Top 12 NJ Arts Events of Week: North to Shore, Barefoot Country Music fests, more

by JAY LUSTIG
north to shore atlantic city preview

The B-52s (from left, Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson) will perform at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, June 22, as part of The North to Shore Festival.

The North to Shore Festival, currently presenting events in Asbury Park, will move to Atlantic City from June 17-23, with a variety of both free and ticketed events in the fields of music, comedy, theater, poetry, dance, film, visual arts, family entertainment and more. (It will then conclude with events in Newark, June 24-30).

Atlantic City events include The B-52s and The Weeklings at Ovation Hall at Ocean Casino Resort, June 22; Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Jaheim and K. Michelle at Boardwalk Hall, June 22; Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons at The Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, June 22; Barenaked Ladies at The Tropicana Showroom, June 22; Eric Roberson and Avery Sunshine at Caesars, June 21; Chris Distefano and Sam Morril at Caesars, June 22; Prince Royce and Wisin at The Adrian Phillips Theater at Boardwalk Hall, June 21; Sheng Wang at Sound Waves at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, June 22; “Hip Hop Movie Night: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop” at Union Hall Arts, June 18; “Silent Reflections: Silent Films of Love and Inclusion” at The Adrian Phillips Theater at Boardwalk Hall, June 18; “Songs of Freedom: Poetry Celebrating Juneteenth,” June 19 at Noyes Art Garage; Kurt Vile & the Violators at Anchor Rock Club, June 20; Schoolly D at Anchor Rock Club, June 21; and Mary Cross’ “Tribute to Phyllis Hyman & Timeless Jazz and Soul Classics” at The Claridge, June 23.

For more information and complete listings, visit northtoshore.com.

Here is a roundup of other arts events taking place around New Jersey, through June 20.

KANE BROWN

MUSIC

The fourth annual Barefoot Country Music Fest will take place June 20-23, on the beach in Wildwood, with Old Dominion headlining on June 20 and subsequent headliners including Keith Urban (June 21), Kane Brown (June 22) and Luke Bryan (June 23).

Among the many others on the bill are Jake Owen, Scotty McCreery, The Beach Boys, Bret Michaels, Alana Springsteen, Bailey Zimmerman, Oliver Anthony, Rodney Atkins, The War and Treaty, Hailey Whitters, John Eddie, Niko Moon and Williams Honor.

In 2020, in response to the pandemic, The Morris Museum in Morris Township began presenting outdoor, socially distanced concerts on its back deck, a parking area behind the building. It worked so well that the museum has continued to present summertime concerts there, and its fifth season, comprising two series — Lot of Strings Music Festival (chamber music) and Jazz on the Back Deck — begins this week. There will be 14 concerts in all.

The opening concert will feature the group Amani, with a tribute to Tony Bennett. Members include Stephen Fuller (vocals), Marty Eigen (saxophone, flute and clarinet), Brandon McCune (piano), Flip Peters (guitar), Alex Gressel (bass) and Gordon Lane (drums).

Attendees bring their own chairs and are welcome to bring their own refreshments. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. but the deck opens at 6 p.m. for those who want to eat before the show.

In Sinatra Park in Ol’ Blue Eyes’ hometown, Hoboken, 12 singers steeped in his music and capable of approximating his vocal style will pay homage to him, and compete, in a “My Way” Sinatra Sing-Off, June 20 at 7 p.m. (I once served as a judge for this annual event and can attest that it makes for quite a fun and high-spirited evening.) There will be no admission charge.

SANDY CAMERON

Violinist Sandy Cameron — whose credits range from Cirque du Soleil to jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and orchestras such as The Royal Scottish National Orchestra and The Kirov Orchestra — will perform with The New Jersey Festival Orchestra at Hertell Gardens in Westfield, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. The program, titled “Something New, Something Past,” will include Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite. David Wroe will conduct.

The “Something New, Something Past” title refers to the fact that each work to be performed has echoes of music from the past: In Prokofiev’s case, it is Russian folk melodies, while Beethoven’s symphony shows the influence of an Irish reel, and the Pulcinella Suite has some of its musical roots in 18th century Italian court music.

Ed Alstrom, who has played the organ at Yankees baseball games for the last 21 years, will present a show titled “Yankees Baseball: From the (Organ) Bench)” at Factory Records in Dover, June 15 at 8 p.m. It will include both a talk about Alstrom’s stadium job, and a set of organ music.

As part of The Princeton Festival, Mozart’s comic opera “Così fan tutte” will be performed at the Performance Pavilion at Morven Museum & Garden, June 14 and 18 at 7 p.m., and June 16 at 4 p.m. The Princeton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Rossen Milanov, will supply the music, and cast members will sing Lorenzo da Ponte’s libretto in Italian, with English titles.

The festival also will offer two free talks about the opera itself at the Stockton Education Center in Princeton, one by composer and Princeton Symphony Orchestra trustee Julian Grant, June 14 at 5:30 p.m.; and another by musician and professor Timothy Urban, June 18 at 5:30 p.m.

JUNIOR MACK

Grammy-nominated blues artist Junior Mack will perform, with accompaniment by the Italian-born guitarist and harmonica player Noé Socha, at “Juneteenth: A Celebration of Liberation,” which will take place at The Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. Presented by the American Theater Group in partnership with The New Jersey Creative Arts Collaborative and UCPAC, the event will also feature poetry and dance, a performance by the Kingdom Ambassadors Youth Group, and pre-show entertainment by the NJCAC Community Chorus under the direction of Derek Mosley.

As part of the New Jersey International Film Festival, singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler, whose atmospheric music has been described as “dream folk,” will perform at Voorhees Hall at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, June 15 at 7 p.m.

“We are starting up a new concert series as part of our film festivals with the hope of reawakening the dormant New Brunswick music scene,” said Albert G. Nigrin, a Rutgers professor who is also the festival’s executive director and curator. “Many of these shows will have a visual component.”

Nadler has said that in addition to performing songs from throughout her career, she will include “a few brand-new songs from my upcoming in the works album as well!”

A scene from Cirque du Soleil’s “OVO.”

FAMILY

The Cirque du Soleil show “OVO,” described in a press release as “a colorful intrusion into a new day in the life of insects,” will come to The Prudential Center in Newark, June 20-22 at 7 p.m., as well as June 21-22 at 3 p.m.

“OVO” — which features music by Brazilian composer Berna Ceppas, and whose title means “egg” in Portuguese — is further described in the press release as “a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. The insects’ home is a world of biodiversity and beauty filled with noisy action and moments of quiet emotion. When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object that represents the enigma and cycles of their lives. It’s love at first sight when a gawky, quirky insect arrives in this bustling community and a fabulous ladybug catches his eye—and the feeling is mutual.”

“OVO” debuted in 2009 and has been seen by more than 7 million people in more than 160 cities since then. You can watch its trailer below.

State Fair Meadowlands will run at the MetLife Stadium parking lot in East Rutherford June 20-24 and 26-30 and July 1-7. Attractions will include more than 100 rides as well as carnival games, food vendors, fireworks (on July 3 and 4 only), Cycle Circus (motocross stunts), a big-top circus, Jurassic Kingdom (an educational dinosaur show with puppets), racing pigs, magic shows by Lance Gifford & Co., illusionist Jay Mattioli, strolling magician Artie Miller, a petting zoo, and helicopter rides.

There also will be a Michael Jackson tribute show (June 21-13), performances by singer-songwriter Gina Royale (June 28-30), and the Brazilian music and dance group Samba Nova (July 5-7)

BILLIE WYATT

THEATER

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It” on the outdoor stage at Saint Elizabeth University in Florham Park, June 19-23 and 25-30 and July 2-3, 5-7 and 9-14 at 8 p.m., with additional “twilight shows at 4 p.m. on Sundays. The cast will include many actors who are well known to STNJ patrons, including as Billie Wyatt as the play’s heroine Rosalind, Christian Frost as Oliver, Clark Carmichael as Jacques and Duke Frederick, and Jeffrey M. Bender as Duke Senior.

Following STNJ’s usual outdoor-stage tradition, there will be no admission charge for those 17 and younger, thanks to the “Free Tix for Kids” program, sponsored by the Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation.

REVIEWS

“Evita” at Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal. (Through June 16)

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

“Morven Revealed: Untold Stories From New Jersey’s Most Historic Home” at Morven Museum & Garden, Princeton. (Through March 2)

CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET

Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, 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 NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.

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