Top 15 NJ Arts Events of Week: Hoboken Arts & Music Fest, ‘Hair,’ ‘Coco,’ more

by JAY LUSTIG
feelies hoboken preview

DOUG SEYMOUR

The Feelies (from left, Bill Million, Glenn Mercer, Stan Demeski, Dave Weckerman and Brenda Sauter) will perform in Hoboken, Oct. 1.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Oct. 5.

MUSIC

The Feelies and The Bongos, two bands with deep roots in the Hoboken music scene, will perform at the free, annual fall edition of the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival, which will take place on Washington Street from Observer Highway to Seventh Street in downtown Hoboken, Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Joining them on the bill are Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets Golden Jubilee Band, the Karyn Kuhl Gang, Frankie Morales & the Mambo of the Times Orchestra, Gene D. Plumber, Zydeco Revelators and more.

Also, as is customary for this festival, more than 250 vendors — offering artwork, crafts, food and more — will line Washington Street.

middlesex county jazz festival

ALICIA OLATUJA

The first Middlesex County Jazz Festival takes place from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, with free performances by Alicia Olatuja, Cyrus Chestnut, Nat Adderley Jr., Edmar Castañeda and others in five different cities: Edison, Perth Amboy, New Brunswick, Metuchen and Woodbridge.

The annual ProgStock, which advertises itself as ‘The American Northeast’s Only International Progressive Rock Festival,” takes place October 6-8 at the Williams Center in Rutherford, with former Yes and Moody Blues keyboardist Patrick Moraz, Unitopia, The Mahavishnu Project (performing the music of John McLaughlin and his Mahavishnu Orchestra), Randy McStine, Rachel Flowers, the Dave Kerzner Band, AD ASTRA and others.

There will also be a pre-festival concert at the Williams Center, Oct. 5 at 8:30 p.m., featuring Dave Kerzner with Pink Floyd backing vocalist Durga McBroom, plus the Genesis tribute band Genetics.

As part of the Newark Arts Festival, the Newark Museum of Art will present an event titled “Strings & Stanzas: Celebrating 50 Years of Hip Hop,” Sept. 30 from 8 to 10 p.m. Lords of the Underground member and current Newark councilman Dupré “DoItAll” Kelly will host, and participants will include members of the New Jersey Symphony, The Harlem Chamber Players and The Newark School of the Arts, plus rapper Rah Digga; breakdancer Crazy Legs of the Rock Steady Crew; DJ Rhino; and graffiti artist Cent.

The event is free, though advance registration is required.

MANDY GONZALEZ

The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown will kick off its 2023-24 season with “Hitting New Heights,” a concert featuring Mandy Gonzalez and Javier Muñoz, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. Both have performed in “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” on Broadway; Gonzalez’s credits also include “Wicked.” They will sing material from those musicals, and others, and tell stories about their respective careers.

The pioneering progressive-rock band Yes will play tracks from its recent album Mirror to the Sky as well as hits from throughout its history on its Classic Tales of Yes Tour, which will include shows at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m.; and BergenPAC in Englewood, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. Yes, whose history goes back to 1968, currently includes guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Geoff Downes, singer Jon Davison, bassist Billy Sherwood and drummer Jay Schellen.

Faculty, alumni and students of Montclair State University and Jazz House Kids, plus “special guests,” will honor drummer Billy Hart, who has taught at both institutions, at a concert at Montclair State’s Kasser Theater, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.

JAMES LANGTON

Singer James Langton and clarinetist and saxophonist Dan Levinson will present a show titled “Perfectly Frank: James Langton and Dan Levinson‘s Sinatra Symphonette,” Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morris Township. Langton and Levinson will be joined by pianist Steve Ash, guitarist James Chirillo, bassist Rob Adkins and drummer Kevin Dorn, and the show will focus on songs Sinatra performed with a five-piece jazz group on his “Perfectly Frank” radio show in the ’50s.

THEATER

Two River Theater in Red Bank will present the landmark rock musical “Hair” — featuring well known songs such as “Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine In,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “Easy to Be Hard” and “Frank Mills” — with the first preview on Sept. 30, the official opening night on Oct. 6, and the last show on Oct. 22.

The Jersey City-based theater company Shakespeare@ is relaunching as The Curtain and will present its first production under that name, a new “Jazz Age” adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” by Sean Hagerty, at the Nimbus Arts Center in Jersey City, with the first preview on Sept. 28, the official opening night on Sept. 30, and the last show on Oct. 22.

Hagerty is The Curtain’s producing artistic director and also will direct this production. He said in a press release that Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy “strikes me as the perfect story for our time — and setting it at the dawn of the Jazz Age in 1920 makes absolute sense with its inherent themes of the age-old conflict between the young and the old, new movements vs. the old establishment, and the societal divides that can stifle beauty and destroy love.”

Joyce Carol Oates’ book, “Zero-Sum.”

WORDS

Joyce Carol Oates will discuss her new short story collection “Zero-Sum” with Laurie Lico Albanese (author of “Hester,” “Stolen Beauty,” “Blue Suburbia” and “Lynelle by the Sea”), Oct. 1 at noon at The Woodland in Maplewood, as part of the Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival. Other authors appearing at festival events, Oct. 1, will include Laura Spence-Ash, Kim Coleman Foote, Dionne Ford and Boo Trundle.

The 30th annual New Jersey Storytelling Festival will take place Sept. 30 from noon to 5:30 p.m. with more than 50 storytellers at five different locations in the Flemington Arts & Cultural District, following a Legacy Storytelling Workshop at Within Spirit from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell-Horner will sign copies of her novel, “Rosie Frost & the Falcon Queen,” Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. at Books & Greetings in Northvale. According to publicity materials, the book is “A sweeping adventure filled with a hidden island, family secrets, shocking betrayals, amazing music, and girl power.”

FILM

• “Bendix: Site Unseen,” a documentary about John Diakakis, the eccentric owner of the Bendix Diner in Hasbrouck Heights (who sometimes waits on tables and works the cash register despite being blind), will be shown at the Williams Center in Rutherford, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Diakakis, director Anthony Scalia and historian Paul West.

“Coco” will be screened with live music in Princeton, Montclair and Morristown.

“Coco,” the 2017 Pixar film that was a major hit and won the Best Animated Feature Oscar, will be screened with live music by the Orquesta Folclórica Nacional de México, conducted by Esin Aydingoz, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton; Oct. 5 at 7 p.m., outdoors at the Montclair State University Amphitheater; and Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.

REVIEWS

“Waiting for Godot” at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University, Madison. (Through Oct. 1)

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

“Bulrusher” at Berlind Theater at McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton. (Through Oct. 7)

Sam Shepard’s “Action,” “The Unseen Hand” and “Little Ocean” at Black Box Performing Arts Center, Englewood. (Through Oct. 8)

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

“Anne Trauben: Step Up on a Stool to Reach the Sky” at Watchung Arts Center. (Through Oct. 22)

“Mona Brody: Portals, Apparitions and Other Voices” at Watchung Arts Center. (Through Oct. 22)

“The Brodsky Center at Rutgers University: Three Decades, 1986-2017” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through Dec. 22)

“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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