Top NJ Arts Events of the Week: Billie Eilish, ‘Meteor Shower,’ ‘Fences,’ more

billie eilish newark 2022

Billie Eilish performs at the Prudential Center in Newark, Feb. 22.

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

MUSIC

• Billie Eilish, who had a huge breakthrough year in 2019, was originally scheduled to perform at the Prudential Center in Newark on March 26, 2020. That show, of course, could not take place then, because of the pandemic, but Eilish will finally make it to the venue Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m., with Dora Jar opening.

Eilish kicked off her Happier Than Ever, The World Tour, Feb. 3 in New Orleans, and has shows scheduled through September, though this is the only Jersey show. (She’ll also be at Madison Square Garden in New York, Feb. 18-19.)

Karen Gomyo will play Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 with the New Jersey Symphony at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m., and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. Fabien Gabel will conduct, and the program will also include Samy Moussa’s Nocturne and Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3, “Organ.”

Centenary Stage Company presents “Meteor Shower” through March 6.

THEATER

The Centenary Stage Company will present Steve Martin’s “Meteor Shower” at the Sitnik Theatre at the Lackland Performing Arts Center in Hackettstown, Feb. 18 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Feb. 19 and 25-26 and March 4-5 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 20, 23 and 27 and March 6 at 2 p.m.; March 2 at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Feb. 24 and March 3 at 7:30 p.m. Presented on Broadway in 2017 and 2018, “Meteor Shower” is described this way by Centenary Stage Company: “Over the course of a crazy, starlit dinner party, the wildly unexpected occurs. The couples begin to flirt and insanity reigns. Martin, using his trademark absurdist humor, bends the fluid nature of time and reality …

The Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway will celebrate Black History Month by offering a free production of August Wilson’s “Fences,” Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. Set in the 1950s and first produced in 1985, “Fences” is part of Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle,” which is made up of 10 plays set in the 10 decades of the 20th century. Though the production is free, advance tickets are required.

The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown presents the Tony-winning jukebox musical “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” Feb. 18 at 8 p.m., Feb. 19 at 2 and 8 p.m., and Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. The show features songs written by King and her husband Gerry Goffin (including “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Up on the Roof” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday”) as well as material written or co-written by their friends Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (including “On Broadway,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ ” and “Walking in the Rain”).

“Avenue Q” is a funny, irreverent musical that — even though most of the characters are portrayed by “Sesame Street”-like puppets — addresses very adult matters in songs such as “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?,” “It Sucks to Be Me,” “If You Were Gay” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.” Kean Stage will present it at the Wilkins Theatre at Kean University in Union, Feb. 18-19, 23 and 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 20 at 2 p.m.; Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play “An Enemy of the People” seems particularly relevant to the current state of the world: It’s about a doctor who is ostracized for publicly telling the truth about a public health matter. (Local businesses think they will be hurt if the truth gets out, and politicians and journalists side with the businesses.) The Brookdale Performing Arts Center in Lincroft will present a production of Arthur Miller’s 1950s adaptation of the play, Feb. 18-19 and 25-26 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 20 and 27 at 2 p.m.

COMEDY

The Capitol Steps, a Washington, D.C.-based group that specialized in politically satirical songs and skits, ended a nearly 40-year run in 2019. But some of its members are continuing, in the same vein, in a group called DC’s Reflecting Fools, which will perform at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m., and Bell Works in Holmdel, Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. Current numbers in the group’s show include Steve Bannon singing “Give Power to the Loonies of the Night” (to the tune of “The Music of the Night,” from “The Phantom of the Opera”), Mitt Romney crooning “Help Me Fake It to the Right,” and a Donald Trump-Rachel Maddow duet. (Update: These shows have been moved to Sept. 17, at Axelrod Performing Arts Center, and Sept. 18, at Bell Works.)

FAMILY

The Growing Stage of New Jersey in Netcong will present the world premiere of “Boogie,” written by Angelle Whavers, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 19 and 26 at 4 p.m., and Feb. 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. The play is about a girl, Alex, who is having nightmares, and discovers that the Boogieman is the cause. According to the theater’s website, “after meeting this famous monster, Alex learns the truth about fears and that it’s okay to be afraid because fears are just a part of us.”

Sidney Poitier in “To Sir, With Love.”

FILM

In honor of Sidney Poitier, who died on Jan. 6, the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway will screen two of his best-known movies, “To Sir, With Love” and “In the Heat of the Night” (both released in 1967), Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively. The City of Rahway and the Rahway Social Justice Commission are presenting these movies free, in celebration of Black History Month. Free popcorn will also be offered, and between the screenings, Eric Fahner will perform on the theater’s Wurlitzer organ, which was installed when the theater first opened (in the 1920s) and restored in the ’60s.

Montclair Film, in association with Out Montclair 50+, presents the documentary “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back” at The Clairidge in Montclair, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. The movie (see trailer below) is about the life and career of the dancer, actor, choreographer and director, who is now 78. The event will include a pre-show discussion on LBGTQ and aging, and a post-show question-and-answer session with the film’s director/producer John Carluccio and writer/producer Tracy E. Hopkins, with a reception at Montclair Film nearby Cinema505 theater following.

The Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank will present “Music. Money. Madness … Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live in Maui,” Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. This film includes previously unreleased footage from one of the last concerts of Hendrix’ life (on July 30, 1970; he died on Sept. 18, 1970). It also tells the story of the ill-fated “Rainbow Bridge” movie, which includes some of Hendrix’s music from that show, and was released in 1972.

REVIEWS

“Clue” at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn. (Through Feb. 20)

“The Promotion” at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. (Through Feb. 20)

Eugene O’Neill Festival (“Desire Under the Elms” and “Hughie”) at Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken. (Through Feb. 27)

“On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey” at Morris Museum, Morris Township. (Through Feb. 27)

“Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985-1993” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through March 13)

“Bruce Springsteen Live!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through March 20)

“In Time and In Tide” by Armisey Smith and “Red Portraits” by Caren King Choi at Gallery Aferro, Newark. (Through April 1)

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

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