Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: ‘East Carson Street,’ ‘Choice,’ Godsmack, more

east carson street preview

“East Carson Street” will run at Bell Theater at Bell Works in Holmdel, May 3-5 and 9-12.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around New Jersey, through May 9.


• “East Carson Street,” a musical featuring songs written by veteran rock artist Joe Grushecky and co-starring Tony-nominated actor (“Rock of Ages”) Constantine Maroulis, will have its world premiere at the newly renovated Bell Theater at Bell Works in Holmdel, with shows on May 3-5 and 9-12. Grushecky has described the show as “a musical using all my songs and the characters of my songs and the themes I’ve been writing about for years” and “a story about a Pittsburgh family over a 20-, 30-year time period.”

Broadway veteran Teal Wicks (“Wicked,” “Jekyll and Hyde,” “The Cher Show”) will co-star, and Daniel Kutner — the associate director of “Prince of Broadway,” a 2017 revue devoted to works from the career of director and producer Harold Prince — will direct.

• “Choice,” a play that has been described as a comedy about a woman’s right to choose, will be presented at The Berlind Theater at The McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, with previews beginning May 8, the official opening night on May 18, and the last show on June 2. The play was written by Princeton University graduate Winnie Holzman, who created the TV series “My So-Called Life” and wrote the book for the musical “Wicked”; it was first produced in 2015, though this is a new version of it.

Winter Miller’s “When Monica Met Hillary” — no last names are needed in this attention-getting title — imagines what might have happened if these two women met, years after the Clinton Era scandal. The play will make its North Jersey premiere, May 3-5 and 10-12 at The Hackensack Performing Arts Center.



Godsmack (from left, Robbie Merrill, Sully Ernal, Tony Rombola and Shannon Larkin.

Hard rock band Godsmack will bring its Vibez Tour, which has been described as an “intimate evening of acoustic/electric performances,” to Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, May 4 at 8 p.m.

• New Jersey Youth Symphony will celebrate its 45th Anniversary with a concert at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, May 5 at 3 p.m., with guests George Marriner Maull and Rufus Reid; and conductors Dion Tucker, Mark Gunderman, Simon Lipskar and Helen H. Cha-Pyo. The program will include works by Reid, Holst, Copland, Valerie Coleman, James Ra, and Respighi.

“Presley in the Pines” — taking place Albert Music Hall in Waretown, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. — will feature roots/bluegrass versions of The King’s music by Redbird & Raven, Piney Blues, Basement Musicians, That’s All Right Mama (formed for the occasion and featuring Ruth Ann Knoll and members of Fish & Whistle) and James Dalton. Classic cars will be on display, and a prize will be given for the attendee with the best Elvis costume.


• New Jersey Ballet will perform at The Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. and May 4 at 1 p.m. The program will include Purcell Suite, choreographed by Harrison Ball to music by Henry Purcell, and featuring costumes by fashion designer Zac Posen; Murder Ballades, inspired by dark American folk songs and choreographed by Justin Peck; and the world premiere of “Jewel Box,” choreographed by Lauren Lovette, former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet and current resident choreographer at Paul Taylor Dance Company.

nj book signings

Whoopi Goldberg’s book, “Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me.”


• Whoopi Goldberg will promote her new memoir, “Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me,” with an appearance at Bookends in Ridgewood, May 9 at 5:30 p.m.

The URSB Carteret Performing Arts & Events Center will present “An Intimate Evening With Priscilla Presley,” May 4 at 7 p.m. Elvis Presley’s wife from 1967 to 1973, Priscilla wrote a 1985 memoir, “Elvis and Me,” that was made into the 2023 film “Priscilla.”

Actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish will sign copies of her new book, “I Curse You With Joy,” at Books & Greetings in Northvale, May 9 at 6 p.m. The book has been described as “a collection of essays that are as humorous as they are heartfelt. Renowned for her unapologetic honesty, she delves into the highs and lows of life, celebrating the lessons learned along the way. … Haddish fearlessly confronts the legacy of her childhood trauma, explores the challenges of being a Black woman in the entertainment industry, and shares the bittersweet tale of her reunion with her estranged father after nearly two decades apart.”


ShowRoom Cinema in Asbury Park will show a pair of Rolling Stones-related movies, this weekend. The new “Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg” (see trailer below), screening May 4 at 7:30 p.m., tells the story of the model and actress who had relationships with Stones members Keith Richards (with whom she had three children) and Brian Jones, and features Scarlett Johansson reading excerpts from the late Pallenberg’s unpublished memoir. “Performance,” which will be shown May 5 at 3 p.m., is the 1970 film in which Mick Jagger plays an eccentric rock star who helps a gangster hide after the gangster has committed a murder.

The 1975 blockbuster “Jaws” will screen at BergenPAC in Englewood, May 4 at 7 p.m., after which co-star Richard Dreyfuss will participate in a question-and-answer session.

As part of the Madison Mostly Dance Festival, the Thomas Edison Film Festival will screen 10 short films with dance themes — from Australia, Canada, Norway and Scotland, in addition to The United States — at The Madison Community Arts Center, May 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Following the screenings, Jane Steuerwald (the Thomas Edison Film Festival’s executive director) and filmmaker Richard Kuller (whose “The Little Man,” about a college dance instructor, will be shown) will participate in a discussion with audience members.

The Prudential Center in Newark will present Miku Expo, May 7.


The Prudential Center in Newark will present “Hatsune Miku — Miku Expo 2024,” May 7 at 8 p.m. According to the venue’s website, Miku Expo “is a world concert tour … that brings along a variety of sub-events (exhibitions, workshops, club events, concerts and more) where fans of all backgrounds can meet up and share various aspects of the creative culture surrounding Hatsune Miku.” And Hatsune Miku is “a Japanese music sensation, a 16 year-old blue-haired girl with a unique voice and prodigious energy. What makes her special is that she is not a human singer, but a virtual persona who uses a computer-generated voice and 3D graphics to perform on stage.”

The fourth annual Rock & Roll Steampunk Fair will take place at Veterans Park in Washington (Warren County), May 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with vendors, street performers, “general steampunk shenanigans” and music from the British steampunk band Victor & the Bully along with Frenchy & the Punk, and Crash Gordon & Debra Dynamite. There will be no admission charge, and an after-party from 6 to 9 p.m. at Buttzville Brewing Company will feature the band A Halo Called Fred.

• The NJ Art & Music Express — a festival offering events, many of which are free, in Avenel, Rahway and Woodbridge — takes place on May 4. Free NJ Transit transportation will be offered between the cities. Participating venues include Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway and Avenel Performing Arts Center; bands will include Blues People and The Outcrops (both performing in Woodbridge’s Parker Press Park). Click HERE for a complete rundown of events.


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

“Is He Dead?” at Summit Playhouse. (Through May 11)

“The Two Hander” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through May 19)

“Show Up, Kids!” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through May 19)

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


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