Top 12 NJ Arts Events of Week: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Montclair Literary Festival, more

alvin ailey njpac 2022

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform at NJPAC in Newark, May 6-8.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through May 12.

DANCE

• Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Robert Battle becoming its artistic director this weekend at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark.

May 6 at 8 p.m., Savion Glover will host a tribute to Battle featuring the New Jersey premiere of Battle’s pandemic-themed “For Four” (featuring music by Wynton Marsalis), his duet “Unfold,” and other works. The program will be repeated May 8 at 3 p.m., without Glover. Meanwhile, the program, May 7 at 8 p.m., will feature the New Jersey premieres of Aszure Barton’s “BUSK” and Ailey resident choreographer Jamar Roberts’ “Holding Space,” as well as the company’s signature piece, the Ailey-choreographed “Revelations” (1960).

BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL

MUSIC

Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell will sing classics from the Great American Songbook at “Fête at the Farm,” a gala celebrating the 100th anniversary of the State Theatre in New Brunswick. The event takes place at Suydam Farms in Somerset, May 7 at 5 p.m., and will include a cocktail hour and dinner before Mitchell’s performance, and dessert and dancing after it.

Anthony Kearns of the group The Irish Tenors will sing a selection of Irish ballads, love songs and serenades at a Mother’s Day Weekend concert by the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, conducted by David Wroe, May 7 at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Westfield. The program will also include J. Strauss II’s Roses from The South Waltz Op. 388 and Blue Danube Waltz Op. 314, and Debussy’s La Mer (The Sea). Pianist Yifei Xu will also give a pre-concert lecture about the program and the composers, at 6 p.m.

Despite the recent death of her mother (and partner in The Judds), Naomi Judd, country star Wynonna Judd is still planning to go ahead with her May tour with her band The Big Noise, which will bring her to the Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University in Hillside, May 12 at 7:30 p.m., and Sound Waves at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, May 13 at 8 p.m.

nj ticket giveaways

MICHAEL J. STAHL

BETTYE LAVETTE

Soul singer Bettye LaVette had some success as a recording artist in the ’60s and ’70s, but was nearly forgotten for decades until she resurrected her career in the mid-2000s after moving from her hometown of Detroit to West Orange. Releasing a series of strong albums and dependably dazzling at her concerts, she is now widely regarded as one of our greatest living song interpreters. On her latest album, 2020’s Blackbirds, she sings songs associated with Black female singers such as Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Ruth Brown, as well as The Beatles’ “Blackbird.” She will perform at the Outpost in the Burbs at the First Congregational Church in Montclair, May 12 at 8 p.m. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to njartscontest@gmail.com by noon May 9, with the word “LaVette” in the subject line.)

The all-star jazz group Artemis — featuring pianist Renee Rosnes, clarinetist- saxophonist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, saxophonist Nicole Glover, bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Allison Miller — will perform at the Shea Center for Performing Arts at William Paterson University in Wayne, May 8 at 4 p.m., with a “meet the artist” session at the Shea Recital Hall at 3 p.m.

FAMILY

Two River Theater in Red Bank presents “A Little Shakespeare,” May 6-7 and 13-14 at 7 p.m., and May 7-8 and 14-15 at 2 p.m. This family-oriented presentation will feature a 75-minute, abridged version of Shakespeare’s comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” performed and supported backstage by high school students, with direction and set design by theater professionals.

The five puppets of “All Vows, A Puppet Memory Play.”

THEATER

Puppeteer Sam Jay Gold will present “All Vows, A Puppet Memory Play,” May 6-7 at 8 p.m. and May 8 at 2 p.m. at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morris Township. The play is about Gold’s grandfather, a Russian Jewish refugee who was raised in China, became a surgeon and later moved to the United States. He is portrayed by five hand-carved, wooden puppets, each representing him at a different point of his life. According to a press release, the play “investigates the powerful, fragile truths we turn into the stories of our lives, while examining the overlapping space between where an immigrant’s history ends, and an American identity begins.”

FILM

• “Star Wars: A New Hope,” the 1977 movie that launched the series, will screen with live music by the New Jersey Symphony, conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos, at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, May 12; the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, May 13; and Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, May 14. All shows are at 8 p.m.

In partnership with the Out Montclair organization, Montclair Film has put together a “Celebrating Pride!” series, with 18 films that explore LGBTQIA+ themes. The screenings will start on May 6 and lead up to the Montclair Pride 2022 day on June 11, with the last film — “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” — to be shown on that day. Most of the films will be shown at the Montclair theater, The Clairidge, though there will also be a free, outdoor screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at Montclair’s Lackawanna Plaza, June 3. The Clairidge screenings begin with May 6-12 screenings of “Desert Hearts” (1985, directed by Donna Deitch), “Kiki” (2016, directed by Sara Jordenö) and “The Queen” (1968, directed by Frank Simon) at The Clairidge.

The Summit Film Society will present a timely screening of “Citizen K” — a documentary about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch who became an exiled dissident — May 6 at 7 p.m. at the Oakes Center in Summit, with a discussion with director Alex Gibney following. See a trailer of the movie below.

DJENEBA ADUAYOM

ELIZABETH ALEXANDER

BOOKS

Elizabeth Alexander, Jennifer Egan, Don Winslow, Joyce Carol Oates, Anna Quindlen, Gideon Rachman and many others will participate in Suceed2gether’s sixth annual Montclair Literary Festival, May 5-9. Most of the 25 events — including interviews, panels and children’s programming — are free and will be held at the Montclair Public Library Auditorium and the sanctuary of Montclair’s First Congregational Church, as well as in tents outside both venues. The festival raises funds and awareness for the work of Succed2gether, a nonprofit organization that works to close education gaps in the area.

• Norman Reedus, best known as a co-star of the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” will sign copies of his novel, “The Ravaged,” May 9 at 5 p.m. at the Bookends bookstore in Ridgewood.

REVIEWS

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

“Elizabeth Colomba: Repainting the Story,” presented by Princeton University Art Museum at Bainbridge House, Princeton. (Through May 8)

“The Burdens” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through May 22)

“Revival: Post-Pandemic Visions” at the 1978 Maplewood Arts Center. (Through May 22)

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

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