Top 20 NJ Arts Events of Week: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Barefoot Country Music Fest, more

PAUL mccartney metlife preview


Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through June 16.


Two days before his 80th birthday, Paul McCartney will bring his Got Back Tour to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, June 16 at 8 p.m. The tour name is a nod to the popular and revelatory “Get Back” Beatles documentary that debuted on Disney+ last year. So is — SPOILER ALERT! — a segment of the show that has been featuring McCartney performing “I’ve Got a Feeling” as a virtual duet with John Lennon, using video and audio from the Beatles’ famed 1969 “rooftop concert.”

Speaking of Beatles … Ringo Starr will bring the current edition of his ever-changing All Starr Band to the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. The band now includes Edgar Winter, Colin Hay (of Men at Work), Steve Lukather (of Toto), Hamish Stuart (of the Average White Band), Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette. The tour will also return to New Jersey later in the year, coming to the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, Sept. 24.

(Could either Beatle drop in at the other’s concert? Well, of course, it’s extremely unlikely, but logistically it would not be hard at all. Both are off on the day the other plays New Jersey. And they will kind of be crossing paths: With McCartney at the Meadowlands on June 16, Starr performs in Baltimore, June 15, and in Lenox, Mass., June 17. And with Starr in Red Bank on June 10, McCartney performs in Boston, June 8, and in Baltimore, June 12. Maybe they can at least have lunch together or something.)


The second annual Barefoot Country Music Fest takes place June 16-19, on the beach in Wildwood, with Cole Swindell headlining on June 16, and subsequent headliners including Eric Chuch (June 17), Florida Georgia Line (June 18) and Jason Aldean (June 19). Among the many others on the bill are Dustin Lynch, Walker Hayes Chris Janson, Bret Michaels (yes, the Poison frontman, who also has recorded country-rock music), Jameson Rodgers, Priscilla Block, Rita Wilson (yes, the actress, who is also a singer), The Brothers Union and LoCash.

Hot 97’s Summer Jam, traditionally New Jersey’s largest hip-hop concert of the year, takes place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, June 12, with Fivio Foreign, Lil Durk, Lil Baby, City Girls, Pusha T, Roddy Ricch, Burna Boy and others. And remember, Summer Jam usually has a ton of big names appearing unannounced, as well. There will be performances in the parking lot in the afternoon, before the show starts inside the stadium at 6:30 p.m.

• The Doobie Brothers are reuniting with former lead singer Michael McDonald for a 50th anniversary tour that comes to the PNC Bank Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. June 14, and the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden at 7:30 p.m. June 23. McDonald replaced Tom Johnston in the group from 1975 to 1982, singing lead on hits such as “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “What a Fool Believes,” “Minute by Minute” and “It Keeps You Runnin.’ ” The group then took a break until 1989, and when they reconvened, Johnston was back and McDonald — who had a bunch of hits on his own in the ’80s, as well — was no longer in the lineup (though he has participated in various reunion projects since then).


Singer-songwriter Alex Cuba, whose Mendó was the Grammy winner in this year’s Latin Pop Album category, will perform in the Outpost in the Burbs’ New Voices series, outdoors at Van Vleck House and Gardens in Montclair, June 10 at 7 p.m. Cuba, who grew up in Cuba and now lives in British Columbia, Canada, has also won four Latin Grammys.

• Richie Furay will preview material from his upcoming album In the Country— featuring covers of 14 classic country songs — and also play songs from his solo career and his stints in the bands Poco, Buffalo Springfield and Souther-Hillman-Furay, June 12 at 7 p.m. at the South Orange Performing Arts Center. In addition, he will present an “Interactive Music & Media Event” for a limited crowd at 8 p.m. June 11 at Alpha Wave Studios in Whippany; he’ll play music, be interviewed by Jim Monaghan of WDHA (105.5 FM), meet fans and answer questions.

The New Jersey Symphony‘s 2021-22 season ends with concerts at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, June 11 at 8 p.m., and Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, June 12 at 3 p.m. Xian Zhang will conduct, and the program, titled “An American Rhapsody,” will include Aaron Dworkin’s spoken word piece The American Rhapsody (set to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s The American Rhapsody: Symphonic Variations on an African Air), Gershwin’s An American in Paris, and premieres of both Daniel Bernard Roumain’s We Shall Not Be Moved: Symphonic Scenes and Samples and Surreal Sketches for Horn, Jazz Trio and Orchestra. Surreal Sketches includes Salvador Dalí-inspired movements written by jazz composers Vivian Li, Christian McBride, Paquito D’Rivera and Gary Morgan.

The Walpack Inn in Layton hosts “AmbroPalooza: A Music Fundraiser for Robert Ambrosino,” June 12 from noon to 10 p.m. The event will honor the Sparta High School and Dover High School teacher and coach who died last year, and raise money for scholarship funds bearing his name. Performers will include the Grateful Dead tribute band Rainbow Full of Sound, Lil Bastad, the Terri Smith Hammer Band, The Uptown Getdowns, Rostafa & Co., the Lake Mohawk Country Club All Star Band and Mike Cohan’s Renditions Band.


The Argus Quartet (from left, Clara Kim, Maren Rothfritz, Giancarlo Latta and Audrey Chen).

The Morris Museum in Morris Township kicks off its 2022 Lots of String Music Festival June 11 at 8 p.m. with the New York-based Argus Quartet, performing at the museum’s outdoor Back Deck stage. The program will include Fanny Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in E-flat major; Princeton faculty member and composer Juri Seo’s Respiri; Christopher Cerrone’s Can’t and Won’t; and Jessica Meyer’s Of Being, which was commissioned for the Quartet by Chamber Music America.

The Middletown Arts Center will host A Benefit Concert for Ukraine June 12 at 4 p.m., with soprano Malena Towers performing music by Vivaldi, Mozart, Puccini and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Proceeds from ticket sales, as well as a silent art auction, will go to charities supporting Ukrainian children and refugees.

Due to forecasted bad weather, the Orange Loop Rock Festival, which had been scheduled to take place outdoors in Atlantic City June 10-12, has been moved indoors, to two stages at the Showboat Hotel. The lineup remains the same: Stone Temple Pilots, Chevelle, Puddle of Mudd, Hoobastank, Hinder, John 5 & the Creatures, Treach of Naughty by Nature, Stephen Pearcy of Ratt, L.A. Guns, Slaughter and others. All of the above acts are scheduled for June 11 or 12; June 10, meanwhile, will be devoted to cover bands such as Foreigners Journey (tribute to Foreigner and Journey), Ozzmosis (Ozzy Osbourne tribute) and The Four Horsemen (Metallica tribute).


Crossroads Theatre Company will present the world premiere “Freedom Rider” at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center’s Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theatre, June 10-12, 15-19 and 22-26. Conceived and directed by Ricardo Khan and co-written by Khan with Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Murray Horwitz, Nathan Louis Jackson and Nikkole Salter, this play is based on civil rights activists who traveled on buses from Washington, D.C., into the South in 1961 to protest segregation on buses, and encountered violence in some cities.


Crossroads Theatre Company will also present Grammy-nominated blues singer-songwriter Guy Davis in his own “Sugar Belly and Other Tales My Father Told Me,” June 15-19 and 22-26 at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center’s Arthur Laurents Theater. The play is described this way on the Crossroads website: “Part tall tale, part medicine show, part mystery. Witness a bygone way of life breathing again, resurrected by field hollers and songs.”

The Jersey City Theater Center‘s 2022 VOICES International Theatre Festival begins June 15 at 7:30 p.m., with Israel-born Iddo Netanyahu’s “Worlds in Collision,” which is in Russian (with English subtitles) and has been described as “a battle of the minds between Albert Einstein and Immanuel Velikovsky.” Velikovsky was a writer whose controversial cosmological book “Worlds in Collision” became a bestseller in the 1950s. Suggested donations of $20 will be used to support Ukrainian artists commissioned by the Lesya Ukrainka National Academic Theater in Kiev.

The East Lynne Theater Company presents Suzanne Dawson in “Dorothy Parker: A Certain Woman,” a one-woman play about the famously witty 20th century writer, June 15-18, 22-25 and 29-30 and July 1-2, 6-9, 13-16 and 20-23 at Cape May Presbyterian Church.



The Prudential Center presents Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal,” June 16-19.

The Prudential Center in Newark will present “Crystal,” a Cirque du Soleil show that blends circus art with ice skating, June 16-17 at 7:30 p.m.; June 18 at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and June 19 at 1 p.m. According to Cirque du Soleil, this show “invites you to suspend reality and glide into a world that springs to colorful life with astounding visual projections and a soundtrack that seamlessly blends popular music with the signature sound of Cirque du Soleil. This show is suitable for all ages.”

Reviewing the show for The Montreal Gazette in 2017, Brendan Kelly wrote: “The ice breaks early in ‘Crystal,’ the new Cirque du Soleil show, as the title character quite literally falls through the ice on a frozen lake and enters a parallel universe. And the Cirque breaks the ice figuratively as well, scoring big time with its very first show on an NHL-size ice surface.

” ‘Crystal’ … is a lot of fun, effortlessly blending the eye-popping acrobatics of the Cirque with the blade action of an ice show.”


Out Montclair will host its first Montclair Pride Festival, June 11, with activities at various locations in downtown Montclair. The Wellmont Theater will present a concert by Betty Who, with Jordy and Fab the Duo opening, at 8 p.m. And from noon to 6 p.m., there will be free performances and speeches on two outdoor stages, with the main stage at Bloomfield and Fullerton avenues, and a smaller School of Rock Stage on Park Street, near the YMCA.

Comedian Judy Gold will emcee the main stage, with performers including the Tony-winning actress and singer Laura Benanti (a Montclair resident), country singers Randi Driscoll and Bryan Ruby, the cast of Broadway’s “Jagged Little Pill,” the cast of “Rent” (opening June 16 at the Vanguard Theater in Montclair), Dakota Jones (the New York-based rock band led by Tristan Carter-Jones), Fab the Duo and more. Among those at the School of Rock Stage will be musicians from the APEX Ensemble (formerly the Montclair Orchestra), cabaret singer and actor Robert Bannon, a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” performance by The Ordinary Kids, and students from the School of Rock and the Jazz House Kids and Beyond the Boogie Dance School programs.



Billie Holiday at the Sugar Hill nightclub in Newark in 1957.

Two jazz-oriented photography exhibitions, “Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill: Photographs by Jerry Dantzic” and “Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection,” will open at the Newark Museum of Art on June 9 and run through Aug. 22. The former features photos of the legendary singer at Newark’s Sugar Hill nightclub during a week-long residency in 1957; the latter collects images of Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Eric Dolphy and others from various photographers.

Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor presents “The Spark of an Icon: An Exhibition of the Concept Drawings of Dr. Seuss,” June 12-26, with receptions June 17 and 18 at 6 p.m. According to promotional material, the drawings “transport us to the moment of creation and allow us to peer over Dr. Seuss’ shoulder as they come to life.”


“Tenacity & Resilience: The Art of Jerry Pinkney” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 26)

“Ecstatic Decrepitude,” works by Peter Schumann at ArtYard, Frenchtown. (Through July 31)

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