Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: ‘Jay’s Jersey Jams, Vol. 5: Women Rock NJ,’ Kiss Expo, more

Jay's Jersey Jams Eryn

Clockwise from left, Eryn, Nalani & Sarina, Lisa Bouchelle and Katie Henry will perform at a benefit for at Crossroads in Garwood, Dec. 9.

A roundup of arts events taking place around the state, through Dec. 10:


• “Women Rock New Jersey,” the fifth concert in the “Jay’s Jersey Jams” series of benefits for, will feature an all-female lineup of dynamic singer-songwriters — Eryn, Nalani & Sarina, Lisa Bouchelle and Katie Henry — and take place at Crossroads in Garwood, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. In addition to the musical performances, the event will include a free 5 p.m. panel discussion in which the artists will talk about navigating the modern music industry as women. I will moderate the discussion, which will be taped and appear later as a feature on (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by midnight Dec. 6, with the word “benefit” in the subject line.)


Ace Frehley will perform his 1978 self-titled solo album — featuring the hit single, “New York Groove” — in its entirety at NJ Kiss Expo 2018, taking place at Dec. 7-9 at the Hilton Parsippany hotel. The former Kiss member will be at the convention all three days, though the album performance will take place on Dec. 9. Other convention participants will include Ed Furlong and James DeBello (who co-starred in the 1999 movie “Detroit Rock City”), Jay Jay French and Eddie Ojeda (both of Twisted Sister), Lita Ford, the tribute band Kiss Nation, comedian Craig Gass, drummer Vinny Appice, Kiss cover-art contributor Ken Kelley, and many others.

The Asbury Park Music Foundation will present, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m., the first in an anticipated annual series titled “A Very Asbury Holiday Show” at Asbury Park’s Paramount Theatre. Proceeds will benefit the foundation itself as well as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County, the Asbury Park Toy Drive and Jewish Family Services of Asbury Park. Participants will include Danny Clinch and the Tangiers Blues Band, the Pat Roddy Band, Vinny Martell of Vanilla Fudge, Jillian Rhys McCoy, Bobby Bandiera, Layonne Holmes, Lorenza Ponce, Carl Gentry, Billy Hector, The Weeklings, J.T. Bowen, C.C. Coletti, Anthony Krizan, Eddie Testa, Brian Kirk, Lance Larson, JoBonanno, the Lakehouse Music Academy Kids, Deseree Spinks, Waiting on Mongo, Emily Grove, McKenzie Brown, Taylor Tote, Joel Krauss, Mike Dalton and others.

Master violinist Darol Anger brings his seventh annual Keepin’ It in the Fam Holiday Show — also featuring singer-guitarist Emy Phelps and the Matt Flinner Trio, and described as “a multigenerational musical experience focusing on the spirit of Midwinter and the turning of the year” — to Roy’s Hall in Blairstown, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by midnight Dec. 5, with the word “O.A.R.” in the subject line.)

New Jersey’s leading banjo master, Tony Trischka, who released a holiday album titled Of a Winter’s Night in 2014, will perform a show of the same name at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Presented by the Folk Project, the show will also feature singer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Eriksen, fiddler Phoebe Hunt, and singer-percussionist Sean Trischka, and will include both traditional and contemporary material.



The Morris Choral Society will present its annual holiday show, “Songs: Earthly & Divine,” Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. at St. Virgil’s Church in Morris Plains. MCS music director Jason Tramm will lead the chorus in seasonal material by John Rutter, Johann Sebastian Bach, Michael John Trotta and Irving Berlin, with harpist Stephanie Babirak joining for Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. R. Wayne Walters’ new Magnificat will make its Jersey premiere, and the vocal sextet, Express Male will perform. (For a chance to win two tickets to the Dec. 8 show, send an email to by midnight Dec. 6, with the word “Choral” in the subject line.)

Trilogy: An Opera Company will premiere “Scott, Garner, Gray, Says Jimmy Baldwin,” Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Victoria Theater at NJPAC in Newark. This opera was written by Dwayne Fulton (composer) and Richard Wesley (libretto); its title refers to Walter Scott, Eric Garner and Freddie Carlos Gray, Jr., three African-American men who were killed by police within the last four years, and the writer James Baldwin, whose words are used to tell their stories.


The following performances of “The Nutcracker” are scheduled for this week:

Dec. 7: “The Great Russian Nutcracker,” presented at Moscow Ballet at Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg.
Dec. 7-8: “The Nutcracker,” presented by American Repertory Ballet at South Orange Performing Arts Center.
Dec. 7-8: “The Nutcracker,” presented by Atlantic City Ballet at StocktonPAC, Galloway.
Dec. 7-9: “The Nutcracker,” presented by JulieDance and The Donetsk Ballet at Paramus Catholic High School. Music by The Adelphia Orchestra.
Dec. 8: “The Nutcracker” at Grunin Center at Ocean County College, Toms River.
Dec. 8: “The Nutcracker,” presented by The Dance Connection at Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook.
Dec. 8-9: “The Nutcracker,” presented by the Company of Dance Arts at Count Basie Center for the Arts, Red Bank.

Greg Wood plays Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” at the McCarter Theatre Center.


The McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton has been presenting David Thompson’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ holiday season perennial, “A Christmas Carol,” annually since 1980, and debuted a lavish “reimagined” production, with a big upgrade in special effects, in 2016. This year’s shows began previews on Dec. 4, officially opens on Dec. 7, and runs through Dec. 29.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison will end its 2018 season with Shakespeare’s seasonally appropriate comedy, “The Winter’s Tale,” beginning previews on Dec. 5, officially opening on Dec. 8, and running through Dec. 30.

The theater will also present “Something Merry This Way Comes” — a annual family-oriented show featuring company members telling holiday stories, singing holiday songs and reading holiday poems — Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn will present “Broadway Beats Hunger” — a benefit for the Summit Medical Group Foundation and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey’s joint initiative, “Food, Health and Hope: An Answer to Diabetes” — Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., with performances by a slew of actors with Broadway experience, including Norbert Leo Butz, Kyle Dean Massey, Erika Henningsen, Sarah Walsh, Jennie Harney-Flemming, Alysha Umphress, Bradley Gibson, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Taylor Frey, Jacob Gutierrez, Joey Taranto, Wallace Smith, Andy Kelso, Sheila Coyle, Natalie Joy Johnson, Kyle Post, Jonathan Raviv, Rachel Prather, Catherine Brunell, Judy McClane and Haven Burton.




“Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story,” a documentary about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer, songwriter and harmonica player, will be screened at The ShowRoom, in Asbury Park, Dec. 10 at 7:30, with a question-and-answer session with New Jersey-based harmonica master Rob Paparozzi following.


The Newark Boys Chorus will present a holiday concert as part of the Free First Thursday Night series at the Montclair Art Museum this month, Dec. 6 from 5 to 9 p.m. Other attractions will include exhibit tours, meditation, a drawing workshop, a bar and food vendors.

The Hopewell Theater presents “The Liar Show,” Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. The idea of the show is that performers will tell personal stories: Three are true, and one is made up. The audience has to ask questions and figure out which story is made up. After the questions, audience members vote on who is lying: The winners get a T-shirt, and bragging rights. The performers — who have backgrounds in acting, comedy and storytelling — will be Cyndi Freeman, Marie Faustin, Tracy Rowland and Sarah Graalman, and Brad Lawrence will host. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by midnight Dec. 5, with the word “Liar” in the subject line.)

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