Top 20 NJ Arts Events of the Week: Little Steven, Wayne Shorter, Exit 0, more

Little Steven and his Disciples of Soul will present two shows in Asbury Park this week.

A guide to notable arts events taking place around the state, through April 23:


• As part of the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival, Little Steven and his Disciples of Soul will perform their first New Jersey show in decades at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, April 22 at 8 p.m.

Also as part of the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival, Little Steven will participate in the Upstage Jam at the Paramount Theatre, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. This event includes a screening of the Asbury Park music scene documentary “Just Before the Dawn,” a Q&A session with director Tom Jones, and a jam session featuring musicians who played at Asbury Park’s legendary Upstage club in the late ’60s and early ’70s, including Little Steven, Southside Johnny, Vini Lopez, David Sancious, Ernest “Boom” Carter, Ricky DeSarno, Joe Petillo, Richard Blackwell, Albee Tellone, Chris Plunkett, Paul Whistler, Billy Ryan, Gerry Carboy and Tommy LaBella, with Jeff Kazee of the Asbury Jukes serving as music director.

Singer-songwriters Sarah Jarosz and Seb Isaac, banjo master Tony Trischka, the bluegrass band Blue Plate Special and singer Valerie Johnson will be among the performers in “Purple Rain: A Tribute to Prince,” taking place at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, April 18 at 7 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio and his Scotch Plainsmen band will perform songs of The Ramones at Crossroads in Garwood, April 19 at 8 p.m.

Jimmy Webb will perform at Ocean County College, April 22.

Glen Campbell had some of the biggest hits of his career with songs written by Jimmy Webb, and Webb will perform them — and tell stories about them — at “Jimmy Webb: The Glen Campbell Years,” a show that he will present at the Grunin Center at Ocean County College in Toms River, April 22 at 8 p.m.

Bob Makin wrote the first edition of his Makin Waves column — now appearing every Thursday on — 30 years ago, and is celebrating by putting together a concert series that will include 11 shows in slightly less than a year. The first one, titled Makin Waves Rock Circus, will take place April 21 at 8 p.m. at Roxy and Dukes in Dunellen, and feature Yawn Mower, Black Flamingos, The Paper Jets and Lowlight, as well as burlesque dancer Vivi Noir and aerial troupe Vertical Fixation.

The Court Tavern in New Brunswick will present a rare all-ages show, April 22 at 8 p.m., with Comb the Desert, the RocknRoll HiFives, The Turnbucklers and Disposable. The show is part of the Hub City Music Festival as well as Makin Waves’ 30th Anniversary Concert Series, and will benefit the Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen. 

• Bobby Bandiera and his Jersey Shore Rock ‘n’ Soul Revue will present a tribute to the Traveling Wilburys — featuring music made both together and separately by Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne — at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, April 22 at 8 p.m.

“Songs by and About Women” is the rather large theme of a Planned Parenthood fundraiser taking place at Guitar Bar Jr. in Hoboken, April 23 at 7 p.m. The Demolition String Band will host and performers will include Tammy Faye Starlite, Karyn Kuhl, Jordan Chassan, Glenn Morrow’s Cry for Help, Christine Santelli, Deena Shoshkes and Dave Calamoneri.

• Billy Porter, a Tony Award winner for his work in “Kinky Boots,” will present a show titled “Broadway and Soul,” featuring Broadway songs and stories, at the Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University in Hillside, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. “It will be my twist on traditional songs, honoring what came before us and creating a new way of hearing them,” he says.



It’s Wayne Shorter Weekend at NJPAC in Newark, with five concerts saluting the Newark native. Most significantly, the 83-year-old saxophonist and his quartet (also featuring Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blade on drums) will perform with special guest Herbie Hancock, April 23 at 7 p.m. at Prudential Hall. Also, the Wallace Roney Orchestra will perform “Universe,” a Shorter composition originally created for Miles Davis but never previously played, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Theater. And April 22 at 8 p.m. at the Victoria Theater, two former members of Shorter’s group Weather Report, drummer Omar Hakim and percussionist Manolo Badrena, will be joined by saxophonists Joe Lovano and Steve Wilson, keyboardist Rachel Z and bassist Christian McBride or a concert titled “Wayne Shorter: Weather Report and Beyond Reimagined.”

• Saxophonist and singer Maceo Parker will pay tribute to Ray Charles — with the help of the Ray Charles Orchestra and Charles’ backing vocalists The Raelettes — at the Exit 0 Jazz Festival, which takes place at various venues throughout New Jersey’s southernmost town, April 21-23. Among the festival’s many other performers at the Robert Glasper Experiment, Michael Pedicin, Kenny Barron, the Christian Sands Trio, Charnett Moffett’s Nettwork Trio, Brianna Thomas, Freddie Hendrix, Frank Bey and Daisy Castro.


The Westminster Choir and Bang on a Can All-Stars will perform Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning oratorio “Anthracite Fields” — which evokes life in Pennsylvania’s Anthracite coal region in the early 1900s — at an appropriate setting, the Roebling Wire Works building in Trenton, April 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. This is a semi-staged production, with video projections,


Veteran singer-songwriter Christine Lavin — who has written one of the best protest songs to emerge from the current political moment, “When It All Goes Wrong/Turn This Ship Around” (see video below) — will perform at the Outpost in the Burbs at the First Congregational Church at 40 S. Fullerton Ave., Montclair, April 21 at 8 p.m. Honor Finnegan opens. (For a chance to win two tickets, send an email to by midnight April 18, with the word “Lavin” in the subject line.) 



American Repertory Ballet presents “Pride and Prejudice” at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, April 21-22.

• American Repertory Ballet will premiere “Pride and Prejudice,” a new work choreographed by its artistic director, Douglas Martin (based on Jane Austen’s 1813 novel), at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, April 21-22 at 8 p.m. Ignaz Pleyel composed the music, which the Princeton Symphony Orchestra will play.

• Choreographer Doug Elkins and his dance company doug elkins choreography, etc. will premiere two works this week at the Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, and also present an old favorite. The new works are a dance, “O, round desire,” commissioned by Montclair State’s Peak Performances series, and a film, “A Hundred Indecisions,” produced by the university program, “Dance for Film: On Location.” The older work is “Mo(or)town/Redux,” which sets Shakespeare’s “Othello” story to a Motown soundtrack. The performances begin at 7:30 p.m. April 20-21, 8 p.m. April 22 and 3 p.m. April 23.


The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morris Township will present the play “Clever Little Lies” April 20-23 and 28-30, and May 4-6. The comedy-drama, written by Tony winner (for “Memphis”) Joe DiPietro, premiered at the George Street Playhouse  in New Brunswick in 2012, with Marlo Thomas co-starring, and later moved off-Broadway. (For a chance to win two tickets to the 7:30 p.m. April 20 preview performance, send an email to by midnight April 18, with the word “Clever” in the subject line.)

The Rutgers Theater Company will present an all-female production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” April 22-23, 26, 28 and 30 at the Philip J. Levin Theater at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, plus an all-male production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” in the same theater April 21-23, 25, 27 and 29-30.


The Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange will present a Children’s Music Festival, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Performers will include Baze and Jim (from Baze and His Silly Friends), Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam, The Fuzzy Lemons, Miss Nina and Miss Molly.

 The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison will present abridged versions of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” (for teens and older), April 22 at 11 a.m., and his “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (for all ages), April 22 at 2 p.m.

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