Top NJ Arts Events of the Week: ‘Shipwrecked! An Entertainment,’ Twice, UB40, more

by JAY LUSTIG
shipwrecked shakespeare nj

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment,” starting on July 5.

Here is a roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through July 6.

THEATER

Every year, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey presents a summer show at the outdoor amphitheater at Saint Elizabeth University in Florham Park. This year’s show will be “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself),” which begins previews on July 5, officially opens on July 12, and runs through July 30

According to STNJ, the 2007 play, which was written by Donald Margulies, is a “rollicking 95-minute voyage (that) takes audiences from the streets of 19th-century London, to the high seas, to the wilds of Aboriginal Australia and back, on a non-stop, exhilarating world tour. Its surprising denouement … raises the issue of fact versus fiction, and how far some are willing to go to stand out in the world — and how much they come to believe their own fabrications.”

The production will feature Bruce Comer as Louis de Rougemont and Jabari Carter, Paul Henry and Aurea Tomeski in a variety of other roles. It will have a live Foley score — i.e., the kind of sounds effects developed for use in radio plays.

The 1978 revue “Ain’t Misbehavin’ “ — featuring songs written or co-written by Fats Waller (such as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Jitterbug Waltz” and the title song — and other pop and jazz standards, will be presented in the Plays-in-the-Park series at The Stephen J. Capestro Theater at Roosevelt Park in Edison, July 5-8 and 10-15 at 8 p.m.

Twice performs at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, July 6.

MUSIC

The South Korean group Twice will become the first all-female K-Pop group to headline at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford when it brings its Ready to Be tour there, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. (Blackpink will become the second when it performs at the Meadowlands venue, Aug. 11-12).

The free July 4 “Freedom Festival” at Wiggins Park in Camden will include a performance by pop-reggae group UB40 at 8 p.m., preceded by singer Tara Hendricks at 6 p.m., and the Tri-County Symphony Band at 5 p.m., with fireworks following at 9:30 p.m.

As part of Fourth of July festivities at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield, a 3 p.m. concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop will feature DJ Chuck Chillout, Grandmaster Melle Mel & Scorpio (of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five), Nice & Smooth, DJ Grand G, DJ Cheese, DJ Storm Norm, DJ Tacktics, DJ Bookeem and Cutmaster Cool V, with WXBK-FM (94.7 the Block) DJ Miss Jones hosting. There will also be a parade, food trucks and vendors, and fireworks at night.

• Steve Forbert and Cranston Dean will kick off the free Songwriters on the Beach series presented in Bradley Beach by Brookdale Public Radio in Lincroft (WBJB-FM, 90.5 the Night), July 6 at 7 p.m. Other performers in the series will include Pete Francis (formerly of Dispatch) and Dave Vargo, July 13; Mediocre and Baquenne, July 20; and Brian Dunne and Spirit Fox, July 27; Purr and The dt’s, Aug. 3; Ari Hest, Mike Montali and Joseph Alton Miller, Aug. 10; and Matthew Smith and Mike Pellegrino, Aug. 17.

TORI AMOS

Singer-songwriter and pianist Tori Amos — who released her first album since 2017, Ocean to Ocean, in late 2021 — will bring her Ocean to Ocean Tour to the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, July 2 at 7:30 p.m., with Tow’rs opening. Amos will be backed by bassist Jon Evans and drummer Ash Soan.

“This is a record about your losses, and how you cope with them,” Amos has said about Ocean to Ocean. “Thankfully when you’ve lived long enough, you can recognize you’re not feeling like the mom you want to be, the wife you want to be, the artist you want to be. I realized that to shift this, you have to write from the place where you are. I was in my own private hell, so I told myself, then that’s where you write from — you’ve done it before.”

• Frankie Valli, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and New Jersey native who made news this week by remarrying at the age of 89, will perform with the current version of his band The Four Seasons at the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, July 1 at 7 p.m.

Barbara Harris & the Toys — best known for their Top 20 mid-’60s hits “A Lover’s Concerto” and “Attack!” — will perform at Meisel Avenue Park in Springfield, July 4 at 8 p.m. Starting at 5 p.m., there also will be food trucks, a petting zoo and pony rides, DJ music and more, and there will be fireworks after the Toys’ performance.

DANCE

Stefanie Batten Bland’s Company SBB currently has a residency at ArtYard in FrenchTown, in which it is developing “Coup D’espace,” which it describes as “an immersive work that empowers us as a collective people to examine what moves us to overthrow/transform a space. In this work, nine immersive spaces cultivate group and individualized creative exploration that forecasts opportunities for new futures.” The residency will culminate with a performance at 6 p.m. July 3.

REVIEWS

“Rent” at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn. (Through July 2)

“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)

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

“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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