Top 20 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Stephen Colbert and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jane Fonda, more

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Stephen Colbert will participate in a fundraiser for Montclair Film at NJPAC in Newark, Dec. 7.

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Dec. 10:

Montclair Film will present “An Evening With Stephen Colbert and Julia Louis-Dreyfus” at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m., as its ninth annual fundraiser. All proceeds will go to Montclair Film, which presents the Montclair Film Festival annually, as well as other screenings and programs, year-round. Colbert, the host of CBS television’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” has presented similar Montclair Film benefits in the past, with partners such as Meryl Streep, Jon Stewart, John Oliver and Steve Carell. He is on the advisory board of Montclair Film, and his wife Evelyn is the president of its board of trustees. Louis-Dreyfus, best known for her roles on “Seinfeld” and “Veep,” is an alumna of the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago; Colbert got his start there, as well.



The Klezmatics, who have been at the forefront of the modern klezmer movement for more than 30 years, will perform at Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University in Hillside, Dec. 8 at 3 p.m., as part of the Kean Stage series. The group, unlike some other klezmer ensembles, addresses current social and political issues in some of its songs. “We want to make sure that we are part of a living tradition, and living traditions change; they don’t stay in a pickled form,” original and current member Paul Morrissett has said.

Banjo visionary Béla Fleck and the original lineup of his Flecktones band (pianist and harmonica player Howard Levy, percussionist and drumitar player Roy “Future Man” Wooten and bassist Victor Wooten) have reunited to celebrate their 30th anniversary and will perform at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m.

The second annual “A Very Asbury Holiday Show” benefit will take place at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. Performers will include The Weeklings, Everett Bradley’s Holidelic, Pat Guadagno, JaQuita May, Layonne Holmes, Jillian Rhys McCoy, JT Bowen, Pat Roddy, Eddie Testa, Anthony Krizan, Deseree Spinks, Emily Grove, Williams Honor, Billy Hector, Lisa Lowell, Joel Kraus, CC Coletti, Jim Babjak of The Smithereens, Gene Cornish of The Rascals, and Carmine Appice, and money will be raised for The Boys & Girls Club
of Monmouth County, The Mercy Center, the Asbury Park Music Foundation’s Youth Initiative, and Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Monmouth County.

Luna Stage in West Orange will try something a little different by presenting actor-singer-writer Ami Brabson’s cabaret show, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Dec. 6-7 and 13-14 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 8 and 15 at 3 p.m. According to the venue’s website, the show “combines storytelling, poetry, and song to reflect on the inevitable changes in our lives and the self discovery that often follows.”


The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.; and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. NJSO music director Xian Zhang will conduct, George Li will be featured on piano, and the program will include Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3; Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8; and Anna Clyne’s Within Her Arms.

Tenors Matthew Vickers, Barry Banks and Jesse Donner will perform as “The 3 Holiday Tenors” at concerts with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra (conducted by David Wroe) and holiday choirs, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church in Westfield, and Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. at The Concert Hall at Drew University in Madison.

Trilogy: An Opera Company presents “Sassy,” a new opera (composed by Richard Thompson) about the legendary jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in the late Vaughan’s hometown, Newark.

The South Orange Performing Arts Center will spotlight artists from its intimate Jazz in the Loft and Blues in the Loft series with a “Best of the Loft” show, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., featuring Mike Griot and his Blues People band, jazz singer Frank Noviello, jazz keyboardist Radam Schwartz, and Dean Shot’s tribute to the great blues singer-songwriter Howlin’ Wolf.

The New Jersey Youth Symphony’s “Two Nutcrackers” concert at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, Dec. 8 at 3 p.m., will feature “Nutcracker” music written by Tchaikovsky (performed by the NJYS Youth Symphony) and Duke Ellington (performed by the combined NJYS Jazz Orchestra and Youth Symphony).


Count Stovall as Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.”


Lots of holiday season-themed production will be opening or taking place this week:

The Crossroads Theatre Company presents a multicultural, musical version of “A Christmas Carol,” with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and book book Ahrens and Mick Ockrent, and Count Stovall starring as Scrooge, at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. Shows are scheduled for Dec. 6-7 and 12-13 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 8 and 15 at 3 p.m.; Dec. 11 at 10 a.m.; and Dec. 14 at 3 and 7:30 p.m.

The McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton opens its annual, lavish and dependably uplifting production of “A Christmas Carol” next week. Shows are scheduled for Dec. 10, 12-13, 17-20, 23 and 26-27 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 14, 21 and 28 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 15 and 22 at 1 and 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 24 at noon and 4 p.m.; and Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison presents “Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 6, 12-13, 19-20 and 27 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 7-8 and 29 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 10-11, 17 and 23 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 14, 21, 26 and 28 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Dec. 15 and 22 at 2 p.m.

Also, the theater will present “Something Merry This Way Comes” — an evening of holiday stories, songs, and poems read, sung and acted out by company members — Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken will present “A Merry Little Christmas Carol” — Mark Shanahan’s adaptation of the Dickens classic, with five actors (playing all the characters), puppets, and traditional music. Shows are scheduled for Dec. 6, 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 7-8, 14, 21-22 and 28 at 3 and 8 p.m.; Dec. 15 and 29 at 3 p.m.; 12-15, 19-22 and 26-29.

The Hackensack Performing Arts Center will present “The Christmas Caper” — a musical about the search for Santa’s stolen sleigh — Dec. 6 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 7 and 14 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.

“Francesca’s Room” (1991), by Mel Leipzig.


Works of Mel Leipzig, a Jersey-based painter who specializes in portraits of people in their homes and offices, will be featured in an exhibition titled “Everyday People: Mel Leipzig’s Figurative Realism,” which opens at the Morris Museum in Morris Township Dec. 6, and runs through April 19.


As will be the case through the end of the year, many New Jersey venues are presenting productions of the eternally popular ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Coming up this week, productions will be presented …

… by Roxey Ballet at the Kendall Theater at the College of New Jersey in Ewing, Dec. 7-8 at 2 p.m.
… by American Repertory Ballet at Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, Dec. 7 at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
… by New Jersey Ballet at BergenPAC in Englewood, Dec. 7-8 at 1 and 4:30 p.m.
… by Princeton Youth Ballet at the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center, Dec. 7 at noon and Dec. 8 at noon and 4 p.m.


The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown will present “An Evening With Jane Fonda,” subtitled “A Celebration of a Storied Career,” Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. According to the theater’s website, the event will be “a career retrospective live on stage. Clips from her storied career will be shared, along with stories and an audience Q&A.” Film critic Stephen Whitty will moderate.

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