Top 20 NJ Arts Events of Week: ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ Jonas Brothers, ‘The Nutcracker,’ more

by JAY LUSTIG
fiddler on the roof preview nj

The Paper Mill Playhouse will present “Fiddler on the Roof” from Dec. 6 to Jan. 7.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around New Jersey, through Dec. 7.

THEATER

The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn will present the classic musical “Fiddler on the Roof” — featuring well-known songs such as “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “To Life” — for the first time since 1983, with the first preview on Dec. 6, the official opening night on Dec. 10, and the last show on Jan. 7. The show will feature the original Tony-winning choreography by Jerome Robbins, and will co-star Jordan Gelber (whose credits include “Avenue Q” and “Mr. Saturday Night” on Broadway, and “Holiday Inn” at The Paper Mill) as Tevye the Milkman, and Jill Abramovitz (“Beetlejuice” on Broadway, “Ever After” at The Paper Mill) as his wife, Golde.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison will present “A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” with the first show on Dec. 6, the official opening night on Dec. 9 and the last show on Dec. 31. This is Shakespeare’s beloved comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” transferred to a different time of the year by STNJ artistic director Bonnie J. Monte and Joseph Discher, with direction by Brian B. Crowe, who will take over from Monte as artistic director next season. (This will be the last show in Monte’s 33-year-run as artistic director.)

The McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will present its lavish annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 6-24. Joel McKinnon Miller, best known for his work in television shows such as “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Big Love,” will star as Ebenezer Scrooge.

BILL IRWIN

Bill Irwin will present his one-man show inspired by the writing of Samuel Beckett, “On Beckett,” at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., Dec. 8 at 8 p.m., Dec. 9 at 3 and 8 p.m., and Dec. 10 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Irwin said, in a press release: “It’s a personal evening. An invitation to look at what’s driven me this past decade: Both this great writer’s language, and looking for where his writing meets up with the great clown traditions — preoccupations of mine — and I want to share them. Mr. Beckett’s language is beautiful — sometimes harsh, sometimes confounding — but it’s simple, direct language, with a character energy that calls an actor. I want to share it with Two River audiences — both revel in it, and shake my head at it — with them.”

“On Beckett” premiered at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York in 2018.

The Black Box Performing Arts Center, which presented an excellent production of Edward Albee’s wildly absurd “The Play About the Baby” last year, will offer a free reading of it, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, as part of its ongoing “Edward Albee: From A to Zoo” series of readings of all his plays.

MUSIC

The Jonas Brothers will bring their Five Albums. One Night. The World Tour to the Prudential Center in Newark, Dec. 6-7 at 7 p.m., with the band Lawrence — featuring siblings Clyde and Gracie Lawrence — opening.

On this tour, the group is playing at least part of every track from its five studio albums released between 2007 and 2023 (Jonas Brothers; A Little Bit Longer; Lines, Vines and Trying Times; Happiness Begins; The Album) as well as non-album tracks and songs recorded apart from the group by Nick Jonas (“Jealous”) and Joe Jonas’ group DNCE (“Cake by the Ocean”).

KARYN KUHL & THE GANG

The Hoboken music store Guitar Bar has opened a new performance space/gallery, 503 Social Club, at 503 Third St., and will present its first concert there, by Karyn Kuhl & the Gang (featuring singer-songwriter-guitarist Kuhl along with drummer Jonpaul Pantozzi, bassist Lou Ciarlo and guitarist Charlie Nieland) and Diane Gentile (backed by Guitar Bar owner James Mastro), Dec. 2 at 8 p.m.

503 Social Club will also host a sold-out acoustic show by Jon Langford and Sally Timms of The Mekons, plus a Jon Langford art show, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m.

• Ted Leo, who grew up in Bloomfield and went to high school in West Orange, will return to Essex County for a show at the Outpost in the Burbs at the First Congregational Church in Montclair, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. Leo is best known as the leader of the band Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, though he will be on his own at this show. The adventurous and consistently inventive Montclair-based rock band Elk City will open.

Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken will present its annual holiday fundraiser, “Broadway Night,” Dec. 4 at 8 p.m., with Broadway performers including Drew Gehling, Nirvaan Pal, Kennedy Kanagawa, Rob Schiffmann, Trista Dollison and Leenya Rideout performing favorite musical numbers. Also, Schiffmann will improvise a song for the audience member who makes the biggest donation.

The Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation will present a Holiday Party with The Nick Moss Band (featuring harmonica player and singer Dennis Gruenling), Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park. A guitar raffle will raise money for the foundation, and donations will be accepted for the Holiday Express charity.

Christopher Pollack, left, and Robert Taylor Jr. will co-star in “The Polar Express” at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal.

DANCE

Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater will present “The Polar Express” — based on Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 children’s book about a trip to the North Pole, and choreographed by AXCBT artistic director Gabriel Chajnik — at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, Dec. 1-2 and 8-9 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 2 and 9 at 2 p.m.; and Dec. 3 and 10 at 1 and 5 p.m.

Robert Taylor Jr., who appeared in “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical,” will star as the train’s conductor.

• Nutcracker Season has begun, with the following productions all scheduled for various New Jersey venues in the coming weeks:

Dec. 1 at 4 and 8 p.m.: “Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet” at The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg.
Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., Dec. 2 at 1 and 6 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 1 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by American Repertory Ballet at Two River Theater, Red Bank.
Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. and Dec. 2-3 at 2 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by Roxey Ballet at Villa Victoria Theater, Ewing.
Dec. 2-3 at 1 and 4:30 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by New Jersey Ballet at BergenPAC, Englewood.
Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., Dec. 9 at 1 and 5 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 1 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by Company of Dance Arts at Count Basie Center for the Arts, Red Bank.
Dec. 8-10, 15-17 and 21-23 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9-10, 16-17 and 22-23 at 3 p.m.: “Jersey City Nutcracker” at Nimbus Arts Center, Jersey City.
Dec. 9 at 1 and 5 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by American Repertory Ballet at Patriots Theater at War Memorial, Trenton.
Dec. 9 at 1 and 4 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by Ballet for Young Audiences at Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College, Toms River.
Dec. 9 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: “The Nutracker,” presented by BalletArts and Adelphi Orchestra at River Dell High School, Oradell.
Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by New Jersey Ballet at Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway.
Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 16 at 2 and 7 p.m., Dec. 17 at 1 and 5 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by American Repertory Ballet at State Theatre, New Brunswick.
Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 16-17 at 1 and 4 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by NJ Dance Connection at Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College, West Windsor.
Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., Dec. 16 at noon and 5 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by North Jersey Civic Youth Ballet Sitnik Theatre at Lackland Performing Arts Center, Hackettstown.
Dec. 15 and 21-22 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 16-17, 23-24 and 26-27 at 1 p.m. and Dec. 16-17, 23 and 26 at 6 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” presented by New Jersey Ballet with New Jersey Symphony at Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown.
Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine at Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark.
Dec. 23 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.: “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” at Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark.
Dec. 29 at 8 p.m.: “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” featuring Kurtis Blow at State Theatre, New Brunswick.

The Dec. 3 performance by Carolyn Dorfman Dance at The Madison Holiday Arts Festival Weekend of Dance at the Madison Community Arts Center is sold out, but tickets are still available for “Out of the Box,” featuring performers from the Drew University Dance Department in original works choreographed by students and led by dancer/choreographer Kimani Fowlin, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.; and Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre’s “The Power and Passion of Flamenco Dance and Music!,” Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Ted Neely in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

FILM

The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center will present a 50th anniversary screening of the film “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., with a discussion featuring four actors from the film — Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman, Bob Bingham and Kurt Yaghjian, who played Jesus, Mary, Caiaphas and Annas, respectively — following.

The Williams Center in Rutherford will present a Humphrey Bogart festival at 4 p.m. on Sundays in December, with “Key Largo,” Dec. 3; “Sirocco,” Dec. 10; “The Maltese Falcon,” Dec. 17; “The Big Sleep,” Dec. 24; and “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” Dec. 31.

WORDS

Theater director John Doyle — whose Broadway hits include “Sweeney Todd,” “Company” and “The Color Purple” — has been teaching at Princeton University for the last 10 years, but this is his last semester. Princeton professor of theater Stacy Wolf will interview him about his career and his time at Princeton at the Godfrey Kerry Theater Studio at the university’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. The talk is free and open to the general public.

The Hoboken Historical Museum and its poet-in-residence, Danny Shot, will present a free event titled “The Americans — NJ Immigrant Poets,” Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. at the museum. (It will also be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube.) The event will draw inspiration from Robert Frank’s 1958 book of photographs “The Americans” and explore what it means to be an immigrant in the United States, in the 21st Century.

Four poets who are immigrants or first-generation Americans — Grisel Y. Acosta, Marina Carreira, Mark Faunlaugi and Megha Sood — will read from their work and talk about their experiences, and Shot, a second-generation American, will host.

The Illusionists will perform in New Brunswick, Dec. 6; and Newark, Dec. 7.

OTHER

• The Illusionists will present their “Magic of the Holidays” show — featuring various forms of magic including stage illusions, mind reading and escapology, with lots of humor and audience participation — at The State Theatre in New Brunswick, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m., and Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. It’s a show geared toward magic fans of all ages.

“The Illusionists” premiered in Australia in 2012 and has been presented, with different casts, in locations throughout the world since then, including five limited runs on Broadway from 2014 to 2020.

(For a chance to win two tickets to the Newark show, send an email with the word “Illusionists” in the subject line to njartscontest@gmail.com by 11 a.m. Dec. 4.)

The Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick will present a free “SparkNight,” Dec. 7 from 4:30 to 8 p.m., with a multimedia poetry presentation by Mary Shaw, jazz by the Pierre Cornilliat Quartet, puppet-making, complimentary light refreshments, and more. SparkNight is a monthly series.

Medford, in Burlington County, will present a Dickens Festival” on its Main Street, Dec. 2 beginning at 4:30 p.m., with reenactments of Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol,” readings, carolers, dance, magicians, a Dickensian town crier, horse-drawn carriage rides, artisans and more.

REVIEWS

“Terri Fraser: I Am Here” at Whittemore, Tewksbury. (Through Dec. 9)

“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)

“Dead Ringers: Portraits of Abandoned Payphones,” photographs by Amy Becker at Gallery Aferro, Newark. (Through Dec. 21)

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

“The Christmas Tree Farm” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through Dec. 23)

“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)

“Night Forms” at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton. (Through April 7)

“George Inness: Visionary Landscapes” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 30)

We need your help!

CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET

Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.

$

Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Explore more articles:

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter