Top 12 NJ Arts Events of Week: ‘Sunday in the Park With George,’ John Mellencamp etc.



Talia Suskauer and Graham Phillips will co-star in “Sunday in the Park With George” at The Axelrod Performing Arts Center.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around New Jersey, through March 14.


“Sunday in the Park With George” — billed as “Reimagined in Color, Light & Dance” — will run at The Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, March 8-10, 14-17 and 20-24. The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1983 musical — featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine — was inspired by 19th century French painter Georges Seurat’s famous pointillist work, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”; characters include Seurat and his mistress, in the 1880s, and their great-grandson, approximately 100 years later.

Graham Phillips (of Broadway’s “13” and television’s “The Good Wife” and “Riverdale”) and Talia Suskauer (of Broadway’s “Wicked”) will co-star.

Eamon Foley, who directs and choreographs, said in a press release: “My dance-forward vision of Sunday In The Park With George began twenty years ago. I was nine-year-old, appearing as a newsboy in the Broadway revival of Gypsy with Bernadette Peters. All of us child actors would watch the PBS recording of Sunday on VHS during the second act, while waiting for our curtain call. Then, I’d listen to the cast album on my commutes to and from the theatre, and the score really inspired me, as it has so many others. To me it sounded like color swirling around you, and I believed that this complex and beloved musical had untapped potential to dance. Bringing the colors to life as dancers en pointe seemed like the perfect way to bring us closer to George, and honor what I first found so thrilling about Sondheim’s rich score.” (see preview video below)

The Strollers will present “Gloria: A Life,” Emily Mann’s 2018 play about journalist and feminist activist Gloria Steinem, at The Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, March 8-10 and 15-16. Steinem, now 89, founded Ms. magazine in the ’70s; has written prolifically for Ms. and other publications; and has championed countless social and political causes.



• John Mellencamp — the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer whose 2023 album Orpheus Descending included a new song written by Bruce Springsteen (“Perfect World”) and a powerful protest song about homelessness (“The Eyes of Portland”) — is resuming his Live and In Person Tour (begun in ’23) this week, with the second show of this leg scheduled for Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, March 10 at 8 p.m.

As part of a fundraising marathon by the listener-supported, Jersey City-based radio station WFMU, Yo La Tengo will play requests, live on their air, for those making pledges, March 12 from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Yo La Tengo has been doing this annually since the ’90s. In 2006, the group released an album of highlights, titled Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics.

Three-time Tony-winning actress Patti LuPone (“Evita,” “Gypsy,” “Company”) will present a show that is titled “A Life in Notes” and described as a “a personal musical memoir on and off the stage,” March 8 at 8 at The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. LuPone’s other Broadway credits include “The Robber Bridegroom,” “Anything Goes,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and, in addition to her stage acting, she has been in many films and TV shows, and released a number of albums.


Tony- and Emmy-winning actress and recording artist Kristin Chenoweth will present a concert of “her favorite show-stopping songs” at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, March 9 at 8 p.m. Stephen Schwartz, the composer and lyricist for “Wicked” and other Broadway shows, will make a guest appearance; Chenoweth was the original Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked” on Broadway, and received one of her Tony nominations for it.

• Porno for Pyros‘ current Horns, Thorns en Halos Tour is a reunion tour that is also being billed as a farewell tour. The fiery alternative-rock band, led by Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, had not had a full-length tour since 1998, though there have been occasional reunion shows since then. Joining Farrell in the current version of the group are co-founding drummer Stephen Perkins (also of Jane’s Addiction); co-founding guitarist Peter DiStefano; bassist Mike Watt (best known as a member of the influential hardcore punk band Minutemen); and keyboardist Robin Hatch.

The tour will come to The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, March 10 at 8 p.m., with Tigercub opening.

• Hit Men of Country — a group that features musicians who have worked with Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Wynonna, Travis Tritt and others — will perform at The URSB Carteret Performing Arts & Events Center, March 8 at 8 p.m. In addition to the music, “insider backstage stories” are promised.

The group includes Doug Carter (keyboards, vocals), Jayson Chance (electric guitar, vocals), Jeff Zona (acoustic guitar, vocals), David Northrup (drums) and Don Mott (bass, vocals).



New Jersey Symphony music director Xian Zhang will conduct the orchestra at Prudential Hall at NJPAC, March 14 at 1:30 p.m.; Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University, March 15 at 8 p.m.; and The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, March 17 at 3 p.m. The program will include Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5; Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 (featuring Tom Borrow); and David Ludwig’s NightVision.


Broadway actors Donald Webber Jr. (“Hamilton,” “Motown the Musical”), Ashley Spencer (“Rock of Ages,” “Grease”), Rebecca Covington Webber (“Motown the Musical,” “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”) and Kevin Massey (“Wicked,” “Memphis”) will sing Disney classics in “SOMA Sings Disney,” taking place at The South Orange Performing Arts Center, March 10 at 3 p.m.


Paul Muldoon — the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Princeton University professor and leader of the rock band Rogue Oliphant — will participate in a discussion following a screening of “Paul Muldoon: Laoithe ‘s Lyricí (A Life in Lyrics),” a 2022 documentary about him, March 12 at 7 p.m. at The Princeton Garden Theatre.

Efren Ramirez, left, and Jon Heder in “Napoleon Dynamit.”

A 20th Anniversary Celebration Tour for the comedy “Napoleon Dynamite” will include screenings at BergenPAC in Englewood, March 8 at 7 p.m.; and Ovation Hall at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, March 9 at 8 p.m. Both screenings will be followed by a question-and-answer session featuring cast members Jon Heder, Jon Gries and Efren Ramirez — who played the title character, Uncle Rico and Pedro, respectively.


“Agnes of God” at Summit Playhouse. (Through March 9)

“Ellen Harvey: The Disappointed Tourist” at Rowan University Art Gallery & Museum, Glassboro. (Through March 9)

“RIFT, or white lies” at Luna Stage, West Orange. (Through March 10)

“The Club,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through March 17)

“Esspy” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through March 17)

Edward Fausty: Refuge at Watchung Arts Center. (Through March 24)

“Caroline Burton: Way Finding” at New Jersey State Museum, Trenton. (Through March 31)

“Night Forms” at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton. (Through April 7)

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

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