Top 15 NJ Arts Events of Week: Fest for Beatles Fans, Hoboken Literary Weekend, Rick Wakeman, more

Beatles Fest preview

Pattie Boyd, in an image from her book, “Pattie Boyd: My Life in Pictures.”

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


Pattie Boyd — the model and photographer who was married to George Harrison from 1966 to 1977 and to Eric Clapton from 1979 to 1989 — will appear at the March 31-April 2 Fest for Beatles Fans at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City. Other Fest for Beatles Fans guests will include Peter Asher, a member of the ’60s duo Peter & Gordon who went on to be very successful as a record producer and artist manager; saxophonist and Ringo Starr collaborator Mark Rivera; Terry Sylvester, the Swinging Blue Jeans member who later joined The Hollies; Joey Molland of Badfinger; the bands The Weeklings, Liverpool and The Wag, and others.

The Fest has been presented annually in the New Jersey/New York area, and elsewhere, since 1974, and offers Beatles-related memorabilia vendors, exhibitions, contests, screenings, children’s activities and more.

Soprano Tiffany Townsend, baritone Reginald Smith Jr. and the Montclair State University Chorale (led by Heather J. Buchanan) will join the New Jersey Symphony for Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, conducted by Eric Jacobsen, March 30 at 1:30 p.m. and March 31 at 8 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark and April 2 at 3 p.m. at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. The program also will feature George Walker’s Lilacs (featuring Townsend) and Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin.


Blues-based singer-songwriters Marcia Ball and Tinsley Ellis will team up for a show titled “Acoustic Songs & Stories,” March 31 at 8 p.m. at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair. According to the Outpost website, they will perform separate sets in which they “weave the music together with stories from their years on stage and on the road. Finally, they will come together as a duo to close the night playing songs together and swapping tales of their travels and travails.” The show will take place at the First Congregational Church at 40 S. Fullerton Ave.

The Dark Force Fest, dark alternative music festival, will be held at the Parsippany Sheraton, March 31 and April 1-2. More than 30 bands — including Health, Combichrist, Suicide Commando, Psyclon Nine, Empathy Test, Actors, Solar Fake and Bile — will perform, and there will also be vendors, costume contests, sideshow performers, panel discussions and more.

Trumpeter, bandleader, composer and William Paterson University’s first Jazz Studies director Thad Jones — who died in 1986 but would have turned 100 on March 28 of this year — will be honored at the “Thad at 100: Thad Jones 100th Birthday Celebration” concert, featuring the university’s Jazz Orchestra and others, at the Shea Auditorium, April 2 at 4 p.m., with a “Sittin’ In” meet-the-artist session at 3 p.m. at Shea Recital Hall 101. Jones’ compositions for Count Basie and his own bands will be performed. William Paterson University continues to be the home of The Thad Jones Archive.


• Ali Stroker— the singer and actress who won a Tony in 2019 in the Featured Actress category, for playing Ado Annie in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” — will perform at Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University in Hillside, April 1 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the Kean Stage series.

Keyboard master Rick Wakeman is best known as a member of Yes during its period of greatest popularity, in the ’70s, though he has been involved in a number of other notable musical projects, as both a solo artist and a supporting musician, since 1969, when he played on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” He will present a show titled “His Music and Stories,” March 31 at 8 p.m. at Sound Waves at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City; April 1 at 8 p.m. at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair; and April 3 at 7:30 p.m. at The Vogel at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank.


Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken will present the world premiere of “Yuppies Invade My House at Dinnertime” from March 31 to April 8. Joseph Gallo’s “documentary play” is set during the ’80s, when Hoboken was being gentrified.

According to the theater’s website, “Nearly every word in the text is taken verbatim from more than 40 interviews of community residents who lived through that time, newspaper clippings, letters-to-the-editor that appeared in the Hoboken Reporter, and other primary source documents.”

Sharon Lawrence stars in “The Shot.”

Sharon Lawrence will star in “The Shot,” Robin Gerber’s one-woman play about longtime Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, from April 6 to April 23 at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch.


• Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater will present a program titled “Architects of Dance” — featuring the world premiere of AXCBT artistic director Gabriel Chajnik’s “Komposition,” inspired by the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky and set to music by Erik Satie — April 1 at 8 p.m. at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal. The program will also include world premieres of works by Blakely White-McGuire, Andrea Weber and Michael Trusnovec.

Also, AXCBT will present a show titled “Wanna Dance with Somebody?,” featuring dances set to ’80s pop hits by artists such as Whitney Houston, Prince, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson, April 1 at 3 p.m. and April 2 at 1 and 5 p.m. at Axelrod PAC.


Remember Jones will host a screening of the 1971 concert film “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” — featuring Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge and others — at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, April 4 at 7 p.m., in advance of his April 14-15 concerts there at which he will perform the Mad Dogs & Englishmen double album in its entirety.

The ShowRoom Cinema in Asbury Park will screen “What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat, And Tears?,” a new documentary about the band’s 1970 tour of Eastern Europe, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. At the time, the jazz-rock group was hugely popular, with hits such as “Spinning Wheel,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and “And When I Die.” (see trailer below)



Novelists Jennifer Egan, Rupert Holmes and N.K. Jemisin and cookbook author Maya Kaimal will be among the participants in the third annual Hoboken Literary Weekend, taking place March 31 to April 2 at Little City Books. Other attractions will include a panel discussion featuring Young Adult authors; a workshop performance, by the theater company Elevator Repair Service, of their take on James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses”; and a night of standup comedy produced by Leah Williams and featuring “Saturday Night Live” cast member James Austin Johnson and others.

Susanna Hoffs of the band The Bangles has written a novel, “This Bird Has Flown,” that will be released on April 4. And at 6 p.m. that day, she will meet fans at the Books & Greetings store in Northvale (Bergen County). On her Facebook page, Hoffs wrote that the book — whose title, of course, is taken from the Beatles song “Norwegian Wood” — is “about sex, love, and rock & roll!” The registration fee is the purchase of a copy of the book; visit


“The Rosenberg/Strange Fruit Project” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through April 2)

“The Little Foxes” at Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken. (Through April 2)

“Yuppies Invade My House at Dinnertime” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through April 8)

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through April 9)

“Joe Waks: Parade of Values — Defenders of Freedom!” at The Dollhaus II, Bayonne (Through April 9)

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

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

“vanessa german: … please imagine all the things i cannot say …” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 25)

“Ladies and Gentlemen … The Beatles!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through June 25)

“Komar and Melamid: A Lesson in History” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through July 16)

“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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