Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp, New Jersey Symphony, ProgStock, more

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From left, Rhonda Smith, Jeff Beck, Johnny Depp and Anika Nilles performed at The Anthem in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, and will be in Red Bank Oct. 10-11.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Oct. 13.


Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp will perform at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Oct. 10-11 at 8 p.m. Two-time Rock and Roll Hall and Famer Beck (inducted both as a member of The Yardbirds and as a solo artist) recently released a collaborative album with Depp titled 18, which included original songs and covers of material by The Beach Boys (“Caroline, No”), John Lennon (“Isolation”), The Velvet Underground (“Venus in Furs”) and others. Depp made vocal, guitar, bass, drums and keyboard contributions to the album. He will join Beck and Beck’s band for some but not all numbers at these shows.



The New Jersey Symphony will kick off its 2022-23 season with concerts at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m.; the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.; and the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Oct. 9 at 3 p.m. NJS music director Xian Zhang will conduct, and Yefim Bronfman will be featured on Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The program also will include Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite and Jessie Montgomery’s Banner, and members of Nimbus Dance will dance to Appalachian Spring Suite (in Newark and Morristown only).

Progstock, an annual event that was founded in 2017 and bills itself as “The American Northeast’s Only International Progressive Rock Festival,” takes place at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, Oct. 7-9. Performers include Stick Men (featuring Pat Mastelotto and Tony Levin of King Crimson, and Markus Reuter), The Zappa Band (featuring former Frank Zappa collaborators including Ray White and Mike Keneally), Pattern-Seeking Animals, Beledo & His Friends, Evership, Rachel Flowers, Yes tribute band Total Mass Retain and others. There will also be meet-and-greet sessions with all performers, jam sessions, pumpkin sculpting and other activities.

Speaking of Yes … the prog-rock giants themselves will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their Close to the Edge album with a tour that comes to the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m., and BergenPAC in Englewood, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. The band’s lineup currently include guitarists Steve Howe, singer and guitarist Jon Davison, keyboardist Geoff Downes, bassist Billy Sherwood and drummer Jay Schellen. Longtime Yes drummer Alan White died in May; Schellen has worked with Yes at various times since 2016, subbing for White or joining the band as a second drummer.

Close to the Edge is widely considered one of Yes’ greatest albums, with three epics: “And You and I” and “Siberian Khatru,” in addition to the title track. Howe was in the band at the time, along with bassist Chris Squire (who died in 2015), singer Jon Anderson, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer Bill Bruford.

The Gaslight Anthem (from left, Benny Horowitz, Brian Fallon, Alex Levine and Alex Rosamilia.

The Gaslight Anthem, one of the greatest New Jersey rock bands to emerge in the 21st century, went on hiatus in 2015 and then reunited in 2018 for a tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough album The ’59 Sound. After that tour, band members went their own way again, working on individual projects, but they announced this year that they are back together full-time and working on a new album. They will conclude a two-month tour of Europe and North America with a show at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m., with Jeff Rosenstock opening.

The New Jersey Jazz Society will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a benefit concert at Dolan Hall at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, Oct 9 at 2 p.m., honoring and featuring bassist Bill Crow and saxophonist Houston Person, and also featuring Larry Fuller on piano, Matthew Parrish on bass, Jason Tiemann on drums, Don Braden on saxophone and flute, Warren Vaché Jr. on cornet, and Lucy Wijnands on vocals, along with NJJS scholarship winners Liam Sutcliffe (trumpet), Sam AuBuchon (bass), Jimmy Waltman (vocals) and Derick Campos (guitar). The show’s theme will be “A Legacy, Two Legends, and the Great American Songbook.”

The Outpost in the Burbs presents “A Birthday Tribute to John Prine” featuring Joe D’Urso & Friends, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. The beloved singer-songwriter, who died in 2020, would have turned 76 on Oct. 10. D’Urso’s friends at this acoustic show will include Loren Korevec, David Frye, Tim O’Donohue, Gary Solomon, Michelle Solomon, Christopher Brown and Jake Thistle. All will perform their own versions of Prine’s songs with support, at times, from other artists on the bill. The show will be at The First Congregational Church of Montclair at 40 S. Fullerton Ave.


Rhonda LaChanze Sapp, known professionally as LaChanze, has been nominated for four Tonys (most recently for “Trouble in Mind,” this year) and won once (for “The Color Purple,” in 2006). She also presents concerts occasionally, and will bring her band to the Berrie Center at Ramapo College in Mahwah, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.

Twenty acts are scheduled to perform on two stages at Gibbypalooza, taking place Oct. 6-8 at Finnegan’s Pub in Hoboken. Started as an annual charity event in 2001 (though on hiatus since 2012), Gibbypalooza is organized by Chris Gibson, a member of the Hoboken music scene since the ’80s as a musician, booking agent, and studio and record company owner.

The Oct. 6 show will feature Kevin December, Eoin the Mighty, Exit 99, Lloyd United and Barbiana Complex. The lineup on Oct. 7 will be Crewman Number Six, contributor Jim Testa, The Handsome Devils, Paul Crane, Sodium Sky, Kristen Elizabeth and Ribs, and Ed Smith & the Ego. Oct. 8 performers will include Our Marvelous Lives, Dave Calamoneri, reunions of New Day Dawn and Eugene, Dave Entwistle and Marty Lowe,The Blue Necks, High Speed Chase, and Leo Main & The Merry Band (doing rock ‘n’ roll karaoke).

Each show is at 8 p.m. There is no admission charge, but donations will be collected for Doctors Without Borders, The Global Fund for Women, and Homes for Our Troops.


The Passage Theatre Company presents “Blues in My Soul: The Legend and Legacy of Lonnie Johnson,” at the Mill Hill Playhouse in Trenton, Oct. 13-16, 21-23 and 28-30. Based on a true story, this play is about Lonnie Johnson being rediscovered by a DJ in Philadelphia in 1959. Johnson, who had been a well known blues performer from the 1920s to the 1940s, was working in a hotel at that point; according to the passage website, “As the two men meet, conflicts arise, forcing each to reconcile issues of authenticity, injustice, and legacy.”



Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City presents the Atlantic City Comedy Festival this weekend, with 11 comedians: Sommore, Bruce Bruce, Gary Owen, Corey Holcomb and Tommy Davidson, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m., and Lavell Crawford, Luenell, Karlous Miller, Don “D.C.” Curry, Desi Banks and Dominique, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.


Frank Bruni, the longtime New York Times columnist and author of the memoir “The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found,” will appear in conversation with MSNBC anchor Katy Tur at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. This will be the keynote event for the Morristown Festival of Books, which will continue with talks at various venues, Oct. 8, featuring authors such as Tur (discussing her own memoir, “Rough Draft”), James Patterson, Paul Muldoon, Chris Pavone, Adriani Trigiani and Jean Hanff Korelitz.


BergenPAC in Englewood reopens after extensive renovations this week, with upcoming shows including “The Price Is Right Live!,” Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.; “Masters of Illusion Live!” (featuring Dan Sperry, Michael Turco and Naathan Phan), Oct. 14 at 8 p.m.; “Peppa Pig’s Adventure!,” Oct. 15 at 1 and 5 p.m.; Tracy Morgan, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m.; and Art Garfunkel, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m.

Newark Symphony Hall will present “A Tribute to Amiri Baraka” — the Newark-based poet, activist and New Jersey poet laureate, who died in 2014 — Oct. 7 at 8 p.m., with music by Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Nioka Workman, Orrin Evans and Lezlie Harrison, words by Danny Simmons, Kraal “Kayo” Charles, Toni Blackman, Khemist, and visual art by Alma Roberts, Victor Davson, Dawn Stringer, Phoebe Tree and Danny Simmons. The event will take place at Symphony Hall’s Terrace Ballroom.

Andy Krikun and John La Barbera, who perform together as The Bergen Hobos, will present their multimedia show “The Song Catchers: Folk Singers from the Great Depression & Photographs from the Great Depression” at the Ciccone Theatre at Bergen Community College in Paramus, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. The program focuses on performers such as Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, and Jorge Arévalo Mateus, curator and head archivist of the Woody Guthrie Archives and Foundation, co-directed and will co-host.


The School of the Arts at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham campus in Madison presents WAMFest 2022 — a words, arts and music festival — with four free events: An outdoor concert featuring Richard Baratta’s Gotham City Latin Jazz and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m.; a joint show by Carolyn Dorfman Dance and New Jersey Ballet, Oct. 12 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., with talkbacks following; and a lecture on “Dance on Film” by Marta Renzi, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Dreyfuss Theater.


“The Caretaker” at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University, Madison. (Through Oct. 9)

“Soft Animals” at Vivid Stage, Summit. (Through Oct. 9)

Circus Vazquez at Woodbridge Center. (Through Oct. 10)

“Thou Shalt Not,” presented by Thinkery & Verse at Church of St. John the Evangelist, New Brunswick. (Through Oct. 14)

“The Wolves” at Berlind Theater at McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton. (Through Oct. 16)

“Berta, Berta” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through Oct. 16)

“American Stories: Gifts From the Jersey City Museum Collection” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through Dec. 30)

“New Jersey Arts Annual: Reemergence” at State Museum, Trenton. (Through April 30)

“George Inness: Visionary Landscapes” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 30, 2024)


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


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