Top 10 NJ Arts Events of the Week: North to Shore Festival, ‘Rent,’ Jersey City Jazz Festival, more

by JAY LUSTIG
north to shore preview

RICARDO ARJONA

A new festival, North to Shore, will bring music, comedy, film, visual arts and technology events, and more, to three New Jersey cities this month, starting in Atlantic City, June 3-11, with offerings in Asbury Park (June 14-18) and Newark (June 21-25) to follow.

Among the Atlantic City events will be the Guatemalan Latin-music superstar Ricardo Arjona at Boardwalk Hall, June 4 at 8 p.m.; Jazmine Sullivan, Jhene Aiko, Queen Naija and Ebony Riley at Boardwalk Hall, June 8 at 10 a.m.; Remember Jones, performing songs from Meat Loaf’s classic Bat Out of Hell album at Resorts, June 10 at 8 p.m.; Low Cut Connie at the Anchor Rock Club, June 10 at 7 p.m.; Jay Wheeler at Tropicana, June 10 at 8 p.m.; Christopher Cross and The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, June 10 at 8 p.m.; screenings on the beach of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” June 9 at 8:30 p.m., and “Top Gun: Maverick,” June 10 at 8:30 p.m.; and a “Pridechella” drag show at the Anchor Rock Club, June 11 at 7 p.m.

Also taking place under the North to Shore umbrella: The Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival, scheduled for Bader Field, June 3-4, with bands including The Dropkick Murphys, Dentist, Jesse Ahern, Ryan Zimmerman, Don’t Panic, The Looms and Second Half Comeback, who will all be performing during the 2-6 p.m. June 3 session; and 311, Phoneboy, SensaMotion, Buncha Scurbs, The Record Keeper, The Chris Rockwell Collection and Friend Hospital, who are all booked for the noon-4 p.m. June 4 session.

Here is a roundup of other arts events taking place around the state, through June 8.

CAROLE D'INVERNO

BILL FRISELL

MUSIC

The 10th annual Jersey City Jazz Festival began on June 1 and continues through June 4, with shows at nightclubs and restaurants as well as free performances on three stages at Exchange Plaza Plaza by artists such as the Bill Frisell Trio, Sonido Solar featuring Eddie Palmieri, Stephane Wrembel’s “Django a GoGo” tribute to Django Reinhardt, the Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band, and gospel singer Joshua Nelson.

Veteran DJ Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow will present a free concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, June 8 at 7:30 p.m., with Herman’s Hermits (starring Peter Noone), Tommy Roe, and The Soundtrack of Our Lives (featuring Deborah Rennard and Al Sapienza). The show is free, although donations to the Garden State Arts Foundation will be welcomed. The foundation has been presenting classical, jazz and pop shows such as this one at the PNC Bank Arts Center (originally known as the Garden State Arts Center) since 1999.

The Woodbridge Summerfest at Merrill Park in Iselin will offer free music at Merrill Park in Iselin, June 3 from 12:45 to 10 p.m., with Beginnings (Chicago tribute), the Moroccan Sheepherders, Saints in the City (Bruce Springsteen tribute), One Hit Wonderers, Hollow Molly and Revolver. There will also be children’s activities, and food and drink vendors.

The Bacon Brothers — actor Kevin Bacon’s musical side project with his brother, professional musician Michael Bacon — will perform at “Fête at the Farm,” a gala for New Brunswick’s State Theatre taking place at Suydam Farms in Somerset, June 3. The siblings use the word “forosoco” — standing for folk, rock, soul and country — to describe their musical influences. There will be a dinner at 5:30 p.m. and music by the duo at 7:30 p.m., followed by dessert and dancing.

samara joy exit zero

MEREDITH TRUAX

SAMARA JOY

The Jazz in June series at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will feature six events over three weekends, starting June 2 at 8 p.m. with Samara Joy — this year’s Grammy winner in the Best New Artist category — in the Matthews Theater; and June 3 at 11 a.m. with a show for children (recommended for ages 2 to 8) by clarinetist Oran Etkin in the smaller Berlind Theater.

Coming up later in the series will be Chucho Valdés and Paquito D’Rivera, June 9; Joey Alexander, June 10; the Melissa Aldana Quartet, June 16; and the Maria Schneider Orchestra, June 17.

Trilogy: An Opera Company will present classical and jazz composer Richard Thompson’s opera “Sassy,” which explores the life and career of singer Sarah Vaughan, June 3 at 7 p.m. at Science Park High School in Newark.

The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music at Monmouth University and the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation will present the first concert in a series titled “The Mississippi Delta Meets the Jersey Shore,” June 2 at 8 p.m. at the Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. Clarksdale, Miss.-based Anthony “Big A” Sherrod & The Allstars will perform, along with New Jersey’s own Ken “Stringbean” Sorenson. In a press release, Springsteen Center director Eileen Chapman said “Delta blues plays a significant role in the landscape of American music. … Our collaboration with JSJBF demonstrates our role in promoting all forms of American music and its impact on our culture.”

THEATER

The late Jonathan Larson’s musical “Rent” is more than 25 years old, having debuted off-Broadway in 1996. But with a story inspired by Puccini’s 1896 opera “La Bohème,” and struggling young artists and activists still populating our cities, it seems timeless. The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn will begin previews of its 2022-23 season-ending production of “Rent” on June 7, with the official opening night on June 11 and the last show on July 2.

James Hindman in New Jersey Repertory Company’s 2021 production of “What Doesn’t Kill You.”

As part of its Pride Festival, New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch will present six one-act plays at the new West End Arts Center at 132 West End Ave. The plays are: “What Doesn’t Kill You” (also presented by NJ Rep in 2021; read review HERE), June 8-11; “The Silver Bell,” June 8-11 and 15-18; “Miss Delta Township,” June 15-18; “Democracy Sucks,” June 22-25; and “Sister Mary’s Playtime,” June 22-25. Visit njrep.org for descriptions of each play and showtimes. (For a chance to win two tickets to any show, send an email with the word “Pride” in the subject line to njartscontest@gmail.com. Please include the date and time of the show you would like to attend. It is okay to enter for more than one play.)

REVIEWS

“Starchild: The Ballad of Debbie Walker,” presented by Crossroads Theatre Company at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through June 4)

“Jairo Alfonso: Objectscapes” at Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit. (Through June 4)

“vanessa german: … please imagine all the things i cannot say …” at Montclair Art Museum. (Through June 25)

“Ladies and Gentlemen … The Beatles!” at Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center, Newark. (Through June 25)

“Komar and Melamid: A Lesson in History” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through July 16)

“NJ & Me: Imperfect Together” at Drawing Rooms, Jersey City. Works by Alan Ostroski, Anne Percoco, Anne Trauben, Dorie Dahlberg, Doug Madill, Eileen Ferara, Edward Fausty, James Pustorino, Jean-Paul Picard, Jessica Rohrer, John T. Meehan III, Kevin McCaffrey, Lauren H. Adams, Sue Ellen Leys, Tim Daly, Tim Heins. (Through July 29)

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

“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, 2024)

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