(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) has announced its Fall 2023 season, featuring new SOMA community events, outstanding artists of a variety of genres, iconic tributes to history’s biggest bands, and rising stars in the comedy world.
The SOPAC Member ticket pre-sale for the fall season begins on Monday, June 12 at 12:00pm and general on-sale starts on Thursday, June 15 at 12:00pm. For those who would like to become a member to take advantage of these early tickets and discounts, visit www.sopacnow.org/donate/. An overview of all upcoming events can be found here.
“Your ticket to transformation starts at SOPAC this fall,” SOPAC Executive Director Stephen Beaudoin said. “Our first batch of fall-winter 2023 shows at SOPAC are filled with artists, acts, and experiences that will inspire and uplift you."
From the sheer vocal power of Broadway diva Jessica Vosk on October 27 to first date lineup of cover and tribute bands, every single show at SOPAC this fall and winter is worth experiencing at our intimate and personal venue in downtown South Orange.
Don’t miss SOPAC’S new community gathering aptly named “Homecoming,” September 22-23, and spooky interactive walking tours as part of its first annual Haunted SOPAC on October 28.
“As an institution animated by our core values - community, artistic expression, authentic relationships, access, and equity - we invite you to join us again and again in our season ahead at SOPAC for transformational creativity, community, and connection,” Beaudoin said.
The 2023-24 season kicks off with SOPAC Homecoming on September 22-24, a celebration that highlights the performing arts center as the community’s collective home. The weekend includes mainstage shows, family art-making, and more activities to be announced.
Brain Trust Member Adam Rei Siegal is leading Haunted SOPAC, the center’s first-ever Halloween immersive experience on October 28. The spooky festival features family-friendly fun in the daytime, and a fright-fest after dark, complete with haunted stories rooted in New Jersey folklore.
SENSATIONAL PERFORMANCES FROM GENRE-DEFYING ARTISTS
Known for programming diverse musical entertainment, SOPAC brings exciting performances, from Afro-Cuban rumba to Broadway classics, to the mainstage.
GRAMMY-nominated ensemble the Pedrito Martínez Group presents their funkified show, Echos of Africa, on September 30. The highly acclaimed group is known for their mastery of the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition and the bata rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria. Since their formation in 2008, the group has built a large fan base including Steve Gadd, Ravi Coltrane, Eric Clapton, John Scofield, and Roger Waters.
Guitarist and composer Kaki King celebrates her star-studded, 20-year career at the forefront of the music industry at SOPAC on October 7. Called “a genre unto herself” by Rolling Stone, King is considered one of the world’s greatest living guitarists, known for her technical mastery and for her constant quest to push the boundaries of the instrument.
Acclaimed guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli honors the 40th anniversary of his debut album with “Stage & Screen,” a collection of classic songs from Broadway and Hollywood. Pizzarelli and his new trio will perform some of the most legendary songs from the great American songbook on October 14.
Under the tutelage of legendary Jersey Shore sax player Screamin’ Steve Barlotta, the Sensational Soul Cruisers bring the classic sounds of Philly soul, Motown, and disco to South Orange on October 20. Over the past three decades, the Soul Cruisers graced the stage with many great artists, including Bruce Springsteen, The Emotions, Bon Jovi, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder.
Broadway mega-star Jessica Vosk, performing on October 27, captivated audiences across the country as Elphaba in “Wicked.” Since her star moment, she has sold out Carnegie Hall with her first solo show and created the role of Aunt Val in the world premiere of “Becoming Nancy.”
Tap dancer and bandleader Michela Marino Lerman presents her energetic ensemble, Love Movement on November 11. Not like an ordinary band, Love Movement incorporates original music, spirituals, jazz, traditional and electronic tap boards into an unforgettable performance. The immersive musical experience has left audiences feeling moved and empowered.
Also known for their empowering concerts, progressive bluegrass band Nefesh Mountain performs on December 15. The New York-based group has been hailed as "Refreshingly eclectic" by Rolling Stone Magazine.
LADIES OF LAUGHTER
Ladies of Laughter features both amateur and professional comedians, creating a hilariously fun evening for audiences. The Funny & Fabulous Tour is SOPAC’s first ever night of all-women comedy. 2021 Ladies of Laughter Professional winner and SOPAC Community Brain Trust member Liz Glazer hosts the night of hilarity on July 27. Ladies of Laughter returns October 19 and April 26.
ICONIC TRIBUTES TO LEGENDARY BANDS
This fall, SOPAC travels back to some of the best eras of music with performances from leading tribute bands. The series kicks off with Journeyman, a tribute to Eric Clapton on September 15, and continues with Damn The Torpedoes: The Tom Petty Concert Experience on October 6, The Weeklings (Beatles Tribute) on October 13, The Machine Performs Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” on October 21, The Last Waltz Celebration featuring The THE BAND Band with the TTB Horns & special guests on November 17, and Yellow Brick Road: An Elton John Tribute on December 2.
FALL 2023 SEASON
In chronological order
July 27 at 7:30pm - LADIES OF LAUGHTER Funny & Fabulous Tour. The first ever night of all-female comedy at SOPAC, hosted by the 2021 Ladies of Laughter Professional winner, and SOPAC Community Brain Trust member, Liz Glazer. This night of hilarity will feature 2016 Ladies of Laughter Newcomer winner, Jocelyn Chia, and 2012 Ladies of Laughter winner, Robin Fox.
September 15 at 8:00pm - JOURNEYMAN A Tribute to Eric Clapton. Fronted by guitar virtuoso Shaun Hague, with Robert Monroe, Darius Petersen, Dina Bach, and Brandon Stephens, Journeyman covers all Eric Clapton classics: “Layla,” “Badge,” “The Core,” “White Room,” “Lay Down Sally,” “Tulsa Time,” “Cocaine,” and more. The band is the #1 selling tribute to Eric Clapton in North America.
September 30 at 8:00pm - PEDRITO MARTÍNEZ GROUP Echoes of Africa. A source of rhythmic delight and inspiration” The New York Times, Pedrito Martínez is a master of Afro-Cuban rumba and Yoruba traditions. Born in Havana, Cuba in 1973 in the Cayo Hueso neighborhood of Old Havana, Martínez began his musical career at the age of 11. Since settling in New York City in the fall of 1998, Pedrito has recorded or performed with Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Paquito D’Rivera, Chucho Valdez, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Palmieri, Dave Matthews, Jackson Browne, Elton John, James Taylor and Sting, and has contributed to well over 100 albums.
October 6 at 8:00pm - DAMN THE TORPEDOES Tom Petty Concert Experience. Led by guitarist Rich Kubicz, Damn The Torpedoes honors legendary artist Tom Petty by presenting his signature riffs and harmonies while adding their own fresh and often spontaneous twists to the music. Eager to be an all-around entertainer (and with some coaxing from friends who asserted that he looked and sounded like Petty), Kubicz started Damn the Torpedoes in 2007, offering a mesmerizing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert experience to audiences across the country.
October 7 at 8:00pm - AN EVENING WITH KAKI KING. With a star-studded, two-decade-long career, Kaki King continues to live at the forefront of guitarists and performance makers. Rolling Stone has called her “a genre unto herself,” and The New York Times praised her, saying she makes music as “ornate as a healing crystal.” She takes the stage at SOPAC to celebrate and reflect on her two-decade-long career.
October 13 at 8:00pm - THE WEEKLINGS The Music of The Beatles & More. America’s most unique celebration of the music and muse of The Beatles features former members of Styx, Dave Mason, the original Beatlemania on Broadway, Jon Bon Jovi & The Kings of Suburbia, Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg’s Jukebox and BeatleFest house band Liverpool. The band performs and records explosive renditions of The Beatles album and Top 40 classics, and uniquely arranged nuggets.
October 14 at 8:00pm - JOHN PIZZARELLI TRIO Stage & Screen. Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli has been hailed by the Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing Jazz.” He brings his latest album Stage & Screen, featuring repertoire spanning nine decades of American theatre and film music, to SOPAC.
October 19 at 7:30pm - LADIES OF LAUGHTER Funny & Fabulous Tour. The hilarious, second all-female night of comedy at SOPAC.
October 20 at 8:00pm - SOULTOWN TO MOTOWN The Sensational Soul Cruisers. Under the tutelage of the legendary Jersey Shore saxophonist Screamin’ Steve Barlotta, The Sensational Soul Cruisers bring their Soultown to Motown show to SOPAC. The show touches on the crème de la crème of this vast catalogue from the Doo-Wop sounds of the Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes for You” to tunes that will make you jump up and dance, including “Ladies Night” by Kool and the Gang.
October 21 at 8:00pm - THE MACHINE PERFORMS PINK FLOYD’S DARKSIDE OF THE MOON. Celebrate 30 years of The Machine, America’s pre-eminent Pink Floyd tribute band, in this special anniversary concert. With stellar musicianship and passionate delivery, The Machine performs a diverse mix of Pink Floyd’s extensive 16-album repertoire, complete with faithful renditions of popular hits as well as obscure gems.
October 27 at 8:00pm - AN EVENING WITH JESSICA VOSK. The New York Times praises Jessica Vosk as “the best of all” Elphabas from “Wicked.” The Broadway mega-star made her Carnegie Hall debut in November 2021 in a sold-out solo performance. Other Broadway credits include the role of Fruma Sarah in the most recent Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof,” "Finding Neverland,” and “The Bridges of Madison County.”
November 11 at 8:00pm - NEW VOICES, NEW VISIONS Michela’s Love Movement. Bandleader, musician, educator, choreographer, and tap dancing phenom Michela Marino Lerman’s brings her Love Movement to SOPAC. This groundbreaking immersive experience fuses the highest levels of jazz musicianship with hoofing and tap dancing.
November 17 at 8:00pm - THE LAST WALTZ CELEBRATION featuring The THE BAND Band with the TTBB Horns & Special Guests. The THE BAND Band is the only nationally touring group dedicated exclusively to bringing the music of Rock & Roll’s legendary The Band to life. With authentic, true-to-form renditions of their extraordinary repertoire, The THE BAND Band delivers everything from The Band’s hit songs to cuts from their classic albums and collaborations with Bob Dylan.
December 2 at 8:00pm - YELLOW BRICK ROAD An Elton John Tribute. Gerald Brann not only bears an uncanny resemblance to Elton John—complete with his charming gap-toothed smile—but recreates the Rock superstar’s vocals and piano playing to a tee, including wearing replica costumes and Elton’s trademark outrageous glasses. Don’t miss your chance to sing and dance along to classics such as “Rocket Man” and “Your Song,” sway to “Candle in the Wind,” or hop and bop to “Crocodile Rock.”
December 15 at 8:00pm - NEFESH MOUNTAIN. New York-based progressive Bluegrass band Nefesh Mountain has been hailed as one of today’s formative boundary-pushing groups in American Roots music, combining elements of everything from Americana and Appalachian Bluegrass to Celtic Folk and Eastern European melodies, with messages of inclusivity, diversity, and hope for our ever-changing world.
The South Orange Performing Arts Center offers audiences exhilarating and diverse arts entertainment in its intimate venue, serving as the cultural heartbeat of the greater South Orange/Maplewood region and contributing to the economic and social vibrancy of its highly diverse community.
SOPAC is an accessible cultural destination that presents world-class artists in an intimate and welcoming environment. The Jennifer & Tony Leitner Performance Hall is a 439-seat mainstage theatre with superb acoustics, sight lines and seating. Audiences remark that performances in this space are like having their favorite artists right in their own living room. Artists acknowledge that the atmosphere encourages conversations with audiences. The Loft at SOPAC is a 2,185 square-foot multi-purpose space used for performances, rehearsals, classes and special events.
The unique architecture of SOPAC’s building, which includes a stunning 3-story glass-enclosed atrium, is also home to the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery. Beyond the building, SOPAC co-produces local events such as South Orange Summer Nights and serves students and schools through its arts education programs.
SOPAC is invested in arts education. SOPAC serves students and schools in our region through a School Performance Series, performing Arts Residencies and annual juried art exhibits entitled INSPIRED MINDS: Young Artist Exhibition and INSPIRING MINDS. SOPAC also collaborates with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts each year to host the Region 5 Poetry Out Loud competitions. The Seton Hall University Arts Council presents a diverse range of events at SOPAC with seasoned professionals as well as students and faculty.
Nearly ten years in the making, SOPAC first opened its doors in 2006. South Orange Village Trustees, in partnership with Seton Hall University, envisioned SOPAC as the center of an ambitious redevelopment plan. Through visionary leadership and an unwavering commitment, SOPAC has become a cultural centerpiece for the region, an economic driver for the community, and a catalyst for artistic opportunity.