Top 12 NJ Arts Events of the Week: ‘The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa,’ ‘The Belle of Amherst,’ more

Zappa hologram

The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa Tour will have two New Jersey stops.

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through April 24:


Frank Zappa, who died in 1993, will appear in hologram form, with a band featuring some of his former supporting musicians, on the Bizarre World of Frank Zappa Tour. Stops will include the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, April 22 at 8 p.m., and the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, May 2 at 8 p.m. The band will feature guitarists Ray White and Mike Keneally, bassist Scott Thunes, multi-instrumentalist Robert Martin, percussionist Ed Mann and drummer Joe Travers, and private 1974 performances by Zappa that have never been released before are being incorporated into the show. (see video below)

New York radio station Mega 97.9 (WSKQ-FM) brings its annual Mega Mezcla concert to the Prudential Center in Newark, April 21 at 8 p.m. Performers will include Alex Sensation, Ozuna, Anuel AA, J Balvin, Karol G, Jowell y Randy, Manuel Turizo, Farruko, Lirico, El Nene, Secreto and Chimbala.

Three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker (“Show Boat,” “The Music Man,” “Mary Poppins”) will team up with Sierra Boggess (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “School of Rock”) and Heather Botts (“My Fair Lady,” “Doctor Zhivago”) for a benefit concert, “Broadway Stars for Autism New Jersey,” at the Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University, April 22 at 7 p.m.


Bluesy singer-songwriter Chris Smither — who has been a part of the national acoustic music circuit for more than 50 years, and whose songs have been performed by artists such as Bonnie Raitt, the Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris and Diana Krall — will make an appearance at the Hopewell Theater, April 20 at 8 p.m. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by 3 p.m. April 18 with the word “Smither” in the subject line.)

A “10th Anniversary Celebration Bash” for Danny Coleman’s Rock on Radio show will be held April 24 at 8 p.m. at The Asbury Hotel, and feature performances by Radio Fiction, Rick Barth, The Williamsboy, Dave Vargo, John Alberici, Strumberry Pie and The Jo Wymer Band. There will be no admission charge. In addition to hosting the radio show, Coleman is also a musician, and a writer who contributes to and other web sites. “Rock on Radio” airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on and

The band Dead On Live will perform Grateful Dead songs with the theme of “Livin’ the Good Life,” April 20 at 8 p.m. BergenPAC in Englewood. Band members, most of whom are well known to New Jersey rock fans, include Marc Muller, John Merjave, Lee Finkelstein, John Pittas, Paul Avrutin and Sandy Mack. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by 3 p.m. April 18 with the word “Dead” in the subject line.)




The annual Django a Gogo Music Festival and Camp, devoted to the music of “Gypsy jazz” guitarist Django Reinhardt and led by Stephane Wrembel, takes place April 23-28, with a music camp at The Woodland and The Burgdorff Center (both in Maplewood), April 23-26; concerts at The Woodland, April 24-26; a concert featuring Wrembel, Reinhardt’s great-grandson Simba Baumgartner, Raphael Fays, David Gastine and others at Town Hall in New York, April 27; and a farewell jam session and breakfast in Maplewood and a farewell party, jam session and concert at Barbes in Brooklyn, April 28. All concerts are open to the general public. (For a chance to win two tickets to the Town Hall concert,send an email to by midnight April 24 with the word “Django” in the subject line.)


Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will conclude his year-long residency at Princeton University with a series of events from April 22 to April 28. The first event will be a screening of the movie “The Liberator” (the 2013 film about Simón Bolívar, for which he composed and conducted the music) followed by a question and answer session at the Princeton Garden Theatre, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. Most of the other events will take place on the Princeton University campus, though there will also be a free concert at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, April 27 at 4 p.m., at which Dudamel will conduct the Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club in a program of music by Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn. For a complete listings of events, visit


The Two River Theater in Red Bank began previews of “The Belle of Amherst,” William Luce’s one-woman play about poet Emily Dickinson, on April 13. The production, starring Maureen Silliman, officially opens on April 18 and will run through May 5.

• “Too Heavy for Your Pocket” — Jiréh Breon Holder’s 2017 a play about two young African-American couples in Nashville during the Civil Rights Era — begins previews at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick in April 23, officially opens on April 26,and runs through May 19.

Julian Lennon Love the Earth

The cover of Julian Lennon’s book, “Love the Earth.”


Julian Lennon will sign copies of his environmentally themed children’s book, “Love the Earth,” April 23 at 6 p.m. at the Bookends bookstore in Ridgewood. Lennon wrote “Love the Earth” — the third part of a trilogy that also includes “Touch the Earth” and “Heal the Earth” — with Bart Davis, and it includes illustrations by Smiljana Coh. It will be published on April 22. The elder of John Lennon’s two sons, Julian had some hits of his own in the ’80s (“Too Late for Goodbyes,” “Valotte,” “Say You’re Wrong”) and received a 1986 Grammy nomination in the New Artist category.

Earth Day is April 22, and in honor of it, High Point State Park in Sussex will present an Earth Day Poetry Walk, April 20 from noon to 2 p.m. Nature-related poems, featuring works by well-known writers, will be posted around the trees outside the Park Interpretive Center, and poetry for children will be placed on blankets for families to read. Walkers will move from poem to poem at their own pace.

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