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State Theatre Presents A Classic R&B Spectacular with The Spinners, Sonny Bivins Manhattans, and more

originally published: 03/14/2023

State Theatre Presents A Classic R&B Spectacular with The Spinners, Sonny Bivins Manhattans, and more

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The fully renovated State Theatre New Jersey presents a Classic R&B Spectacular with The Spinners, Sonny Bivins Manhattans, The Trammps featuring Earl Young, and Parker J on Friday, April 14 at 7:30pm. Tickets range from $39-$89.

The Spinners, from the suburbs of Detroit, formed in 1960 and had their first hit single, “That's What Girls are Made For,” making top five on the R&B chart. They signed with Berry Gordy's Motown label but had limited success throughout the 60s. In 1972, they switched to Atlantic Records and began their collaboration with Philadelphia-based songwriter-producer Thom Bell, resulting in a string of hit singles on the pop and R&B charts throughout the decade of the 1970s. They dominated the charts with 11 top 20 pop singles, including seven top five pop hits, and an amazing 14 top five R&B hits. Other hits include  “It’s a Shame” (written by Stevie Wonder, hit #4 on the R&B charts), “I’ll Be Around” (#3 pop, #1 R&B), “One of a Kind (Love Affair”) (#11 pop, #1 R&B), “Ghetto Child” (#29 pop, #4 R&B), “Mighty Love” (#20 pop, #1 R&B), “I’m Coming Home” (#18 pop, #3 R&B), “Love Don’t Love Nobody” (#15 pop, #4 R&B), “Then Came You” (#1 pop, #2 R&B), “Games People Play” (#5 pop, #1 R&B), “Rubberband Man” (#2 pop, #1 R&B), “Workin My Way Back to You” (#2 pop, #6 R&B) and “Cupid” (#4 pop, #5 R&B).

Career highlights include a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, three-time nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, being inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and appearing on multiple tv music and late-night shows.

Sonny Bivins Manhattans got their start in Jersey City high schools in 1962. Sonny was the leader of the band and wrote most of their hits. Their first hit was on Carnival Records, “I Wanna Be Your Everything.” In 1968, they won “Most Promising Group,” award by NATRA. In the early 70s, “One Life to Live,” and “There's No Me Without You,” both hit number three on the R&B Charts. The group had an amazing 45 hits on the Billboard's R&B charts. Their signature hit, “Kiss and Say Goodbye,” written by Blue Lovett, was #1 on both the pop and R&B charts and was only the second single ever to go platinum. Other hits in the late 70s included “It Feels so Good to Be Loved So Bad” and “Am I Losing You,” both peaking at #6 on the R&B charts. In 1980, “Shining Star” was a mega-hit, winning a Grammy® and reaching #5 on the pop charts and #4 on the R&B charts.  In 1983, their album Forever by Your Side on Columbia Records contained two hit singles, “Crazy” (#4 R&B) and “Forever by Your Side.”

The Trammps featuring Earl Young is a soul band that later evolved into disco. Earl Young is recognized as the creator of the Philadelphia Sound, as well as drumming on many of B.B. King's, Wilson Pickett's, and Johnny Mathis' hits. “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” on Buddah Records was a top 20 R&B hit. They signed with Atlantic Records, releasing “Disco Inferno" in 1976 which was featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever.

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Special guest Parker J, who is from Roselle, NJ, will be opening the show. The R&B, pop, and soul singer-songwriter's first single “Up Down,” from her debut album Lifeline was co-written by Paul Kyser and Renee Connell. The song has already entered Digital Radio Tracker's Global Top 200 Airplay Chart at #81. Her song “For One Night,” is currently #23 on Digital Radio Tracker's Independent Chart.

For tickets, more information, or group discounts, call State Theatre Guest Services at 732-246-SHOW (7469) or visit online at State Theatre Guest Services, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open by phone and email only, Tuesday through Friday from 11:00am to 5:00pm. For in-person purchases, Guest Services is open Tuesday through Friday from 12:00pm to 4:30pm. Additional ticket and transaction fees may apply. 

After major renovations, State Theatre New Jersey has reopened and celebrated its 100th Anniversary in December 2021 in a fully renovated theater including newly renovated lobbies, all new restrooms, upgraded HVAC systems, a new elevator for access to all levels, and brand-new theater seats. Originally built as a silent film and vaudeville palace, State Theatre’s historic significance was honored by PBS by featuring it in its documentary series, Treasures of New Jersey, in the fall of 2018. “Treasures of New Jersey: State Theatre New Jersey” can be streamed online.

Today, State Theatre is the largest performing arts center in Central New Jersey and has welcomed more than six million people through its doors since reopening as a non-profit performing arts center in 1988. State Theatre New Jersey is a cornerstone of the cultural vitality of Middlesex County and averages a total economic impact on New Brunswick and the surrounding area of more than $18 million a year. The mainstage programs have featured high-caliber artists such as Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Kevin Hart, Ringo Starr, Melissa Etheridge, John Leguizamo, Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Program offerings include Broadway, orchestra, family, dance, comedy, rock/pop, jazz, Performances for Schools, and Sensory-Friendly Performances. 

State Theatre New Jersey’s programs are made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund. 

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