Top 15 NJ Arts Events of Week: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, NJ Symphony, more

by JAY LUSTIG
springsteen metlife preview

DANNY CLINCH

Bruce Springsteen will perform at MetLife Stadium, Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 and 3.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Aug. 31.

MUSIC

• “As hard as it is to believe right now … 50,000 people will once again scream their heads off somewhere in New Jersey,” Bruce Springsteen told listeners to his “From My Home to Yours” SiriusXM radio show in May 2020, when most people were staying home as much as possible, because of the pandemic. He and his E Street Band, who performed for about 20,000 people at the Prudential Center in Newark in April, will be back in their home state for just the second time on their current tour, for three shows in five days at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford — Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. — with attendance likely to be around the 50,000 mark each night.

• Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg’s Big Band will present a free concert, with Billy Walton opening, at Kennedy Plaza in Atlantic City, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m., as part of the Mardi Gras on the Boardwalk series.

The Pretenders — who opened for Guns N’ Roses at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, Aug. 15 — will return to New Jersey for a show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.

The band will release a new album, Relentless, on Sept. 15. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Chrissie Hynde said of the album’s title, in a press release, “I enjoy seeing the various meanings and origins of a word. And I liked the definition: ‘showing no abatement of intensity.’ So when it came to an album title, it seemed fitting. You know … to keep doing it. I think anyone in a band is constantly questioning if they should keep going. It starts as a youthful pursuit and eventually, it makes you wonder, why am I doing this? It’s the life of the artist. You never retire. You become relentless.”

TONG CHEN

New Jersey Symphony will offer a free preview of its 2023-24 season at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark, Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. Tong Chen, the Symphony’s assistant conductor since 2021, will conduct, WQXR’s Terrance McKnight will host, and the program will include Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture; Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Elgar’s “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations; Tchaikovsky’s “Valse” from Symphony No. 5; and Beethoven’s “Finale: Allegro Molto” from Symphony No. 3, “Eroica.”

The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center will present “Concert for the Animals,” a benefit for the Plainfield Area Humane Society and Non-Kill Shelter, Aug 26 at 7 p.m., with sets by New Jersey-based indie-rock bands The New Bardōts, The Grip Weeds and Leather Catsuit.

Singer and bandleader James Langton will bring a show titled “Satchmo! Celebrating Louis Armstrong” to the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan, Aug. 27 at 3 p.m. Mike Davis will play Armstrong’s instrument, trumpet, and other performers will include pianist Rossano Sportiello, clarinetist and saxophonist Dan Levinson, trombonist Jim Fryer, bassist Conal Fowkes and drummer Kevin Dorn.

BellWorks in Holmdel will host “Ladies’ Night: Great Women of Song” — a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Sarah Vaughan and others — with pianist Art Topilow, singers Nicole Zuraitis and Charenée Wade, singer-saxophonist Danny Bacher, bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and drummer Dan Pugach. The Axelrod Performing Arts Center will present the show Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. on BellWorks’ outdoor deck.

The entertainment at the Red Bulls’ Major League Soccer game against Inter Miami on Aug. 26, at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, will include a 50th-anniversary-of-hip-hop celebration featuring Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature, DJ Scratch (who has worked with EPMD, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and many others) and DJ Skribble. The game is at 7:30 p.m. All the artists will perform at the CrossBar at Red Bull Arena beginning at 5:30 p.m. (game tickets are required for entry), and then DJ Skribble, DJ Scratch, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee will perform inside the arena, after the game, leading into a fireworks show.

By the way, the great Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi will be making his first appearance at Red Bull Arena as a member of Inter Miami at this game; he joined the team in July.

POPA CHUBBY

The Jersey Jazz and Blues Foundation will present its annual Long Branch Jazz & Blues Festival, Aug. 26 from 1 to 9 p.m. at The Great Lawn in Long Branch. Performers will include Popa Chubby, Eliza Neals, Andy Rothstein Band, Anthony Krizan Band, Audra Mariel & a Real Human Jazz Band, Regina Bonelli. Click HERE for an interview with Neals previewing this show.

THEATER

The Music Mountain Theatre in Lambertville will present “All Shook Up,” Aug. 25-27 and Sept. 1-3 and 8-10. This is a jukebox musical, featuring songs associated with Elvis Presley and characters and plot twists inspired by — believe it or not — William Shakespeare’s comedies “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Twelfth Night,” “As You Like It” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It ran on Broadway in 2005.

As part of “Edward Albee: From A to Zoo,” an ongoing series featuring staged readings of all of Albee’s plays, the Black Box Performing Arts Center in Englewood will present “Malcolm,” Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. This 1966 play, adapted from the novel by James Purdy, was described in a 1966 New York Times review as “a fantasy of the corruption of innocence.”

DANCE

The House of Independents in Asbury Park hosts the Asbury Park Dance Festival, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m., with works choreographed by Michelle Dorrance & Dario Natarelli, Robert Battle, Christopher Wheeldon, Sun Kim, Doug Varone, Lainie Sakakura (reconceiving Bob Fosse’s “Whatever Lola Wants” from the musical “Damn Yankees”), Matthew Neenan, Sonya Tayeh, Andrea Miller, Casey Howes & Jacob Warren, and Sonia Olla.

The poster for the movie “Fletch.”

FILM

In his ongoing “Movies That Made Me” series at his Smodcastle Cinemas in Atlantic Highlands, director Kevin Smith will present the 1985 Chevy Chase movie “Fletch,” Aug. 27 at 7 p.m.

According to the Smodcastle website, “Every Smodcastle show at which Kevin appears runs very, very long. The night usually starts 15 to 30 minutes late, then kicks off with a fundraising auction to support the theater (which includes rare one-of-a-kind props, mementos and signed items). Post-auction, there’s an intro to begin the main program, followed by a Q&A/Group Discussion after the movie ends. We suggest you plan your night accordingly.”

The Montclair Public Library will screen the 2021 documentary “The Automat,” Aug. 29 at 6 p.m., with a question-and-answer session with director Lisa Hurwitz following. The film is about the self-serve 20th century Horn & Hardart fast food restaurants in New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere, and features reminiscences by Mel Brooks, Elliott Gould, the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late Colin Powell, the late Carl Reiner and others (see trailer below).

The Princeton Garden Theatre will present Cat Video Fest 2023 — that’s right, a collection of cat videos — Aug. 25 and 28 at 7:15 p.m., and Aug. 26 at 4:30 p.m.

REVIEWS

“Each One Teach One: Preserving Legacy in Perpetuity” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Aug. 27)

“A Tailor Near Me” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through Sept. 3)

“Claybash 2023” at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Sept. 3)

“The Stories We Tell” at Akwaaba Gallery, Newark. Works by Mashell Black, Matilda Forsberg, Stephen Abban Junior, Madge Scott. (Through Sept. 16)

“Where There’s Smoke” by Lance Weiler at ArtYard, Frenchtown. (Through Oct. 1)

“Victor Ekpuk: Language and Lineage,” presented by Princeton University Art Museum at Bainbridge House, Princeton. (Through Oct. 8)

“Spiral Q: The Parade” at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton. (Through Jan. 7)

“Local Voices: Memories, Stories and Portraits” at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton. (Through Jan. 7)

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

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