Top 12 NJ Arts Events of the Week: George Clinton, ‘The Wanderer,’ ‘On Beckett,’ more

by JAY LUSTIG
george clinton newark preview

George Clinton and his Parliament-Funkadelic band will perform at NJPAC in Newark, March 18.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through March 24.

MUSIC

George Clinton, the eccentric funk pioneer who turned 80 last year, will celebrate with an 80th Birthday Bash at NJPAC in Newark, March 18 at 8 p.m. He’ll perform with his Parliament-Funkadelic band plus guests Questlove (of The Roots and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”), Vernon Reid (of Living Colour), Nona Hendryx (of Labelle), Treach (of Naughty by Nature), DJ Eric B (of Eric B & Rakim) and Nick Cannon.

Clinton was born in North Carolina but grew up in Newark; Parliament-Funkadelic has roots in both Newark and Plainfield.

Guitarist Derek Trucks and singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi’s Tedeschi Trucks Band performed in scaled-down configurations during the pandemic, but is returning to its full, 12-piece power for its current tour, which comes to the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, March 17-19 at 7:30 p.m. The band Ponderosa Grove will open on March 17 only.

Also, “Learning to Live Together: The Return of Mad Dogs & Englishmen” will be shown at the Basie, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. Mad Dogs and Englishmen was a legendary 1970 rock tour —featuring Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge and others — that was immortalized in a hit concert album and movie. “Learning to Live Together” tells the story of that tour as well as a 2015 Mad Dogs and Englishmen tribute organized by the Tedeschi Trucks Band that featured Russell, Coolidge and other musicians from the original tour, plus guests such as Dave Mason and The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.

The long-running charitable concert series known as Rent Party will resume shows, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, March 18 at 7:30 p.m., presenting Trip Dogs, Shark Hat and Jane Lee Hooker at the South Orange Elks. The organization has been active since 2009, presenting shows at various venues, with proceeds being used to fight hunger in the community.

Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro will perform together in Morristown, March 19.

• Actor Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro — the NPR “All Things Considered” co-host who also has sung with the group Pink Martini — will present a joint show of songs and stories, “Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret,” March 19 at 8 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. “We’re both storytellers who try to help audiences better understand themselves and the world around them,” Shapiro has said. “This show lets us explore those shared ideals on stage together, through stories and songs.”

• Suzzy Roche (of The Roches) and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche, will perform as a duo at the Outpost in the Burbs, March 18 at 8 p.m. The singer-songwriters have released three albums together (most recently, I Can Still Hear You in 2020) in addition to their solo output and other projects. The show takes place at the First Congregational Church at 40 S. Fullerton Ave. in Montclair.

The New Jersey Jazz Society’s March Virtual Social will feature trombonist Mariel Bildsten, who will be performing with pianist Mathis Picard, bassist Barry Stephenson and drummer T.J. Reddick. The Social will be streamed on the njjs.org website as well as on the NJJS Facebook page and YouTube channel, March 19 at 7 p.m. There is no admission charge, but donations are welcome.

DANCE

The Peak Performances series at Montclair State University presents the Netta Yerushalmy show “Movement” at the university’s Kasser Theater, March 17-18 at 7:30 p.m., March 19 at 8 p.m. and March 20 at 2 p.m. It features a score by Paula Matthusen, is performed by dancers from Korea, Senegal, Israel, Taiwan and the United States and, according to the Peak Performances website, “synthesizes over one hundred citations from an expansive range of dances across genres and cultures. It is a radical quilt of borrowed material that stretches the idea of pluralism until it almost snaps.”

Joey McIntyre, left, and Michael Wartella at a rehearsal for “The Wanderer.”

THEATER

The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn debuts the world-premiere production of “The Wanderer,” a jukebox musical based on the life and work of Dion (whose hits include “A Teenager in Love,” “Runaround Sue” and “Abraham, Martin and John”). Previews start on March 24, with the official opening night on April 3, and the last show on April 24. Cast members will include Michael Wartella (as Dion), Christy Altomare and New Kids on the Block member Joey McIntyre.

Bill Irwin performs his solo production “On Beckett,” March 18 at 8 p.m. at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. According to the theater’s web site, “Irwin combines his renowned skill as a master clown and dramatic actor to explore a performer’s relationship to the works of Samuel Beckett, incorporating passages from various works by the Irish writer and playwright, including ‘Waiting for Godot,’ ‘Texts for Nothing’ and ‘Watt.’ ” The piece was originally performed at Irish Repertory Theatre in New York City in 2018.

Complementing its current exhibition “Stowed Away: A Traveling Philographist and his Arctic Uke” (about an artifact from Admiral Richard Byrd’s 1926 North Pole journey), the Morris Museum in Morris Township will present “Discovering Antarctica: Heroic Tales of Shackleton, Crean & Scott” at its Bickford Theatre, March 18 at 8 p.m. and March 19-20 at 2 p.m. This one-man show, performed by Aidan Dooley, is about the renowned explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott, and the lesser known Tom Crean, who served as a crew member for both.

The cast of “Pinkalicious.”

FAMILY

• “Pinkalicious,” a play based on the popular children’s book, opened at the Growing Stage in Netcong in March 2020, but was only able to have three performances before being closed because of the pandemic. Now, two years later, Growing Stage has rescheduled a full run, which will last from March 18 to April 10.

FILM

In honor of 50th anniversary of “The Godfather” — originally released on March 24, 1972 — The Clairidge in Montclair will show it daily, on the big screen, from March 18 to March 24.

REVIEWS

“Baipás,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through March 20)
“Bruce Springsteen Live!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through March 20)

“In Time and In Tide” by Armisey Smith and “Red Portraits” by Caren King Choi at Gallery Aferro, Newark. (Through April 1)

“Black & White to Magnificent Color!,” group show at Watchung Arts Center (Through April 9)

“Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985-1993” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through April 10)

“Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision” at Newark Museum of Art. (Through May 8)

“Tenacity & Resilience: The Art of Jerry Pinkney” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 26)

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