Top 12 NJ Arts Events of Week: TD James Moody Jazz Festival, ‘Radio Golf,’ more

chaka khan njpac

Chaka Khan performs at NJPAC in Newark, Nov. 6.

This year’s TD James Moody Jazz Festival starts Nov. 5, and scheduled for its first weekend at NJPAC and other Newark venues are:

Nov. 5, 8:30 p.m.: The Django Festival Allstars, playing the music of Django Reinhardt, at the Chase Room at NJPAC.
Nov. 6, 6 p.m.: A Jazz Vespers concert featuring bassist Buster Williams at Bethany Baptist Church. (Free)
Nov. 6, 7 p.m.: Nimbus Dance at Victoria Theater at NJPAC. The program will include the world premiere of “Raucous Caucus Tango,” a collaboration with bassist and composer Pedro Giraudo.
Nov. 6, 8 p.m.: Chaka Khan, Leela James at Prudential Hall at NJPAC.
Nov. 7, 2 p.m.: In a revival of WBGO’s long-running Kids Jazz series, saxophonist Don Braden will play music with his septet and explain jazz basics at NJPAC’s Victoria Theater. (Free)

The festival will continue through Nov. 14.

Other events taking place around the state through Nov. 11 include:


Still recovering from damage inflicted by Tropical Storm Ida, the South Orange Performing Arts Center will hold its annual Gala at Drew University in Madison, Nov. 6, with an online option as well. Singer and Great American Songbook champion Michael Feinstein will be the main attraction, jazz bassist and producer John Lee will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Diana Hart, of Diana Hart Fine Catering and a former SOPAC board member, will be honored. The evening will begin at Drew’s Mead Hall at 6 p.m., then move to the Concert Hall at Drew’s Dorothy Young Center for the Arts at 8 p.m.


• Randy Rainbow will perform his irreverent, politically satirical and often silly songs at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. In addition to songs from the past, the show will include new material written by Rainbow with Marc Shaiman (“Hairspray,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Catch Me If You Can”) and Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Beauty and the Beast”), and a question-and-answer session.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 7 at 3 p.m., and the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. Pianist Daniil Trifonov will be featured in a program that includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst, and “The Moldau,” “Šárka” and “Blaník” from Bedrich Smetana’s set of symphonic poems, Má vlast. Xian Zhang will conduct the Beethoven and Smetana pieces; Tong Chen will conduct Starburst.

The APEX Ensemble, formerly known as the Montclair Orchestra, returns to live concerts, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Central Presbyterian Church in Montclair. David Chan will conduct and Metropolitan Opera soprano Leah Hawkins will sing works by William Grant Still, Francesco Cilea and Giacomo Puccini. The orchestra will also perform Anna Clyne’s Sound & Fury and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major.


Josh and Jeb Guthrie — Wisconsin natives who are now based in New York, and perform together as The Guthrie Brothers — will present “Scarborough Fair,” their Simon & Garfunkel tribute, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Madison Community Arts Center. “We knew the first time we played a Simon and Garfunkel song that our voices blended effortlessly into that S&G signature sound,” say the brothers. “And the overwhelming audience reaction to our performances confirmed our feelings.” (For a chance to win a pair of tickets, send an email to by 10 a.m. Nov. 4 with the word “Guthrie” in the subject line.)


The Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick will present Fall Dance Plus shows Nov. 11-13 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, with works choreographed by guest artists and faculty members. Featured choreographers will include Kyle Marshall, Chien-Ying Wang, Kim Elliott, John Evans, Katy Pyle, Ani Javian and Chuck Wilt.


Carl Hendrick Louis, left, and Nathan James co-star in the Two River Theater’s production of “Radio Golf.”


August Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle” (also known as the “Century Cycle”) is an acclaimed series of 10 plays about African-American life in the 20th century, with one set in each of the century’s decades. The Two River Theater in Red Bank presents “Radio Golf,” the last play in the Cycle (set in the 1990s) as well as the last play Wilson wrote before dying in 2005; previews begin on Nov. 6, Nov. 12 is the official opening night, and the play runs through Nov. 21. The theater actually began presenting “Radio Golf” in late February 2020, but the run was cut short because of the pandemic. Most of the original cast will return.

The Vanguard Theatre Company in Montclair will present “Next to Normal” from Nov. 10 to Nov. 21. Written by Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics), this musical — about a woman living with bipolar disorder, and her family — won three Tonys (including best original score) in 2009 and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010.

Tymisha Harris — who appeared as Josephine Baker in the one-woman play “Josephine,” outdoors at the Morris Museum in Morris Township, in September 2020 — will portray the 20th century singer, dancer, actress and activist again at the museum’s Bickford Theatre. It will be a different play, though. “Josie & Grace,” focusing on the friendship between Baker and actress Grace Kelly, will be presented Nov. 5-6 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. Rachel Comeau will play Kelly, with Stephen Lima playing various male roles, including Alfred Hitchcock. This will be the Bickford’s first play since the pandemic began. (For a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Nov. 7 show, send an email to by 10 a.m. Nov. 4 with the word “Josie” in the subject line.)

Doguhan Kabadayi in “Wet Dog.”


This year’s Rutgers Jewish Film Festival will combine in-person screenings — at Rutgers Cinema in Piscataway and Princeton Garden Theatre — with online offerings. The opening night film, “Wet Dog” — based on the autobiography of Arye Sharuz Shalicar — is about a Jewish-Iranian teenager who moves to Germany and hides his identity in order to fit in with gangs. (See trailer below)


Stormin’ Norman Seldin, one of the founding fathers of the Asbury Park rock scene, has written a memoir titled “You Don’t Know Me,” and the Asbury Park Library will present a free launch party for it, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m., at which Seldin and co-writer Charlie Horner will give a multimedia presentation, and sign books.


“Songs for a New World” at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn. (Through Nov. 7.)

“Dear Jack, Dear Louise,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through Nov. 21.)


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