(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The recently renovated State Theatre New Jersey presents musical ensemble, The Queen’s Cartoonists in Holiday Hurrah: Yule Love It! on Friday, December 23 at 8:00pm. The jazz sextet’s show is fun for audiences of all ages, combining virtuosic musicianship, multi-instrumental mayhem, comedy, and cartoons. Tickets range from $24-$44.
The Queen’s Cartoonists (TQC) perform live in front of a screen, where cartoons from the golden age of animation, cult cartoon classics, and modern animated films are projected. The band either recreates a cartoon’s soundtrack note-for-note—performing works from jazz composers like Carl Stalling, Raymond Scott, and Duke Ellington alongside classical giants like Mozart, Rossini, and R. Strauss—or write their own fresh compositions to accompany the on-screen action. Tying everything together is TQC’s unique brand of comedy—anecdotes about the cartoons and their composers, humor, and elements of a musical circus.
Since their founding in 2015, The Queen’s Cartoonists have sought to answer the question: is it possible to create jazz and classical music in the 21st century that appeals to everyone? The band—led by Dr. Joel Pierson (piano), and including Greg Hammontree (trumpet, trombone), Mark Phillips (clarinet, soprano saxophone), Drew Pitcher (flute, tenor saxophone), Rossen Nedelchev (drums), and Malik McLaurine (bass)—seems to have unlocked the answer, breathing new life into two uniquely American forms of art: jazz and animation.
In their “Holiday Hurrah” the band sets out to find the best of the best (and best of the worst) holiday related cartoons, films, and jazz. The show includes traditional holiday vocal numbers (“White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells”) paired with jazz arrangements and festive animated films. “There’s also a good amount of novelty and comedy,” says bandleader Joel Pierson. “Don’t forget ridiculous props, Foley sound effects, and even a holiday-themed game show!”
“The show should keep people guessing from start to finish,” continues Pierson. “I want people to think they’ve never seen anything like it before! For younger audiences, I hope this is an introduction to concert halls and a reminder that music can be both serious and fun.”
For tickets, more information, or group discounts, call State Theatre Guest Services at 732-246-SHOW (7469) or visit online at STNJ.org. 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.
Photo by Jamie Jung