Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Southside Johnny, First Nights, Capital Philharmonic, more

southside johnny new year's 2021


(NOTE: After this was posted, the Capital Philharmonic cancelled its event, and others may be cancelled or modified as well, because of the pandemic.)

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Jan. 6.


After having to miss their traditional New Year’s Eve concert at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank last year, because of the pandemic, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes will be back there, this year, on New Year’s Eve. The show takes place at 9 p.m., with the Lakehouse Music Academy bands Mannequin Arm and Good Morning Beautiful opening. The Jukes performance, at 10 p.m., will be broadcast live on SiriusXM satellite radio‘s E Street Radio channel (channel 20).

Click here for a recent interview with Southside.

The Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey performs at the War Memorial in Trenton, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. “New Year’s Eve: A Great Night Out!” will feature music by Johann Strauss Jr. (“Thunder and Lightning Polka,” “Wine, Women and Song Waltz”), Hector Berlioz (“Hungarian March”), Alexander Borodin (Polovtsian Dances from “Prince Igor”), Elmer Bernstein (“The Magnificent Seven”) and Richard Rodgers (“Oklahoma,” arr. Robert Russell Bennett). Also, Brett Miller will give a pre-concert performance from 7:10 to 7:40 p.m. on the theater’s vintage Möller pipe organ.


 The Westfield-based New Jersey Festival Orchestra will present a show titled “Steppin’ Back Out,” New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. at the Westfield High School Auditorium and New Year’s Day at 2:30 p.m. at the Fellowship Cultural Arts Center in Basking Ridge. Broadway veterans Paige Faure and James Moye as well as dancers from Dance Theatre Harlem will perform at these shows, described on the orchestra’s website as a “revue of Broadway classics” featuring “favorites from America’s Great Songbook.” David Wroe, the orchestra’s music director, will conduct.

Other New Year’s Eve shows include:

Chicago at Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City.
The Early November, Idle Wave at House of Independents, Asbury Park.
Tony Orlando at Resorts, Atlantic City.
New Year’s Eve With Jerry Blavat featuring Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes at Bally’s, Atlantic City.
Saron Crenshaw Band at Shanghai Jazz, Madison.


As has usually been the case in recent years, First Night Morris County in Morristown will offer New Jersey’s most ambitious program of family-friendly arts events on New Year’s Eve this year, with music (Matt O’Ree Band, Rio Clemente, Baroque Orchestra of NJ, Harmonium Choral Society, Maurício de Souza, etc.), comedy (Joe Larson, Leighann Lord), film, visual arts and children’s entertainment at various venues, some of which also will be streamed or offered on-demand, online. Complimentary parking and shuttle service from venue to venue will be offered to all ticket-holders.

Illusionist Anthony Salazar in action.

• Another ambitious First Night celebration is planned for Ocean City, with the band Tavares (known for hits such as “More Than a Woman” and “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel”), the Ocean City Pops’ tribute to Aretha Franklin (featuring Tamika Lawrence and Coco Smith), the Legacy Band, the Harlem Wizards basketball team, illusionist Anthony Salazar, mentalist Dustin Dean and more.


New Year’s Eve comedy shows throughout the state include:

Rich Vos at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club, Point Pleasant Beach.
Greg Fitzsimmons at Stress Factory, New Brunswick.
Joey Kola at Bananas Comedy Club at Renaissance Hotel, Rutherford.
Mike Marino, Jerrold Benford at Catch a Rising Star, Princeton.
“Catskills on the Delaware” at Stangl Stage, Flemington. With Joey Novick, Bob Greenberg, Scott Blakeman.
Doug Karpf, John Hollywood, Paul Goldenberg at Scotty’s Pub and Comedy Cove, Springfield.


Daniel Yaiullo, center, Michael Gardiner and Katie North co-star in “1+1” at the Black Box Performing Arts Center in Englewood.


The Black Box Performing Arts Center in Englewood, which presented Eric Bogosian’s “1+1” in workshop format in November and early December, will present encore performances Jan. 6-9, 13-16 and 20-23. The play is about a naive struggling actress who poses for Internet porn photos and becomes romantically involved with the creepy, manipulative photographer who takes them; click here for my review of the production, from November.


“Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through Jan. 2)

“Doug Herren: Color-Forms/Ceramic Structures” at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Jan. 9)

“On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Feb. 27)

“Bruce Springsteen Live!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through March 20)


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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