Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Jason Aldean, BTS, MMRBQ, more

Jason Aldean NJ



A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through May 22:


Fittingly, the country-heavy summer season at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel will begin, May 18 at 7:30 p.m., with a show featuring country superstar Jason Aldean, with Kane Brown and Carly Pearce opening, and Dee Jay Silver entertaining the crowd between sets. Aldean’s most recent studio album, last year’s Rearview Town, was his fourth consecutive No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s country chart. Aldean, Brown, Pearce and Dee Jay Silver will also perform at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden. July 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Philadelphia radio station WMMR (93.3 FM) will present its annual MMR*B*Q concert at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, May 18 at 12:30 p.m., with sets by Shinedown, Evanescence, The Struts, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Fozzy, The Glorious Sons, Bad Wolves and Siravo.

South Korean boy band BTS, which has drawn big, enthusiastic crowds to the Prudential Center in Newark in recent years, moves up to the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, with a two-night stand May 18-19 at 7:30 p.m.

Buster Poindexter, aka David Johansen.

Postponed from May 5 due to inclement weather, Hoboken’s free, annual Spring Arts and Music Festival takes place on the city’s main drag, Washington Street, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Buster Poindexter (aka David Johansen), best known for his 1987 hit “Hot Hot Hot,” headlines. There will be three stages (including one for children), plus art displays and vendors all along Washington Street. Other performers will include the Karyn Kuhl Band, Sonic Blume, Maxima Alerta, Gene D. Plumber, Debra Devi, the Joe Taino Group and the James Calleo Band.

• Jesse Malin first became widely known as the frontman of the ’90s punk band D Generation, then went solo and, to the surprise of many, proved to be a thoughtful singer-songwriter on his debut solo album, 2002’s The Fine Art of Self Destruction. He’ll perform it in its entirety at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, May 17 at 7 p.m., with support from Adam Weiner (of Low Cut Connie), the Tangiers Blues Band and Matty Carlock & the Jailbirds.

Samuel Saint Thomas and his band, Bovine Social Club, will perform the music and poetry of Tom Waits at Roy’s Hall in Blairstown, May 17 at 8 p.m., with support from singer-guitarist Jesse Bardwell (a frequent Steve Forbert collaborator) and singer-pianist Damian Calcagne.

“American Idol” winner Caleb Johnson will perform Meat Loaf’s music, with backing from Meat Loaf’s band The Neverland Express, at the Newton Theatre in Millville, May 17 at 8 p.m., and the Levoy Theatre in Millville, May 18 at 8 p.m.


Singer Amy Helm, a former member of the band Ollabelle as well as her father Levon Helm’s Barn Burners and Midnight Ramble Band, has released two albums since 2015 under her own name. Based in Woodstock, N.Y., she has passed through New Jersey many times on her tours. She’ll perform with her band at the At the Tabernacle series at the Mt. Tabor Tabernacle in Parsippany, May 17 at 8 p.m.

Drummer Jay Dittamo has put together a band named Mr. B, which will play “The Music of Bill Bruford and Beyond” at the Stanhope House, May 16. He’s joined in the band by guitarist Dave Fields, keyboardist Kendall Scott and bassist Vince Puryear. Bruford, one of the most inventive drummers in rock history, played with Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and others in the course of his long career. He is now 69, and no longer active as a musician. Doors open at 6 p.m.


The Morris Choral Society will present its 2019 Spring Concert, “Greatest Hits From Opera and Broadway,” at the United Methodist Church in Morristown, May 18 at 8 p.m. and May 19 at 3 p.m. MCS music director Jason Tramm will lead the choir and its guest soloist, soprano Christina Major, with Michael Shane Wittenburg accompanying on piano, in works by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Wagner, Offenbach and Mascagni, as well as medleys from “West Side Story” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” and selections from “Oh, Kay!,” “A Little Night Music” and “The Tender Land.” The vocal ensemble Express Male will also perform other works. (For a chance to win two tickets to either show, send an email to by 10 a.m. May 17, specifying “choral18” or “choral19” in the subject line. Feel free to enter for both.)


Composer and guitarist Steven Mackey will perform on his own Four Iconoclastic Episodes with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at its concerts at The Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University, May 17 at 8 p.m.; Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark, May 18 at 8 p.m.; and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, May 19 at 3 p.m. The orchestra’s music director, Xian Zhang, will conduct, and violinists Eric Wyrick and Annelle Gregory will also be featured on a program that includes Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3; Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins; and Weber’s Overture to Oberon.

Ars Musica Chorale, in collaboration with the Adelphi Orchestra, will present a concert titled “A Total Embrace: Bernstein at 100,” a Leonard Bernstein centenary celebration, May 18 7 p.m. at West Side Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood. Encore Young Artist soloists and the New Jersey State Children’s Chorus will be featured, along with soprano Lauren Worsham. The program will include the Chichester Psalms, MASS chamber version, and excerpts from West Side Story and Candide.

The New Jersey Youth Symphony will present a 40th Anniversary Concert and Gala, May 19 at 3 p.m. at Prudential Hall at NJPAC in Newark. Helen Cha-Pyo will conduct an ensemble of nearly 500 — including members of Newark Boys Chorus, J.P. Stevens High School Chorus, Newark Academy Concert Choir, New Providence High School Chorus, Ridge High School A Cappella Honors and the Somerville High School Chorus — in Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” Also, a 145-member Festival String Orchestra made up of elementary and middle school-age string players has been assembled for this concert, and will perform works by Jenkins and Rimsky-Korsakov. And, joined by the Newark Boys Chorus and the the Paterson Music Project Chorus, the Festival String Orchestra will give a world premiere performance of “Three Poems of Langston Hughes” by Jack Bender, which has been commissioned to celebrate the anniversary. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by 10 a.m. May 17 with the word “NJYS” in the subject line.)


• “Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!!!,” a festival of 10-minute plays, will be presented at the Wilson School in Weehawken, May 17-18 at 7:30 p.m., with proceeds benefiting Hudson Theatre Works. Works by John Patrick Shanley, Neil LaBute, Richard Vetere, Michael Puzzo, Nicole Pandolfo, Cynthia Babak, Perry Guzzi, Luigi Jannuzzi, James Georgiades, TC Tanis, Karl Greenberg, Kate Gill and Harrison Stengle will be performed.



Actress Kate Mulgrew, of “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Orange Is the New Black” fame, will sign copies of her new book, “How to Forget: A Daughter’s Memoir,” May 20 at 6 p.m. at Bookends in Ridgewood.


The fourth annual “Heroin and Opioid Art Exhibition,” devoted to art exploring that theme, opens at the Empty Space Art Gallery at 2 Gateway Center in Newark, May 16 from 6 to 8 p.m., and can also be seen there May 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and May 18 from noon to 5 p.m.


A new version of “Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock ‘n Roll, ” a documentary about Asbury Park’s history and its rock scene, recently was shown at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival and will screen internationally on May 22 and 29. An earlier version, titled “Just Before the Dawn: Riot, Redemption, Rock ‘n Roll,” screened at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival in 2017, and was followed by an all-star jam featuring Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Steven Van Zandt, David Sancious, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez and others. The new version features added Springsteen interview footage as well as clips from the 2017 jam session. The film will be shown in hundreds of locations, internationally; visit


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