Top 12 NJ Arts Events of the Week: McDonald’s Gospelfest, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, more

Hezekiah Walker and his Love Fellowship Choir will headline this year’s McDonald’s Gospelfest shows.

A guide to notable arts events taking place around the state through May 13.


The 36th edition of New Jersey’s biggest annual gospel event, McDonald’s Gospelfest, moves a few blocks south in Newark, from the Prudential Arena to Symphony Hall. It’s a smaller venue, but there will be two shows, May 11 and 12, instead of the customary single show. Performers will include Bishop Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, John P. Kee (May 11 only), VaShawn Mitchell, Cissy Houston (May 12 only), Melba Moore (May 12 only), Le’Andria (May 12 only), Jekalyn Carr and Keith Wonderboy Johnson II. On May 11, the competition portion of the event — featuring aspiring artists from all over the country — will begin at 6 p.m., with the headliners performing at 8. May 12 starting times are an hour earlier.

Annie Haslam’s progressive-rock group Renaissance will bring its Symphonic Journey tour, featuring backing by a chamber orchestra, to the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark, May 11 at 8 p.m.

Bob Makin’s Makin Waves concert series will continue with a Jam N Groove Fest at Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen, May 12 at 5 p.m. The show will honor the 50th anniversary of Parliament-Funkadelic and the 35th anniversary of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and feature sets by Experiment 34, P-Funk North, Cook Thugless, Green Knuckle Material, Offkey Lifestyle, Murdock and Groove Gangstas.

Glenn Alexander


Glenn Alexander, the resident guitar slinger for Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes for close to a decade, brings his own fiery blues-soul band, Shadowland, to Crossroads in Garwood, May 12 at 8 p.m., with The Stuff Brothers, SoulfulHeart 19 and The Name opening.

The New York-based group Music for Enophiles will play music from Brian Eno’s hugely influential mid-’70s rock albums — Here Come the Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Another Green World and Before and After Science — at Monty Hall in Jersey City, May 11 at 8 p.m., with Wygalator (featuring Janet Wygal, Tedd Prudhomme and Heige Kim) opening.


The Montclair Orchestra wraps up its first season with a concert titled “A Tour of Color,” taking place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Montclair, May 13 at 7 p.m., and featuring Milhaud’s Le bœuf sur le toit (originally intended as the score of a silent Charlie Chaplin movie), Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, Tchaikovsky’s “Mozartiana” Suite and Mozart’s Serenata Notturna.


Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe (“Anthracite Fields”) and cellist Maya Beiser co-conceived “Spinning,” a multimedia work for three cellos and voice that will be presented at the Peak Performances series at the Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, May 10-11 at 7:30 p.m., May 12 at 8 p.m. and May 13 at 3 p.m. “Spinning” celebrates work once performed by hand by women, and features music and text by Wolfe, projection art and design by Laurie Olinder and choreography by Netta Yerushalmy. It will be performed by Beiser and fellow cellists Melody Giron and Lavena Johanson.

Hudson Theatre Works will present “United States of Anxiety,” a provocative evening of new 10-minute plays addressing various contemporary American issues, May 11-12 at 8 p.m. at the Wilson School in Weehawken. Participating playwrights will include John Patrick Shanley, Neil LaBute, Matthew Dixon, Mike Folie, Perry Guzzi, Luigi Jannuzzi, Erin Mallon, Nicole Pandolfo, Michael Puzzo and T.C. Tanis. Proceeds will benefit Hudson Theatre Works.


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present shows at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, May 11-12 at 8 p.m. and May 13 at 3 p.m. Each show will feature the company’s signature piece, the Ailey-choreographed “Revelations.” The rest of the program will vary from show to show, but will revolve around the themes of Jazz (May 11), Musical Inspirations (May 12) and Celebrating Mother’s Day (May 13), and feature the NJPAC premieres of works by Robert Battle, Jamar Roberts, Talley Beatty and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.


The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will present a family concert, “Panda-Monium: Music From the Animal Kingdom,” May 12 at 2 and 3:30 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark. José Luis Domínguez will conduct, Shola Cole will host, and the program will feature tunes from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet, Stravinsky’s Firebird and more.


Jazz drummer Antonio Sánchez composed and performed the solo-percussion score to the Academy Award-winning 2014 movie “Birdman,” and will play it live when the film is shown, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wilkins Theatre at Kean University in Union, as part of the Kean Stage series. The event — which was postponed from March 2, due to inclement weather — is being billed as “Antonio Sánchez: BiRDMAN LiVE.”

Actor Rob Lowe, who published a best-selling memoir titled “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” in 2011, is touring with a one-man show of the same name that he describes as “an all-new, peek behind the curtain at Hollywood, fame, fatherhood and marriage.” It features film clips and photos from various points in his career and a question-and-answer session, as well as the autobiographical stories. He’ll appear at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, May 12 at 8 p.m. Lowe, 54, landed his first major role, in “The Outsiders,” 35 years ago, and has received an Emmy nomination (for “West Wing”) and six Golden Globe nominations.

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