Top 12 NJ Arts Events of the Week: MTV’s VMAs show, Let It All Hang Out Fest, more

MTV VMAs Newark preview

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco will host MTV\’s VMA Awards at the Prudential Center in Newark.

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Aug. 28:


The Prudential Center in Newark will host this year’s MTV Video Music Awards show, Aug. 26 at 8 p.m., with comedian Sebastian Maniscalco hosting and Missy Elliott receiving the Video Vanguard award for lifetime achievement. Tickets have not been sold to the general public; attendees will include participants, invited guests and contest winners..

Performers will include Taylor Swift; The Jonas Brothers; Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello; Rosalia, J Balvin and Ozuma; Lil Nas X; Big Sean featuring A$AP Ferg; Bad Bunny; H.E.R.; Normani and Lizzo. Also, red carpet pre-show performers will include Ava Max, CNCO and Megan Thee Stallion. Among those presenting awards will be Lenny Kravitz, Bebe Rexha, John Travolta, Rick Ross, Salt-N-Pepa, Billy Ray Cyrus, French Montana, Hailee Steinfeld, Ice-T and Lindsey Vonn.

This will mark the first time the annual show has come to New Jersey. MTV’s broadcast will begin with coverage of the red carpet and pre-show at 7 p.m.

The final two events in the “An Evening With” series at the Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center in Newark will feature Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone of The Zombies, Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.; and DJ Khaled, Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. According to a press release, the series offers “intimate, moderated conversations with iconic recording artists about their creative process, history, current and future projects.” The Argent/Blunstone event will also feature a performance, in addition to the conversation.

The Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival takes place at the Long Branch Great Lawn and Promenade, Aug. 24, with Jeff Levine & Friends (featuring J.T. Bowen), The Mikey Junior Band, The Shadetree Mechanics, Jane Stuart, Slidewinder Blues Band and Damian & the DCQ, with Reanna Runge singing the National Anthem to launch the event at 1 p.m.

The Hamilton Stage at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway will present a production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” Sept. 6-8, 13-15 and 20-21, and, in advance of it, will host a concert titled “Out of the Woods,” featuring the Bryan Hansen Band and members of the cast, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. Some of the proceeds will benefit the Roselle-based Inroads to Opportunities organization, which supports adults and teens with disabilities.

The seventh annual New Jersey Uke Fest will offer a concert by Rachel Manke and Gerald Ross, preceded and followed by open-to-all play-alongs, Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany; workshops, play-alongs and an open-mic concert starting at 9:15 a.m., followed by a 7:30 p.m. concert by Christopher Davis-Shannon, Daniel Ward and Heidi Swedberg, Aug. 24 at the the Ukrainian American Cultural Center; and a jam at the Morristown Green, Aug. 25 at 10:30 a.m.

Constantine Maroulis will perform at the Let It All Hang Out Fest.


As was the case last week, a number of events are scheduled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. These include:

The Let It All Hang Out Fest, Aug. 23-25 from noon to 9 p.m. at the Waterloo Concert Fields in Stanhope. Performers — many of whom will perform music by original Woodstock artists — will include Constantine Maroulis, C.C. Coletti with Anthony Krizan, Kiss the Sky (Jimi Hendrix tribute), Everyday People (Sly & the Family Stone tribute), CSNSongs Unplugged (CSNY tribute), Back to the Garden (Woodstock tribute), Splintered Sunlight (Grateful Dead tribute), Tuesday’s Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute), Santanamigos (Santana tribute), Experience Janis (Janis Joplin tribute), Jaded Past, A.J. Croix & the Devil’s Right Hand Band, Waiting on Mongo, the Joe Cirotti Trio, Street Hassle, Who’s Next (The Who tribute), the Trevor B. Power Band and Venture to Zen.

• “Woodstock 2019: One Day of Peace, Love and Music,” Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Strand Center for the Arts in Lakewood. Bands and the Woodstock artists (and others of that era) they will pay tribute to include VyntEdge (Jefferson Airplane), Sandy Mack and Friends (The Grateful Dead), Krystal (The Who), Raw Sugar (Creedence Clearwater Revival), Bell Bottom Blues (Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominoes), Killer Joe (Sha-Na-Na and others), Families Recipes (Jimi Hendrix), Kevin Mulvaney and Friends (The Band, Joe Cocker) and Miranda Krall (Melanie, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez).


Jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan, paying tribute to Jimi Hendrix in a free show in the Somers Point Beach Concert Series at William Morrow Beach, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. The Hawkins Road Coconutz Supergroup will present a tribute to Crosby, Stills & Nash and Santana in an opening set.

Santana, one of the breakout acts of the original festival, performing in a double bill with The Doobie Brothers at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.

The “Woodstock Edition” of Glen Burtnik’s Summer of Love show, featuring music from throughout the late ’60s and a psychedelic light show, at Sound Waves at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m.


Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater will premiere a new version of “Alice in Wonderland” Aug. 25 at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal. ACBT artistic director Gabriel Chajnik choreographed and directed the ballet, basing it on passages from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and Carroll’s poems. The production features an original score by David Winkler, a live chamber orchestra conducted by Jason Tramm, a children’s choir, digital projections, and whimsical costumes by Jose Solis.


The Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park will present “Game Grumps Live!,” a touring version of the popular Internet video series, Aug. 24, with doors opening at 6 p.m. As they do in the web series, Arin Hanson and Dan Avidan will play video games and riff comedically in the stage show.


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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