Published in The Coaster, Asbury Park NJ, October 4 2018

STAGES: “The American Soldier” at Monmouth University

A familiar presence from roles in The Americans, Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, and Mr. Robot, Douglas Taurel has received his greatest acclaim for The American Soldier: 1774-2015, a solo show that examines more than 240 years of American history through the eyes of the people on the front lines — both literal and emotional — of the conflicts that have framed and defined our nation’s history and place in the world. Created by the NJ-based actor and drawn from first-person stories, journalistic accounts, and letters that span the centuries from the Revolutionary War through the present-day operations in Afghanistan, Soldier brings the audience face to face with the often overlooked warriors who answered the call to serve their country, as well as those who waited on the home front for the safe return of their loved ones.

On Friday night, October 5, the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University is the setting, as Taurel portrays a gallery of fourteen vividly sketched characters — connecting its disparate voices through common themes of brotherhood, loss, and the ravages of PTSD, even long before it was given a name. Tickets for the 8 pm performance of The American Soldier are priced at $30, and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at

SOUNDS: Michael Allman at the Wonder Bar

The son of the late and lamented Gregg Allman has been touring intensely throughout the northeast of late, with a solid set of Allman Brothers/ Southern rock classics that’s backed (curiously and delightfully enough) by the Philly-based band The Mile High Club. The traveling music show comes to the Wonder Bar this Friday, October 5, for an evening that promises such bedrock Brothers classics as “Whipping Post,”  “One Way Out” and “Midnight Rider,” as well as prme cuts from Marshall Tucker (“Can’t You See”), Clapton (“Layla”), and Michael Allman originals like “If Dreams Were Money.” Secret Sound returns to the Wonder stage as openers, with doors open at 7 pm and tickets ($17 advance; $20 d.o.s.) at

SOUNDS: Trent Harmon at House of Indies

The Season 15 winner of American Idol makes an Asbury Park debut as the latest contempo-country artist to be featured in concert at downtown’s all-purpose auditorium House of Independents, in a series co-presented by radio station Thunder 106. Scheduled for Friday, October 5, it’s a showcase for the “indie-soul influenced” Mississippi native Trent Harmon, who’s touring behind his first full-length album release, 2018’s You Got ‘Em All. Two rising female stars — CMA Emerging Artist award winner Jessica Rose and Kendal Conrad — round out the bill, with doors open at 7 pm and tickets ($19.50) available at, or at Lola’s Café across Cookman Avenue from the venue.

SOUNDS: Zombie AfterParty with Sandy Mack, at the Wonder

Seems entirely appropriate for a post-Zombie Walk afterparty affair to be soundtracked by the Dead — but while the lasting legacy of Garcia and company remains a core component of Sandy Mack and his ever-eclectic “Jamily” of go-to comrades and guest players, it’s still just one prominent stripe in a standard that can proudly wave o’er everything from the most evocative classic rock cornerstones, to connoisseur-level blues heirlooms. The ace harpist returns to the Wonder Bar this Saturday, October 6, with a very special helper: Matt O’Ree, the championship blues-rock fretmeister (and Bon Jovi tour guitarist) who joins Sandy for a Night of the Living Dead monstermash that sounds the keynote at 7 pm. Pay just $5 at the door — and follow that Mack truck up the Fifth Avenue block to the Asbury Hotel, where the Jamily patriarch presides over his Sunday-sauce Soundbooth Lounge session, each day-of-rest from 4 to 7 pm.

STAGES: NENA’s “Secret Garden” at JS Arts

Returning to the auditorium of Ocean Grove’s Jersey Shore Arts Center for their annual fall offering, producer-director Nick Montesano and his NENAproductions Theater Project present a new production of The Secret Garden, the Tony-winning musical adapted from the classic novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Boasting songs by Lucy Simon and Pulitzer winner Marsha Norman, the oft-filmed story of a young orphaned girl named Mary, the tragedy-haunted uncle she’s sent to live with — and a hidden neglected garden that offers both mysteries and a chance for redemption — stars Maura Whalen in a followup to her turn in NENA’s staging of Fun Home. Jeffrey Fiorello (pictured with Maura) co-stars as Uncle Archibald, and the supporting cast features many returning company players under the music direction of Jeff Brown. Performances continue Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm, with a 3 pm Sunday matinee on October 7. Tickets ($25 adults, $19 kids) can be purchased at the door, through, or by calling 732-988-1007.

 SCENES: Asbury Park Punk Rock Flea Market at Convention Hall

Calling all vinyl fetishists, comix connoisseurs, ephemera aficionados and unrepentant cinephiles: many of the greater Asbury area’s most vivacious vendors are among the more than 100 local/regional purveyors of records, CDs, movies, magazines, books, toys, collectibles, wearables, and MORE during the autumn edition of the semi-annual Asbury Park Punk Rock Flea Market. Hosted inside Convention Hall, the three-ring flea circus opens its big heart to all, and its doors at 10 am, with admission $5 between 11 am and 5 pm (and an earlybird rate of $10 for savvy scouters). There’s live music in the air as well, courtesy of The Vansaders (pictured) and more — then take it downtown to the AP Brewery at 7 pm for an afterparty bill of four live bands (and take it to for a fully viewable rundown of vendors).

SOUNDS: A Tribute to Butch, at the Stone Pony

A lot of local/national music history has been made since that winter in 1974, when Robert “Butch” Pielka and Jack Roig opened the doors of The Stone Pony — and with Pielka’s passing at age 71 this past June, an encapsulated era is remembered on the stage of the landmark rock club by an allstar assembly of Shore music makers. Going on between 2 and 9 pm this Sunday, October 7, it’s a bill highlighted by the reconvened Cats on a Smooth Surface — an act that logged many an onstage hour in the time of the 3 am bar closing — featuring Bobby Bandiera, Joel Krauss, and Harry Filkin. The catty combo is joined by Asbury-based legends Lance Larson, Glen Burtnik, and Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez for a 2 pm afternoon and evening of rock jams and reminiscences that further features longtime house DJ Lee Mrowicki, and for which tickets ($25 advance; $30 d.o.s.) can be had at (Be sure to be at the Second Ave entrance to the boardwalk at 12 pm, when the Asbury Angels Foundation dedicates its 2018 collection of memorial plaques to the city’s legendary musicmakers, movers ‘n shakers.)

STAGES: Mike Super at Monmouth University

A finalist on America’s Got Talent and a top winner on NBC’s Phenomenon, professional “mystifier” Mike Super materializes on the stage of Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre with a live display of “Magic & Illusion” that mixes super-sized sleight of hand, state of the art stage effects, traces of classic vaudeville, and a refreshing sense of humor, to breathe new life into the musty old lock-box of the traditional magician act. Scheduled for this Wednesday, October 10, it’s a show that promises everything from interactive games, mysterious vanishings and equally mysterious appearances, to a bit of the old “voodoo mind control” and a momentary repeal of the law of gravity.

Having taken his act to audiences of “Superfreaks” across the continent, Super comes to campus with a show designed to school all doubters, and invite members of the audience to join in the fun. Tickets to the 8 pm performance ($45-$75) can be reserved through the Monmouth box office at 732-263-6889, or online at

There’s more…there’s always more…where that came from, here in the city that never slips out of tune, and the print edition of this week’s COASTER intelligencer has the deets (and DEM some) on further recommended events that commence this THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4 with one of our favorite post-psych pop bands, The Cold Seas, at Asbury Park Brewery. FRIDAY finds Asbury Festhalle Biergarten continuing its remarkable slate of seriously Oktoberfest entertainments with the first of a two-night stand by those “monsters of polka” Bavarski…while SATURDAY sees Taylor Tote headlining a Soundbooth Lounge triple-bill that further features Pepperwine and (Bob Makin approved up ‘n comers) Nalani & Sarina. SUNDAY sees the return of Billy Hector to the Wonder Bar, as the bluesrocker and fellow Shore stalwarts help Lance and Debbie pay tribute to a recently passed favorite friend of the Circuit landmark, Guido Scarno…while MONDAY offers up the area debut of Wisconsin-based duo Seasaw at The Saint.  Monmouth University’s historic Wilson Hall Auditorium is the setting for another TUESDAY Night Record Club session, this one spotlighting John Coltrane’s milestone jazz album A Love Supreme…and Deal Casino helps us o’er the humpday speedbump with a WEDNESDAY night winging at the AP Yacht Club. Then lather, rinse, and repeat each ‘n every Thursday, when THE COASTER brings it all back home to your favorite diner counter-top, corner convenience store, or residential mailbox!