Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, June 28 2018
SOUNDS on SCREEN: A Bite at the Opera, at the Crane House
She’s honored as an Asbury Angel, same as Clarence Clemons and a gallery of other late great Circuit rockers — but before she died in 2011, Madame Era Tognoli rocked an altogether different house as the founder of Metro Lyric Opera, the company that staged grand opera classics inside Asbury’s Paramount Theatre for an incredible fifty-one seasons. Each summer since her passing, Frank D’Alessandro of the historic Stephen Crane House has hosted a free series of Opera On Film events in her memory — and TONIGHT, June 28, the series returns for a seventh season; this time on Thursday evenings (a necessary move, given the increasing scarcity of parking on beach-season weekends). It’s a “Bite at the Opera” slate that couples a 5 pm screening inside the Crane’s newly air-conditioned Lecture Room theater, with a home-cooked light dinner following the film.
This Thursday’s feature is the 2003 production of Puccini’s Manon Lescault, starring Kiri Te Kanawa and Plácido Domingo. Doors open at 4:30 pm, with the 129 minute film followed by dinner (refreshments will also be served prior to the screening, which will also be preceded by a brief introductory talk). As always at the Crane House, there is no charge for the film or the food; donations are always appreciated on behalf of the Asbury Park Little League or AP Historical Society, and new friends are welcomed, as a true legendary local is paid tribute at one of the city’s “best kept secret” cultural gems. Follow The Stephen Crane House on Facebook for updates on additional Bite at the Opera events, on July 26 and August 23.
SOUNDS: Lisa Sherman’s Broadway & Beyond at Tim McLoone’s
As versatile as her own encyclopedic repertoire, vocalist Lisa Sherman has made herself at home in settings that have ranged from glamour-gowned cabaret and glittering disco revivals, to big-band bop and blue-jeaned blues jams with harpin’ helper Sandy Mack. She’s equally at home in venues as expansive as the Count Basie auditorium, and as exclusive as private-party patios — and on Friday, June 29, the Shore area native takes it topside to the panoramic penthouse of Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, as the headline attraction for the revue Broadway and Beyond. Keynoting at 8:15 pm, it’s a set that finds the singing/dancing veteran of Broadway ensembles joined by Kristin Cochran (plus the assembled talents of Benny Gramm, Frosty Lawson, John Martin, John Micco, and Ralph Notaro, under the musical direction of Bob Himmelberger) in a guided tour of showtune-land that spans the songbook standards of Tin Pan Alley and the hit anthems of the present-day Theater District. All this, plus some of the most memorable themes from the movies…because, why not?
About that movie thing: it’s an occasion to welcome a very special guest to the proceedings, in the person of Academy Award and Golden Globe winning songwriter Franke Previte. The Jersey-guy frontman of 80s hitmakers Franke and the Knockouts (“Sweetheart”) — and the composer/lyricist best known for Dirty Dancing and its blockbuster anthems “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes” — joins Ms. Sherman (with whom he’s pictured here) for some potential-dynamite duets that are sure to include at least one of the aforementioned (and besides, when you’re up at Mr. McLoone’s roundhouse roadhouse, nobody but nobody puts Baby in a corner!). Take it to timmcloonessupperclub.com for available seating info and reservations.
SOUNDS: The Happy Together Tour at the Paramount
A summertime staple on our Shore for as far back as anyone can remember, the 60s transistor-pop package that is the Happy Together Tour returns on Saturday, June 30 to the Paramount stage; presented by The Light of Day Foundation and headlined as always by those most surreptitiously seductive hitmakers The Turtles (“Elenor,” You Showed Me,” “You Baby,” and of course “Happy Together”). This time out, however, co-frontman Mark Volman is joined by Ron Dante (the voice of The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” and lots more), substituting for an ailing Howard Kaylan — and the blockbuster bill is filled by The Association (“Cherish,” “Never My Love”), Chuck Negron (of Three Dog Night), Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere and the Raiders), Gary Puckett and the Union Gap (“Young Girl”), and The Cowsills (“The Rain, the Park and Other Things”). It’s a fantastic 45-box of music by and for funsters of a “certain age;” put forth with the caveat “lineup subject to change,” and served up at the earlybird hour of 7 pm. Tickets ($29-$119) can be purchased from Ticketmaster through apboardwalk.com.
SOUNDS: Umphrey’s McGee on the Stone Pony SummerStage
Touring behind their very recent studio release It’s You — a followup to their earlier 2018 release It’s Not Us, and its remix EP It’s Not Them — the jamband juggernaut Umphrey’s McGee returns to the Stone Pony SummerStage on Saturday, June 30 for an Asbury encore that finds the masters of genre-warping virtuosity and fast-thinking “Jimmy Stewart” improvs bonding with their audience via jaw-dropping musicianship, good humor, ever-improving originals, interactive extras, and the surprise grab-bag covertune mashups that made up their hilarious 2016 album “Zonkey.” Tickets for the 6 pm show ($27.50 advance, $35 d.o.s.) available at stoneponyonline.com.
STAGES: Andrew Dice Clay at the Paramount
The controversy-courting comic — maybe the only one who’s been both banned from SNL and fired by Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice — has been there and back; famously selling out Madison Square Garden for two nights in 1990, and working his way back to the bigs at the comedy cellars in the new century. Returning to Asbury Park for the first time since a 2012 appearance at the Bamboozle festival, Andrew Dice Clay has developed a self-deprecating streak to his signature swagger; a thing seen to great advantage in his recent cable series Dice. But lest you think he’s shed his greaser’s edge when he takes the stage of the Paramount Theater on Sunday, July 1, rest assured there’ll be something to offend just about everybody. Tickets ($37-$97) to the 7 pm show can be purchased from Ticketmaster through apboardwalk.com.
If you’ve yet to check out the Music Mondays series of free summertime concerts in Springwood Park (just a couple blocks west of the train tracks at Springwood and Atkins Avenues), you’re missing out on a summertime slate that pays genuine homage to the rich musical history of the Asbury’s west side, even as it keeps an ear trained on the hear-and-now of the city’s soundscape. Now in its third season, the presentation of the Asbury Park Music Foundation ups the ante on July 3, with a homecoming set by a member of a classic R&B hitmaking crew. An Asbury-sound fixture dating back to his 1960s stints with The Broadways and The Uniques, Billy Brown found nationwide fame as a member of The Moments (that’s him singing lead on the version of “Love on a Two Way Street” that went to Number One on the charts) — and, as co-founder (with two fellow Moments) of the original Ray, Goodman & Brown, he’d scale the hit-parade heights again with “Special Lady.” As the last original standing in the 2018 edition of “Ray, Goodman & Brown,” Billy keeps the light on for a brand of smooth uptown soul that beat Bruce to the Billboards a generation-plus ago. He’ll be sharing a retrospective of his hits and then some, in a 6 pm open-air performance that moves to the nearby Asbury Park Train Station in case of rain.
Of course, there’s much more in the air on an Asbury Park summer’s interlude, not the least of which are the fireworks displays that punctuate the panoramic ocean sky vistas on July 3rd and 4th (check your hometown community’s website or social media for updated etails). Also making a bang and a boom are the special Thursday fundraiser-show appearance by Devin Santi at (and for) the AP Music Foundation…another in a series of special Cabaret for Life benefit shows at McLoone’s; this one a Peggy Lee tribute starring Bethe Burns (also Thursday)…a two-night whistlestop by Railroad Earth at Asbury Lanes (Friday, Saturday)…the continuation of Asbury Park Football Club’s FREE all-ages “Clubhouse” events at the Yacht Club, featuring World Cup broadcasts and live bands (Saturday, Sunday afternoons)…Eddie Brigati (pictured) of 60s sensations The Rascals in an intimate version of his (Steve Van Zandt-produced) Broadway show at Tim’s Supper Club (Saturday)…the Ocean Grove Summer Band in a free inaugural for the summer schedule at the Great Auditorium (Saturday)…Grammy-winning rapper and fashion mogul Lupe Fiasco at the Lanes (Sunday)…the ongoing excitement of free Jams on the Sand outside Anchor’s Bend (Thursday) AND a pair of free special-event Bend blasts featuring The Rock & Roll Hi Fives (Monday) and The Weeklings (Tuesday)…a battle-of-the-decades dance party House party featuring top DJs/ generals Tyler Valentine and Funsize (Tuesday)…and the possible continuation of last week’s Battle of Bradley Park? Check the printed pages of that fightin’ weekly THE COASTER for this week’s full rundown of sights and sounds and screens and stages!