Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: ‘Benny & Joon,’ Billy Idol, NJ Symphony Orchestra, more

Benny and Joon Paper Mill

“Benny & Joon” runs at the Paper Mill Playhouse from April 4 to May 5.

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through April 10:


“Benny & Joon,” a musical based on the 1993 romantic comedy film that co-starred Mary Stuart Masterson and Johnny Depp, will make its East Coast premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, with Claybourne Elder and Hannah Elless in the brother-and-sister title roles, and Bryce Pinkham as Joon’s love interest, Sam (played by Depp in the movie). Previews start April 4, with the official opening night on April 14, and the last show on May 5.


Ever wonder what Billy Idol‘s hits would sound like with acoustic instruments? You can find out April 4 at 8 p.m., when he and his longtime guitarist Steve Stevens perform songs such as “Rebel Yell,” “White Wedding,” “Dancing With Myself” and “Eyes Without a Face” in a show titled “Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged,” April 4 at 8 p.m. at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank.

E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg will revisit the town he grew up in, South Orange, when he brings his Max Weinberg’s Jukebox show to the South Orange Performing Arts Center, April 6 at 7 p.m. In this project, he and his band (Glen Burtnik, Bob Burger and John Merjave of The Weeklings) play classic-rock covers, many of which are requested by audience members. (Click here for a new interview with Weinberg.)



Once of the most important architects of rock guitar playing, Dave Davies of The Kinks, brings his own band (featuring drummer Dennis Diken of The Smithereens) to the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, April 9 at 7:30 p.m., and the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, April 13 at 8 p.m.

• Jon Anderson of Yes will bring his 1000 Hands Tour to BergenPAC in Englewood, April 4 at 8 p.m., and the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, April 6 at 8 p.m. The tour is named for his new album, whose title signifies the large number of collaborators on it: everyone from jazz masters such as Chick Corea, Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham and the late Larry Coryell to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, the vocal group Zap Mama, the Orlando Symphony Orchestra and Anderson’s former Yes bandmates Steve Howe, Alan White and the late Chris Squire.

• Eric Andersen, who first emerged as a member of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960s, will be backed by violinist Scarlet Rivera (best known for her work with Bob Dylan in the ’70s) as well as guitarist Steve Addabbo, multi-instrumentalist Eric Lee and percussionist Cheryl Prashker at his show at the Lizzie Rose Music Room in Tuckerton, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Sisters Laura Rogers and Lydia Slagle, a country/Americana duo who perform together as The Secret Sisters, will perform at the Hopewell Theater, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. Their third album — 2017’s You Don’t Own Me Anymore, which was co-produced by Brandi Carlile — earned them a Grammy nomination in the folk category. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by 10 a.m. April 5 with the word “Secret” in the subject line.)



The New Jersey Jazz Society presents its 50th annual Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp— one of the country’s longest-running celebrations of traditional jazz — April 7 at noon at the Hyatt Regency in Morristown, with performances by Andy Farber and his Orchestra (featuring singer Catherine Russell, reed player Adrian Cunningham and trumpeter Warren Vaché), the New Jersey Youth Symphony’s Jazz Orchestra, and Jazz House Kids musicians.

The all-star group The Spring Quartet — featuring drummer Jack DeJohnette, saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist-vocalist Esperanza Spalding and pianist Leonardo Genovese — performs at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.


The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will welcome guests Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash (who all play the sarod, a lute-like Indian instrument) for a program including Amjad Ali Khan’s Samaagam (a concerto for sarod, concertante group and string orchestra) and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, April 5 at 8 p.m. and April 7 at 3 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, and April 6 at 8 p.m. at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. The orchestra’s music director, Xian Zhang, will conduct.



The modern dance company Carolyn Dorfman Dance will appear at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark, April 6 at 7 p.m. and April 7 at 3 p.m., as part of the Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance series. The program, titled “Love Life Dance,” will feature three Dorfman-choreographed dances that are parts of the company’s repertory: the technologically complex “Interior Designs,” “Love Suite Love” (set to songs by country singer Patsy Cline) and “Odisea” (about Jews escaping persecution in Brazil in the 1600s). The April 6 performance will also be part of the company’s annual fundraising gala. (For a chance to win two tickets to the April 7 show, send an email to by 10 a.m. April 5 with the word “Dorfman” in the subject line.)

April 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and NJPAC will team up to present Ailey Day, celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary, at NJPAC and nearby Military Park. Events are free with RSVP. There will be workshops until 12:30 p.m., and then, from 1 to 4 p.m., a Public Participatory Dance Event celebrating Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations,” with live music from a gospel choir and a percussionist, plus a public art project.

American Repertory Ballet will present the 19th century comic ballet, Coppélia, April 6 at 7 p.m. at BergenPAC in Englewood. Choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon and featuring music by Léo Delibes, Coppélia — a tale of a boy who becomes infatuated with a doll — is “one of the few comedic ballets in the classical ballet repertoire,” said ARB artistic director Douglas Martin in a press release.


Appearances by writers Anna Quindlen, Colm Tóibín, Daniel Pink and Veronica Chambers and a performance by poet Paul Muldoon’s band Rogue Oliphant (featuring Warren Zanes, David Mansfield, Cait O’Riordan, Chris Harford and Sim Cain) will be part of the first Hoboken Literary Weekend, taking place April 5-7 at Little City Books and other locations.

Offerings at the monthly Free First Thursday Night program at the Montclair Art Museum, taking place from 5 to 9 p.m. April 4, will include a “History of Alvin Ailey” program featuring Dance Works/Montclair and students from the Sharron Miller Dance Academy and Montclair High School; music by the Cajun/zydeco band Big Mamou; gallery tours; a mandala workshop; food trucks; and more.

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