Top 20 NJ Arts Events of Week: Shakti, Jersey Fringe Festival, John Fogerty, more

by JAY LUSTIG
shakti reunion preview

Shakti (from left, Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, John McLaughlin, Ganesh Rajagopalan and V. Selvaganesh).

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Aug. 24.

MUSIC

Guitarist John McLaughlin and tabla player Zakir Hussain are reviving their groundbreaking ’70s world music/fusion group Shakti and touring with it, with stops including Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark. Banjo master Béla Fleck will present a solo opening set, and also join Shakti during their performance.

Shakti, whose original incarnation also featured violinist L. Shankar, released three albums in 1976 and 1977. McLaughlin and Hussain are joined in the current version of the group by singer Shankar Mahadevan, violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan and percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram (son of original Shakti ghatam player T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram).

• John Fogerty, who performed at Woodstock with Creedence Clearwater Revival 54 years ago this week, will play hits from his years with that group (“Fortunate Son,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River”) and his solo career (“Centerfield,” “The Old Man Down the Road,” Rock and Roll Girls”) and more at Caesars in Atlantic City, Aug. 18 at 8:30 p.m.

Speaking of Woodstock … Capestock, taking place on the beach behind Convention Hall in Cape May, will offer tribute bands playing the music of Woodstock bands and other groups from the ’60s and ’70s, including Everyday People (Sly & the Family Stone tribute), Hotlanta (Allman Brothers Band tribute), Splintered Sunlight (Grateful Dead tribute), all on Aug. 18; Reverend Jefferson (Jefferson Airplane tribute), Just Like Janis (Janis Joplin tribute), Who’s Next (The Who tribute) and Kensington Clearwater Revival (Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute), all on Aug. 19; and Inca (Santana tribute), Laurel Canyon (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young tribute) and Tuesday’s Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute), all on Aug. 20.

The music will begin at 4 p.m. on Aug. 18, and at 2 p.m. on Aug. 19-20.

DAVID SIMCHOCK

GOV’T MULE

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary, this year, of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album, Gov’t Mule is playing Pink Floyd songs and more on its Dark Side of the Mule Tour, which comes to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. Drummer Jason Bonham will open with his “Led Zeppelin Evening” set, featuring the music of his late father John Bonham’s band.

Gov’t Mule previously presented “Dark Side of the Mule” shows in 2008 and 2014, performing songs from various Pink Floyd albums (not just Dark Side of the Moon). On this tour, they are performing both their own songs, first, and then the Pink Floyd covers.

The Jersey-based Hi-Tide Recordings label will presents its annual Hi-Tide Summer Holiday festival Aug. 18-20 at Asbury Lanes and The Asbury hotel, with bands including the instrumental group The Ventures — whose ’60s hits included “Walk Don’t Run,” “Perfidia” and the “Hawaii Five-O” theme — as well as The 5.6.7.8s, Messer Chups, The Surfrajettes, Los Tiki Phantoms, Televisionaries & Les Greene, Surfer Joe, Ichi-Bons, Slowey & the Boats and The Jazztronauts.

According to the Hi-Tide website, the festival will also offer “tropical cocktails, island eats, bowling, record hops, pool parties, vendors & more!”

LILLIAS WHITE

Lillias White— a Tony winner for “The Life,” a Tony nominee for “Fela!,” and a current co-star of “Hadestown” on Broadway — will appear in concert at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.

The pioneering funk group George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, who are hinting that they may be on their last tour by calling it the Just for the Funk of It! Final Tour?!?, will perform at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m., with Fishbone and Blu Eye Extinction opening.

• Brenda K. Starr — whose many hits, over the years, on the pop, R&B, dance and Latin charts include “Pickin’ Up Pieces,” “I Still Believe,” “What You See Is What You Get,” “No Matter What,” “Herida” and “Por Ese Hombre” — will present a free concert at Parker Press Park in Woodbridge, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.

War — whose ’70s hits include “Low Rider,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” “Spill the Wine” (with Eric Burdon) and “The Cisco Kid” — and the Average White Band (“Pick Up the Pieces,” “Cut the Cake,” “Let’s Go Round Again”) will co-headline the ATM (All Things Music) Festival at the Salem County Fairgrounds in Woodstown, Aug. 19 at noon. Other performers will include After 7, Breakwater and Urban Guerilla Orchestra.

“Summertime Folk Fantasies” will be the theme of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra’s concerts at the Sieminski Theater in Basking Ridge, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m.; and the Hertell Gardens in Westfield, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. David Wroe will conduct, and the program will include Frederick Delius’ Brigg Fair, An English Rhapsody; Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs (featuring baritone Stephen Gaertner); and George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess Fantasy.

“The program highlights the deep connection between the English and American musical cultures, not only because of the shared language, but also because of their love of common folk melodies sprinkled with both sweet melancholy and dancing rhythms,” said Wroe, in a press release.

Operallora, a new opera company, will launch its inaugural season with Giacomo Puccini’s “Il tabarro” and “Suor Angelica” at the Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. These are the first and second parts of Puccini’s 1918 “Il Trittico” triptych of one-act operas, which also includes the more frequently performed “Gianni Schicchi”; they will be fully staged, with piano accompaniment.

SARAH SHERMAN

COMEDY

• Sarah Sherman, a “Saturday Night Live” cast member since 2021, has been a bright spot in the show’s last two very uneven seasons, with a wild, unpredictable streak that feels like a breath of fresh air. She will perform standup at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m.

THEATER

The Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven presents “Disaster!,” Aug. 22-27 and 29-31 and Sept. 1-2. This musical, which premiered off-Broadway in 2011 and ran on Broadway on 2016, is a spoof on ’70s disaster movies featuring pop and rock hits of the era ranging from Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” to Free’s “All Right Now,” Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Morris Albert’s “Feelings.”

• “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is best known, of course, as the powerful, Oscar-winning 1975 film that starred Jack Nicholson, though it is based on the 1962 Ken Kesey novel that was adapted into a play by Dale Wasserman in 1963. Studio 237 will offer a rare opportunity to see a new production of the play, Aug. 24-27 and 31 and Sept. 1-3.

From Sept. 13 to Oct. 7, the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will kick off its 2023-24 season with Eisa Davis’ “Bulrusher”; the play, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2017, is set in California in the 1950s and, according to the McCarter website, is about “a multiracial girl (who) grows up in a predominantly white town whose residents pepper their speech with the historical dialect of Boontling. Found floating in a basket on the river as an infant, Bulrusher is an orphan with a gift for clairvoyance that makes her feel like a stranger even amongst the strange.”

The Princeton Public Library will present a free conversation about this upcoming production, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m., featuring McCarter associate artistic director Nicole A. Watson along with the play’s associate director Jessica Natalie Smith, sound designer Kate Marvin and movement director Paloma McGregor.

DANCE

Montclair-based Freespace Dance will present a “Freespace Dance & Friends” show at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center in West Orange, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m., with the friends including Kyle Marshall Choreography, KM Dance Collective and the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. Lawn chairs or blankets are recommended.

• Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre will present a program of traditional dance, music and theater at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m., with the grounds open at 6 p.m. for attendees to enjoy the gardens and/or picnic. Lawn chairs or blankets are recommended.

Jeanette May’s “Tech Vanitas: Dot Matrix.”

VISUAL ARTS

The Princeton University Art Museum will present a show titled “Art About Art: Contemporary Photographers Look at Old Master Paintings” at its Art on Hulfish gallery from Aug. 19 to Nov. 5. According to the museum’s website, the exhibition “explores the work of contemporary artists who use photography and video to reimagine portraits and still lifes by early modern European artists.”

Jeanette May’s “Tech Vanitas: Dot Matrix” photograph, for instance (shown), is intended to recall the look of a Dutch tabletop still life.

OTHER

The Jersey Fringe Festival will offer a variety of risk-taking theater, music, dance and comedy performances at the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton and other Hammonton venues, Aug. 18-20. Among its offerings will be “Johnny Depp! (A Retrospective on Late-Stage Capitalism),” described on the fest’s website as a “satirical ‘press tour’ (that) is part ritual and part drunken singalong (and) features throwing things at random intervals, ‘fabulous’ prizes, and a celebrity circus we keep tuning in to.”

Amanda Bearse and Chris Sarandon in “Fright Night.”

The New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival, taking place Aug. 18-20 at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, will offer a reunion of cast members of the 1985 film “Fright Night” (including Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse and Stephen Geoffreys) plus appearances by actors such as Eric Roberts, Clint Howard, Heather Matarazzo and Mick Garris. There will also be film screenings, panel discussions, vendors and more.

REVIEWS

“Each One Teach One: Preserving Legacy in Perpetuity” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Aug. 27)

“A Tailor Near Me” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through Sept. 3)

“Claybash 2023” at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton. (Through Sept. 3)

“Where There’s Smoke” by Lance Weiler at ArtYard, Frenchtown. (Through Oct. 1)

“Victor Ekpuk: Language and Lineage,” presented by Princeton University Art Museum at Bainbridge House, Princeton. (Through Oct. 8)

“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)

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

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