Top 10 NJ Arts Events of Week: ‘The Great Gatsby,’ Zac Brown Band, Alex Newell, more

by JAY LUSTIG
gatsby preview nj

Eva Noblezada will co-star in “The Great Gatsby” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, from Oct. 12 to Nov. 12.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Oct. 12.

THEATER

The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn will begin previews of a new musical version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby” on Oct. 12, with the official opening night on Oct. 22 and the last show on Nov. 23. The show will co-star Broadway veterans and Tony nominees Jeremy Jordan (“Newsies,” “Waitress,” “American Son”) and Eva Noblezada (“Hadestown,” “Miss Saigon”) as Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, and features a score by Tony Award nominees Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen (“Paradise Square”).

The PCM Theatre Company will present a Bruce Springsteen-related play written by Ken Britschge, “The Summer of Bruce,” at Old City Hall in Bordentown, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m., Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Promotional material offers this summary of the plot: “In the wake of a significant loss, Luke and his brother-in-law Scott spend the summer of 2003 going to as many Bruce Springsteen concerts as possible and find that the healing power of music is stronger than they both ever imagined.”

THE ZAC BROWN BAND

MUSIC

The 2023 season at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel comes to an end this weekend, with one more show: a concert by The Zac Brown Band, with Tenille Townes and the band King Calaway opening, Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

The New Jersey Festival Orchestra, conducted by David Wroe, will present a concert titled “Two Mighty Fifths” and featuring the one-two punch of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor and Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5 in D major, at St. Helen’s Church in Westfield, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m.

• Lyle Lovett had been planning to perform and tell stories with John Hiatt at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m., but Hiatt recently was forced to cancel all his remaining 2023 shows after a hiking accident in which he suffered serious injuries. Chris Isaak will fill in for Hiatt at the show; it is billed as “Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak: In Conversation and Song.”

ALEX NEWELL

• Alex Newell, who first became well known by appearing on the television series “Glee” and won the Featured Actor Tony Award this year for “Shucked,” will perform at a concert presented by Kean Stage at the Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University in Hillside, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. According to the Kean Stage website, the show will feature “an eclectic mix of Broadway, American, pop and R&B standards.”

New Jerseyans may also remember Newell as one of the stars of the musical ‘The Last Supper,” which was produced last year at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

The Doobie Brothers’ pandemic-delayed 50th anniversary tour will include a show at the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. The band will feature co-founding singer-songwriter-guitarist Pat Simmons as well as longtime multi-instrumentalist John McFee, plus Michael McDonald, who sang lead on hits such as “Takin’ it to the Streets,” “What a Fool Believes” and “Real Love” during his 1975-1982 stint with the group. Co-founder Tom Johnston, who had been planning to participate in the tour as well, is recovering from back surgery and unable to join his bandmates on the road.

BRIAN BOWEN SMITH

Dogstar (from left, Robert Mailhouse, Bret Domrose and Keanu Reeves).

Actor Keanu Reeves’ rock band Dogstar, which released albums in 1996 and 2000, is back together with a new album, Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees, and a tour that will come to Sound Waves at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.

Reeves, who plays bass, is joined in the group by singer-guitarist Bret Domrose and drummer Robert Mailhouse. The album grew out of jam sessions the three participated in, during the pandemic.

FILM/MUSIC

The hit 2018 animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will be presented with live musicians performing Daniel Pemberton’s score at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.; and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m.

WORDS

James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams — co-authors of the bestselling “Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy,” released early this year — will appear Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, at the “Keynote Fundraiser Event” of the Oct. 6-7 Morristown Festival Books. Former CNN correspondent Brian Stelter will discuss the book with them.

Authors scheduled to make appearances at various Morristown venues as part of the festival, Oct. 7, include Jake Tapper, Stacy Schiff, Dan Gutman, Mary Calvi, Brenda Shaughnessy, Fiona Davis and Megan Abbott.

REVIEWS

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

“A Man of No Importance,” presented by Trilogy Repertory at Sieminski Theater, Basking Ridge. (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)

“The Pianist,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through Oct. 22)

“Romeo & Juliet,” presented by The Curtain at Nimbus Arts Center, Jersey City. (Through Oct. 22)

“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)

 “Welcome to Matteson!” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through Oct. 29)

“Searching for Drama,” works by Allan Gorman at BrassWorks Gallery, Montclair. (Through Dec. 15)

“It’s Not Paint!,” works by Lisa Lackey at Hillside Square Gallery, Montclair. (Through Dec. 15)

“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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