howard, Kristine Klebe, Felissa Rose and Tony Moran.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival — which, according to publicity material, “celebrates the lives, stories and artistic abilities of people with all types of disabilities through award-winning short and feature-length films” — takes place at the North Avenue Academic Center at Kean University in Union, March 30-31 and April 1.


“Ombres Portées,” presented by Cie L’Oublié(e), choreographed by Raphaëlle Boitel, at Kasser Theater at Montclair State University. Part of Peak Performances series. (Through March 26)

“Quarter Rican” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through March 26)

“The Rosenberg/Strange Fruit Project” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through April 2)

“The Little Foxes” at Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken. (Through April 2)

“Joe Waks: Parade of Values — Defenders of Freedom!” at The Dollhaus II, Bayonne (Through April 9)

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

“vanessa german: … please imagine all the things i cannot say …” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 25)

“Ladies and Gentlemen … The Beatles!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through June 25)

“Komar and Melamid: A Lesson in History” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through July 16)

“George Inness: Visionary Landscapes” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 30, 2024)


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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