NJPAC Announces Schedule of Events
Poetry, World Music, Film, Children's Theater Among Many Diverse Offerings this year
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has announced its schedule for the 2012-13 season, which is filled with new festivals, curatorial and artistic collaborations, and community partnerships, programs and artist outreach that will take place within and beyond its stages. Throughout the season, NJPAC will continue to add performances.
NJPAC is located at 1 Center St.
"Our 2012-13 season will be filled with the sounds of surprise" said John Schreiber, NJPAC's president and CEO. "We've consciously scheduled more curtains and added significantly to the artistic mix. In addition to what audiences have come to love and expect from the Arts Center, we're introducing new programs that will be unique to the region. If you already love NJPAC, there's plenty on the roster for you. And if you haven't yet been to the theater or visited in a long time, we think our expanded schedule will offer something to engage everybody."
Single tickets are now onsale and may be purchased by calling 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722), in person at the NJPAC box office located at One Center Street in downtown Newark, or online at www.njpac.org.
The schedule for the following year is as follows:
Summer at NJPAC is going to be the largest and busiest yet, kicking off with the previously announced hit NBC alternative series "America's Got Talent" broadcasting live, two nights a week, beginning in July. American radio personality, television host and author Howard Stern joins the show as a judge, along with Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne. Nick Cannon returns as host.
Sounds of the City, NJPAC’s free, outdoor concert series, has been expanded and reimagined as a community event that gives attendees a taste of what they can expect to see on the mainstage in the upcoming season. With reggae, Latin music, hip hop, soul and R&B on the bill, Thursday evenings (5- 10pm) at NJPAC between July 5 and August 30, 2012 will showcase some of the hottest artists in the various genres each week in Theater Square. Jumpstarting Newark’s favorite festival on July 5 from 5- 10pm will be the return of the always-popular Rhythm Review Dance Party with Felix Hernandez, complete with a dance floor and all the grooves to which listeners to Hernandez’ popular weekly radio show are accustomed.
The Wailers, the legendary reggae band that backed Bob Marley, headlines an evening of Jamaican sounds along with Brooklyn-based Judah Tribe. Both Latin and Caribbean music are in the forefront all summer long, with performances by Ray Mantilla, Larry Harlow and the Latin Legends Band featuring Luisito Rosario, Alfredo de le Fe and Emo Luciano with special guests Bobby Sanabria and others, as well as two Sounds of the City nights co-sponsored with TEMPO Networks, the Pan-Caribbean media and entertainment company. Also on the bill for the series are two nights of hip hop, headlined by industry pioneers Big Daddy Kane and Rakim (and DJ Tony Touch). The R&B/neo- soul husband and wife group Kindred the Family Soul brings its smooth songs and celebration of family and love to the Theater Square stage on R&B Night. Each Sounds of the City concert features one or more performing artists and an extended DJ set from 8-10pm to keep the party going.
NJPAC’s Friday Night Live, a new series of four Friday night concerts (July 6, July 20, Aug. 3 and Aug. 17), features funk royalty The Family Stone with Jerry Martini and Cynthia Robinson, and “the greatest horn band ever,” Blood, Sweat & Tears, as well as two nights of TEMPO Caribbean programming. Through Friday Night Live, NJPAC is able to offer an additional four free concerts to thousands in the community and the surrounding metro-area, further activating the Downtown Arts District on nights that in summers past might have been dark.
Each year, the Women’s Association of NJPAC raises funds and friends for Arts Center operations and education activities through its annual Spotlight Gala. This year’s very special event features “A Night in Motown” with guest artists Brian McKnight, Darlene Love, Valerie Simpson and American Idol’s musical director Ray Chew with special guests still to be added.
Only-At-NJPAC Festivals & Special Events
This season, NJPAC is offering more choices and more performances through a greater number of festivals and special events that span art forms from jazz to poetry to funk and hip hop.
On December 8, NJPAC gets funkified when George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic take the stage with special guests Morris Day & The Time in NJPAC’s inaugural Funk Fest. Clinton, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a pioneer of the genre, brings his classic funk, soul and rock collective and is joined by Morris Day and bestselling group The Time (Jungle Love and What Time is It?), known also for their work on Prince’s Purple Rain. During the season, Clinton will lead discussion on funk with high school students from around the State. Additional performances will be added to the Funk Fest throughout the season.
In Jamaica at 50, an NJPAC November 30 exclusive celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jamaican Independence, one of the longest reigning reggae superstar groups of all time, Third World, Grammy- nominated British superstar Maxi Priest, and the next branch of the Marley lineage, Ky-Mani Marley (Bob’s son), celebrate the island’s independence from Great Britain by sharing the sounds of struggle and protest through reggae genius.
The James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival is a weeklong celebration of jazz and the musical legacy of longtime Newarker and beloved jazz musician James Moody. The Festival is highlighted by two star- studded concerts: For Love of Moody: A Jazz Celebration (Oct. 19) featuring jazz icons George Benson, The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, Kenny Barron, Jon Faddis, Jimmy Heath, Paquito D’Rivera and others, and Miles Davis and Gil Evans: Still Ahead (Oct. 20), an all-star recreation of the landmark original Gil Evans arrangements of the classic Miles Davis recordings of Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain, and Miles Ahead featuring trumpeters Terence Blanchard, Peter Erskine, Howard Johnson, Sean Jones, Jimmy Cobb and others.
Premiering on Oct. 20 at NJPAC will be Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans, a jazz musical based on bestselling author Mary Pope Osborne’s A Good Night for Ghosts (book number 42 in her 100-million-plus selling series of children’s books). The work will also be performed, at no cost, for 4,300 Newark fourth graders. Created by Osborne and her playwright- husband Will, in collaboration with Broadway-veteran Murray Horwitz and legendary New Orleans composer Allen Toussaint, the musical transports the audience to 1915 New Orleans where the main characters help a young Louis Armstrong on the path to becoming the king of jazz.
The festival will also feature the culminating performance of The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, with winners and finalists performing on the Victoria Theater stage on Oct. 21. Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer Christian McBride serves as Artistic Adviser to the Festival and will host master classes for students leading up to the festivities. WBGO-Jazz 88.3 partners with NJPAC in presenting the festival. The festival begins with Jazz House Kids’ Gala featuring Grammy-winning Christian McBride Big Band with Melissa Walker, Angelique Kidjo, George Duke, Maceo Parker, among others, and honoring Harry Belafonte, John J. Cali and Bruce Lundvall.
Presented from Oct. 8-14 by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in partnership with NJPAC and the City of Newark, and to be held at NJPAC and various venues in Newark, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival is the largest poetry event in North America, and features a remarkable roster of widely- published and award-winning poets, including individual state and U.S. Poets Laureate, and Pulitzer Prize winners. The festival will include U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine, Pulitzer Prize-winners C. K. Williams and Natasha Trethewey, poet-musician Kurtis Lamkin, National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes, Jane Hirschfield, and Thomas Lux. Pulitzer Prize finalist Henri Cole, Chilean National Literature Prize winner Raul Zarita, Ireland’s leading woman poet Eavan Boland, California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Fanny Howe and Gregory Orr are among the poets making their Dodge Poetry Festival debuts this year. The Festival will also present a world premiere performance of selections from Four-time National Grand Slam Champion Patricia Smith’s book-length sequence Blood Dazzler, about Hurricane Katrina, set to Wynton Marsalis’s “At the Octoroon Balls” string quartet performed by members of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Bank of America Classical Series
For 15 years, the world’s top orchestras and soloists have been a hallmark of NJPAC programming.
Celebrated Russian maestro Valery Gergiev returns with his St. Petersburg-based Mariinsky Orchestra in a program of Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben; the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring; and is joined by Russian pianist Denis Matsuev on Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1. In its annual trip across the Hudson River, the New York Philharmonic returns to NJPAC, this time with piano virtuoso Andre Watts as soloist on Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Also on the program, under the direction of Slovakian conductor Juraj Valcuha, are Weber’s Overture to Oberon and Strauss’ Suites from Der Rosenkavalier and Der Frau ohne Schatten. In a collaboration with NJPAC’s Resident Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) and conductor Jacques Lacombe, the greatest cellist of his generation, Yo-Yo Ma, returns for a program that features works by English composer Sir Edward Elgar (his Enigma Variations and Cello Concerto) and Maurice Ravel’s Bolero.
The celebrated Budapest Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Hungarian conductor Ivan Fischer and soloist Janine Jansen on violin, makes its NJPAC debut with Shostakovitch’s waltz, Jazz Suite, Leonard Bernstein’s concerto, Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. The annual partnership between NJPAC, the NJSO and Opera New Jersey, mounts a full production of the Verdi masterpiece La Traviata. Thirty one year old, multi-Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn brings selections from 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores, featuring commissions from well-known and emerging composers, as well as sonatas by Beethoven and Bach. She is joined in her recital by Valentina Lisitsa, a Ukrainian pianist and recent YouTube sensation. Hahn will also offer master classes with area students in advance of her performance. Conductor and Musical Director Michael Tilson Thomas brings his San Francisco Symphony to NJPAC for an evening of Brahms (Symphony No. 1), Beethoven (Piano Concerto No. 4) and a new work created specifically for the orchestra by composer Samuel Adams. The Orchestra is joined by rising Chinese piano star Yuja Wang. Among the leading orchestras in America, the Boston Symphony Orchestra returns to NJPAC in an all-Wagner program, marking the composer’s bicentennial and under the direction of Daniele Gatti and soloist mezzo-soprano Michele DeYoung. And the finale of the classical season will showcase Pianist Peter Serkin in an all-Beethoven recital.
Rock & Pop
NJPAC will be rocking this season with a handful of performances already scheduled and many more to be announced as the season progresses. Singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant comes to NJPAC with the 36-piece Chelsea Symphony Orchestra, bringing her 30-plus years of experience on tour as both lead for 10,000 Maniacs and as a solo artist. Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson brings the Thick as a Brick Tour to NJPAC, performing for the first time the band’s classic, 1972 album Thick as a Brick 1 in its entirety as well as the album’s follow-up, Thick as a Brick 2. For the classic rock fans, NJPAC’s season features two Beatles Marathon Festivals covering all the songs from Hard Day’s Night, Help, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Let It Be, Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour, and a Led Zeppelin Festival featuring each song from the band’s quintessential albums, I and IV. Both festivals will be performed by the stellar Classic Albums Live band comprised of some of the best studio musicians and vocalists working today. After a sold-out performance last season, progressive rockers Renaissance return to NJPAC to play cuts from their classic 1977 Novella as well as other hits from their back catalogue and their most recent Grenadine il Vento.
The James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival brings some of the top names in the genre to NJPAC at the beginning of the season, but the season stays boppin’ all year long. The hot gypsy jazz from Birdland’s Django Reinhardt New York Festival comes to Newark with Dorado Schmitt and Birdland’s Django Reinhardt Festival All-Stars, bringing the sounds of American swing and the Hot Club sounds of 1930s- 40s Paris. Since 1977, the Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette have gigged together on much of the “Great American Songbook.” While each has an impressive career on his own, they bring their years of experience playing together to NJPAC for a night of the masters.
NJPAC amps up its Latin music offerings this season by programming some of the top names in salsa and Flamenco. For the third year in a row, SalsaPalooza returns to NJPAC with an all-star lineup featuring Tito Nieves, who penned hits such as “I Like It Like That,” Grammy-nominated superstar India (“The Princess of Salsa”), double Platinum-selling singer/bandleader Tito Rojas (“The Pavarotti of Salsa”), and Grammy-nominated vocalist Eddie Santiago. And in Flamenco Vivo, guitarist, composer and dramatist Paco Pena and his Flamenco Ensemble showcase flamenco in all of its collaborative forms through solos, duets and ensemble pieces performed by handpicked guitarists, vocalists and dancers. Branching out to film, NJPAC will screen Let the Spirit Move You: Espiritismo in Puerto Rico, a new documentary about an ancestral, Kongo-based sacred tradition in Puerto Rico, followed by a panel discussion.
Newark is home to residents from around the globe, as are the stages of NJPAC. This season, the Arts Center reaches out to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In partnership with The Newark Museum’s exhibition on Islamic art, Beauty and Belief, Grammy-nominated Simon Shaheen, one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers and composers of his generation, makes his NJPAC debut with Secular and Sacred Music of the Arab World. At this concert, the oud and violin master deftly blends traditional Middle Eastern sounds to Western classical music to jazz and Latin rhythms.
With their unique blend of blues, folk, gospel, reggae, African chants and more, the Grammy-winning female African American a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock pays tribute to three legendary women vocalists Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba and Odetta, while celebrating its 39th year of touring the world, honoring African American legacies and traditions.
Whether fiddle or violin, the ten genre-bending violinists in Bowfire, along with an assortment of accompanists, swing from classical to rock to bluegrass to gypsy jazz to Celtic sounds and back again, with dancers, lighting and costumes in the spectacle’s return to NJPAC. And speaking of spectacle, there is plenty of showmanship and athleticism when the world renowned Kodo Drummers return to Newark with their preservation and at the same time reinterpretation of taiko drumming on instruments small to 900 pounds.
Words / Music / Film (new NJPAC exclusive series)
NJPAC’s CEO, John Schreiber, spent the four and a half years preceding his move to NJPAC working in the film industry, so it’s no surprise that film makes an impact at NJPAC this season. Author, screenwriter, filmmaker, television producer, and cultural critic Nelson George hosts an NJPAC-exclusive series of film screenings that complement jazz, soul, funk and hip hop programming on NJPAC’s stages during the season. George, who directed a Golden Globe-winning movie (“Life Support”), is Executive Producer of BET’s “American Gangster” series and VH1’s Hip Hop Honors, produced Chris Rock’s Good Hair, was a columnist for Billboard Magazine and the Village Voice, and penned award-winning histories of Motown, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, the autobiography of Russell Simmons, and bestselling fiction books, among many other accomplishments.
Each screening captures performances by musical icons and will be followed by a panel discussion with guest musicians, writers and historians. Handpicked by George for showing are Save the Children, which captures performances by Cannonball Adderly, Roberta Flack, Sammy Davis Jr., Marvin Gaye, and more in a Chicago concert presented as part Jesse Jackson’s 1972 Operation PUSH Black Exposition; Krush Groove, which focuses on the explosion of hip hop into mass culture in the early 1980s and includes performances from future stars Sheila E., Run-DMC, the Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, New Edition, the Beastie Boys and more; Wattstax, an award-winning documentary on the Wattstax Music Festival, a concert commemorating seventh anniversary of the Watts riots, with performances by many of the biggest African American performing artists of the time, including Isaac Hayes, The Staples Singers, The Emotions, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Richard Pryor and more; and Jazz on a Summer’s Day, the classic jazz feature chronicling the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, blending scenes of the city with the audience and performances by George Shearing, Chico Hamilton, Thelonious Monk, Dinah Washington, Gerry Mulligan, Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson and many others.
NJPAC’s new American Song series includes “The First Lady of the American Musical Stage,” Barbara Cook is fresh off her Kennedy Center Honors in 2011 and will celebrate her 85th birthday this season, but she shows no signs of slowing down with the forthcoming publication of her autobiography and her stellar live concerts, including a stop at NJPAC. She performs with jazz guitar icon and vocalist John Pizzarelli and his Trio. Tony Award-winning actress-singer, Christine Ebersole, who has enchanted audiences throughout her performing career, from the Broadway stage to television series and specials, film, concert and cabaret appearances and recordings, returns to NJPAC for an intimate night of cabaret.
NJPAC’s 2012-13 Season Announcement, p. 8 of 12
Jarrod Spector, who played Frankie Valli in the Tony and Grammy-winning Jersey Boys, brings Minor Fall, Major Lift, his life story to stage. And the one and only Betty Buckley brings the voice that has won her Tony Awards and a multitude of roles on stage and screen for two intimate performances. He Said/She Said features a cabaret performance by award-winning veteran Broadway co-stars Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley of the recent Broadway hit Next To Normal. Mazzie and Danieley have each starred repeatedly on the Great White Way, on television, and in concerts and recordings both solo and alongside the leading orchestras of the nation.
Afternoon Curtain (new NJPAC exclusive series)
New this season will be an NJPAC-exclusive Thursday matinees series entitled Afternoon Curtain with legendary artists performing and speaking about their craft. Leading off the series will be Tony-winning song-and-dance man and actor Ben Vereen in an afternoon entitled Broadway & Beyond. Vereen, whose Broadway credits include Pippen and Fosse, and whose stage and screen credits include Roots and Funny Lady, will sing his way through the Broadway songbook. In A Conversation with Elaine Stritch, the Tony and Emmy-Award-winning Broadway legend and film and television star Elaine Stritch sits down for a candid conversation with NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber, producer of her Tony and Emmy-winning Broadway autobiographical show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty. The one-man production of An Afternoon of Shalom Aleichem, written and performed by award-winning actor Murray Horwitz, recreates the heart-warming humor of famed Yiddish writer and storyteller Shalom Aleichem (called “The Jewish Mark Twain”), whose stories of Tevya the Milkman provide the basis for Fiddler on the Roof. And in An Afternoon in the Catskills, comic Freddie Roman, the longtime dean of the Friars Club and mastermind behind Catskills on Broadway, shares the stage with stand-up comedian Stewie Stone for an afternoon of Borscht Belt humor.
Gospel and Holiday
NJPAC focuses on gospel music this holiday season, highlighted by an exciting new NJPAC-exclusive concert, Love for the Holidays, a special performance by American musical legend and 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darlene Love, who will bring with her a variety of special guests, including Cissy Houston. In another gospel concert, Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award-winner Fred Hammond keeps the praises going strong when he arrives fresh off the recent release of his two-CD set God, Love and Romance. And to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, NJPAC’s hosts a Rev. Dr. celebration featuring Marvin Sapp and Smokie Norful, two of today’s hottest stars in contemporary gospel music.
The holiday season would not be the same without the annual Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra concert under the direction of Keith Lockhart, which returns this year with holiday favorites, audience sing- a- longs, and special guests Five by Design and Santa Claus.
Philadelphia’s Illstyle & Peace Productions features a blend of hip hop, tap and ballet dance, DJing and beat boxing in NJPAC’s The Spirit of Kwanzaa performance.
Reality and Comedy
Reality television continues to lead the ratings on the small screen, but it has also sold out time and again on NJPAC’s big stages. In the 2012-13 season, NJPAC brings back to Newark New Jersey’s own Buddy “The Cake Boss” Valastro for his Homemade for the Holidays Tour, as well as Emmy-winning Cesar Millan: The Dog Whisperer. And fresh from Broadway, William Shatner tells his life story, from Shakespearean stage work to Star Trek in Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It. Stand-up sensation and frequent big and small screen comedic actor Mike Epps stops in Newark on his I’m Still Standing Tour, while Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy-winning comedian, actor and television host Whoopi Goldberg returns to the NJPAC stage with her one-woman show.
Whether beautiful, athletic, poignant or whimsical, some of the globe’s premier dance companies return to NJPAC in the 2012-13 season. Brooklyn-based but world-renowned Ronald K. Brown and Evidence, A Dance Company bring the Arts Center the NJPAC-commissioned On Earth Together, a testimony-- set to the music of Stevie Wonder -- to making the world a better place. Brown will also teach a master class with area students prior to his performance. Fairy tales come to life when the full corps de ballet and company of 50 of the State Ballet Theatre of Russia stage Cinderella – choreographed by the one-time Bolshoi star Vladimir Vasiliev. Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the world’s foremost, all-male comic ballet troupe returns to NJPAC with its technical prowess, classical works and tutus, showcasing their mastery of technique while at the same time keeping the performance light hearted. Recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” NJPAC’s Principal Resident Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, also makes its annual stop in Newark with new works debuted earlier in the season at New York City Center as well as classic repertory. The Ailey Company will also hold master classes with students from the area.
Children and Family
Back by popular demand, Drumline Live takes the high energy sounds and choreography of the marching bands in historically black colleges and universities, showcased in the Hollywood blockbuster of the same name, and sets them on stage for an explosive performance that sold out last season at NJPAC. In the tradition of Blue Man Group and Stomp, the Vancouver-based drummers of SCRAP ARTS MUSIC pound out intricate rhythms on over 145 unique, mobile sculptures created from industrial scrap metal in Metal, Music, Movement. Also from Canada, Traces, the Montreal-based acrobatic troupe that was a sensation off-Broadway last season, returns to the metro-area when it brings its athletic vaudeville “neo circus” to the Arts Center. For the first time in years, NJPAC welcomes back an audience sing-a-long with the Julie Andrews Technicolor- classic The Sound of Music. An annual tradition, the Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, based in Fort Lee, NJ, celebrates the Chinese New Year at NJPAC, this year honoring The Year of the Serpent. And “Newark’s Finest Musical Ambassadors,” the Newark Boys Chorus, return with a program that covers the classical, pop, folk, gospel and jazz.
On the heels of last summer's wildly successful Kiss Me, Kate, the award-winning summer musical collaboration between NJPAC Arts Education and the New Jersey Youth Theatre returns in July, this time with hit-packed Smokey Joe's Cafe. With a score that includes 40 of the greatest rock-n-roll songs ever recorded, Smokey Joe's Cafe features the music Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller, including "Stand By Me," "On Broadway" and “I’m a Woman.” This year, the production moves to the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University where it runs from July 18-22 before moving to the Sitnick Theater at the Lackland Performing Arts Center at Centenary College from July 26-29.
Children’s theater hits the NJPAC stages this season, as four children’s theater companies mount seven productions of classic children’s stories. Bristol Riverside Theater’s puppets, created by Emmy-winning Michael Schupbach of Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, tell Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s story The Little Prince, while Corbian Visual Arts and Dance/Light Wire Theater’s electro-luminescent wired puppets act out Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and Aesop’s fable The Tortoise and the Hare. The whimsical Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia return to NJPAC, also with puppets, for A Brown Bear, A Caterpillar and A Moon: Treasured Stories of Eric Carle, the company’s adaptations of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Papa Please Get the Moon for Me and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. And the Dallas Children’s Theater performs a courtroom, he-barked-he-squealed musical rendition of The Three Little Pigs.