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Its performance spaces may have gone momentarily dark between mainstage productions — but this weekend, Red Bank’s Two River Theater becomes one of the newest participating hosts for an arts event that’s primed to connect with some new audiences: the annual Vision Latin American Film Festival.
A presentation of the Latino Coalition of New Jersey — the nonprofit organization that’s hosted the annual Latino Festival of Monmouth County in Freehold Borough since 2005 — the newly expanded program offers up a slate of seven feature-length dramatic and documentary films selected to increase the understanding and appreciation for the various Latino cultures that thrive in New Jersey.
“Through the eyes of the filmmakers, we will see Latino perspectives on relationships, politics, family, religion and customs that surround their lives,” the coalition says in its press materials for the filmfest, which will feature introductions by guest speakers as well as post-screening Q&A discussions.
The celebration of Latino cinema has forged a separate identity from the summertime festival in Freehold, with a two days/ three nights schedule of recent works from North and South America that screens this weekend in three different Monmouth County locations — including Two River Theater Company’s branded Bridge Avenue artspace.
To a huge cross section of humanity, his songs are integrated with the Soundtrack To Our Lives — whether the Number One hit ballad “Sailing” was on the turntable during a certain memorable moment in your adolescence, or whether “Ride Like the Wind” was part of the choral curriculum in Mr. Grueter’s fifth-period music class, or whether “I Will (Take You Forever)” was danced to at your sister’s wedding, or whether you just heard “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” piped into the Shop-Rite not ten minutes ago.
Yet, for all of the units he sold back around the turn of the 1980s; for all of the awards that have made his trophy case buckle and groan — no less than five Grammys, a Golden Globe, and even an Oscar for that theme to the 1981 Dudley Moore comedy — we tend to know precious little about Christopher Cross.
Even if you do happen to know a thing or two about the smooth-tenor voiced (but low-key as regards his public persona) singer and songwriter, you might be surprised to find that the San Antonio native divides his residential time between his Texas stomping grounds and Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. You probably wouldn’t be at all surprised to know that he continues to release new albums of precision-crafted pop music, and to play dozens of live concerts every year — a line of endeavor that brings him to the stage of Two River Theater this Thursday night, January 17.
The 7:30 pm show is the latest in an ongoing series of “Intimate Evenings” events produced by MusicWorks Entertainment, the concert promotion and production company co-founded by former Count Basie Theatre Foundation CEO Rusty Young. In keeping with the MusicWorks mission statement, portions of proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation and its network of locally based humanitarian and restoration efforts.
Expect the expected on Thursday, in the form of those signature standards rendered with an angelic tone that hasn’t coarsened or dulled over the oceans of time that have passed since their release. Expect as well the unexpected, in the form of songs from such recent projects as 2011′s Dr. Faith — an album that proves Cross has ceded none of his claim to being king of the adult-contemporary love song, soft-rock candy mountain (“When You Come Home”). It also amps up the chunky guitars in a manner that might pop a monocle or two — and on compositions like “I’m Too Old For This,” introduces us to an Angry (but still sweet-voiced) Chris who rails against “the willful ignorance across the nation…the screaming yahoos on every station.”
UpperWETside spoke to the affable, down-to-earth Cross, somewhere between the Moon and Red Bank Borough…
Gentlemen, start your engineered-to-entertain diversions: the interlude prior to Halloweekend brings the end (for now) of some favorite things (including Asbury’s Showroom Cinema, shuttered now in its historic location but soon to re-open in its new ‘n improved Three Screen Circus) — as well as a gloriously sputtering spate of ongoing activities that range from the tried and true (Capitol Steps and David Bromberg at the Basie), the reimagined (once more into Shakespeare’s HENRY V), the NEW and never-seen (Chunksaah’s kid-friendly Playdate event at the Lanes, the area debut of Tinariwen), and the “new old school” thrill that is Mel Stultz’s highly anticipated Race of Gentlemen on the Allenhurst/Loch Arbour sands.
Take a whammy-eyed look at our Mad Monster Party Halloween roundup here on the upperWETside for deep dark details on excursions like Brookdale Haunted Theater, Camp Evans Base of Terror, Haunted Train Rides at Allaire, and the somewhat less campy but appreciably atmospheric Ghosts of Historic Fort Hancock walk. Then don your motoring cap, goggles and scarf, and meet us at the starting line for another dastardly dozen or so ways to decorate that gourd…
Fifteen offbeat works of art, framed and nailed to the wall for your perambulating perusal…that not only sums up our first recommended item in this roundup of the WetSide weekend wobble, but it encapsulates the wobble itself. It’s a Pictures-at-an-Exhibition promenade that begins with:
1. FRIDAY! John van Hamersveld: Graphic Works at Red Bank Frameworks. The man himself is not expected to be in attendance, but this reception for the latest installation at Red Bank Frameworks is worth checking out for a succinct retrospective look at some of the most burned-into-the-cultural-retina images of the surf-a-delic poster/graphics designer who famously created the poster for pioneer surf doc Endless Summer — and went on to visualize the vibes of The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and the Velvet Underground to name but a few. The works on paper, drawn from a half century of activity, remain on display during regular gallery hours through October 27 — and you’ll pin the details right here on the local Patch site. Red Bank Frameworks, 160 Monmouth St., Red Bank • 7-10pm
2. FRIDAY-SUNDAY! TOPDOG/ UNDERDOG at Two River Theater. It’s the FINAL WEEKEND for the Two River Theater Company revival of the Pulitzer-winning play by Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by the playwright herself. Take it here for tickets — and look here for the review that we originally did for the Asbury Park Press. Two River Theater, Bridge Ave., Red Bank • 8pm Friday and Saturday; 3pm Saturday and Sunday/ $20 – $57
A baker’s dozen more to follow; flip the pixelated page for best results…
The seersucker suit and the straw boater; the smoked glasses and the Groucho-greasepaint ‘stache; the Kentucky-colonel tie and the Walking Stick made famous in song — who else could it have been but Leon Redbone?
Yet, when we happened upon the veteran performer at a Tony Bennett show in Atlantic City — and greeted him with a smooth and sophisticated “Hey, you’re Leon Redbone” — all we got by way of acknowledgment was an “Oh, I don’t know ’bout that…,” delivered in the inimitable drawl that sounds like Al Jolson and Dean Martin knocking back a few Old Fashioneds at the 1919 World Series.
Since he materialized upon the national stage in the mid-1970s, serenading Saturday Night Live viewers with songs like “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Shine On Harvest Moon,” the man of mystery named Leon Redbone has by and large spoken to the world from beneath a vintage hat, behind a novelty-shop nose ‘n glasses, and between the lines of of a bygone era of Tin Pan, back-porch, popular music. Granting few interviews over the years — and remaining purposely vague and contrary on those occasions he did — the master musicologist and ace guitar-picker introduced several new generations of listeners to songs like “The Sheik of Araby” and “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree,” popping up from time to time in the occasional beer commercial, TV talk show or major motion picture even while pointing the way toward the more stripped-down, laid back rootsy styles that would take hold in the wake of the music industry meltdown.
On Sunday evening, August 19, Redbone brings his timewarp talents and hoary sense of humor to Red Bank as the latest in the summertime series of Intimate Evenings concerts, produced by MusicWorks Entertainment and presented on the stage of Two River Theater. UpperWETside was fortunate to get the man on the Ma Bell (following at least one false start); what follows is certainly one of the most cantankerous and curmudgeonly Q&As we’ve ever conducted in this space — but imagine it delivered with a wink, a chuckle and an attitude that’d make W.C. Fields proud, and flip that wax 78 over for more.
Addressing a stageful of local residents at Two River Theater last Thursday night, Larry Keigwin framed a pre-rehearsal peptalk with “It’s great how in this digitally saturated age, we’re all doing something together that’s live and interactive.”
The occasion that brought the award winning choreographer together with a group of several dozen Monmouth County neighbors — an eclectic collection that boasts at least one septuagenarian, six or seven primary school kids and a dog — is a project by the name of Bolero Red Bank.
Designed exclusively for the Red Bank area audience, the dance piece uses the magnificent musical merry-go-round of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” as the soundtrack to a celebration of the greater Red Bank area — and the things that the people who live here love the most about it. And, when Bolero Red Bank hits the stage of the Bridge Avenue performing arts center this Friday and Saturday night, it will prove to be something of a “day at the beach” for audience and participants alike.
With as many as 60 local “pedestrians” expected to take part in the one-weekend show, Bolero Red Bank will encapsulate the spirit of summertime recreation and Shore life through movement, humor, and accessories that range from roller skates, boogie boards and hula hoops, to metal detectors, kites and Frisbees. It’s a colorful theme that quickly emerged from talks that Keigwin conducted with his amateur cast — all of whom responded to an open-call audition at the theater on July 9.
“I get a lot of joy out of cooperating with the performers,” explains the NYC-based choreographer — who, contrary to the stereotype of the dictatorial director, welcomes suggestions from the cast regarding costumes and onstage business.
“I do a little research before I come to town, but I trust the people. The people know their community, and the kind of characters who live in it.”
The founder of the Keigwin + Company troupe has organized “Bolero” presentations to great acclaim in several other American cities, from Akron (“we had 50 tires on stage”) and Santa Barbara (“lots of surf and sand”) to the suburbs of Fairfield County (“shopping carts”). In fact, it was Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias who, having witnessed that production of “Bolero Suburbia,” invited Keigwin to work his magic on Bridge Avenue — a prospect that left the choreographer “really jazzed about bringing this to Red Bank.”
In advance of the two public performances on July 20 and 21, an intensive schedule of rehearsals found dozens of participants taking time out from their everyday lives — among them Lorraine Stone of Eatontown.
“What I love most is that this is a chance for the community to get into the act,” says Stone, a performance artist, writer and grandmother who can often be seen dancing at the evening drum circles on the Asbury Park boardwalk. “Any excuse to dance!”
As for Ravel’s “Bolero” — a popular classic that received its widest exposure through the 1970s Bo Derek-Dudley Moore movie “10″ — Keigwin selected a New York Philharmonic recording that clocks in at a satisfying 15 minutes, a window that the choreographer points out “relates to the Andy Warhol quote about everyone being famous for fifteen minutes.”
“Dancers from our company will also be there on stage, guiding people and adding more dance elements to the piece,” explains Keigwin. “It’s the responsibility of a choreographer to make everyone look good, and play to their strengths.”
Bolero Red Bank will be performed as the centerpiece of an 8 pm program that also features four short works (Caffeinated, Love Songs,Triptych and Contact Sports) spotlighting the professional dancers of Keigwin + Company. Tickets ($20, $37, $42) are still available and can be reserved right here.
It wasn’t a week that started or ended on a high note for the musicky scene here in the place Where People Actually Live — from the cop crackdown on the boardwalk drummers, to the abrupt shuttering of The Press Room rock club (after just six months, several visits by Springsteen, a slew of well-received shows and a positive write-up in the New York Times), and the coup de grace, the announcement on Friday that the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival would NOT be returning to Asbury as heavily promoted, but would beat a hasty escape to Manhattan’s Pier 36.
A couple of black eyes for the town Where Music Gotta Wear Shades, to be sure — still, the city Where Music-types Fib has survived worse in its toughened-up decades, and no matter what explanations you’ve heard for the abovementioned setbacks (everything from complaining merchants, unpaid hotel bills and infighting owners to landlord money problems, vendor money problems and money-man money problems), it all boils down to money — who’s footing the tab, who’s secretly not as moneyed-up as you might think, and whose money thinks it can tell everybody’s else’s money what to do. In the tug of war twixt Music and Money, we point out that no one ever called this the place Where Money Lives.
Cockeyed optimists that we are, we’re always looking on (and for) the bright side, and in this week’s litter of picks we pheel the phrenological bumps of a brighter phuture. It’s a phuture that includes the arrival of a favorite hyper-international cult band to our favorite hyper-local rockbar; the debut of some pleasingly site-specific entertainments (Point Plez Jazz Fest, Bolero Red Bank), and the continuation of some events that truly help to make our beloved Upper Wet Side what it is: Songwriters in the Park, FilmOneFest — and Sand Blast Weekend, the big happy gay machine that brings thousands of guests to town; shows them a good time, lets them roam freely (plus spend $$$) throughout the city, and inspires them to come back and maybe even make the city their home or workplace. A festival done right.
There’s lots more going on in terms of music, theater, film, words and weirdnesses in the day ahead, and we needn’t tell you which side of the pixelated page it’s printed on…
MONDAY! Joe Piscopo and His Big Band at Surflight. We all know way-Jersey Joe Piscopo from his 1980s-era tenure on Saturday Night Live — as well as a handful of bad movies, painful commercials and that whole bizarre bodybuilder interlude that made his post-SNL career more of a punchline than the never-funny “What Exit?” Well, some thirty years later a still-smilin’ Joe has not only maintained a toehold in the business of show through countless charity functions and pro-bono appearances — he’s actually parlayed his old parody of Frank Sinatra into a seriously musical nightclub act that even won him his own nightclub (Club Piscopo at Resorts AC) for a spell. Teamed with his longtime music director (and our pal) Joe “Mooche” Muccioli and the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, Piscopo deals a slick supperclub-style act that spotlights singing impressions (The Boss of course, as well as The Chairman), comical characters and some surprising multi-instrumental dexterity. The original Jersey guy and Mooche’s marvelous organization take the stage of Surflight Theatre, as part of the summertime comedy/ concert series presented in partnership with Catch A Rising Star. Keep it tuned for the slate that further features Robert Klein (7/18). Jackie Martling (7/25), Judy Gold (7/30), David Brenner (8/8), Pat Cooper (8/20), John and Bucky Pizzarelli (8/22), Uncle Floyd (8/29), and John Cafferty (9/29). Surflight Theatre, Beach and Engleside Aves., Beach Haven • 8pm/ $60
MONDAY! Radio Moscow at The Brighton Bar. Score another one for the Home of Original Music on the Jersey Shore — and on a Monday yet; that night of off-peak rates and the occasional surprise booking. Tonight, the psych-infused garage stomp of Iowa’s Radio Moscow — an internationally touring trio with a Mad Alchemy light show — squeeze the Brighton into their itinerary between big-city gigs in NYC and Baltimore. The headliners hit the famous Brighton stage at 11, preceded by The Dirty Secrets (8pm), Buzzard Wagon (8:45), Iron Front (9:30) and The Loose Roosters (10:15). Brighton Bar, 121 Brighton Ave., Long Branch • 8pm/ $7
WEDNESDAY! Robert Klein at Surflight. While the mainstage schedule at LBI landmark Surflight Theatre is light on celeb candepower this season (last year’s memorable schedule offered extended stays by everyone from Justin Guarini and Judd Hirsch to Cindy Williams and Eve Plumb), the summertime comedy/ concert series presented in partnership with Catch A Rising Star continues to impress with some talent worth hitting the Causeway for. A worthy contemporary of Pryor and Carlin — and like those late legends, a skilled storyteller who built his career on album-sized routines instead of just playing off drunk hecklers — standup, actor, writer, interviewer Robert Klein provides a textbook example in How It’s Done in an age of diminished expectations. Keep it tuned for the slate that further features Jackie Martling (7/25), Judy Gold (7/30), David Brenner (8/8), Pat Cooper (8/20), John and Bucky Pizzarelli (8/22), Uncle Floyd (8/29), and John Cafferty (9/29). Surflight Theatre, Beach and Engleside Aves., Beach Haven • 8pm/ $60
THURSDAY! Cabaret for Life at the Supper Club. The nonprofit, nonpareil troupers at Ocean Grove-based Cabaret for Life, Inc. continue their productive partnership with Tim McLoone’s Supper Club — and as part of their ongoing 2012 series of showcase events, that sophisticated space-age saucer on the Asbury Park boards hosts this year’s edition of the annual fun(d)raiser mirth-and-music revue to benefit The Center in Asbury Park and its ongoing assistance programs for local people living with HIV/AIDS. The Glitter of Oz brings a cast of area stage pros together (under the direction of CFL’s Andrew DiPrisco) in a loose salute to what could only be called The Ultimate Road Movie; tix can be reserved by calling 1.877.CFL.TKTS — and if you miss this one, they’ll be doing it all over again next Thursday, July 26. Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Ave. (at Fifth Ave.), Asbury Park • 7pm/ $25
THURSDAY! Plays and Musicals Continue, on the Upper WET Side! The Summer Shakespeare Ensemble at Brookdale Community College presents a cast of returning Shakespeareans and newcomers in The Merchant of Venice, out on the lawn adjacent to the Performing Arts Center on the Lincroft campus. Admission to all performances is free; so call 732.224-2411 for weather-related updates and additional info on parking and such. Brookdale Community College, Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft • 7pm/ FREE/ also FRIDAY and SATURDAY at 7pm; SUNDAY at 6pm… The Starving Artist at Days in Ocean Grove teams once again with producer-director Nick Montesano (NENAproductions Theater Project) to Celebrate Summer, the latest in a series of musical revues (presented on the restaurant’s porch) that are as part of the season in OG as, well, a Dtwo-scop cone from Days. Montesano (who co-conceived the show with Jessica Berger) directs a cast that spotlights Jennifer Nelson, Casey Grady Surgent, Heather McLaughlin, and Bryan Vitalo — as well as Berger, Montesano and Starving Artist co-owner Arnold Teixera — with musical direction by Jeff Brown. Reserve at 732.988.1007. The Starving Artist at Days, 47 Olin St., Ocean Grove • 7:30pm/ $20/ also FRIDAY and SATURDAY at 7:30pm… In Tony Glazer’s American Stare — currently in its world premiere engagement at New Jersey Repertory Company — a South Florida trailer park is “a microcosm for all that’s gone cattywampus with the American Dream.” Evan Bergman directs this dark comedy of despair, dipsomania, dumbass schemes and possibly the Devil himself that pushes the envelope of the audience’s comfort zone in its “pointed parable that seethes with the playwright’s projected frustration over an America seemingly lost to the ages.” New Jersey Repertory Company, 179 Broadway (at Liberty St.), Long Branch • 8pm/ $40; also FRIDAY and SATURDAY at 8pm; SUNDAY at 2pm… The relationship between the 26th President and his famous First Daughter is at the heart of Teddy and Alice, the musical slice of Americana (adapted from music by none other than John Philip Sousa) now playing inside the unique and historic Woods Theatre at Monmouth U. Tickets can be reserved by calling 732.263.6889, or taking it here. Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, Cedar and Norwood Aves., West Long Branch • 8pm/ $25 – $35/ also FRIDAY at 2pm and 8pm; SATURDAY at 8pm; SUNDAY at 7pm (through July 29)… Producer-director Mark Fleming and the folks at Asbury Park’s Premier Theatre Company return to The Premier Room — their all-new, custom-crafted, 120-seat space inside the ever-accommodating Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel — for a fresh look at the Kander-Ebb classic Cabaret, the bracing musical that’s set in a seedy German nightclub on the eve of the Nazi era. Tickets for any of the eight scheduled performances can be reserved via the Premier website or by calling 732.774.STAR. Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, 1401 Ocean Ave. at Sixth Ave., Asbury Park • 8pm/ $28 (discounts for students and seniors)/ also FRIDAY and SATURDAY at 8pm; SUNDAY at 2pm…
FRIDAY! The Fairlanes reunited at Chico’s. We all know Billy Hector as the ubiquitous master of brine-basted Jersey Shore blues (see Saturday’s Blues Fest item, below), but the man has mastered many contexts in many bands over the years — the best of which was The Fairlanes, the late-1980s bluesrockpop combo that he co-fronted with longtime partner Suzan Lastovica. A long battle with MS forced the ever-stunning Suzan out of the everynight band biz (though she’s continued to pen songs and join her “hippie married” husband on stage every now and then), but this Friday night at Chico’s House finds the much-missed lineup of the ‘lanes — Billy, Suzan, harmonicat Bill Lilley, bassist Tim Tindall and iconic drummer Ernest “Boom” Carter — sharing the stage for the first time since 1987; a “once in a lifetime concert event” that unfolds at the earlybird hour of 6pm. Call 732.774.5299 for more info. Chico’s House of Jazz, 631 Lake Ave. (Shoppes at the Arcade building), Asbury Park • 6pm/ $10
FRIDAY! Mindy Smith at Riverside Gardens. The Songwriters in the Park slate continues at Red Bank’s jewel-in-the-downtown-crown Riverside Gardens, for a seventh(?) season by Brookdale Community College listener-supported radio station 90.5 The Night. The template involves pairing a genuinely buzzworthy, better-radio approved, national-profile act with a likeminded local/regional artist — and placing them in a setting that’s insanely convenient to the best of in-town life, with great sight lines all around, excellent sound and of course those aforementioned complimentary Navesink sunsets. Tonight it’s Mindy Smith, a Nashville-based New York transplant who’s billed with Emily Grove, one of the most acclaimed young performers on the Asbury music scene, and an artist who proved to us that the Neptune iHop is where the true talents on the scene congregate. Riverside Gardens Park, West Front St., Red Bank • 7pm/ FREE
FRIDAY! Sand Blast Weekend presents LOST AT SEA in Convention Hall. The flagship party of the annual Sand Blast Weekend in Asbury Park commandeers the Grand Arcade and beachside balconies of Convention Hall with libations, turntable chanteys and landlubber cruising at the Beach Bar (where Watermark’s Russell Lewis and Adam Kentner work the spiral scratch) and the Aqua Bar on the north side of the boardwalk landmark (with DJ Whitney Day plus “fist pumping music by one of Asbury Park’s favorite sons, DJ James Anthony, who returns to the Jersey Shore to make his Sand Blast debut”). Tix at door or online (18 to enter/21 to drink) or free with purchase of weekend pass. There’s lots more Sand Blast activity going on Friday on the city’s beaches, boardwalk and boulevards (including the 10pm – 5am DEEP BLUE party at the Berkeley); take it here for a full schedule. Convention Hall, Ocean and Fifth Aves., Asbury Park, Asbury Park • 8pm-2am/ $15 cover (incl. in all weekend passes)
FRIDAY! Shonen Knife at Asbury Lanes. It’s survived management and ownership changes, watched more ruthlessly financed operations fall by the wayside, and emerged as pretty much the Last Thing Standing on its battered block of Fourth Ave. But the recently renovated retro rec room that is Asbury Lanes continues to survive AND surprise, and even score a genuine coup or two in the realm of band bookings as it cements its place in the short list of truly legendary clubs in the region. With a new album (Pop Tune), a long-awaited US tour and a 30th anniversary to celebrate, the tireless Nipponese cult-punk sensations Shonen Knife take the center Lanes for the first time, with White Mystery, The Recordettes and DJ Jack the Ripper setting up the pins in the spirit of international friendship and progress. Asbury Lanes, 209 Fourth Ave., Asbury Park • 8pm doors/ $12
FRIDAY! INHERIT THE WIND in Holmdel. It’s a controversy ripped screaming from the headlines — in 1925, that is, when the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial” brought the Creationism vs. Evolution debate to a head in a Tennessee court of law. With the issue somehow remaining a bugaboo of American life well into the 21st century, the folks at Holmdel Theatre Company have reached back to the 1950s — when the Jerome Lawrence-Robert Edwin Lee play Inherit the Wind built a fictionalized but enduring drama around the courtroom rivalry between aging legal lions Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan (their names respectively changed in the script to Henry Drummond and Matthew Brady).
For this latest offering from what’s become one of the most exciting semi-pro stage troupes in New Jersey, Tom Frascatore (Holmdel’s Taming of the Shrew) directs a large cast of top-notch players, highlighted by Michael Kroll (like Frascatore, a veteran of many Billy Van Zandt-Jane Milmore comedies) as Drummond and Ed Schiff (whose many roles have ranged from King Lear to the Gorton’s Fisherman) returning to the part of Brady. Michael Irvin Pollard (Night Train and many other premieres from New Jersey Repertory Company) plays a cynical reporter based on legendary journalist H.L. Mencken, while Volney Stefflre is cast as the young teacher at the center of the controversy. Inherit the Wind runs through August 4 at the charmingly rustic Duncan Smith Theater (adjacent to Holmdel High School on Crawfords Corner Road);tickets can be reserved online or by calling the box office at (212)868-4444. Duncan Smith Theater, Crawfords Corner-Everett Rd. (at Holmdel High School), Holmdel • 7pm/ $22 (senior and student discounts); also SATURDAY at 8pm; SUNDAY at 2pm (through August 4)
FRIDAY and SATURDAY! BOLERO RED BANK. Yeah, we took a dim view of this whole idea last week, but having gotten a look at it in rehearsal, well, color us pleasantly surprised. Designed exclusively for the Red Bank area audience, choreographer Larry Keigwin‘s dance project uses the magnificent musical merry-go-round of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” as the soundtrack to a celebration of the greater Red Bank area — and the things that the people who live here love the most about it — starring a cast of some 60 local “pedestrians” and at least one dog. Encapsulating the spirit of summertime recreation and Shore life through movement, humor, and accessories (ranging from from roller skates, boogie boards and hula hoops, to metal detectors, kites and Frisbees), Bolero Red Bank will be performed on the mainstage of Two River Theater as the centerpiece of an 8 pm program that also features four short works (Caffeinated, Love Songs, Triptych and Contact Sport) spotlighting the professional dancers of the Keigwin + Company troupe. Tickets ($20, $37, $42) are still available and can be reserved right here. Two River Theater, Bridge Ave., Red Bank • 8pm/ $20 – $42
FRIDAY! POETRY U in Red Bank. A relatively recent arrival in town, Robert Langdon’s Gallery U and Boutique continues to set the pace in artier Red Bank circles — and beginning tonight, this rather Unique and Unorthodox artspace inaugurates a local edition of Poetry U, a monthly poetry reading series that saw success at the gallery’s flagship Montclair location. Langdon himself joins Josh Dogmatic, Yolanda Torres and couple of our absolute favorite Monmouth County wordsmiths — punk poet laureate Gregg G. Brown and pure creative dynamo Kathy Polenberg — for a free event during which light refreshments will be served (and enlightening thoughts will be lobbed your way). Langdon’s looking to spotlight 5 to 7 local creatives at each monthly outing, so if you think your kung foo is king, send samples of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. Gallery U and Boutique, 80 Broad St., Red Bank • 8-10pm/ FREE
FRIDAY! Donavon Frankenreiter at the Stone Pony. A successful surfer could tell you that you’ve got to keep all the various components of body and board working in concert, and down on the Asbury boards, there’s synergy in spades to be found when iconic surfer, recently minted recording sensation and Billabong spokesman Donavon Frankenreiter rules the waves as headline attraction atop a Stone Pony that further features Rayland Baxter. During the 2012 edition of what’s fast become a traditional Asbury stop by Frankendude, each ticket buyer receives a free copy of his new CD, Start Livin’. Stone Pony, Ocean and Second Aves., Asbury Park • 8pm/ $21 advance, $26 door
FRIDAY! The Royal Teens at The Supper Club. During their short-short time in the limelight as one-hit purveyors of the 1950s hit “Short Shorts,” the Jersey-bred Royal Teens created a swingin’ summertime anthem that would live on in Nair commercials — but who knew then that the band was led by Four Seasons singer/songwriter (and pop music mastermind) Bob Gaudio? Original Teens drummer Tom Austin has assembled a new gigging edition of the band whose Number 3 hit was co-written by him, and it’s these fully experienced Teens who’ll take the stage of Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, sophisticated saucer-shaped scene of some pretty memorable visitors from the first rollicking decade of the Rock Era, with their Crazy Chicks, Kate and Becca (“these two extremely talented young women wearing their short shorts consistently light up the room”). Call 732.774.1400 to reserve table. Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Ave. (at Fifth Ave.), Asbury Park • 8:30pm/ $15 (show only)
SATURDAY! FilmOneFest in Atlantic Highlands. Speaking of Who’s Got Short Shorts: the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council and filmmaker Robert O’Connor present the Main Event of the year at the borough’s beautiful Municipal Harbor; a festival of SHORTshort (like, literally Gone in Sixty Seconds) films from all around the world (from Southeast Asia to, well, Atlantic Highlands) that’s preceded by a street fair beginning at 12pm, and a set of live music by Sibling Rivalry (augmented by clowns, stilt walkers and other colorful diversions) at 7pm. First film on the big inflatable screen at 9pm; admission’s free (bring your own lawn seating) and best entries will be judged by a distinguished panel of film critics and industry pros. Look for more on this year’s FilmOneFest right here on the upperWETside red-carpet roomba. Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor, foot of First Avenue • 7pm/ FREE ($10 VIP seating)
SATURDAY! Sand Blast Weekend presents SIREN OF THE SEA Pool Party. It’s Sand Blast Weekend in Asbury Park, and the opportunity continues to “join the hottest women from up and down the east coast to party with at our new and improved location: the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel pool.” There’s music spun by DJ Susan Levine, plus “frosty drink specials and hot Go-Go girls from the Jersey Shore for eye candy poolside all day!” And, there’s lots more Sand Blast activity going on Saturday on the city’s beaches, boardwalk and boulevards; take it here for a full schedule. Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, 1401 Ocean Ave. at Sixth Ave., Asbury Park • POOL PARTY: 11am-6pm/ $15 advance, $20 door
SATURDAY! Point Pleasant Jazz & Blues Fest. Dennis Eschbach and his all-volunteer crew at the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation present the second of three day-long outdoor Blazz-a-thons — considered as a whole, the spiritual successor to the old weekend-long blowouts that got blown out of Red Bank a few years back. For this first-ever installation at Pernt Boyo’s Riverfront Park, the “dynamic fusion mix” of Burr Johnson sounds the keynote at noon. He’s followed on the bill by Outside the Box (1:15 pm), Eryn Shewell (2:35pm), violinist Yuri Turchyn’s Grupo Yuri (3:50 pm), and the Blackberry Blues Band (5:10pm). A true signifier of the Shore scene, bluesbender Billy Hector (pictured above) headlines at 6:30pm, just 24 hours after reuniting with his great 80s band The Fairlanes in Asbury Park — and the JSJBF wraps up their festival season in Long Branch on August 25. Riverfront Park, Maxson Ave. and River Rd., Point Pleasant Boro • 12-8pm/ FREE
SATURDAY! Sand Blast Beach Party in Asbury Park. It’s Sand Blast Weekend in Asbury Park, and the centerpiece event unfolds on the sands of the city’s top-rated beach with a BIG beachtop dance floor, and music by “Masterbeat’s Meistro” Brett Henrichsen. There’s lots more Sand Blast activity going on Saturday on the city’s beaches, boardwalk and boulevards; take it here for a full schedule. Sixth Avenue Beach, Asbury Park • 12-7pm/ $60 advance, $75 door
SATURDAY! Wynonna & the Big Noise in Ocean Grove. Even though her catalog includes the requisite Silverado-lode of chart-topping hits, both solo and with momma Judd, when Wynonna comes to the Ocean Grove’s great wooden flagship of family entertainment she’ll be fronting a more rock-oriented new band (featuring fiancee Cactus Moser on drums) and dealing out some “rocking new covers that fans are loving” — surprising choices that range from Rufus (“Tell Me Something Good”) to Lenny Kravitz (“Are You Gonna Go My Way”) — making this, despite the obligatory nods to GodFamilyUSA, potentially the edgiest show going on this season at the Great A. Ticket reservations can be had right here. Great Auditorium, Pitman Ave., Ocean Grove • 8pm/ $45 – $55
SATURDAY! Summerland Tour at Pee ‘N See. And so it has come to pass. The bands you thrilled to on the radio back around the mid-90s have put aside their petty beeves (not really), propped each other up like walkers and hit the road in one of those package tours that have long since assimilated the likes of Journey/ Foreigner/ Kansas. Of course when the Summerland Tour — Everclear (pictured above), Lit, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms and Marcy Playground — comes to the hyperbaric-chamber world that is the PNC Bank Arts Center, they’ll be assuming that you’ve “grown” and moved on to a higher income bracket; not necessarily the norm anymore but try telling that to the handlers of these late-epoch dinosaurs from the last days of the oldschool music biz. Tix from Live Nation, with all the restrictions, surcharges, pat-downs, confiscations, mark-ups, waits, walks and weather issues that make summer in the Holmdel hills such a magical interlude. PNC Bank Arts Center, Garden State Parkway in Holmdel • 8pm/ $30 – $105
SATURDAY! Darlene Love at The Supper Club. It’s Christmas in July, quite literally — when Darlene Love takes the stage of Tim McLoone’s Supper Club as the latest guest of honor in the “Masters of Music” series, produced by Sammy Boyd and hosted by McLoone on the stage of the fabuluxe Howard Jetsons hotspot above the Asbury boards. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Phil Spector studio session stalwart (’twas her who actually subbed as the Crystals on the breathtaking breakthrough “He’s A Rebel”) is best known for her work on A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector — in particular the soaring “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” a tune that she’s performed on David Letterman TV shows across four decades, five Presidential administrations and countless hairstyles. She returns to Mr. McLoone’s, backed by Tim and the Shirleys, with special guest Bob Bandiera — a master of music who knows a thing or ten about Christmas shows, famous friends and an encyclopedic knowledge of pop history. Call 732.774.1400 to reserve table. Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Ave. (at Fifth Ave.), Asbury Park • 8pm/ $25 – $60
SUNDAY! Sand Blast Weekend presents Rip Tide Pool Party and Tea Dance. It’s Sand Blast Weekend in Asbury Park, and the annual poolside party returns to the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, with patio sounds from LA’s DrewG, NY’s Corey Craig and NJ’s Steve Sidewalk. It’s followed at 5pm by the official Closing Party, with DrewG spinning the coda. There’s lots more Sand Blast activity going on Sunday on the city’s beaches, boardwalk and boulevards; take it here for a full schedule. Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, 1401 Ocean Ave. at Sixth Ave., Asbury Park • POOL PARTY: 11am-8pm/ $20 advance, $25 door • TEA DANCE: 5-8pm/ $5
SUNDAY! Matisyahu at the Stone Pony SummerStage. Trying to nail down a “current” photo of Matisyahu has suddenly become a tricky deal, as within recent months the one-time uber-recognizable Hasidic pop-reggae toaster has shaved his beard, lost the hat, regrew the beard, restored the yarmulke, relost the beard, showed up with a blond highlight job and inadvertently kicked off a rumor that we was actually Andy Samberg. What the ever-morphing looks seem to suggest is that this unlikely pop star remains a seeker in more than album title only — and when Matthew P. Miller takes The Stone Pony Summer Stage on Sunday evening, he’ll be working his latest release Spark Seeker and working his American Cat Stevens thing with, if you close your eyes, an earnest degree of consistency. The Dirty Heads and Moon Taxi open outdoors; doors open at 3pm inside the club for sets by Set It Free, Small Town Scoundrels, Scott Paul & the Parlay, X Phase, Turning Down Harvard, Matty Soms AND one of our new local organic favorites, Solo for Dolo — then there’s a “special late show” back inside the Stoney with Loose Fit. Stone Pony, Ocean and Second Aves., Asbury Park • 3pm/ $30 advance, $35 door ($10 after 10:30pm)
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE! Clockwise from top: Joe Grushecky, Christine Martucci, Glen Burtnik, Sandy Mack, Billy Hector and Linda Chorney are just a few of the local lights ‘n luminaries dealing out 50 LICKS in honor of the Rolling Stones’ golden jubilee. The allstar assembly is going on Wednesday night at the Stone Pony, and it’s a benefit (for Asbury Angels, which is actually a thing) brought to you by the folks who shine the Light of Day on those dreariest days of January…
You can look ahead to our Humpday handicappings for the details on 50 LICKS…but meantime we’ve got 28 PICKS; an overwhelming onslaught of recommendations for the seven days ahead that we somehow fear STILL doesn’t begin to scratch the sun-damaged surface of the popular diversions going on ’round what we like to call Upper Wet Side of NJ. You be the judge…and FLIP if you like Kicks…
MONDAY! Open Call for BOLERO RED BANK. Our Red Bank pal and awesomely talented grafix/ fine artist Rob Leecock recently Facebonked to the effect that Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” was something akin to the Soundtrack of His Life these days; to which we partypooped that looking into THIS event might change his mind about the truly magnificent music machine best recalled from the dumbass 70s movie “10″. Those of us who are intrigued by such things should know that Larry Keigwin — the “visionary modern-dance choreographer” who’s presented original “large scale flash-mob” dance pieces based on Ravel’s work in cities across the USA — has partnered with Two River Theater Company for a two-week summer-vacation project called Bolero Red Bank. And they’re looking for enthusiastic local participants — no dance experience required — to rehearse and perform in a pro-quality “community art event” that hits the stage of the Bridge Avenue arts center for two public performances later this month.
Beginning at 5pm, Keigwin invites “members from Red Bank and the larger Monmouth County community from ages 2 to 102″ to try out for a performance piece in which more than 50 locals will appear alongside professional dancers from the Keigwin + Company troupe. Rehearsals are Monday-Friday from 5pm-9pm over the next two weeks, with the understanding that “participants have outside commitments and the company makes every effort to accommodate the busy schedules of the cast.” It’s all being done in the spirit of “collaborative process with the participants, capturing the unique qualities of their lives and celebrating the spirit of our community in the final performance.” We could weigh in with our opinions — on the needless trending toward “interactivity” in the arts; on RealiTV narcissism competing with the work of skilled pros; on the saddling of a great piece of music with the aftertaste of an unfortunate image — but really, who cares what we think. Go get ‘em kids; and Leecock, let’s get a drink.
Performances will be at 8pm on July 20 and 21 — right on the same Rechnitz Stage that’s hosted the likes of Alec Baldwin, Bruce Springsteen, Judy Collins and Kevin Smith — as part of a program that also features four pieces from the company’s professional repertoire: Caffeinated (2007), Love Songs (2006), Triptych (2009) and Contact Sport (2012). To sign up, call the Boléro hotline at 732.345.1400, ext. 1815 — and take it here if you just like to watch.Two River Theater, Bridge Ave., Red Bank • 5 – 8pm
MONDAY! Brookdale Summer Lecture Series at Porta. Absolutely no offense to the good people of Asbury hotspot Porta, but we do tend to give the uber-popular progressive pizza/pastaria a block west of the Stone Pony (former home to everything from Club Xanadu to Swell) a W-I-D-E berth on summer-season weekends, for reasons that have everything to do with our preferences for off-peak train travel and autumn. On Monday nights it’s a different story — not only are you more likely to saunter on in and get a table without a wrap-around-the-block wait, but on select Mundanes you can partake of a surprisingly sophisticated offering that you’ll find nowhere else on the Wet Side map. Sponsored by Brookdale Community College — not that you’ll find updated details on their lousy website — the Summer Lecture Series brings a bracing discussion of a now/wow topic of interest to the table, along with expert presenters and of course the intriguing creations of Head Pizzaiola Freddi Vilardi. Tonight it’s something about “the ideologies embedded in today’s politics and the power they have at the polls,” while July 23 brings guitarist Doug Clarke in for a slice of “All That Jazz: History and Performance.” Porta, 911 Kingsley St. and Second Ave., Asbury Park • 7pm/ $7
MONDAY! Michael Amante at Surflight. He’s “The People’s Tenor” — and to prove it, any attempts to go to his website are met with a window that reads “Warning: Visiting this website may harm your computer” (now THAT’s sticking it to the SkyNet overlords!). A regional favorite and an exemplar of the overwrought-but-oh-so-romantic “Phantom” style of coffee-table crooning, Michael Amante visits Surflight Theatre, as part of the summertime comedy/ concert series presented in partnership with Catch A Rising Star. It’s one show only, and it’s a classier corollary to a slate that brings such sophisticated fare as Joe Piscopo (7/16), Jackie the Joke Man (7/25), Pat Cooper (8/20) and Uncle Floyd (8/29) to the LBI landmark. Surflight Theatre, Beach and Engleside Aves., Beach Haven • 8pm/ $89
WEDNESDAY! 50 LICKS at the Pony. Hard to believe that it’s been a full half-century since The Rolling Stones made their debut — actually, wait, have you looked at those yobs lately? I mean, ancent UFO astronauts could use their faces as navigational aids to land their Chariots of the Gods on the geoglyphs of the Nazca desert. And don’t even attempt to Bowmar the math on Bill Wyman’s age.
Anyway, it is very easy to believe that England’s Newest Hitmakers have now as a unit both predated AND outlasted such been-and-gone artifacts as Shea Stadium, the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the Concorde SST. In recognition of the first gig by future game-changers “The Rollin’ Stones” (that was Mick, Keith and Brian Jones — Bill, Charlie and the final letter ‘g’ would join up some six months later), a veritable Just-Us League of local/regional/even national musical movers ‘n shakers have answered the call to assemble at The Stone Pony for a one-night-only hullabaloo hootenanny that can ONLY be called 50 LICKS — a “dynamic two-hour show that you’ll wish the Stones had performed,” consisting of “hits, nuggets, deep cuts, live faves and fan faves” drawn from the best–of collections Hot Rocks and Forty Licks.
It’s a benefit for The Asbury Angels Foundation — whose mission is “to honor and memorialize the lives and significant contributions of members of the Asbury Park musical community who have passed on, including but not limited to, musicians, songwriters, tech support persons, DJs, writers, club owners and promoters” — and among its presening entities is the Light of Day Foundation, meaning that you can bet your Asbury the evening’s rolling roster is highlighted by the man who’s been the public performing face of the annual LOD benefit concerts since their inception, Pittsburgh poet-priest Joe Grushecky. The Boss bud and foreman of the Iron City Houserockers (who appeared in town as recently as this past weekend) will be joined by a heavyweight card of top-ranked talent, including such (inter)nationally noted figures as supersongwriter, impresario and go-to great Glen Burtnik, First Lady of Rock Bebe Buell and Grammy-nommy Linda Chorney. You’ll find a who’s-who of musician’s-musicians (bandleader Marc Ribler, Joe Jackson bassist Graham Maby), bonafide Shore music legends (Billy Hector, Tommy LaBella, Sandy Mack, JT Bowen, Ricky DeSarno, Joel Krauss), some dynamic headliners in their own right (James Maddock, Christine Martucci) and a whole lot more worthy colleagues, each putting their own reverently subjective spin on the Glimmer Twins catalog. Our only quibble? The absence of ultimate blues authority (and professorial Stones fan) Gary Wright, whose participation here would have batted this one straight into McCovey Cove at first pitch.
The event — co-presented by LOD with the Asbury Park Press, the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce and the Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation — will honor the first group of “Asbury Angels” inductees, with the date of the first dedication ceremony announced for later this summer, so follow that halo. Stone Pony, Ocean and Second Aves., Asbury Park • 7:30pm/ $20
WEDNESDAY! Ben Bailey at Surflight. The Emmy-winning host of TV’s Cash Cab — who, in a reversal of the standard showbiz story, was a stand-up comic BEFORE he took to driving a cab for a living — takes the tunnel out to his native NJ for his first fare at the Surflight Theatre, and don’t even BEGIN to fathom how much a trip to the LBI landmark would be from midtown Manhattan. The one-nighter is part of the summertime comedy/ concert series presented in partnership with Catch A Rising Star, and he’ll be spinning some tales from the road, demonstrating his deft dexterity with an audience, and doing everything short of paying you cash to watch. Surflight Theatre, Beach and Engleside Aves., Beach Haven • 8pm/ $50 – $89
WEDNESDAY! Bob Marley’s Legendary Wailers at The Surf Club…and THURSDAY! The Original Wailers at The Stone Pony. It’s duelling Wailers, in back-to-back midweek concert appearances — and may the winners wail on the losers for bonafide bragging rights to the sonic legacy of Bob Marley. Wednesday sees Bob Marley’s Legendary Wailers — a touring unit fronted by frequent Bob bassman, even more frequent Marley family plaintiff (and prolific-in-more-ways-than-one) Aston “Family Man” Barrett — takes the stage of Joey Harrison’s Ocean County landmark atop a bill that features Flight’s Kool and Milan & The Sour Goat. Tix from Ticketmaster or the Surf box office. The Surf Club, 1900 Ocean Ave., Ortley Beach • 8pm/ $20 Then on Thursnight, NJ-born guitarist Al Anderson — a contemporary with Barrett in those great mid-1970s Marley bands — brings his own highly regarded mix of tributes and Marley-inspired new music The Original Wailers to The Stone Pony, with Loose Fit and From the Ground trying things on for size. Stone Pony, Ocean and Second Aves., Asbury Park • 7:30pm/ $22 advance, $25 door
THURSDAY! Jazz in the Park at Riverside Gardens. The popular jazz ‘n blues series of outdoor concerts reclaims its bragging rights as one of the longest running outdoor music offerings in Monmouth County, when Jazz in the Park returns to the sculpted terraces and waterfront walkways of Riverside Gardens, with the “Foreign Funk” of jazz flautist Keith Marks (pictured above) and his combo inaugurating a six-week round of lawnside seating, seductive sounds and complimentary Navesink River sunsets.
That return visti by is followed on July 19 by local “kindie rocker” Miss Sherri — here exploring her music-for-grownups project known as Sherri Pie. Another returning favorite, Little Silver jazz chanteuse Hollie Baines, headlines on July 26 — followed on August 2 by an act making its Riverside debut, trumpeter David Cedeño and his Latin Jazz infused Orchestra. The evening of August 9 will star an act to be announced at a later date, and the series is scheduled to wrap on August 16 with the much-anticipated annual appearance by zydeco partystarters The VooDudes (August 23 and 30 have been reserved as rain dates for any of the featured acts). Riverside Gardens Park, West Front St., Red Bank • 7pm/ FREE
THURSDAY! THE MERCHANT at BCC. Their many slings and arrows of community-theater misfortune have included sudden tempests, blaring ambulance sirens and the occasional stray bicyclist making an unscripted cameo on the open-air “set” — to say nothing of the epic tragedies posed by fur-lined costumes in 100 degree weather. Yea verily, if it’s July, it must be the season for the Summer Shakespeare Ensemble at Brookdale Community College, as the Lincroft campus of BCC prepares to host its annual presentation of classic drama the way The Bard intended it — outdoors, under the sun and stars, on the lawn adjacent to the school’s Performing Arts Center. John Bukovec directs a cast of returning Shakespeareans and newcomers in an airing of The Merchant of Venice, the still controversial “tragic comedy” (best known for its character of Shylock, the Jewish moneylender) that mixes the eternal marriage of love and money with the complexities of pride and prejudice. Get thee to the seasonal aisle of your local supermarket for your lawn chairs and cooler, and make time on a midsummer’s night for an entertainment in truly classic style. Admission to all performances is free; so call 732.224-2411 for weather-related updates and additional info on parking and such. Brookdale Community College, Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft • 7pm/ FREE/ also FRIDAY and SATURDAY at 7pm; SUNDAY at 6pm (through July 22)
THURSDAY! Kristen Butcher at The Supper Club. The Ocean Grove-based nonprofit Cabaret for Life, Inc. continues its productive partnership with Tim McLoone’s Supper Club — and as part of an ongoing series of showcase events, that sophisticated space-age saucer on the Asbury Park boards hosts Kristen Butcher in an evening of showtunes and standards under the title Love Is In the Air. The young veteran of local stages (who lists her special skills as “tongue tricks, Stitch voice, scary low voice, arm trick”) takes the famous bandstand at 7pm; tix can be reserved by calling 1.877.CFL.TKTS — and we guarantee you’ll walk away with a completely reversed and revised definition of the phrase “Butcher-ing a song.” Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Ave. (at Fifth Ave.), Asbury Park • 7pm/ $25
THURSDAY! CELEBRATE SUMMER at Days. Happy we were to welcome Ocean Grove landmark Days Ice Cream to its new outpost on the Asbury Par boardwalk (the pavilion space vacated last year by Candyteria) — and equally pleased are we to note the return of the summertime performance-on-the-porch presentations at the original Starving Artist at Days. The dynamic duo of producer-director Nick Montesano (NENAproductions Theater Project) and Starving Artist co-owner Arnold Teixera have made it a recently minted tradition to entertain seasonal crowds with an award winning series of relaxed but rollicking rain-or-shine revues (presented on the restaurant’s outdoor porch area) under such titles as Summer Summer, Summer Summer Too and Summer: The Prequel — all this in between feeding townies, tourists and visiting luminaries who are appearing in concert at the Great Auditorium.
Here in 2012, it’s Celebrate Summer, a collection of songs from such past/present Broadway musicals from A Little Night Music, Cinderella and Gypsy to Little Shop of Horrors, Grease and Rock of Ages. Montesano (who co-conceived the show with Jessica Berger) directs a cast that spotlights Jennifer Nelson, Casey Grady Surgent, Heather McLaughlin, and Bryan Vitalo — as well as Berger, Montesano and Teixera — with musical direction by Jeff Brown. As the intrepid troupe says, “Open rehearsals on the porch provide passersby with a glimpse of the process needed to mount such a production. Summer audiences have embraced the whimsy of these productions and make it a tradition to attend.” Seating for the six scheduled performances is finite, so reserve those ducats at 732.988.1007. The Starving Artist at Days, 47 Olin St., Ocean Grove • 7:30pm/ $20/ also FRIDAY and SATURDAY at 7:30pm (through July 21)
John T. Lynes and Sydney Turner star as TEDDY & ALICE in the summer stage musical going up at Monmouth U’s Woods Theatre on Thursday…while Kristin Giaritta Lanko and Colin Earyes feature as Sally and The Emcee in Premier Theatre’s intimately scaled conception of CABARET at Asbury’s Berkeley Hotel.
THURSDAY! TEDDY & ALICE at Monmouth U. “I can either be President of the United States or I can control Alice,” declares Teddy Roosevelt in Teddy and Alice, the musical slice of Americana going up at Monmouth U. “I cannot possibly do both!” The man who led the Rough Riders, hunted elephant in Africa, and delivered a campaign speech after being shot in the chest was as “larger than life” as they come. But in “Princess Alice” — a young woman with a taste for smoking, fast cars and headline-making behavior in the corseted climate of Victorian-era America — Teddy had met his match.
The relationship between the 26th President and his famous First Daughter is at the heart of the 1987 musical with book by Jerome Alden, plus songs by Hal Hackaday and Richard Kapp, adapted from the rip-roaring music of the only composer robust enough to capture the essence of these American originals — John Philip Sousa. Keyed to the centennial of Roosevelt’s unsuccessful but spirited run on the Bull Moose Party ticket — and presented at the historic Lauren K. Woods Theatre as the Summer 2012 production of the professional Shadow Lawn Stage at Monmouth — the show stars John T. Lynes and Sydney Turner in the title roles, both reprising their acclaimed turns from a recent staging at Connecticut’s Seven Angels Theatre. They’re joined in the cast of 25 actors by fellow Connecticut cast member Jimmy Donohue, with Deborah Murad (as Teddy’s wife Edith) and Andrew Foote (as Alice’s future husband Sen. Longworth) under the direction of MU faculty member John J. Burke. Here in the heat of a Presidential election season, it’s a rare opportunity to catch a musical at one of our best-kept-secret fave venues — the recently renovated, historic (and historically haunted) playhouse that once served as carriage house for the Guggenheim family’s sprawling “summer cottage.” Tickets for any of the 15 scheduled performances can be reserved by calling 732.263.6889, or taking it here. Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, Cedar and Norwood Aves., West Long Branch • 8pm/ $25 – $35/ also FRIDAY at 2pm and 8pm; SATURDAY at 8pm; SUNDAY at 7pm (through July 29)
THURSDAY! CABARET at the Berkeley Hotel. “What good is sitting alone in your room,” you ask? Well, when it’s a Room of One’s Own, you invite a few dozen friends and Come Hear the Music Play, as they say. Last month’s production of Grease at the Paramount Theatre was abruptly cancelled due to rights-clearance tangles, but producer-director Mark Fleming and the folks at Asbury Park’s Premier Theatre Company rebound in July with a return to The Premier Room — their all-new, custom-crafted, 120-seat space inside the ever-accommodating Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel. The venue that hosted the area debut of the rock-musical drama Next to Normal) promises to make a suitably intimate setting for a fresh look at the Kander-Ebb classic Cabaret, the musicalization of John Van Druten’s “I Am a Camera” that’s set in a seedy German nightclub between the world wars. Remembered for such instant standards as “The Money Song,” “Wilkommen” and the title tune, — as well as for Bob Fosse’s 1972 film version starring an iconic Liza Minelli and Joel Grey — the Broadway show was remade/remodeled in the 1990s, becoming in the process a flexible favorite for venues that are smaller or (in the case of Studio 54) weirder than traditional theaters. Kristin Giaritta Lanko and Colin Earyes head the cast (as expatriate Sally Bowles and the inscrutably sinister Emcee), and tickets for any of the eight scheduled performances can be reserved via the Premier website or by calling 732.774.STAR. Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, 1401 Ocean Ave. at Sixth Ave., Asbury Park • 8pm/ $28 (discounts for students and seniors)/ also FRIDAY and SATURDAY at 8pm; SUNDAY at 2pm (through July 22)
FRIDAY! Vans Warped Tour at Pee ‘N See. In an earlier, drearier Asbury era, it made itself a hobo-home in the “festival area” of a largely neglected, just-reawakening seaside city of Asbury Park. For the past three years, it staked out space in the parking-lot hell of Monmouth Park Racetrack — a brief but blaring disruption to local suburban life that made traffic headlines on local thoroughfares, if not much of an economic or cultural ripple in the larger landscape. Beginning with this year’s edition, the traveling medicine show that is the Vans Warped Tour comes for the first time to the only area venue that’s sufficiently self-contained to trump its own scrupulously controlled celebrations of “anarchy,” “spontaneity” and “choice” — the colossal lawn mushroom that is the PNC Bank Arts Center. As with the recently re-Asbury’d Bamboozle Fest, it’s a fully branded, multi-stage blast of music, merch, munch and muchmore that’s highlighted by a collection of bands — some veteran, some rookie — that have been known to play regional venues like the Starland for a fraction of the ticket price. The roster for Friday the 13th includes All Time Low, Bayside, Blood on the Dance Floor, New Found Glory, Streetlight Manifesto, Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard and dozens of other acts, at least one of which is claimed by someone in your life as the all and everything of existence. If participating in the festival vibe (training for your spot in the global economy, pleasing your alien insect overlords) is YOUR thing, get those tix from the Warped webber or from Live Nation, with all the restrictions, surcharges, pat-downs, confiscations, mark-ups, waits, walks and weather issues that make summer in the Holmdel hills such a magical interlude. PNC Bank Arts Center, Garden State Parkway in Holmdel • doors 11am/ $46.50
FRIDAY! The Mastersons at Riverside Gardens. It looked for a little touch ‘n go for a while there, but this Friday marks the welcome return of one of the most listener-friendly seasonal offerings anywhere up and down the Upper Wet Side — the Songwriters in the Park slate that takes over Red Bank’s jewel-in-the-downtown-crown Riverside Gardens for some seven Friday evenings of superior sounds. Produced for a seventh(?) season by Brookdale Community College listener-supported radio station 90.5 The Night, the series pairs a genuinely buzzworthy, better-radio approved, national-profile act with a likeminded local/regional artist — and places them in a setting that’s insanely convenient to the best of in-town life, with great sight lines all around, excellent sound and of course those aforementioned complimentary Navesink sunsets.
In other words, this is a series that music snobs can really sink their teeth into; a sophisticated cut above from the plein-air partybands and sunstroked saloonsters that you’ll encounter at most beachtowel-and-lawnchair extravaganzas — and a look at some of the previous Park-lurkers (Dramarama, Steve Forbert, Jeffrey Gaines, John Wesley Harding, Bongos frontman Richard Barone and the Smithereens’ Pat DiNizio) attests to the quality of the carefully cultivated fare. The addition of that glorious Red Bank noise factor (always a grand parade on Friday nights, main-drag West Front is of course the direct route to the nearby emergency room of Riverview Medical Center) can only make it an even more welcome alternative to the chirp of suburban crickets.
There’ll be NO chirping allowed during the inaugural act of the 2012 sked, when The Mastersons — that wife/husband duo who otherwise serve as crucial components of country contrarian Steve Earle‘s ace band The Dukes — take the stage with their wry and pleasing take on hipster-Americana pop that’s made them darlings of the houseparty-and-festival circuit; coming on kind of like city-slicker strawdogs burnin’ down a Hooterville barnraising (or a harmonious guitar-and-fiddle version of Poison Ivy and the late Lux Interior of The Cramps).Opening is former Elefant frontguy Diego Garcia, who “draws from his Argentine roots” and “explores his Latin hertiatge” with a sound that “conjures the spirit of 1970′s troubadours like Sandro and Jobim as well as singer-songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Harry Nilsson.” Future Fridays feature the likes of Scars On 45, Jukebox the Ghost, River City Extension and songwriter’s songwriter Willie Nile; watch this space for more recommendations as the July-August schedule goes deep. Riverside Gardens Park, West Front St., Red Bank • 7pm/ FREE
FRIDAY! The English Beat at the Stoney. In an interview that you’ll find archived here on upperWETside, The English Beat founder and frontbloke Dave Wakeling described the origins of those great 2 Tone second-wave ska bands who came roaring fullstop out of the seedy cityscapes of a post-Pistols UK, telling us “I can safely say that the Beat started with the music of oppression. The people who developed this music had to put up with lives of deprivation, and given the reality of what things were like in England in the 70s, it’s what my life felt like at the time. It combined an upbeat spirit with a downbeat lyric, and I rather liked the happy/sad message.” Long since relocated to sunny California, the affable singer-guitarist who also co-founded General Public also told us, “The challenge for this generation of kids is to be twice as happy, on half as much as their parents had. You’d do better teaching that to them than School of Rock!”
That chat with one of our all-time favorite interview subjects (a man whose extra-musical endeavors have included a family, a gig as a kids’ soccer coach and a serious stint working for Greenpeace) was done in advance of a show at The Stone Pony that got called on account of blizzard — and some three and a half years later, the 2012 edition of the band who brought us “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Save It For Later,” “Ranking Full Stop” and a whole lot more FINALLY makes good on the Stoney stop, atop a bill that further features The Skels, Sunny Gang, Political Party Crashers and absolutely NO snow in the forecast. Stone Pony, Ocean and Second Aves., Asbury Park • 7:30pm/ $22 advance, $25 door
FRIDAY! The Chop Tops at The Brighton Bar. It’s a Rockbilly Hot Rod Motorcycle Show and Parking Lot Pig Roast, as the insides and outsides of the everlovin’ Home of Original Music on the Jersey Shore shudder and shake with the vibrations, noise and fumes of the Cali-based Chop Tops (kicking it Right Coast in the thick of their Revved Up Rockabilly Tour). The headliners hit the famous Brighton stage at 10:30, preceded by Decrepit Youth (8pm), Radio Threat (8:30), The Strikers (9:15) and Danny B. Harvey (10pm). Brighton Bar, 121 Brighton Ave., Long Branch • 8pm/ $9
FRIDAY! LEGALLY BLONDE at the Count Basie. Back on the Basie boards for their annual July show — a production that traditionally offers a recent Broadway hit and a young cast — Red Bank’s own Phoenix Productions returns with their first staging of Legally Blonde: The Musical — an adaptation (with songs by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin) that’s apparently well on its way to achieving a life of its own apart from Amanda Brown’s novel and its 2001 screen version starring Reese Witherspoon. Real life law student Leigh Emery (pictured above) stars here as sorority girl Elle Woods, a pink-obsessed stranger in the seemingly sober setting of Harvard Law School — and the cast of 40 players (under the direction of Anthony Greco) features Phoenix veteran Phil Mazzara, newcomer John Caliendo and a whole lot more. As per custom, the show that brought us such standards as “Bend and Snap” and “Omigod You Guys” plays for two consecutive weekends at the Count’s crib, whereupon it moves to the historic Strand in Lakewood for two performances on July 28. Take it here for tickets. Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank • 8pm/ $22 – $29/ also SATURDAY at 8pm; SUNDAY at 3pm (through July 22)
FRIDAY! THE 39 STEPS at the Algonquin. In Patrick Barlow’s Tony-winning whirlwind take on a vintage John Buchan suspense novel — itself best remembered as a 1935 Alfred Hitchcock McGuffin — a cast of four actors (a leading man as our harried hero Richard Hannay, and three other players as everybody else) take on dozens of parts, in a series of lightning quick-changes that become a show in themselves. Beginning tonight and for the next couple of weekends, Shore Rep (the community company founded by our favorite frequent Shore stage actor-director and recovering New Wave musician Jan Topoleski) slams onto the stage of Manasquan’s Algonquin ARTS Theatre with this tale of mistaken manhunts, stolen secrets and confounding conspiracies — a romp that also manages to fold in numerous sly references to other Hitchcockian favorites. Take it here to reserve tickets ($28-$33 adults; discounts for seniors and students). Algonquin ARTS Theatre, 173 Main St., Manasquan • 8pm/ $28 – $33 (senior and student discounts)/ also SATURDAY at 8pm; SUNDAY at 3pm (through July 22)
FRIDAY! Matt O’Ree at The Saint. Years of gigging the stageless saloons, dart-league pubs and package-goods pitstops of the Jersey Shore have helped him transition from fresh-faced prodigy to “gruff but loveable” exemplar of the Blues — but not even the most pointed darts of the millennial Music Business could puncture the firefingered passion that made Matt O’Ree a genuine World Champion player of Blues guitar. Friday night at The Saint, Matt-O gets his best local spotlight set in months — and YOU get a chance to “be part of history” — as Matt and his Band record their show at Scott Stamper’s Main Street music box for DVD-release posterity. It’s scheduled for 10pm, with Eryn Shewell setting things up in sultry style as opener. The Saint, 601 Main St., Asbury Park • doors 8:30pm/ $10
FRIDAY! Lord Gunner at Wonder Bar. When Bon Jovi played Bamboozle as the last-call headline act for the three-day Flim Flam Fest, the best “seat” in the “house” was outside by the north-side “smokers lounge” and snack-bar window of Lance and Debbie’s circuitside landmark, the Wonder Bar — and when JBJ name-checked Asbury’s legendary Lord Gunner band as a personal Wonder-Years muse, he wasn’t just saying that ’cause Lance Larson might have been within earshot. Many have paid their S.O.A.P.-soaked respects to the 1970s-era classic rock unit which, despite a frustrating dearth of recorded legacy, looms large in the scene that eventually promoted The Boss to the greater glory — and when Lance (whose latest project Werewolves of London is a tribute in turn to one of HIS personal saints, the late Warren Zevon) pulled the trigger on a long-awaited Gunner reunion show last year, the repercussions were sufficient to warrant an encore here in the burger-grill heat of another milestone Asbury summer. Lance and Ricky De Sarno are joined by Steve Rava, John Mulrenan — and Ernest “Boom” Carter, the man who singlehandedly supercharged Springsteen’s career vector by putting the BIG roll in the “Born to Run.” Wonder Bar, Ocean and Fifth Aves., Asbury Park • 8pm/ $15 advance, $20 door
Turning The Summer Stage into The Big Casino are LOU CHRISTIE, headlining the first of this year’s West End Cruise Night events in Long Branch — and FRANK SINATRA JR., coming to Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium for a tribute to his dad that was originally blown off by the “summer wind” of Hurricane Irene.
SATURDAY! Lou Christie in West End. Hey, lightning’s gotta strike a FIRST time in order to strike again — and for the first of two West End Cruise Night events here in summer 2012, the crowdpleasing event sponsored by the City of Long Branch returns to the east end of Brighton Avenue in wild West End. The showy sheetmetal and bodacious Dagmars of the classic/custom cars are augmented by live music from area cover combos Familar Faces and Buddy Holly tributeers Rave On — plus special star attraction Lou Christie, the 60s chart-topper whose unearthly vocal skills supercharged such fantastic perennials as “Lightning Strikes Again” and “Two Faces Have I.” Ocean and Brighton Aves., Long Branch • 6pm/ FREE
SATURDAY! Street Life in Red Bank. Red Bank Rivercenter‘s Saturday night series of free local music showcases returns to the sidewalks and storefronts of the borough’s business district; tonight featuring The Wag at Danny’s on Bridge Avenue; The Al Wright Unit (the cool jazz combo whose elegant drummer/leader and vocalist wife Ruth Wright are both veterans of the cosmic big-band Sun Ra Arkestra!) at The Dublin House; the always impressive Mary McCrink at Bienvenue; The Middlemen at Temple Gourmet Chinese — and the Red Bank Barbershop Quartet dealing out the Sweet Adelines whilst strolling around downtown. 6-9pm/ FREE
SATURDAY! Jersey Shore Roller Girls in Asbury Park. The fast-track, flat-track rollerderby action returns to the space above the briny surf, when the Jersey Shore Roller Girls All Stars meet the CT Roller Girls, in a DOUBLE HEADER that further features a preliminary event that matches the junior unit JSRG Beat Down against the Nickel City Knockouts. The first whistle blows at 6:30pm inside ConHall (with the main event at 8pm) for the all ages evening (21 to drink, natch), with discounts or kids 12 and under or active military, and tix available here or from your favorite local Roller. Keep your wristband for entry to an After Party across the street at the Wonder Bar, following the match. Convention Hall, Ocean and Fifth Aves., Asbury Park • 6:30pm / $20 – $25 ($15 military; $10 kids under 10)
SATURDAY! Sinatra Sings Sinatra in Ocean Grove. In an interview that you’ll find here on upperWETside, Mr. Frank Sinatra Jr. told us with all the candor of a man who’s spent his whole life as The Kid, “the ONLY reason I’ve lasted 49 years in this business is because I’m the son of Frank Sinatra — otherwise I’m just another guy in a tux singing old songs.”
If that sounds a bit harsh, bear in mind that the veteran vocalist, conductor and pianist who’s “never had a hit movie, a hit TV show, or even a hit record” has acquired a newfound confidence — AND an all-important sense of humor about himself and his place in the popular culture — that’s allowed him and his smooth fine bourbon of a Voice to truly honor the classic Sinatra catalog with a mature mastery that sends all those piker “tribute artists” back to waiting tables at the Clam Broth House. Fronting a 20 piece big band in a program entitled Sinatra Sings Sinatra, the 68 year old Son of the Chairman (whose radar sightings have included appearances on The Sopranos, Family Guy and the Ralph Bakshi film Cool World) comes to the Ocean Grove’s great wooden flagship of family entertainment for a concert that was originally scheduled for August 27, 2011 — a date that was blown clear into THIS year by the “Summer Wind” we call Hurricane Irene. Ticket reservations from that postponed show are being honored this Saturday night, and new tix can be had right here. Great Auditorium, Pitman Ave., Ocean Grove • 8pm/ $45 – $55
SATURDAY! Songwriters at The Strand. Burger/ Ribler/ Wymer Strand. It’s another one of those up-close-and-personal — by which we mean YOU GET TO SIT RIGHT UP THERE ON THE STAGE WITH THE PERFORMERS — songwriter showcases at the historic Strand; this one spotlighting THREE local luminaries on the Wet Side scenescape. A tireless performer in solo, duo AND combo contexts, moonlighting tech guy/ attorney and “go-to guy of the greats” Bob Burger (pictured above) has long served up crowdpleasing favorites augmented by a secret-sauce recipe of original compositions. The bespectacled Burger shares the Strand stage with singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer (jingle specialist, Amateur Night at the Apollo winner) Marc Ribler, as well as with the blues-infused rock chantooze Jo Wymer in a rare unplugged setting. Only 165 tickets are being made available, so get ‘em here. Strand Center for the Arts, Fourth St. and Clifton Ave., Lakewood • 8pm/ $29
SATURDAY! Saturday Stand-Up at The Showroom. While the new and expanded location of The ShowRoom takes shape on the Cookman Avenue Arts Bloc, Nancy and Mike’s original storefront screening space — the nifty neighborhood nickelodeon that’s hosted everything from guerrilla theater to multimedia concerts to spoken word to appearances by Pulitzer Prize winning authors — becomes once more a venue for standup and improv sketch comedy, with this first in what promises to be a regularly featured “showcase of fresh comedic talent.” The evening kicks off with the Rutgers-based improv troupe A 4 Effort — taking suggestions from the audience to incorporate into their high energy games of spontaneous comedy-bustion — followed by sets spotlighting young ha-ha hopefuls Rich McDonald, Denis Daley, Steven Hilger, Dina Hashem, John Post, and Sean Newman. The Showroom, 708 Cookman Ave., Asbury Park • 10pm/ $10 ($5 students with valid ID)
SUNDAY! John Sebastian at The Supper Club. Last seen locally on a Monmouth University double bill with fellow Sixties traveler Roger McGuinn, John Sebastian showed that the title of his oft-covered song “Stories We Could Tell” was no idle arrangement of words. The Hall o’ Famer founder and fearless leader of The Lovin’ Spoonful probably did more to establish the bond between the folkie/jugband tradition and the “hip” rock band template than anyone before and maybe even since — and whatever you think of his musical legacy, you can’t deny that the Greenwich Village-bred godson of Vivian “Ethel Mertz” Vance is of that generation that’s got story to spare. Sebastian takes the stage of Tim McLoone’s Supper Club as the latest guest of honor in the “Masters of Music” series, produced by Sammy Boyd and hosted by McLoone on the stage of the fabuluxe Howard Jetsons hotspot above the Asbury boards. Expect to hear the songs (Top Ten Spoonful singles “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Daydream,” “Summer in the City,” “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?”), his chart-topping theme to TV’s Welcome Back Kotter, and stories — of staggering early-career success; of a “stoned” solo set at Woodstock; of early forays into Hollywood and Broadway; of TV hosting gigs, instructional harmonica tapes and all manner of later-life projects. Call 732.774.1400 to reserve table. Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Ave. (at Fifth Ave.), Asbury Park • 8pm/ $20 – $45 (show only)
Joe Sent Me: Internationally acclaimed jazz scholar, globetrotting conductor, arranger and artistic director of Red Bank-based Jazz Arts Project (plus host of some of the most eagerly awaited backyard BBQs of the Cool Year) Joe “Mooche” Muccioli opens up his formidable Little Black Book of contacts for a new round of SUMMER JAZZ CAFÉ, the annual series of sophisticated speakeasy sessions going up this weekend at Two River Theater (see Friday’s picks for deep-dish deets).
It’s been close to a decade now since we’ve made our base of operations in Red Bank, but we remember well those annual KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink blowouts; those exponentially expanding extravaganzas that turned every parcel of property along the river (including and maybe especially our old digs at the Colony House apartments) into a fully thronged thriller each July 3rd. We recall also the parking-spot fistfights, the street closings, the clueless rent-a-cops, the paralyzing traffic and the day-long atmosphere of powderkeg tension that set otherwise tolerant people at each other’s throats until after the last drunkass litterbug stumbled onto the NJ Transit train without his cellphone, ID or left-hand opposable thumb. So we note with interest the fact that the quaintly upscale borough — following a ridiculous (and ridiculously expensive) three-day “KaBoomFest” last year that turned the former small-town sloshfest into a simulcast Would-stock that actually boasted paid “VIP” fireworks viewing — has passed on setting off so much as a a sparkler here in 2012. It’s a surprisingly “Dead Bank” move to which we give two not-at-all-blasted-off Thumbs Up; a season of rest and an opportunity to reboot the franchise in a possibly simpler and saner direction.
Not that there’s any rest for the bleary-eyed here in the week of mass-market beer and corn-on-the-cob rolling off greasy paper plates onto the water-starved dust of your brother in law’s back yard. Turn that pixelated paper over, for our ever-opinionated picks regarding the Week That Was That Will Be…
When the event known as Crossing Borders makes its second annual stand at Red Bank’s Two River Theater this week, it will do more than roll into town with a precious cargo of four new works by Latino playwrights. It will cross between matters of cultural curiosity and personal identity — and it will cross over into some surprising settings that range from chilly Wisconsin to some of the lesser known stretches of Sesame Street.
A follow-up to last year’s successful series, Crossing Borders takes over the black-box Marion Huber space at the Bridge Avenue arts center for four days between Thursday, June 28 and Sunday, July 1 — a four-day interval in which audiences will be treated to “bare bones” readings of acclaimed new plays, bookended by public-welcome parties, and all presented free of charge.