Top NJ Arts Events of Week: ‘The Nutcracker,’ LaBamba’s Holiday Hurrah, more


New Jersey Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” at the Union County Performing Arts Center on Dec. 10, and then at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Dec. 15-17, 21-24 and 26-27 .

Nutcracker Season has begun, with the following productions all scheduled for various New Jersey venues in the coming weeks:

Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., Dec. 9 at 1 and 5 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 1 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by Company of Dance Arts at Count Basie Center for the Arts, Red Bank.
Dec. 8-10, 15-17 and 21-23 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9-10, 16-17 and 22-23 at 3 p.m.: “Jersey City Nutcracker” at Nimbus Arts Center, Jersey City.
Dec. 9 at 1 and 4 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by Ballet for Young Audiences at Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College, Toms River.
Dec. 9 at 1 and 5 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by American Repertory Ballet at Patriots Theater at War Memorial, Trenton.
Dec. 9 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: “The Nutracker,” presented by BalletArts and Adelphi Orchestra at River Dell High School, Oradell.
Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by New Jersey Ballet at Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway.
Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 16-17 at 1 and 4 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by NJ Dance Connection at Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College, West Windsor.
Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., Dec. 16 at noon and 5 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by North Jersey Civic Youth Ballet Sitnik Theatre at Lackland Performing Arts Center, Hackettstown.
Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 16 at 2 and 7 p.m., Dec. 17 at 1 and 5 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by American Repertory Ballet at State Theatre, New Brunswick.
Dec. 15 and 21-22 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 16-17, 23-24 and 26-27 at 1 p.m. and Dec. 16-17, 23 and 26 at 6 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” presented by New Jersey Ballet with New Jersey Symphony at Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown.
Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.: “The Nutcracker,” presented by State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine at Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark.
Dec. 23 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.: “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” at Prudential Hall at NJPAC, Newark.
Dec. 29 at 8 p.m.: “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” featuring Kurtis Blow at State Theatre, New Brunswick.

Here is a roundup of other arts events taking place around New Jersey, through Dec. 14.


Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg (center, with trombone) and his Holiday Hurrah big band.


Trombonist and singer Richie “LaBamba” Rosenberg and his big band will present their annual Holiday Hurrah concert — featuring hard-swinging versions of holiday songs, R&B classics and more — at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Joining them will be LaBamba’s longtime musical partner Mark Pender on trumpet and vocals; his children Jade and Reed; and guests such as Willie Nile (making his Holiday Hurrah debut), Bobby Bandiera, Glen Burtnik and Joe Vadala. Big band members will include saxophonist Jerry Vivino and drummer James Wormworth (both of the Max Weinberg 7); former Asbury Juke Frank Elmo on saxophone; Joe Bellia of The Weeklings on drums; and Tom “Bones” Malone, who has played with everybody from Frank Zappa to Aretha Franklin and The Blues Brothers, on trumpet.

New, unwrapped toys will be collected for the Asbury Park Toy Drive, and canned or dry food will be collected for the Fulfill foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean counties.

The Harmonium Choral Society ‘s “Ecstatic Expectancy” concerts at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 3 p.m., will feature Francesco Durante’s Magnificat, from the early 18th century, along with the world premiere of Dale Trumbore’s Magnificat and works by Jessica French, Reena Esmail, Mark Miller and Zanaida Robles.

Additionally, in what is being billed as “A Choral Kind of Weekend” in Morristown, The Somerset Hills Chorus and The Chancel Choir of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, conducted by Stephen Sands and Matthew Webb, will perform holiday music at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.

And finally, Michael Shane Wittenburg will conduct the Morris Choral Society in Vivaldi’s Magnificat and other material at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m., with the vocal groups High Society and Express Male and The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey, conducted by Robert Butts, also performing.


• Gary U.S. Bonds, one of the few stars from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll (his first hits were 1960’s “New Orleans” and 1961’s “Quarter to Three”) who is still a dynamic concert act, will perform in the “Holiday Doo Wop” show taking place at BergenPAC in Englewood, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Joining him on the bill will be The Duprees, The Happenings, La La Brooks, The Fireflies and The Excellents.

Bonds will also perform at a benefit for the animal-care organization Asbury Boardwalk Rescue, Dec 16 at 7:30 p.m. at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. That show also will feature Pat Guadagno & the Hound Dogs.

Tenors Jeremy Bauner, Errin Brooks and Mackenzie Whitney will be featured in “Return of the Holiday Tenors” shows — presented by the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, conducted by David Wroe, and featuring “symphonic pops and wintertime favorites” — at the Presbyterian Church of Westfield, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.; and The Concert Hall at Drew University in Madison, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.

The Vitamin String Quartet will perform music from the Netflix series “Bridgerton” along with other material Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. at BergenPAC in Englewood. The California-based group’s covers of songs such as Nirvana’s “Stay Away” and Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” have been used in the series; other VSQ recordings have been used in “Westworld,” “Gossip Girl,” “Modern Family” and other series.

The New Jersey Symphony Gospel Chorus and the New Jersey Symphony Chamber Players will team up for a family concert titled “A Gospel Holiday,” Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. at The Terrace Ballroom at Symphony Hall in Newark.


Comedians Jon Stewart and Tom Segura, billing themselves as “Jon & Tom,” will perform at The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, Dec. 12-13 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. “Come see one of the greatest comedic voices of our generation and also Jon Stewart will be on the shows as well,” Segura joked on social media.

The McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will present The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s “The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged),” Dec. 14.


The Reduced Shakespeare Company — best known for its manic, irreverent “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” — will present its “The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged)” at The Berlind Theater at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. According to the McCarter website, the show “welcomes its audience to the Annual Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant at St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Church of Acceptance (where all faiths are welcome because they’ll believe anything). The only problem? None of the acts scheduled to perform have arrived, so three members attempt to perform the entire show themselves in a raucous display of physical comedy and absurdist humor.”

The South Camden Theatre Company presents “Who’s Holiday!,” Dec. 8-9 and 15-16 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. In playwright Matthew Lombardo’s dark 2017 one-woman comedy, inspired by the Dr. Seuss children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!,” he imagines that book’s sweet young character, Cindy-Lou Who, as a hard-drinking adult, living in a trailer.


“Terri Fraser: I Am Here” at Whittemore, Tewksbury. (Through Dec. 9)

“Trich” at Luna Stage, West Orange. (Through Dec. 10)

“Searching for Drama,” works by Allan Gorman at BrassWorks Gallery, Montclair. (Through Dec. 15)

“It’s Not Paint!,” works by Lisa Lackey at Hillside Square Gallery, Montclair. (Through Dec. 15)

“Having Our Say,” presented by George Street Playhouse at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. (Through Dec. 17)

“Dead Ringers: Portraits of Abandoned Payphones,” photographs by Amy Becker at Gallery Aferro, Newark. (Through Dec. 21)

“The Brodsky Center at Rutgers University: Three Decades, 1986-2017” at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick. (Through Dec. 22)

“The Christmas Tree Farm” at Mile Square Theatre, Hoboken. (Through Dec. 23)

“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)

“Night Forms” at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton. (Through April 7)

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


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


Custom Amount

Personal Info

Donation Total: $20.00

Explore more articles:

Leave a Comment

Sign up for our Newsletter