Top 20 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Exit 0 Jazz Festival, Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta,’ more


Chris Botti is one of the headliners of the Exit 0 Jazz Festival in Cape May.

Here is a guide to notable arts events taking place throughout the state, through April 24.


The spring edition of the biannual Exit 0 Jazz Festival takes place April 20-22, with music at various Cape May theaters, bars and restaurants. The festival’s eclectic booking strategy embraces R&B, rock, soul, funk, gospel, world music and other genres, in addition to jazz. Performers will include Chris Botti, William Bell & the Memphis Soul Revue, The Baylor Project, Deva Mahal, the Joey Alexander Trio, the Music Connects Big Band, the Jana Herzen-Charnett Moffett Duo, Bria Skonberg, the Brian Betz-Denis DiBlasio Quartet, the High & Mighty Brass Band, Frank Bey and others.

Trumpets in Montclair will present an 86th Birthday Celebration for trombonist Slide Hampton, April 22 at 2 and 5 p.m., with Hampton himself leading a five-trombone ensemble (also featuring Steve Turre, Peter Lin, Alevtina Polyakova and Timothy Newman) that will be backed by a rhythm section composed of pianist David Hazeltine, guitarist Charlie Sigler, bassist Vince Dupont and drummer Taylor Moore, as will a five-tenor-sax ensemble (Jerry Weldon, Bobby Lavelle, J.D. Allen, Sam Dillon and Abel Mireles). The event is a fundraiser for Hampton’s Spirit of the Horn Legacy Project.

Art imitates nature on pianist and composer Diane Moser‘s new album Birdsongs, feature new songs — mostly written by Moser herself — inspired by the sounds of different birds. She will celebrate its release, as well as Earth Day, at a concert at 5 p.m. April 22 at the Central Presbyterian Church of Montclair.



In 2016, the Outpost in the Burbs presented a Bob Dylan tribute concert titled “Million Dollar Bash,” April 20 at 8 p.m., it will return to that theme with another tribute, “Million Dollar Bash Revisited,” featuring two of the artists from that show — The Kennedys (Pete and Maura Kennedy) and Lucy Kaplansky — along with The Bluebirds of Paradise (Ari Hest and Chrissi Poland), James Maddock and special guest James Mastro (of The Bongos). The show will take place at the First Congregational Church, at 40 S. Fullerton Ave. in Montclair. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by midnight April 18 with the word “Bash” in the subject line.)

Music at the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Festival, taking place from noon to 7 p.m. April 22 at Red Bank’s White Street Parking Lot, will be provided by The Weeklings, Remember Jones (a Joe Cocker tribute), Colossal Street Jam, The Nerds, Metalachi, Verdict and others. There is no admission charge, per se, but $5 donations are requested for those older than 10, with proceeds benefiting the Red Bank RiverCenter and other local organizations.

• Chris Stamey of The dB’s will play music with guitarist Dave Schramm, cellist Jane Scarpantoni and violinist Tom Chui, and read from his new memoir, “A Spy in the House of Loud,” at Little City Books in Hoboken, April 20 at 7 p.m.


• Joe Perry and Friends — featuring the Aerosmith guitarist along with Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, Gary Cherone of Extreme and others TBA — will perform at the Music Box at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, Atlantic City, April 20 at 8 p.m. Perry released his sixth solo album, Sweetzerland Manifesto, in January.

In the ’70s and ’80s, Todd Rundgren, in addition to working as a solo artist and a producer, fronted a band called Utopia or, sometimes, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. Using the latter name once again, he is reuniting for a tour with Utopia bassist Kasim Sulton and drummer John “Willie” Wilcox, plus new keyboardist Gil Assayas, that comes to BergenPAC in Englewood, April 20 at 8 p.m. The tour takes place in conjunction with the release of a new limited-edition boxed set, The Road to Utopia: The Complete Recordings (1974-1982). This is their only currently scheduled New Jersey gig. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by midnight April 18 with the word “Utopia” in the subject line.)

The annual benefit known as Harpin Help takes place at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como, April 22 from noon to 9 p.m., with The Nick Clemons Band, The Eddie Testa Band, Des and the Swagmatics, Mack Jamily Allstars, Mad Kings, Random Test, Secret Sound, P Dub, Eryn O’Ree, Joe Harvard, Colton Kayser, Chuck Lambert and many others. Proceeds will go to the Jersey Shore Blues and Jazz Foundation, and the Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry.


Big-voiced “American Idol” season two winner Ruben Studdard has an idol of his own: The late Luther Vandross, whom Studdard honored with a tribute album, Ruben Studdard Sings Luther Vandross, released last month. He’ll sing songs from it at a show titled “Always & Forever: An Evening of Luther Vandross,” April 24 at 8 p.m. at BergenPAC in Englewood, and April 26 8 p.m. at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. (For a chance to win two tickets to the Englewood show, send an email to by midnight April 22 with the word “Studdard” in the subject line.)

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake of the great progressive-rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer both died in 2016, but drummer Carl Palmer — who is also a founding member of Asia — is continuing to play the group’s music at his ELP Legacy shows, also featuring guitarist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick. One will take place at Woodbridge Middle School, April 21 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the Music on Main Street series.


Nicholas McGegan will guest conduct the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Robert Levin will be featured on piano April 20 at 8 p.m. and 22 at 3 p.m. at Prudential Hall in Newark and April 21 at 8 p.m. at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, with the program including Handel’s Suite No. 2 in D Major from Water Music; Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1; and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, “Reformation.” Levin will also perform an improvisatory number.



The iconic stoner comedy duo Cheech & Chong — Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong — will perform at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, April 19 at 8 p.m. They were hugely popular in the ’70s and early ’80s, with hit records and movies; they broke up in 1985, but have been touring together again intermittently over the last decade. Shelby Chong — Tommy Chong’s wife since 1975, who has acted in and/or associate produced many of Cheech & Chong’s movies — will open with a standup set of her own. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by midnight April 17 with the word “Cheech” in the subject line.)


Spanish performance artist Angélica Liddell’s Atra Bilis (Black Bile) theater company will present her in “Esta Breve Tragedia de la Carne (This Brief Tragedy of the Flesh),” April 19-2o at 7:30 p.m., April 20 at 8 p.m. and April 21 at 3 p.m. at the Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, as part of the Peak Performances series. According to a press release, the work is “an immersion into an imagined headspace of Emily Dickinson, whose searing work, concerned with mortality, nature, and the body, was famously honed in self-isolation” and an “expressionistic manifestation of Dickinson’s psyche (that) epitomizes Liddell’s willingness to put herself and her performers through intense physical challenges to explore what it means to be human.”

The Company Theatre Group will present a production of “The Underpants” — Steve Martin’s adaptation of the 1910 Carl Sternheim farce — April 21 and 28 and May 5 at 8 p.m., and April 22 and 29 and May 6 at 3 p.m. at The Hackensack Performing Arts Center.

The OCC Repertory Theatre Company will present What A Piece of Work Is Man: The Wit, Wisdom, and Wonder of Will Shakespeare,” featuring excerpts from The Bard’s plays and sonnets, April 19-20 and 27 at 7:30 p.m., April 21 and 28 at 8 p.m., and April 22 and 29 at 2 p.m., at the Grunin Center at Ocean County College.

Cirque du Soleil Meadowlands

Cirque du Soleil will bring its “Volta” show to the Meadowlands Racetrack from April 20 to May 6


Cirque du Soleil will present its “Volta” show “Under the Big Top” at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, April 20-21 and 24-27 and May 2-3 at 8 p.m.; April 22 and 29 and May 6 at 1:30 and 5 p.m.; and April 28 at May 4-5 at 4:30 and 8 p.m. Like most Cirque du Soleil shows, this one combine acrobatics, dance and music with colorful costumes and a story that holds it all together. Cirque du Soleil says it is “about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail” and was “inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports.”


• American Repertory Ballet presents a show titled “Generations: Influences From the Modern Age” — featuring José Limón’s “There Is a Time,” Gerald Arpino’s “Sea Shadow” and Douglas Martin’s “Rite of Spring” — April 20 at 8 p.m. at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton.


Monty Hall in Jersey City will host a panel discussion on the topic of “Indie Rock History!!!: The Jersey City and Hoboken Chapter,” April 19 at 7:30 p.m. Todd “Todd-o-Phonic Todd” Abramson, the WFMU DJ and disc jockey and former Maxwell’s co-owner and booker, will moderate, and panelists will include drummer Bob Bert (who has played with Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore and many others), Rye Coalition frontman Ralph Cuseglio, Glenn Morrow of Bar/None Records, and Emmy Black of Rhyme and Reason Records. There is no admission charge.

• Sanford Josephson, a board member of the New Jersey Jazz Society, will discuss his book, “Jeru’s Journey: The Life & Music of Gerry Mulligan,” April 18 at 7 p.m. at the Dana Library at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University in Newark.


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