Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Groove in the Grove fest, ‘Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers,’ more

Grover Kemble will headline the Groove in the Grove festival

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through June 12:


Grover Kemble — a jazz- and blues-influenced singer-songwriter, a dependably entertaining live performer and a longtime mainstay of the New Jersey music scene — will headline the ninth annual Groove in the Grove festival at Vasa Park in Hackettstown, June 8. He’ll perform with his trio at 7:15 p.m.; other performers throughout the event, which begins at 1 p.m., will include Grace Morrison, E’lissa Jones, Kate & Paul, Danielle Miraglia, The Levins, Robinson Treacher, Mike Herz, Gregg Cagno, Erin Kelly, Denny Tilton and Autumn Breeze. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email with the word “Grove” in the subject line to by 10 a.m. June 6.)

• Tommy James, of Tommy James & the Shondells fame, will release his first new album in 10 years, Alive, on June 7, and at 7 p.m. on that day, he will sign copies of it at the Vintage Vinyl record store in Fords.

(UPDATE: These two shows have been postponed) Brian Wilson will perform the landmark Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds in its entirety – with help from Beach Boys co-founder Al Jardine, former Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin and others — at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, June 11 at 8 p.m. He’ll also perform at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, June 14 at 8 p.m., though this is billed as a “Greatest Hits Live!” and not a Pet Sounds show. 


Montclair’s Outpost in the Burbs presents most of its shows at the First Congregational Church, but traditionally ends its season with an outdoor show at the Van Vleck House and Gardens. It will do so again this year, presenting the brilliant singer-songwriter Amy Rigby June 8 at 4:30 p.m., with an opening set by Matt Davis and Ed Seifert (who perform together in The Campfire Fires, among their many other musical projects). (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email with the word “Rigby” in the subject line to by 10 a.m. June 6.)

Bobby Bandiera — a big part of the Jersey rock scene since the ’70s as a former member of Southside Johnny’s Asbury Jukes and Bon Jovi’s touring band, as well as a solo artist and the leader of the Jersey Shore Rock ‘n’ Soul Revue — will appear at Grammy Museum Experience at the Prudential Center in Newark, for a performance and an intimate conversation, June 6 at 7:30 p.m.


In honor of the 100th anniversary of the late Pete Seeger’s birth, which is May 3, the city of Hoboken will present a free concert paying tribute to him at Sinatra Park, June 6 at 7 p.m. The Demolition String Band, featuring Elena Skye and Boo Reiners, will host and perform. Other participants will include Richard Barone, Karyn Kuhl, Queen Esther, Emily Turonis, Kate Jacobs, Gene D. Plumber, Glenn Morrow, Jon Fried & Deena Shoshkes (of The Cucumbers and The Campfire Flies), Tiphanie Doucet, Sean Kiely, Nick Conte, Gary Van Miert (of The Sensational Country Blues Wonders), Edward Horan, Perry Dale Brody and Abbe Rivers.

In another tribute to Seeger, the Old Franklin Schoolhouse in Metuchen will present “What Pete Taught Woody,” a multimedia presentation about Seeger and Woody Guthrie by Nora Guthrie (Woody’s daughter, and the founder of the Woody Guthrie Archives), June 8 at 7 p.m.




The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents its season finale concerts at BergenPAC in Englewood, June 6 at 7:30 p.m.; the Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University, June 7 at 8 p.m.; the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, June 8 at 8 p.m.; and Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, June 9 at 3 p.m. The orchestra’s musical director, Xian Zhang, will conduct a program that includes Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 and Mendelssohn’s Selections From A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


The Jersey City Jazz Festival started last weekend and will run through June 9. The festival will have its own Closing Festival, June 8 from noon to 8 p.m. and June 9 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Newark Pedestrian Walkway (at the Grove Street PATH Station) with three stages featuring The Afro-Peruvian Connection, the NJCU Salsa Orchestra, Stacy Dillard and Brooklyn Circle, The Joe Magnarelli Quartet, The JD Allen Trio, Winard Harper, Swingadelic, Akiko Tsuruga and others.




Avant-garde performance artist Penny Arcade, who is strongly associated with the Downtown New York arts scene, will make a rare trip out to New Jersey to present her “Longing Lasts Longer,” which she describes as “a rock n’ roll blend of stand-up comedy and memoir,” at the Avenel Arts Center, June 12 at 8 p.m.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison will open its 2019 season with “Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers.” Previews begin June 12, with opening night on June 15, and the last show on July 7. Ludwig’s adaptation, which was first produced in 2006, makes many changes to the classic story, including the introduction of a new female character: Sabine, the tomboy younger sister of of a musketeer who becomes involved in his adventures.

Jill Eikenberry and her husband, Michael Tucker, will present “The Vegan and the Barbarian: Reminiscences of Food, Love and Laughter From the Writing of Michael Tucker,” June 8 at 3 and 8 p.m. at NJ Repertory Company in Long Branch, with proceeds benefiting the theater. NJ Rep has produced the Tucker-written plays “The M Spot” (starring both him and Eikenberry) and “Fern Hill” (starring Eikenberry).

Luna Stage in West Orange will present “Secret Cities: Plays and Songs Celebrating the City of Orange,” a collection of eight original scenes and songs inspired by real places and people from Orange, performed in the places that inspired them. Difference pieces will be selected for the performances, which will take place June 6 at 11:30 p.m. at John’s Market at 100 S. Essex Ave.,; June 8 at 11:30 p.m. at the Orange Library at 348 Main St.; and June 8 at 2 p.m. at the Artfull Bean Café at 400 S. Jefferson St.


Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre will present its seventh annual Feria de Sevilla at Parker Press Park in Woodbridge, June 9 from 2:30 to 6 p.m., with flamenco and Sevillanas music and dancing, Spanish food, sangria tastings, children’s arts and crafts activities and more.


Eve Ensler (“The Vagina Monologues”), R.L. Stine (best known for his horror novels for children), Dan Gutman (the “My Weird School” and “Baseball Card Adventures” series) and former professional baseball players Dale Berra and Art Shamsky will be among the authors at the Maplewood-South Orange Book Festival, taking place at various locations, June 7-8.


The Monmouth Museum in Lincroft will open its “Woodstock at 50: Summer of Love” exhibition — featuring photographs, concert posters, video and audio, and ’60s memorabilia — on June 8, and it will run through Sept. 1. An opening reception and preview party with photographer Elliott Landy will be held June 7 from 5 to 9 p.m., and June 8 at 8 p.m., the museum will host a panel discussion benefiting itself and 90.5 The Night Brookdale Public Radio and featuring Landy, Sea Gudinski (author of the novel “1969: A Brief and Beautiful Trip Bac”), musician Tommy Fuller (who attended the festival) and music industry executive and artist manager Brad Hunt (who also attended the festival).


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