Top 12 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Southside Johnny, First Nights, ‘Salute to Vienna,’ more

by JAY LUSTIG
southside new year's eve 2022

DANNY CLINCH

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes will perform at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, New Year’s Eve.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Jan. 5.

MUSIC

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes will present their usual New Year’s Eve show at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, but with something of a different twist, starting at 6 p.m. and ending at some point between 8 and 9 p.m.

VIP packages will include admission to an intimate performance by Jukes keyboardist Jeff Kazee at 4:30 p.m., along with a cocktail and an exclusive merchandise item.

ALASTAIR WILLIS

The State Theatre in New Brunswick will offer its annual “Salute to Vienna” at 5 p.m. New Year’s Eve, with the Strauss Symphony of America, conducted by Alastair Willis, performing the music of Johann Strauss II (including his Blue Danube Waltz), with contributions from German soprano Micaëla Oeste, Austrian tenor Martin Piskorski, dancers from the Austrian ballet company Europaballett St. Pölten, and champion ballroom dancers.

Jan. 5 marks the 50th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ. And at 8 p.m. that night, nine Shore-based musicians — Cranston Dean, Bobby Mahoney, Sal Boyd, Doug Zambon, Arlan Feiles, Ryan Gregg, Renee Maskin, Desiree Spinks and Ron Santee — will perform solo versions of the songs from that album (including “Spirit in the Night,” “Blinded by the Light,” “Growin’ Up” and “For You”) as well as their own songs, at Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge. There will be no admission charge.

• Paula Johns will sing the songs of Ella Fitzgerald with The Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey, New Year’s Eve at 8 p.m at the Patriots Theater of the War Memorial in Trenton.

The New Jersey Festival Orchestra‘s “Hats off to Broadway” program, presented Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. at the Westfield High School Auditorium and Jan. 1 at 2:30 p.m. at the Sieminski Theater in Basking Ridge, will feature songs from the great American Songbook, performed by soprano Emily Padgett, mezzo-soprano Jessica Ann Best and tenor Josh Young, with dancers from the Dance Theatre of Harlem. David Wroe conducts.

JOHN GINTY

FIRST NIGHT

First Night Morris will be back, New Year’s Eve from 4 p.m. to midnight, with more than 50 performances, a film festival, children’s activities and more at various venues in downtown Morristown, plus fireworks at 9:15 p.m. and midnight. Performers will include organist John Ginty’s band (at The Mayo Performing Arts Center), The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, The Harmonium Choral Society, comedians Brad Trackman and Buddy Fitzpatrick, tap dancers Maurice Chestnut and Jeffry Foote, jazz musicians Rio Clemente and Winard Harper, the reggae band Random Test, Irish fiddler Brian Conway and more. Starting at 4:45 p.m., shuttle buses will offer transportation between the different venues.

Also on New Year’s Eve, First Night Ocean City will offer a similar mix of entertainment options at various venues, with the Sensational Soul Cruisers, The Ocean City Pops (with singer Kimber Sprawl), Bee Gees tribute Stayin’ Alive, Billy Joel tribute Captain Jack, Chicago tribute Brass Transit, ventriloquist John Pizzi, the Harlem Wizards basketball team, magician Chad Juros, mentalist Dustin Dean, fireworks and more.

First Night Seaside Heights will be a smaller, more kid-focused event, taking place from noon to 5 p.m. on the city’s boardwalk with Rizzo’s Wildlife World, children’s entertainer Yosi, a reptile show by NJ Snake Man, Ken the Magician, caricaturists, costumed characters and more, plus fireworks at 5 p.m.

COMEDY

DEAN COLE

• Dean Cole, the comedian and actor best known for co-starring in the sitcom “Black-ish” and its spinoff, “Grown-ish,” will perform standup at The Music Box at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, Dec. 21 at 7 and 10 p.m.

Other New Year’s Eve comedy shows in New Jersey will include:

New Brunswick Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m.: Caroline Rhea.
Stress Factory, New Brunswick at 7 and 10 p.m.: Rocky Dale Davis.
Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club, Point Pleasant Beach at 8:30 p.m.: Jeff Norris and Renee DeLorenzo.
Catch a Rising Star, Princeton at 8 p.m.: Jerrold Benford, Sonya Vai, Amanda Gail.
Bananas, East Rutherford at 8 and 10 p.m.: Mike Recine.
Stangl Stage, Flemington at 8 p.m.: Gemini, Kevin Israel, Joey Novick (host).
Scotty’s Pub and Comedy Cove, Springfield at 9:15 p.m.: Stephen Buda, Troy Moore, Suzanne Linfante.
Dorrian’s Red Hand, Jersey City at 6:30, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.: Rob Christensen, Glen Tickle, Drexton Clemons, Alex Kim, Rich Kiamco (host).

FILM

Basie Center Cinemas in Red Bank will kick off 2023 with a series of films directed by Quentin Tarantino, all to be screened at 4:15 p.m.: “Reservoir Dogs,” Jan. 2; “Django Unchained,” Jan. 3; “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Jan. 4; “Inglourious Basterds,” Jan. 5; and “Pulp Fiction,” Jan. 6.

KEVIN SMITH

OTHER

Director and actor Kevin Smith will present “A New Year’s Evening With Kevin Smith,” a Q&A show in which he “tries desperately to make you laugh until it’s time for the Ball to drop,” he says, at his SModcastle Cinemas theater in Atlantic Highlands, Dec. 31 at 10 p.m.

REVIEWS

“Joy,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through Dec. 30)

“The Sound of Music” at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn. (Through Jan. 1)

“Twelfth Night” at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University, Madison. (Through Jan. 1)

“Thread Hijack” at the Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Jan. 8)

“RetroBlakesberg: Captured on Film, 1978-2008,” works by rock photographer Jay Blakesberg at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Feb. 5)

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

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

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

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