Top 20 NJ Arts Events of Week: Lyle Lovett and Lisa Loeb, Neil Young, Gospelfest, more

lovett and loeb

Lyle Lovett and Lisa Loeb will perform “In Conversation and Song” in Red Bank and Morristown.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around New Jersey, through May 16.


Singer-songwriters Lyle Lovett and Lisa Loeb will present joint shows titled “In Conversation and Song,” May 14 at 7:30 p.m. at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, and May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.

Loeb opened some shows for Lovett in the ’90s. “We’ve kept in touch and we stayed friends all these years,” she has said, “and this will be a really cool tour because it’s gonna be sort of acoustic and intimate and we’re trading songs and telling stories. We’ll probably end up singing or playing a little bit together as well.”

This year’s edition of the annual McDonald’s Gospelfest will take place May 11 at 6 p.m. at Symphony Hall in Newark, with competitions by amateurs in a number of different categories, as well as performances by established gospel performers including Hezekiah Walker, Kelontae Gavin, Byron Cage, Jessica Reedy, Vashawn Mitchell and Zacardi Cortez.

• Neil Young & Crazy Horse — featuring bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina and guitarist Micah Nelson — will perform at The Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. The group released an album, titled Fu##in’ Up and recorded at concerts last year, in late April.

The Camp Jam Music Festival takes place at The Salem County Fairgrounds in Woodstown, May 9-12, with sets by Entrain, Popa Chubby, Professor Louie & the Crowmatix, Billy Hector Big Band, The Emily Drinker Band, The Quixote Project, Knorrwood, The Big Takeover, Crickets and Cicadas, Mitch Woods and others, as well as craft and food vendors, a game pavilion for grown-ups, yoga workshops and children’s activities.


Jon Batiste will present a show of piano music titled “Streams,” May 12 at 7 p.m. at The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank. He has described “Streams” as “stream of consciousness music that comes to me in the moment without rehearsal or preparation. Playing piano for me is like breathing. It’s prayer, it’s dreaming, it’s conversation. I want to be in conversation with the audience and share this intimate creative space. It’s a one of a kind experience each time, a spontaneous flow state, completely improvised.”

“Broadway in the Park: Mother’s Day Edition” — which will be presented by SOMA Stage at The Memorial Park Ampitheater in Maplewood, May 12 at 4:30 p.m. — will feature 12 female Broadway veterans (Carol Angeli, Haven Burton, Kennedy Caughell, Danielle Ferland, Leah Horowitz, Stephanie Martignetti, Brandi Chayonne Massey, Christiane Noll, Jessica Phillips, Catherine Porter, Julie Reiber and Elena Shaddow) performing Broadway songs. It is recommended that attendees bring blankets or chairs.

Guitarist Reeves Gabrels — who worked with David Bowie from 1987 to 1999 as a member of the band Tin Machine and on solo Bowie projects, and is now a member of The Cure — will bring his improvisational trio Doom Dogs, also featuring drummer Jonathan Kane and bassist Jair-Rohm Parker Wells, to Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, May 10 at 7:30 p.m., with Eels of Love opening.

A new New Jersey venue for country music, Honky Tonk Saloon in Wildwood, will open this weekend, with performances by Brian McConnell, May 10 at 7 p.m.; Sam Stinson, May 11 at 1 and 8 p.m.; and L.J. Hall, May 12 at 1 p.m.


New Jersey Symphony will perform at The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, May 16 at 7:30 p.m.; The Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University, May 17 at 8 p.m.; and Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, May 18 at 8 p.m. and May 19 at 3 p.m. Jeremy Denk will be featured on piano, and Markus Stenz will conduct. The program will include Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, Anna Clyne’s Piano Concerto (a New Jersey Symphony co-commission) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.

The duo Choir! Choir! Choir! will present what it is billing as “An Epic Fleetwood Mac Sing-Along” at The Outpost in the Burbs at The First Congregational Church of Montclair, May 10 at 8 p.m. Formed in Toronto in 2011, Choir! Choir! Choir! is made up of Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, who have led audiences all over the world on singalongs of a wide variety of pop and rock songs. “We teach! You sing!” is their motto.

Check out a video of them, and an enthusiastic audience, performing Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Don’t Stop,” in 2022, below.


The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will open its 2024 season with the riotous 2012 musical comedy “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” — in which a man who is the ninth in line to an earldom in early 20th century London sets out to murder those in his way — with the first preview on May 15, the official opening night on May 18, and the last show on June 9. The shows will take place at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre at Drew University in Madison.

Kimberly Faye Greenberg as Fanny Brice.

Kimberly Faye Greenberg will play Fanny Brice, the early 20th century comedy star who was immortalized in the musical “Funny Girl,” in the one-woman show “Fabulous Fanny: The Songs & Stories of Fanny Brice,” to be produced at The Sieminski Theater in Basking Ridge, May 12 at 2:30 p.m.

Erik Kahn’s “Canned Goods” will make it world premiere at The Hamilton Stage at The Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, May 9-12, as well as The Sieminski Theater in Basking Ridge, May 16-19, in shows presented by The American Theater Group. The play is a historical drama set in the time before Germany invaded Poland in 1939, launching World War II.


Keigwin & Company will present the world premiere of their “Stage Door” at the Peak Performances series at The Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, May 11 at 8 p.m. and May 12 at 3 p.m. According to a description on, artistic director Larry Keigwin and associate Nicole Wolcott will “create and perform in an all-new, community-enhanced show inspired by the artist’s post-pandemic life on the other side of the stage door featuring a number of performers from Montclair and surrounding towns. Larry and Nicole explore the universal themes of acceptance, aging, and finding your place in the world through the lens of the audition. Stage Door is full of backstage antics and surprising emotional moments that capture the imagination and magic of the theater.”

In an annual Mother’s Day Weekend tradition, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, May 10-11 at 8 p.m. and May 12 at 3 p.m., with each show including the company’s trademark number, the Ailey-choreographed “Revelations” (1960) — set to blues and gospel music, and spirituals — as well as other pieces.


The Clairidge in Montclair will screen the new movie “Ezra” on May 11, with a question-and-answer session with director-actor Tony Goldwyn and actors Bobby Cannavale and William Fitzgerald following the noon screening, and an introduction by them preceding the 2:30 screening. Cannavale plays a standup comedian in the movie, which co-stars Rose Byrne as his ex-wife, Fitzgerald as their autistic son Ezra, and Robert De Niro as Ezra’s grandfather. (watch trailer below)

The Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway will present a sing-along version of the hit 1978 musical “Grease,” May 16 at 7 p.m., with a sock hop on the theater’s stage following the screening, and prizes for best costumes and best dancing.


The Montclair Art Museum will present a pop-up exhibition, “Art in Bloom,” from May 15 to May 19, with flower arrangements, by garden clubs and individual designers, inspired by the art in the museum’s galleries.


lenny kaye jersey city



Lenny Kaye, who has worked with Patti Smith since the ’70s, will read from his book “Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll” in addition to playing music and telling stories, at WFMU-FM’s Monty Hall in Jersey City, May 11 at 7 p.m. In the book, he explores music scenes that have had a big impact on rock history, including Memphis in 1954, Liverpool in 1962, San Francisco in 1967, New York in 1975 and Seattle in 1991.

May 11 will be ’90s Night at The Red Bull Arena in Harrison. In addition to the 7:30 p.m. soccer match between The New York Red Bulls and The New England Revolution, The C+C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams — best known for their 1990 hit “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” — will perform, along with singer Sybil (“Don’t Make Me Over,” “When I’m Good and Ready”) and the Saved by the ’90s cover band. The music will begin outside the arena at 4 p.m. and continue inside the venue’s CrossBar at 5:30 p.m.


“Is He Dead?” at Summit Playhouse. (Through May 11)

“East Carson Street” at Bell Theater, Holmdel. (Through May 12)

“Tick, Tick… Boom!,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through May 19)

“Canned Goods,” presented by American Theater Group at Sieminski Theater, Basking Ridge. (Through May 19)

“The Two Hander” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through May 19)

“Show Up, Kids!” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through May 19)

“George Segal: Themes and Variations at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through July 31)


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