Top 20 NJ Arts Events of Week: Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, ‘Kabaret Kaput,’ more

satriani vai

Joe Satriani, left, and Steve Vai.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around New Jersey, through April 11.


The wildly inventive rock guitar masters Joe Satriani and Steve Vai — who recently released their first single as a duo, “The Sea of Emotion, Part 1” (listen below) — will bring their joint tour to The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, April 8 at 7:30 p.m.; and The Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.

They will perform both separately and together. This is the first time they toured together in this way, though Vai participated in 13 of Satriani’s 19 G3 tours (featuring Satriani and two other guitarists) from 1996 to January and February of this year. They are both Long Island natives, and when Vai was a teenager in the 1970s, he took guitar lessons from Satriani.

Master song interpreter Pat Guadagno and his Small Change band — with guests Emily Grove, Ryan Gregg and Des Spinks — will pay tribute to Tom Waits in a show titled “The Heart of Saturday Night,” taking place April 7 at 3 p.m. at The Avenel Performing Arts Center. Singer-songwriter Danni Nicholls will open.

In a similar vein, and at almost the same exact time, Joe D’Urso & Friends (featuring David Frye, Gary Solomon, Chris Brown, Loren Korevec, Jake Thistle, Michelle Solomon and Tim O’Donohue) will present a tribute to John Prine at Transparent Clinch Gallery in Asbury Park, April 7 at 4 p.m.


The legendary bluesman Buddy Guy is now 87 and on a tour he is calling Damn Right Farewell (a play on the title of his song “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues,” the title track of his 1991 comeback album). He’ll perform at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, April 9 at 8 p.m., with Bobby Rush opening, and also return to New Jersey next months for shows at The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, May 3 at 8 p.m.; and BergenPAC in Englewood, May 9 at 7 p.m.

• Patrick Fitzsimmons played drums for the Jersey-based band From Good Homes, but after that group broke up in 1999, he did something that drummers rarely do, building a following with his own material, as a singer-songwriter, and releasing a series of albums under his own name. He’ll celebrate the release of his eighth, Apple Tree Days, with a concert at Roy’s Hall in Blairstown, April 6 at 8 p.m. (Watch the video for the album’s title track, below.)

South African soprano Golda Schultz and pianist Jonathan Ware will perform at a concert titled “This Be Her Verse: Exploring the Female Perspective,” April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at The Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University. The program will include music by female composers Clara Schumann, Emilie Mayer, Rebecca Clarke, Nadia Boulanger and Kathleen Tagg.

The event is part of the Princeton University Concerts series; according to the series’ website, it is ” ‘a love-letter to women in music’ exploring themes of love, nature, folklore and belief from a distinctly female perspective.”

Singer-songwriters Matt Sucich, Jann Klose and St. Lenox will be featured in a “Songwriters in the Round”-style show at Spanish Pavillion in Harrison, April 6 at 5 p.m.

St. Lenox is the stage name of Andrew Choi, who also uses that name for his band. “It’s a misreading of one of the subway stations in New York City. 148 St. — Lenox Terminal,” he has said. “It was during my first year of law school. That was a really stressful year for me. I think when you’re not doing so well, you’re more inclined to read magical significance into your surroundings, and it just popped into my head for some reason.”

Robert I. Rubinsky and Ellen Foley will co-star in “Kabaret Kaput,” in Ocean Grove, April 5-7.


The Asbury Park Theater Company will present “Kabaret Kaput,” described as a surrealist concert-style rock cabaret, to open its 2024 season, April 5-6 at 8 p.m. and April 7 at 3 p.m. at The Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove.

Singer and actress Ellen Foley — who appeared on Broadway in “Into the Woods” and “Hair” and on television in “Night Court,” and sang the duet part in the Meat Loaf hit “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” — will co-star with Robert I. Rubinsky, and Remember Jones will co-produce and direct.

“Kabaret Kaput” was co-conceived by Foley and Rubinsky. It is described in a press release this way: “With an implicit theme of ageism, two ancient vaudevillians hang in a surreal Dada world, somewhere outside time and space. This duo is lost and trapped by memories of past glory, and by outside forces, they must continue to belt out classic tunes of hoofing into eternity as they try to break free and find themselves in spacetime.

“The cabaret concert features music made popular by Meat Loaf, Queen, Blondie, Radiohead, Broadway favorites, and many surprises.”

The Dover Little Theatre will present “Talk Radio” — Eric Bogosian’s disturbing and still timely 1987 play (also made into a movie in 1988) about an abrasive, controversial talk radio host — April 5-7, 12-14 and 19-20.

Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken will present “The 24 Hour Plays,” April 7 at 7 p.m., with proceeds benefiting the theater. In it, 24 actors, six writers, and six directors will create original plays that will run on this night only. The writers will write the plays overnight, starting on April 6; the directors and actors will get the plays on the morning of the 7th and race against time to get ready in time for the show. “24 Hour Plays” has been presented in New York before, but this will be its first time in New Jersey.


F. Murray Abraham — an Oscar winner for “Amadeus,” and Emmy-nominated for “The White Lotus” — will appear in a staged reading of Edward Albee’s “Fragments,” April 6 at 8 p.m. at Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, to benefit the Black Box Performing Arts Center.

Albee, who died in 2016, wrote “Fragments” in 1993, and called it “a tricky little play, great fun for actors, the construction of which bewildered many who could not comprehend that dramatic shape need not be linear but could be a vortex, moving from all sides at once toward a culminating center … (it) lacks plot in any established sense; there is no clear dilemma and resolution — no ‘story,’ no apparent sequentially. The piece proceeds as a piece of music does — accumulating, accumulating, following its own logic. Its effectiveness, its coherence reside in what we have experienced from the totality of it. FRAGMENTS is also a very simple, straightforward piece — on its own terms, of course.”


• “Ailey Day” — a free, annual event at NJPAC in Newark — will offer classes, panel discussions, performances, readings and art projects on April 6, beginning at 9 a.m. Discounted tickets to select Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s shows at NJPAC in May will also be available.


Joyce Carol Oates — whose latest book, a collection of letters to her biographer and friend Greg Johnson, “Letters to a Biographer,” came out last month — will be among the authors participating in the Hoboken Literary Weekend, taking place at Little City Books, April 5-7. Others will include Tia Williams, Hayley and John Rocco, James Frankie Thomas, Kim Coleman Foote and Michael Cecchi-Azzolina.

• “In Conversation With The Sopranos” — taking place at The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, April 7 at 8 p.m. — will feature stories and reflections from Steve Schirripa, Vincent Pastore and Michael Imperioli (who played gangers Bobby Baccalieri, Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero and Christopher Moltisanti, respectively, in the HBO series) plus a question-and-answer session. Comedian Joey Kola will host.

The cover of Russ Tamblyn’s book, “Dancing on the Edge: A Journey of Living, Loving, and Tumbling through Hollywood.”

Russ Tamblyn — best known for co-starring as Riff in the 1961 movie “West Side Story,” though he also has worked with everyone from Elvis Presley to Quentin Tarantino — has written a new memoir, “Dancing on the Edge: A Journey of Living, Loving, and Tumbling through Hollywood,” and will sign copies of it at Books & Greetings in Northvale, April 11 at 6 p.m. His daughter, film and TV actress Amber Tamblyn (“Joan of Arcadia,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “127 Hours”), will appear along with him.

In John Milton’s epic poem “Paradise Lost,” good is represented as light and evil as darkness, and Satan is compared to the sun “behind the Moon/In dim eclipse.” And so, on the day of this year’s rare total solar eclipse, April 8, members of the Rutgers-New Brunswick Department of English will recite the more than 10,000-line poem, from 9:30 a.m. to around 6 p.m. under a tent in front of Murry Hall on Rutgers’ College Avenue campus. All Rutgers students, faculty and staff members are invited to attend, as well as members of the general public, and anyone can volunteer to take part in the reading. Copies of the poem and forbidden fruit (i.e., apples) will be distributed to attendees, at no charge.

According to an appropriately poetic press release: “With Milton providing the words and nature providing the lighting, the scholars hope participants will enjoy the spectacle of art mirroring nature, as the shadow of the eclipse swells, darkens the landscape, then ebbs, returning the light.”

Though a total solar eclipse will be seen in some areas of Mexico, Canada and United States on April 8, those in New Jersey will see it only as a partial solar eclipse.

The read-a-thon is being co-sponsored by the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, the Center for Cultural Analysis, the Rutgers Honors College and the Rutgers Center for the Philosophy of Religion.


The “Cinema Italiano Sundays” series at The Barrymore Film Center in Fort Lee will begin April 7, and will include classic Italian films for eight weeks, every Sunday (except April 28) at 1:30 p.m.: “Swept Away,” April 7; “La Dolce Vita,” April 14; “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” April 21; “La Notte,” May 5; “8½,” May 12; “Bicycle Thieves,” May 19; “Death in Venice,” May 26; and “Life Is Beautiful,” June 2.

April 8 at 7 p.m., Princeton Garden Theatre will present a free screening of the 1995 film “Empire Records,” with a post-show question-and-answer session with Carol Heikkinen.

Heikkinen wrote the film’s screenplay as well as the book for the film’s stage-musical adaptation, which will have its world premiere at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center in September and October. (Tickets to the McCarter production will go on sale at noon April 8.)

April 8 is the day that the action of “Empire Records” takes place, known to fans as Rex Manning Day, in reference to one of the film’s characters.




In connection with a current exhibition titled “The Body Implied: The Vanishing Figure in Soviet Art” at The Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, DJ Spooky will give a multimedia presentation titled “Anthropocene Blues — The Peace Symphony,” April 11 at 6 p.m. at the museum. This presentation draws on interviews with survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings, with music that DJ Spooky calls “acoustic portraits” of the stories. After the presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session moderated by “The Body Implied” curator Stephanie Dvareckas.

“Paranormal Cirque III” is on tour and coming to the Freehold Raceway Mall, April 11-14; The Mills at Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth, April 18-21; Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrenceville, April 25-28; and The Livingston Mall, May 2-5. The Cirque website describes the show as a “crazy yet fun fusion between Circus, theatre, and cabaret in perfect harmony with the evolution of a show that brings you back to when we dream … and when we had nightmares and fantasies,” and says it is “poised between fun and the most uninhibited fear that will transport you to a dark world inhabited by creatures with incredible circus art abilities.” (see video below)

No one younger than 13 will be admitted. Those between 13 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or an adult guardian older than 21.


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

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


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