Top 15 NJ Arts Events of Week: ‘Festival of Praise,’ ‘A Walk on the Moon,’ Dramarama, more

by JAY LUSTIG
gospel newark festival

From left, Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond and Bishop Hezekiah Walker will perform at Newark Symphony Hall, April 27.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through April 28.

MUSIC

Three multiple-Grammy-winning gospel artists — Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton and Bishop Hezekiah Walker — will team up for a “Festival of Praise” concert at Newark Symphony Hall, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. The show is part of the fifth Festival of Praise Tour since 2014, and is being presented in collaboration with the nearby New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

This year’s Light of Day festival took place in March, but a Light of Day “AfterFest” event is scheduled for House of Independents in Asbury Park, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. The Jersey-bred, California-based band Dramarama, a Light of Day perennial, will headline, with the Highland Park-based based power-pop/psychedelic-rock group The Grip Weeds opening. Over the last two decades, Light of Day has raised about $6 million for the fight against Parkinson’s Disease and related disorders.

SHAWN COLVIN

Singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin will perform her debut album Steady On in its entirety, as well as other songs, at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair, April 28 at 8 p.m., and at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College in Toms River, April 30 at 8 p.m. The 1989 album featured songs such as “Diamond in the Rough,” “Shotgun Down the Avalanche” and “Cry Like an Angel” and won a Grammy in the Contemporary Folk Album category. Clarence Bucaro opens in Toms River only. The Montclair show will take place at the First Congregational Church at 40 S. Fullerton Ave. (For a chance to win two tickets to the Outpost show, send an email to njartscontest@gmail.com by noon April 25 with the word “Colvin” in the subject line.)

Trilogy: An Opera Company, joined by Alfred Gallman Dance Theatre and in partnership with New Jersey Symphony, will present Michael Raphael’s opera “Nat Turner,” about the slave who led a major rebellion in Virginia in 1831, at Central High School in Newark, April 23 at 4 p.m.

Singer Lucy Yeghiazaryn will be featured on the New Jersey Jazz Society’s Virtual Social for April, which will be streamed April 23 at 7 p.m. On the NJJS web site, she is quoted as saying “I generally cover tunes from the great American Songbook … there are so many moods and stories in there that it offers endless possibilities. So, I’ll never stop singing it. I’ll probably do some stranger tunes from Kurt Weill as well.” The Social will be streamed on njjs.org as well as on the NJJS Facebook page and YouTube channel. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

When he’s not playing with Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, guitarist and singer-songwriter Glenn Alexander fronts his own dynamic blues-rock group, Shadowland, which features his fellow Jukes Chris Anderson (trumpet), John Isley (saxophone) and Neal Pawley (trombone) along with Greg Novick (bass), Dave Anthony (drums) and Alexander’s daughter Oria on lead and background vocals. The group will perform their first show of 2022 at Pickett’s Village Bar in Maplewood, April 28 at 7 p.m.

Bar Anticipation in Lake Como will host “Harpin’ Help”— a benefit for the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation, Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry and Jersey Shore Food Not Bombs — April 24 from noon to 9 p.m., with sets by Green Dream, Eddie Testa Band, Abandoned Outcasts, Secret Sound, Chuck Lambert Band, Pete Tonti, Jump Back, Strumberry Pie, Gary Wright and others.

Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro will perform together in Morristown, April 24.

Actor Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro — the NPR “All Things Considered” co-host who also has sung with the group Pink Martini — will present a joint show of songs and stories, “Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret,” April 24 at 7 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. “We’re both storytellers who try to help audiences better understand themselves and the world around them,” Shapiro has said. “This show lets us explore those shared ideals on stage together, through stories and songs.” (Note: The show was originally scheduled for March 19 but was postponed; tickets for that date will be honored.)

The British band The Zombies broke up in the late ’60s, after recording hits such as “She’s Not There,” “Time of the Season” and “Tell Her No,” and wasn’t heard from again until 1989. The group has continued to undertake various projects since then, though, and, still led by co-founders Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone, performs at the Music Box at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, April 23 at 8 p.m.

Also of note for fans of vintage rock: Vanilla Fudge — still featuring original members Mark Stein (vocals, keyboards), Vince Martell (guitar) and Carmine Appice (drums) — will perform their hit cover of The Supremes hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and other songs at the Newton Theatre, April 23 at 8 p.m. Beyond Purple, a cover band that performs the music of Deep Purple and related bands Rainbow, Whitesnake and Dio, opens.

Deb Lyons, who performed in “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” on Broadway, will sing pop music, Broadway tunes and standards in a show titled “I Feel the Earth Move” at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, April 24 at 3 p.m. Pianist Art Topilow will lead a band that will also include Tom Timko on sax, David Longworth on drums and Gary Mazzaroppi on bass.

FAMILY

In advance of Alvin Ailey Dance’s performances at NJPAC in Newark, May 6-8, NJPAC will host an Ailey Day, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with dance workshops, visual arts and collaging classes, and a panel discussion. Dances of all ages and skill levels are welcome. The event is free, though advance registration is encouraged; visit njpac.org/event/ailey-day.

Carolyn Dorfman Dance performs at SOPAC, April 23.

DANCE

• Carolyn Dorfman Dance performs at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, April 23 at 8 p.m. The program, titled “Returning to Reconnect,” will feature two new works: “NOW,” choreographed by Juel D. Lane, and “PRIMA!,” choreographed by Dorfman and featuring Louis Prima hits such as “Sing Sing Sing,” “Just A Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” and “Jump, Jive an’ Wail.” The program will also feature a longtime Carolyn Dorfman Dance favorite, “Pastorale Pause,” which is set to Celtic music by John Whelan.

THEATER

George Street Playhouse will present “A Walk on the Moon” — a musical adapted from the 1999 movie that co-starred Diane Lane and Viggo Mortensen — in its East Coast premiere at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, with previews beginning April 26, the official opening night on May 6, and the last show on May 21. The story is set in upstate New York in the summer of 1969, with the first moon landing and the Woodstock Festival making their impact felt.

OTHER

• John Waters — the filmmaker who broke through with wildly shocking works such as “Pink Flamingos” and “Female Trouble” in the ’70s, though he later made more conventional films such as “Hairspray” and “Cry-Baby” — turns 76 on April 22, and will present “False Negative: A Birthday Show,” in which he will talk about his life and his career, at the Anchor Rock Club in Atlantic City, April 23 at 8 p.m.

REVIEWS

“The Wanderer” at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn. (Extended through April 28)

“Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision” at Newark Museum of Art. (Through May 8)
“Elizabeth Colomba: Repainting the Story,” presented by Princeton University Art Museum at Bainbridge House, Princeton. (Through May 8)

“Tenacity & Resilience: The Art of Jerry Pinkney” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 26)

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