Top 12 NJ Arts Events of Week: Exit Zero Jazz Festival, American Music Honors, more

exit zero preview spring 2024

Branford Marsalis will perform at the Exit Zero Jazz Festival in Cape May.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around New Jersey, through April 25.


The spring 2024 edition of the biannual Exit Zero Jazz Festival, which was founded in 2012, will take place in various Cape May locations, April 19 from 5 p.m. to midnight, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., and April 21 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with The Branford Marsalis Quartet, The Joey Alexander Quartet, The Christian Sands Quartet, Matthew Whitaker, Dayramir González, Camille Thurman, Daisy Castro, Conjunto Philly and many others performing.

The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music will honor John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Mavis Staples and Dion DiMucci at its second annual American Music Honors event, to be held April 24 at The Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. The event is sold-out.

Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau will present awards, as will 2023 American Music Honors recipients Steven Van Zandt and Darlene Love. As they did at last year’s event, Van Zandt’s Disciples of Soul will serve as the house band.

Dark Force Fest 2024 — taking place at The Sheraton Parsippany Hotel, April 19-21 — will feature more than 35 industrial, goth, metal and dark alternative bands including Stabbing Westward, Nitzer Ebb, The Crüxshadows, Leæther Strip, Das Ich, Gothminister, Rabbit Junk, Priest and Blitzkid. There will also be vendors, costume contests, sideshow performers, panel discussions and more.


Jazz House Kids will kick off its Soundcheck Series of concerts at its Jazz House Annex in Montclair, April 25 at 6:30 p.m., with trumpeter Freddie Hendrix headlining. His set with his quartet will be preceded by a performance by the Caili O’Doherty Ambassadors, and will be followed by an open jam session.

Future featured artists in the series will include Michela Lerman Marino, May 16; The Juanga Lakunza Quartet, May 30; Winard Harper & Jeli Posse, June 13; The Eric Alexander Quartet, June 27; The Vanessa Perea Quartet, July 11; and the Wallace Roney Jr. Quartet, July 25.

The band Spin Doctors, best known for ’90s hits “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” will headline the Rock the Foundation benefit for The Foundation for Sustainable Veteran Housing, April 20 at 6 p.m. at The Westfield National Guard Armory. The Drop the Needle Trio and Melanie Murray will open.

• Allan Winkler, the author of 2009’s “To Everything There is a Season: Pete Seeger and the Power of Song,” is a retired history professor but also a professional musician. He will talk about Seeger, and play his music, April 19 at 8 p.m., in a show presented by the Princeton Folk Music Society at Christ Congregation Church in Princeton. The event also will be livestreamed on The PFMS YouTube channel.

The Montclair-based bluegrass band Nefesh Mountain, some of whose songs are in Hebrew, will perform at The Outpost in the Burbs at The First Congregational Church in Montclair, April 20 at 8 p.m., with The Levins opening. The group is led by the husband-and-wife team of multi-instrumentalist Eric Lindberg and singer Doni Zasloff.

“Musicians don’t like labels,” said Lindberg in a 2022 interview with “Even ‘bluegrass’ doesn’t sum up what we do. We do Americana and folk with bluegrass instrumentation, like the banjo. … As musicians, artists and composers, we’re trying to tell the story of who we are. It’s not easy to be a Jewish-American, especially in this political climate. But we can’t deny our DNA. We’re trying to be open about it. We always wear the (Jewish) star on our chests. We’re proud to be who we are. At this point in history, we can’t shy away from it.”



Before he wrote “Rent,” the late Jonathan Larson wrote “Tick, Tick… Boom!,” a semi-autobiographical work about a struggling composer. It had not been fully produced at the time of his death, in 1996, but it has been produced, Off-Broadway and elsewhere, since then, and Lin-Manuel Miranda directed a film version of it, with Andrew Garfield in the central role, in 2021. The George Street Playhouse will present it at The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, from April 23 to May 19. Daniel Marconi, whose Broadway credits include “Sweeney Todd” and “Mary Poppins,” will star as the main character, Jon.

The East Lynne Theater Company will present a staged reading of “Jersey Lawman: A Life on the Right Side of Crime,” April 20 at 8 p.m. at Cape May Presbyterian Church. The work was adapted by Jim Plousis and George Ingram from Plousis’ 2018 memoir of that name (co-written with Ingram). Plousis has served as the sheriff of Cape May County and as a U.S. Marshall, and is currently the chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

There will be no admission charge, but donations will be collected; proceeds will benefit the U.S. Marshals Survivors Benefit Fund and East Lynne Theater’s Capital Campaign.


The first Garden State Art Weekend will encompass more than 100 art shows at galleries, museums and other venues throughout the state. Click HERE for art critic Tris McCall’s look at 11 of the Weekend’s most notable offerings.


The New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival will take place at The New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, April 19-21, with film screenings, vendors, panel discussions, cosplay contests and appearances by actors and other celebrities including Kane Hodder, Kathy Najimy, Thora Birch, Gina Schock (of The Go-Go’s), Adam Green, Adam Marcus, Vic Dupree, Vinessa Shaw and Jason Knight.

New Jersey’s only drive-in movie theater, The Delsea Drive-In Movie Theatre in Vineland, has reopened after its winter break, and will present two double bills — “Abigail”/”Monkey Man” and “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire”/”Godzilla x King Kong: The New Empire” — April 19 and 20 at 8 p.m.


“Touch Me: Feeling Fashion” at Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts at William Paterson University, Wayne. (Through May 3)

“George Segal: Themes and Variations at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through July 31)


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.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Explore more articles:

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter