Top 20 NJ Arts Events of the Week: ‘Western Stars’ movie, Denzel Washington, more




A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Oct. 23:


Bruce Springsteen’s “Western Stars” will be previewed at movie theaters in New Jersey and elsewhere, Oct. 19 and 23, before being released on Oct. 25. Go to and type in your zip code to find the theater closest to you. “Western Stars,” which features songs from Springsteen’s recent album of the same name as well as a cover of Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy,” was co-directed by Springsteen and his longtime collaborator, Thom Zimny. The trailer (see below) contains a mixture of musical performances, home movies and atmospheric footage shot somewhere in the American West. Springsteen’s voice is heard saying seemingly autobiographical things such as “It’s easy to lose yourself, or never find yourself. The older you get, the heavier that baggage becomes that you haven’t sorted through. So you run. I’ve done a lot of that kind of running.”

Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, Todd Rundgren and Christopher Cross will be among the musicians performing songs from The Beatles’ self-titled 1968 double album (commonly known as The White Album) at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m.. Jason Scheff (formerly of Chicago) and Joey Molland (formerly of Badfinger) will also participate in the show, which is titled “It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: A Tribute to The Beatles’ White Album.” The setlist will feature some of the five musicians’ own material in addition to the White Album songs.

The Two River Theater in Red Bank, one of New Jersey’s leading venues for theater, will try something a little different, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m., with a show by country band Kinderhook and singer-songwriter Lisa Bouchelle with her Bleu Band.

The Katie Henry Band — whose High Road recently received a nomination for Best New Artist Album in Blues Blast magazine’s 2019 Blues Blast Music Awards — will perform at the Stanhope House, Oct. 18 at 7 pm., with opening sets by the Shady Street Show Band, Joe Stuby & Rocking Horse, and 14-year-old Lily Bella.


Pianist Brad Mehldau will team up with tenor Ian Bostridge for a 8 p.m. Oct. 22 concert at Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University featuring Mehldau’s “The Folly of Desire” song cycle (inspired by Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Op. 48, with texts by Shakespeare, e.e. cummings, Brecht, Yeats, Goethe, Blake and others) and Dichterliebe itself.

Princeton Elks Lodge #2129 in Blawenburg will host “Music for Moore,” a fundraiser for special needs children, Oct. 19 at 5 p.m., with Helen O’Shea & The Shanakees, Crown Electric, Acoustic Road, Meg Hennessy, Dennis Noble, Marvin & Vanina Perkins, So It Goes, the Drifting Cowboys, the Scotch Plainsmen, Poorhouse Pickers, Monika Ryan, John Mazzeo & Mary Pitoniak and others at Princeton Elks Lodge #2129, Blawenburg.

Dozens of New Jersey artists will participate in Banding Together, an annual fundraiser for the Spondylitis Association of America, Oct. 16-20; for information, visit There will also be Banding Together fundraising concerts at Pino’s in Highland Park, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. (with Rhonette & the Smiths, Evil Annie & the Ants, September’s Ghost, Pat Veil and Happy Joe) and at Espresso Joe’s in Keyport, Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. (with Bern & the Brights, Ciara Zwicker, erase:rewind, Joe Schroeck, Scruff Cardinale, Christian Beach, Dave Vargo, Jersey Drive, Rhonette Smith and Tony Tedesco).

The 2019-20 edition of the Cathedral Arts Live series at Grace Church Van Vorst in Jersey City begins Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. with a set by jazz drummer and balafon player Winard Harper. The stylistically eclectic series will continue with shows by Abbie Gardner, Nov. 22; Walter Parks and Rob Curto, Jan. 17; Upstate, Feb. 28; Vicki Kristina Barcelona, March 27; and ShoutHouse, April 17.


Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Newark will present a Benefit Concert for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m., with gospel singer Nancey Jackson-Johnson, the Rev. Stefanie Minatee and her Jubilation choir, and Pastor Samar Biggham.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players will present a family concert featuring Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Margaret Williams Theatre at New Jersey City University, Jersey City.


The Premiere Stages series at Kean University in Union will present a staged reading of “Robey” — Joe Sutton’s play about the actor, activist and athlete Paul Robeson — Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 19-20 at 3 p.m., at the Liberty Hall Academic Center. This will be no admission charge, though reservations are strongly recommended. The play takes its name from Robeson’s nickname at Rutgers University, from which he graduated 100 years ago, in 1919. The play focuses on him preparing to give the valedictory address that year; he was the first African-American Rutgers student to receive this honor.

• “The Other Mozart” — which will be presented at the Live Arts series at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morris Township, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 19-20 at 2 p.m. — is about Maria Anna Mozart, the sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a talented musician in her own right, though she was not given the same opportunities as him to pursue a career in the field. Sylvia Milo created this production, which uses Maria Anna Mozart’s letters and features an original score with music box and toy piano; Sofia Lambert will play Maria Anna in ths production.


The Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung will present, in its gym, an Art Auction benefiting its Sister Mary Alphonsus Scholarship Fund, Oct. 19, with a preview at 6:30 p.m. and the auction at 7:30 p.m.

Amy Rigby’s “Girl to City: A Memoir.”


Singer-songwriter Amy Rigby has written a book, “Girl to City: A Memoir,” focusing on her youth and her years as a member of the New York rock scene in the ’80s and ’90s. She’ll sign copies of it, and also perform some music, at Little City Books in Hoboken, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

• Steve Martin, Martin Short, the bluegrass group The Steep Canyon Rangers and pianist Jeff Babko will team up for an evening of comedy, music and film clips titled, “Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t,” Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Event Center at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City.

• Artrageous, an innovative show combining music, dance and the creation of visual art, will be presented at the Wilkins Theatre at Kean University in Union, as part of the Kean Stage series, Oct. 20 at 3 p.m.; and at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m.

The Peak Performances series at Montclair State University presents Lena Herzog’s “Last Whispers” at the Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, Oct. 16 and 20 at 3 p.m.; Oct. 17-18 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 20 at 1:30 p.m. “Last Whispers” is a multimedia work, incorporating music and film, in which “the historical recordings of more than 40 endangered or lost languages come alive among the echoes of collapsing stars,” according to a press release.

The Crossroads Theatre Company will present Denzel Washington with its inaugural Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee Living Legends Award at “A Night With Crossroads,” Oct. 19 at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. The event will take place at 8:45 p.m. be hosted by David Alan Grier, with musical performances by Gregory Porter and Ashley Támar Davis; and scenes from the plays “Fences,” “Fly” and “The Divine One.”

The 2019 edition of the annual SouthNext Festival takes place at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, Oct. 19, and Seton Hall University in South Orange, Oct. 20, looking at art, health, technology in fresh ways with a variety of talks, workshops and performances. This year’s festival will also include a free “SOMA’s Got Crazy Talent” show, featuring performers from the South Orange-Maplewood area, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at The Loft at SOPAC. Topics to be explored Oct. 19 include “Can Mindful Virtual Experience Increase Shared Community Compassion,” “Redirecting Anxiety” and “Let’s Talk About Death, Differently.” Oct. 20 offerings range from a program focusing on the work of labor rights activist Dolores Huerta to a performance by Scott Kettner & National Beat drawing on the musical traditions of Brazil and New Orleans.

Monty Hall in Jersey City will present a benefit for WFMU-FM titled “Icons of Note,” Oct. 19. Art by station listeners will be auctioned off, and there will also be music (by the heavy metal Bee Gees tribute band Tragedy), comedy and more. The art viewing and silent bidding will start at 5 p.m., with performances from 8 to 9 p.m. and then the live auction.

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