New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


BIG NEWS! Here's the latest Issue of NJ Stage Magazine -- Click here

Concerts In The Studio

By Gary Wien


It all started about two years ago when Mark Costanzo read an article in the New York Times about house concerts. It not only peaked his interest, but he decided to call a group called The Kennedys and see if they'd be interested in playing a house concert in the photography studio behind Costanzo's house in Freehold, New Jersey.

The group, who had done house concerts in the past, said sure. And from that phone call an idea for "Concerts In The Studio" was born.

"I started to research who I'd like to see and just made some calls," explained Mark Costanzo. "The first show I had was Amy Rigby in April (2005) and the second show was The Kennedys in May. So, I said why not make a series of it once a month."

House concerts have become increasingly popular with musicians around the world. Some are veterans of the club scene that are getting a bit older and tired of playing smoky bars each night. Others have discovered house concerts to be an excellent source of income and a great way to sell cds. Few people have the great setup for the shows as Costanzo does; in fact, the setup is closer to a true listening room than to a living room.

Mark Costanzo is a professional photographer who spent a lot of time shooting pictures in the entertainment business in the early 80s. His photographs ran in publications from local newspapers to Rolling Stone. After a while, he made the move towards commercial photography. His studio was a garage converted to have higher ceilings and skylights for added light. In addition to being a beautiful set up for a crowd of 65, the setting features wonderful acoustics as well.

If the setting doesn't sway the artist, Costanzo's financial arrangement usually will. All of the money from ticket sales and cd sales go directly to the artist. In addition, the artists are given a guarantee before the deal is set. It's not surprising that most artists say yes to Mark. The most important thing is finding dates that work with an artist's touring schedule.

The first season of "Concerts In The Studio" included performances by Amy Rigby, The Kennedys, Darden Smith, Richard X. Heyman, Robert Hazard, Jim Babjak/Gripweeds, Mary-Sue Twohy, Phil Roy, Amy Correia, and Steve Forbert. The pattern runs from rock to folk to bluegrass and matches that of WXPN (Philadelphia) and WBJB (Lincroft), the NPR stations Costanzo prefers to listen to.

"The thing I didn't want was for it to be all folk musicians," explained Costanzo. "A lot of house concert series are just basically a solo performer and guitar. Sometimes that's great but it just wouldn't excite me to do it."
In addition to providing a musical series for eclectic tastes, "Concerts In The Studio" largely goes after artists that don't normally do house concerts. The result is a very unique and intimate performance that becomes a once in a lifetime experience for a music fan. Unfortunately, as Mark and his wife Elaine have discovered, even offering a great show doesn't mean it will definitely be sold out.

"Initially I thought all I'd have to do was invite a lot of people," said Costanzo. "I just assumed as soon as I put it on a performance website people would come. I mean, how hard is it to get 40 people to a concert? It made me empathize with these performers. It's got to be hard for them to manage."

The number of people attending the series rises with each show as the mailing list grows and word of mouth spreads. Future shows include Adrienne Young & Little Sadie (to kick off the 2nd year) on February 26th, Marshall Crenshaw on March 19th, Willie Nile on April 9th, and Graham Parker on May 21st.

"Concerts In The Studio" is located in Freehold and easily accessible from downtown Freehold (off-Broadway) and Route 18. Visit his website (www.concertsinthestudio) for contact information or to purchase tickets to an upcoming show. Seats are limited so reserve early.



For more by this author, click here






NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.
Idle Wave To Hold Record Release Party At Asbury Park Brewery
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Pop-punks Idle Wave will celebrate the release of their self-titled EP on Saturday, December 1st at Asbury Park Brewery.  The record release show also includes performances by Skyeline, Roderick, and Pollyanna.


"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.
Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!










Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

View all events
























New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.