Top 15 NJ Arts Events of the Week: ‘A Christmas Carol,’ ‘The Nutcracker,’ more


The McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will present its annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 5-31.

Here is a guide to notable arts events taking place around the state, through Dec 11:


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, last year. This year’s shows begin previews on Dec. 5, with the official opening night on Dec. 9, and the last show on Dec. 31.

On one day in 1914, the two sides in World War I agreed to a temporary truce, so that the soldiers could celebrate together. “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” is a play based on that day, featuring music and text taken from letters, journals and war documents. (see video below) It will be presented at the Wilkins Theatre at Kean University in Union as part of the Kean Stage series, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., with a holiday reception in the lobby at 5:30 p.m.



The lineup of this year’s edition of Glen Burtnik’s annual Xmas Xtravaganza benefit concert — featuring rock versions of holiday favorites — will include E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg, Patty Smyth, The Weeklings (featuring Burtnik, Bob Burger, John Merjave and Joe Bellia), Marshall Crenshaw, Remember Jones, Williams Honor, Brielle Von Hugel, Emily Grove, Tom Brislin, Tony Shanahan (of Patti Smith’s band), Jigs and many others. One dollar from every ticket sold will go to both the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Elijah’s Promise anti-hunger organization. The show takes place at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m.

Weinberg and The Weeklings will also present an all-request Max Weinberg’s Jukebox show — audience members make requests from a long list of Beatles and Springsteen songs, and other rock and pop classics — at the Newton Theatre, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m.

Crossroads in Garwood will present a holiday show to benefit the Boonton-based internet radio station, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m., with the band CRUST, gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel, blues group The Booglerizers, and Richie and Brad.


The adventurous Irish fiddle master Eileen Ivers and her band Immigrant Soul will present their holiday show, “An Irish Christmas – An Nollaig,” at the Berrie Center at Ramapo College in Mahwah, Dec. 9 at 4 and 8 p.m.

• Gary Numan, one of the forefathers of modern electronic music, will perform at White Eagle Hallin Jersey City, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m., with Me Not You opening. Numan was part of the punk/new wave scene in the late ’70s, and had a long string of hits in his native country, England; mavericks such as Prince and Kanye West have cited him as a major influence. In the United States, through, his only mainstream exposure came with his 1979 hit, “Cars.” He is currently touring in support of a post-apocalyptic concept album, Savage (Songs From a Broken World).

The Old Franklin Schoolhouse in Metuchen will host “Over Our Heads: The Concert for the Caribbean,” Dec. 9 at 6 p.m., with Peter Horvath (of The Anderson Council), Kurt Reil and Kristin Pinnell (of The Grip Weeds), Death and Heaven, Danny and Jeremy Freedman, Colleen Murray-Seig, Paul Acquaro and Alejandro Ataucusi, Hank Reineke and John Wilkey. Proceeds will go to Americares, for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Guitarist-vocalist John Pizzarelli and pianist Ramsey Lewis will team up for a show titled “Straighten Up and Fly Right for the Holidays: The Nat King Cole Tribute,” Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. at BergenPAC in Englewood. The show will include Christmas songs recorded by Cole, as well as other Cole material.




“Change” is the theme of a concert that the newly formed Montclair Orchestra will present at Immaculate Conception Church in Montclair, Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. The program will include Pärt’s Fratres, R. Strauss’ Metamorphosen and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, with Montclair Orchestra music director David Chan featured on violin.


New Jersey Ballet and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will team up to present “The Nutcracker” at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Dec. 8, 15 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24 at 1 p.m.; Dec. 9-10, 16-17 and 23 at 6 p.m.

Other “Nutcracker” shows around the state include:

Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 8-9 and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” at Grand Theatre, Williamstown. Presented by Williamstown Ballet Theater.
Dec. 8 at 4 and 8 p.m.: “The Great Russian Nutcracker” at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg. Presented by Moscow Ballet.
Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 2 and 7 p.m. “The Nutcracker” at South Orange Performing Arts Center. Presented by American Repertory Ballet.
Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 4 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” at Stockton Performing Arts Center, Galloway. Presented by Atlantic City Ballet.
Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” at Paramus Catholic High School. Presented by JulieDance and featuring Donetsk Ballet, Adelphi Orchestra and students of Miss Patti’s School of Dance.
Dec. 9 at 1 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” at Grunin Center at Ocean County College, Toms River. Presented by Ballet for Young Audiences.
Dec. 9-10 at 1 and 5 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” at Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank. Presented by Company of Dance Arts.
Dec. 9 at 1 and 5 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: “The Duke Ellington Nutcracker” at Forum Theatre, Metuchen. Presented by Metuchen Dance Centre.
Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. and Dec. 10 at noon and 4 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” at Princeton High School Performing Arts Center. Presented by Princeton Youth Ballet.
Dec. 9 at 1 and 5 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.: “The Nutcracker” at Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University. Presented by New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble.

Nikki Sixx

The cover of the 10th anniversary edition of Nikki Sixx’s “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star.”


Mötley Crüe bassist-songwriter Nikki Sixx will make an appearance at Bookends in Ridgewood, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m., signing copies of the 10th anniversary edition of his autobiographical book, “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star.” The book is actually available in three different ways: by itself; packaged with a CD containing Sixx’s side band Sixx:A.M.’s 2007 album The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack plus three new tracks; and with the CD and an accompanying DVD. Sixx will sign any of the three, though one must be bought, from Bookends, as admission to the event. The book contains actual diary entries from 1986 and 1987, a era during which the now-sober Sixx almost died from heroin addiction.

Ken Womack, a Monmouth University professor who has published the first volume of a two-part biography of George Martin, “Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, The Early Years (1926-1966),” will sign copies of it at BookTowne in Manasquan, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m.


The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University in Madison will present its annual one-night-only holiday show, “Something Merry This Way Comes,” Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The theater describes the show as “a collage of merry holiday tales, songs, and poems read by company members.”

The Montclair Art Museum‘s Free First Thursday Night series, taking place Dec. 7 from 5 to 9 p.m., will feature Frank Sinatra impersonator Jesse Posa; an a cappella performance by the Newark Boys Chorus; a reading of poems inspired by the works of Charles Burchfield, whose works are featured in the museum’s current exhibition, “Charles E. Burchfield: Weather Event”; a holiday trunk show; an origami demonstration; a drawing workshop and more. The Elephant Thai food truck will be there as well, and there will be a full-service bar.

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