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Articles By Gary Wien

Matt O'Ree Band returns with "Hand In Glove"


The Matt O'Ree Band is back with Hand In Glove, set for release on November 3rd. In my opinion, it is by far the band’s most musically ambitious and solid release to date. It is also the best to utilize the talents of Eryn O’Ree on lead vocals.  The way the album switches back and forth from Matt on lead vocals to Eryn gives the album a special quality. This is the band's first studio album since Brotherhood in 2016.

published on 10/25/2022

Jon Caspi Talks About New Version of "Raise 'Em High", New Beer, and New Label


On September 23, 2022, New Jersey punk/americana rock outfit Jon Caspi & The First Gun shared a new version of their fan favorite barroom sing-along song, “Raise ‘Em High!”, featuring Jesse Malin on vocals, and Dez Cadena (known from Black Flag and The Misfits) on guitar. The band also announced a new EP titled, Raise 'Em High! and other delights, which will feature the new version of the song. It will be released on October 14 via Fake Chapter Records. The single will also be coming out as a 7" in March, 2023.

published on 09/23/2022

Interview with Walter Trout


The New Jersey Hall of Fame is full of legendary musicians from Count Basie to Bruce Springsteen, but there’s one name that’s missing - Walter Trout. He’s a guy who was born in Jersey and lived the first 23 years of his life here.  He learned how to play the guitar and fell in love with the blues while living in the Garden State.  His guitar has taken him around the world, but he still writes songs about his old hometown.

published on 09/12/2022

2022 Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival a Stellar Mix


The sounds of jazz and blues will float across the Morristown Green once again when the Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival takes place Saturday, Sept. 17. The festival is free to attend and this year’s lineup includes a stellar mix of swing, big band, and group jazz with a pair of blues artists — one an up-and-coming star and the other a Jersey legend. 

published on 09/08/2022

Kat Falcey Talks About JerseyCana


Kat Falcey is one of those die-hard music fans who often wind up working in the music industry.  Her company, Tunes2Ya, helps artists with networking, promotion, public relations, booking referrals, and more.  She's returning to AmericanaFest in Nashville for the first time since the pandemic hit and has three of her New Jersey artists (Arlan Feiles, Mike Montrey, and Carmen Sclafani) booked for a show at The Basement on Tuesday, September 13th at 8:00pm.

published on 09/03/2022

Cockroaches, Hidden Worlds, Dancing to Agatha Christie, and Forgotten Children are among Highlights of New Jersey Film Festival in September


​​​​​​​“Seems everywhere I lived, there were always cockroaches and I figured, well, they were actually being wasted,” said Joey Skaggs.

published on 09/02/2022

“Bendix: Sight Unseen” Documentary Inspires Director, Friendship, and Audiences at New Jersey Film Festival


Filmmaker Anthony Scalia grew up not far from the Bendix Diner, but he never knew anybody who had ever gone inside. One night when he was out late and it was the only place open, he decided to venture in. What he found was an amazing story that he details in the short documentary, Bendix: Sight Unseen. The film will be available for virtual screening on October 16 as part of the New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2022.

published on 08/24/2022

Bob Burger returns with the wonderful “The Domino Effect”


"I thought I was going to have to quit," recalled Bob Burger. "Because it was too painful to play."

published on 07/29/2022

REVIEW: "Mud Row" at Premiere Stages


​​​​​​​Imagine that you learn your grandmother’s house was left to you in her will - a house full of bad memories that you haven’t seen in many years.  You go to check out the house and realize someone has been living there as a squatter…

published on 07/19/2022

The Wag talk about their Beatles Spectacular at The Strand on July 23rd


(LAKEWOOD, NJ) -- The Wag presents a Beatles Spectacular at The Strand Theater in Lakewood on July 23, 2022 at 7:30pm. The show promises two sets of Beatles music with costume changes. If you love the Beatles, there's nobody who does it better than The Wag. You can even hear some of the band's original music in the night's opening set. 

published on 07/10/2022

Monmouth University Presents a True Beatnik Night Of Poetry, Jazz and “Harp” Beats


Poetry and music go together, but rarely do you have a chance to experience a beatnik night like Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts has planned for Saturday, July 9th in the Pollak Theatre. The evening’s lineup mixes a local legend, up-and-coming talent, and a hometown guy who has reached the pinnacle of his craft. The theater will be filled with spoken word, vocals, and music ranging from jazz to hip-hop.

published on 06/30/2022

A Tribute To David Kosciolek


There are a handful of people who have made a mark in the local music scene and David Kosciolek was one of them. He opened Indigo Coffeehouse in 2003 and it quickly became host to not only live music, but a music scene literally created by the venue itself. Nearly two decades later, it’s amazing how many musicians and music fans still recall those days fondly.  At the beginning of June, that community was shocked to learn that David had died from a heart attack on May 16th.  Many got together to play an "Indigo Reunion" after the coffeehouse closed and several pay tribute to him in this article.

published on 06/14/2022

The Words, Wit, and Life of Dorothy Parker Take the Stage at East Lynne Theater


“I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem.” Dorothy Parker may be best known for the quotes that have long outlived her, but there was far more to the legendary writer than just her wit. Her life is celebrated and her work comes alive in East Lynne Theater Company’s production of “Dorothy Parker: A Certain Woman.” The play runs from June 15 through July 23 at The Cape May Presbyterian Church where the company is in residence.

published on 06/10/2022

“Leftover Feelings: A Studio B Revival” to Screen at New Jersey International Film Festival


The 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival presents a screening of Leftover Feelings: A Studio B Revival on Saturday, June 11th.  The film by Ted Roach and Lagan Sebert follows John Hiatt and Jerry Douglas as they team up during the pandemic to record their album Leftover Feelings in RCA’s fabled Studio B. The screening is available via video on demand starting at 12:00am on June 11th.  There will be an in-person screening at 7:00pm in the wonderful movie theater located in Voorhees Hall (#105/Rutgers University) 71 Hamilton Street in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

published on 06/09/2022

An Interview With Tom McCabe about "Voice Of The Game"


If you were one of the U.S. soccer fans who cheered Jesse Marsch and his Leeds team as they avoided relegation in the Premier League, you will love Voice of the Game. It is a wonderful documentary by Tom McCabe and Kirk Rudell that spotlights Manfred “Manny” Schellscheidt, a German immigrant who came to play and teach soccer in one of the game’s last frontiers, America. He may well be the least known, and most important coach in American soccer history. And coaches like Marsch are continuing the vision of the game that Manny installed in them.

published on 05/27/2022

Catching Up with Mick Chorba of The Successful Failures


The Successful Failures formed in 2005 as a side project for Mick Chorba from the Dipsomaniacs - a garage rock band who put out many great albums during their two decade run and was one of my favorite Jersey bands.  It’s amazing to think about it, but The Successful Failures have actually outlasted the Dipsos. Looking at the band’s history, they were bound to succeed...

published on 05/25/2022

Catching up with Danny White


Danny White is a name you may not have heard of much lately.  The singer-songwriter opened Beach Music Studios 18 years ago and has primarily been involved with the business and raising a family, but he’s just released Belmar, NJ - his first album of new music in nearly a decade. 

published on 05/01/2022

Eighth Blackbird, an Award-Winning Ensemble, to Perform With Rowan University Wind Ensemble


It’s not often that college students get to perform on stage with an award-winning sextet, but the members of Rowan University’s Wind Ensemble are getting that opportunity.  They will be performing with Eighth Blackbird, a four-time Grammy winner for Best Small Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance, on Friday, April 29, 2022 at 8:00 pm in Rowan’s Pfleeger Concert Hall.

published on 04/21/2022

Catching up with James Dalton: Talking Brighton Fringe and Memphis


James Dalton is a performer, a storyteller, and a musician. He's someone who has managed to perform around the world based solely on talent and ambition. James was featured several times in my old Upstage Magazine and is still very much active today. In fact, he's about to compete for the third time in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and will debut his new show, "Asbury Park & Me," at the Brighton Fringe festival a few weeks later.

published on 04/08/2022

Laura Ekstrand Talks About "Life's Work"


Every intimate relationship is based on a web of understanding, whether implicit or explicit. In the new comic drama, Life’s Work by Laura Ekstrand, two couples discover what happens when their agreements around work and money shift and evolve. Vivid Stage presents the World Premiere of this play across two weekends (April 21-24 and April 28 - May 1). The cast includes Nicole Callender, Mitchell Leigh Gordon, Scott McGowan, and Emaline Williams. Betsy True directs the production.

published on 04/06/2022

Catching Up With Keith Monacchio: An interview about "Under A Nightlight Sky"


Keith Monacchio has been one of my favorite artists from New Jersey for a long time.  His career started with the Semi-Beings and then The Commons (who put out some of the best records of the era, in my opinion).  He released his 5th solo record, Under A Nightlight Sky on March 22, 2022.  The record explores themes of family, fatherhood, political tribalism, aging, and a hope for a better future in these very uncertain times. 2022 marks the 30th year of Keith's musical journey, which makes him the ideal subject for a new series that takes a look at artists who were part of my old Upstage Magazine days and still very much active today.

published on 03/22/2022

Sexual Harassment, the Supreme Court, and Political Hypocrisy Collide in Vivid Stage's “Twirl”


Years ago, a prominent judge survived accusations of sexual harassment by a colleague and made it onto the Supreme Court. Today, his wife contacts his accuser and asks for a meeting. What does she want? And is the episode really behind them?

published on 02/18/2022

Bianca Di Marco talks about "Threads Of Desire"


Threads of Desire by Bianca Di Marco is a beautiful film that shows Bettina, a lonely sheep farmer in an Italian countryside town. She watches as a woman leaves an upscale clothing store only to drop her dress as she gets into a car that drives away. The town believes the dress was stolen and police begin an investigation, forcing Bettini to choose between following her conscience or her fantasy of owning a beautiful gown.

published on 02/11/2022

Stacy Chu Talks About "¡Llámame Chinita!"


¡Llámame Chinita! by Stacy Chu is a tale about a 30-year old woman from China who travels alone to Mexico in the middle of the pandemic. She seeks refuge from her mother who is pressuring her to find a husband. Despite being thousands of miles apart, technology keeps the messages coming – to the point where viewers feel her frustration.

published on 02/10/2022

A look at "Joey Skaggs: Fish Condos"


Joey Skaggs: Fish Condos by Judy Drosd and Joey Skaggs is a wonderful film that is the fifth in a series called “Joey Skaggs: Satire and Art Activism, 1960s to the Present and Beyond.” The film details how Skaggs got the idea to spice up fish aquariums with the use of doll furniture. He originally did it as a satire on the world-turning condo, but the public loved them and they soon became a viable revenue source for the artist.

published on 02/10/2022

Manos Triantafillakis Talks About "Just Like Water"


The Spring 2022 New Jersey Film Festival presents a mix of documentary, narrative, and experimental films on select Friday, Saturday, and Sundays through February 20. One of my favorite days in the spring festival is the Short Program #2 on Friday, February 11. It includes six films that showcase the human experience from around the world including ¡Llámame Chinita! by Stacy Chu; Threads of Desire by Bianca Di Marco; Covid Crusader: The Carla Brown Story by Randy Slavin; Joey Skaggs: Fish Condos by Judy Drosd and Joey Skaggs; Memory Builds the Monument by Isaac Yowman; and Just Like Water by Manos Triantafillakis. The six film package is available to rent from 12:00am on February 11 through midnight.

published on 02/10/2022

Inside New Jersey Film Festival’s 40th Anniversary and A Day of Wonderful Short Films from Around the World


The New Jersey Film Festival, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, is one of the longest running film festivals in the region. Its spring festival has screenings on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from now through February 20. Due to COVID-19, the festival is presenting virtual screenings with films available for 24 hours on their screening date.

published on 02/09/2022

Nora Jacobson Talks About "Ruth Stone's Vast Library of the Female Mind"


Great documentaries bring to light stories of people or events worth knowing about. Often they point a spotlight on a subject not very familiar to you. Ruth Stone's Vast Library of the Female Mind is one such documentary.  The film by Nora Jacobson tells the story of Ruth Stone, a woman who was a promising young poet, living an idyllic life with her beloved husband, Walter, a poet and professor. When he died unexpectedly by suicide, Ruth was flung out into the world, destitute with three daughters to support.

published on 01/19/2022

An Interview With Albert G. Nigrin from the New Jersey Film Festival


The New Jersey Film Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, starting with a Spring Festival that runs on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between January 28 and February 20, 2022. As a result of COVID, the festival will be a virtual once again this Spring. All the films will be available virtually via Video on Demand for 24 hours on their show date. Tickets are $15 per program, or $100 for Festival All Access Pass.

published on 01/17/2022

An Interview With Gerry Rosenthal


Gerry Rosenthal is an example of a hard working musician. The singer-songwriter / guitarist from Highland Park plays in multiple bands (an original rock band, Beatles tribute, wedding band, and his own Gerry Rosenthal Trio) and guests with other artists. He released a new EP on January 1, 2022.  In addition to music, he's had an acting career that includes roles in Finding Forrester, "Law & Order", and was the star of a video game called "Bully", which still has a huge fanbase 15 years after its release.

published on 01/06/2022

Steppin’ Back Out and Celebrating the New Year with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra and the Legendary Songs of Broadway

“As an artist, it felt like some kind of cross between a forced retirement and a sort of spiritual imprisonment,” said Maestro David Wroe, who leads the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, as he explained what it felt like for him during the pandemic. “For artists and people who are doing this profession as a vocation, it’s part of our psyche; part of our existence. For that to be taken away from us… for me, it was like being in the wilderness for a year and a half.”

published on 12/28/2021

Spotlight On Christmas Tunes From Jersey Artists Released In The Last 2-3 Years

Last year, I put together a mixtape of 85 holiday songs by New Jersey artists.  It was a collection of nearly 5 hours of music from indie artists to some of the biggest stars to ever come from the Garden State. It's nice if you're looking for something to play in the background as you'll get great originals and cover tunes.  I'm not doing a new show this year, but wanted to point out some of the holiday songs released in the last year or two. These are by no means all of the holiday tracks released by Jersey artists, but a nice sampling of originals and covers.

published on 12/24/2021

Renee Maskin Talks About Her First Official Solo Record and Future Plans

Renee Maskin has been a big part of the Asbury Park music scene for many years as both a solo performer and lead singer and guitarist of Lowlight. Her first official solo release is "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" - a song written by Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - a 2018 film written, directed, and produced by the Coen brothers.  Her version appears on the new Mint 400 Records compilation "At The Movies II."

published on 11/12/2021

Members of The Wag Talk About Their Christmas Spectacular Show Coming To The Strand

(LAKEWOOD, NJ) — There's nothing like a good old fashioned holiday special, and The Wag's Christmas Spectacular is steeped in the traditions of holiday TV shows of the past. The Wag will bring back the memories of these specials while putting their own unique stamp upon them. This year’s show is special for the band as they will headline a night at The Strand Theater in Lakewood on Saturday, December 11th at 7:30pm.  This will be the band’s first time headlining a show in a theater.

published on 11/04/2021

Renegades: Obama and Springsteen Wrestling With Ghosts

RENEGADES: Born in the USA chronicles the conversations Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen began in Spotify’s co-produced podcast of the same name. During these intimate conversations, they share exclusive stories and ruminations about life, music, and their enduring love of America, with all its challenges and contradictions.

published on 10/30/2021

Renegades: Born In the USA - How Race Helped Define Springsteen and Obama

Ever since he was pictured on the cover of both Time and Newsweek magazines in the same week in 1975, the world has known Bruce Springsteen was something special. But there’s still something awe-inspiring about a guy from Freehold being part of a project with a former President of the United States.

published on 10/27/2021

Chris O'Connor Talks About Mile Square Theatre and His Own Future

Chris O’Connor founded Mile Square Theatre (MST) in 2002 while he was pursuing his master’s degree at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. He recently announced that he will be stepping down from his role as Artistic Director in January 2022.  

published on 10/07/2021

A Moment on Main Street

Filmmaker Brianna Stimpson loves to travel.  Her Instagram page has photographs taken from places around the world.  Traveling is part of her identity, but when the pandemic hit she found her world suddenly got much smaller.  As she focused on her immediate surroundings, she began documenting how the pandemic was affecting businesses within a section of Main Street in Belmar, New Jersey.

published on 10/02/2021

Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars

​​​​​​​“The first industry I thought of when the pandemic hit was the hospitality industry,” explained Johnny Sweet, director of the wonderful documentary, Last Call: The Shutdown of NYC Bars.  He had worked as a bartender while attending Syracuse University and knew how close-knit the workers get.  Sweet also knew how devastating the loss would be to these establishments - for everyone from the employees to the owners and the regulars who go each week.

published on 09/28/2021

A Look At "The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers" At Cape May Stage

(CAPE MAY, NJ) — If you are in need of a laugh, Neil Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers is on stage now through November 21 at Cape May Stage with performances Wednesday through Sunday.  The play stars Andy Prosky and Rita Rehn. Prosky plays Barney Cashman, a middle-aged married man, overworked and overweight, who wants to join the sexual revolution before it's too late.

published on 09/27/2021

An Interview With Bob Malone Who Comes To UCPAC On September 30th

Jersey native Bob Malone has been touring the world for over two decades as both a solo artist and a member of John Fogerty's band for the past decade.  He's done session work for artists like Bob Seger and Avril Lavigne, was featured on the 2017 Ringo Starr record Give More Love, and his recording of "You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" was the theme in the Illumination/ Universal movie trailers for "The Grinch", heard by millions.

published on 09/22/2021

An Interview With Thomas Verrette, Director of "Zero Gravity"

Zero Gravity is a feature documentary by Thomas Verrette that follows a diverse group of middle-school students from San Jose, CA, who compete in a nationwide tournament to code satellites aboard the International Space Station. 

published on 09/21/2021

"Into Schrodinger's Box" Asks What If Our Fears Take Over

We will never forget the way COVID-19 has changed our daily lives and those around the world. Well into the second year of the pandemic, the virus is now finding its way into movies. One film that has incorporated covid into the plot of a wonderful psychological thriller is Into Schrodinger's Box, which screens at the New Jersey Film Festival (in-person and online) on Friday, September 17th at 7:00pm.

published on 09/15/2021

The Healing Power of Dance Returns to Montclair

Dance on the Lawn returns for its 8th year on Saturday, September 11. The free outdoor festival offers live performances from some of the best professional dancers in the area and showcases some of the best future talent as well. The event takes place in front of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (73 South Fullerton Avenue) in Montclair from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

published on 09/08/2021

Yee-haw! REV Theatre's "Honky Tonkin'" Hootenanny in Cape May

“Yee-haw! Pounds of sequins, yards of fringe, and really big hair! This lil’ ol’ shindig puts the hoot in hootenanny and the jam in jamboree,” exclaimed Rudy Caporaso, Co-Artistic Director & Founder of REV Theatre Company.

published on 07/31/2021

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre Changes Name To Vivid Stage

​​​​​​​For the last couple of years, Laura Ekstrand thought it was time to change the name of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre. The name had been inspired by Native American culture, but it was created in a different time and, in today’s climate, the name seemed out of place.

published on 07/27/2021

Bob Burger Talks About His Heart Attack, Recovery, And Return To The Stage

Bob Burger has been a part of the Jersey Shore music scene since the eighties when he moved here from Erie, Pennsylvania. He's been a member of the Bobby Bandiera Band, a solo artist, performer in Beatle tributes, and is currently a member of The Weeklings with Glen Burtnik - an artist he's written songs with for decades.  On June 5th, he was just finishing a show at The Vogel in Red Bank when he had a heart attack in the dressing room. 

published on 07/25/2021

TaNisha Fordham Talks About "12 Mo' Angry Men"

12 Mo' Angry Men is the story of 11 black jurors and 1 white juror, deliberating on the guilt or innocence of a white police officer who shot and killed a black teen. It is a new and timely reimagining of 12 Angry Men, the classic play and film. It will have its premiere at Newark's Theater in the Park, as part of the city's Summer Fun Events with performances on July 23 & 30, and August 6 & 13, 2021.

published on 07/21/2021

Marc Ribler Talks About His New Record, The Pandemic, and Little Steven

“It’s kind of a magical experience, you never know what the Muse has in store for the day,” explained singer-songwriter Marc Ribler.  “Some songs just feel like absolute gifts.  It’s almost like the words and melody are delivered.”

published on 07/09/2021

Not a Singular Event -- “This Is Our Story: A Coming Out Anthology”

“Coming out is not a singular event,” explained playwright Nicolas J. Clarey. “There is the anticipation, the lead up, the planning, and all of the angst that leads up to it. Then there’s the event itself and the aftermath. The aftermath is something that sticks with us for the rest of our lives. It is something that we will constantly be doing forever. We will never stop coming out in one way or another.”

published on 06/24/2021

"There's Also a Baby Goat" – An Interview with the Director of the Comedy “Sweethurt”

The New Jersey International Film Festival runs across two weekends, June 4-6 and June 11-13.  On Sunday, June 6th, the festival screens “Sweethurt,” a  wonderful young-adult comedy with two interwoven stories of love, friendship, and the paralyzing fear of dying alone.

published on 06/04/2021

REVIEW: "Tiny Beautiful Things" Is The Best Pandemic Theatre I've Seen

If you’ve been missing live theatre and haven’t been impressed by the online offerings as of yet, there is one week left to purchase a stream for Tiny Beautiful Things - a production that just might change your mind about how theatre can be created during a pandemic.

published on 05/17/2021

Brett Altman Releases "Waiting"

Hoboken based singer-songwriter Brett Altman released "Waiting" on Friday, May 14th. This is the latest single from his upcoming album, Not Quite Love. "Waiting" is about overcoming the fear of rejection in order to tell someone how you truly feel. 

published on 05/14/2021

The Wag At Bar A: Our First Show In A Long, Long Time

I’ll admit we were nervous.  It was our first time being to a live event in a long time.  I had been in isolation even before the pandemic due to a medical treatment and it was only one week after getting our second covid vaccine shot, but it was time.

published on 05/10/2021

#RIFT Takes Theatre Beyond the Stage

“For exactly half his life, my brother has been in prison and in December he’ll be up for parole. My name is Gabriel Jason Dean. I’m a playwright and this is a mostly true story about my brother and me.”

published on 04/15/2021

Anthony Walker Talks About His Return To Music & More

In 2008, a solid bunch of demo songs led to When Strangers Say Hello, the full length debut of Anthony Walker, a roots artist from New Brunswick.  That album included wonderful tracks like "Darlene", "The Year of the Flood", and "Lucky Numbers" - the first two showcasing a lyrical ability far beyond his years, the latter hinting at the full band sound to come.  A three-track EP was released in 2010, followed by This City Won't Sleep - another full-length which came out a year a later.

published on 04/09/2021

Taylor Tote On "21 Min Drive"

In late March, Taylor Tote released an EP called "21 Min Drive" -  a collection of contemporary songs unlike any of Tote’s past work. Joining forces with producer and songwriter, Russell Hayden, the EP delivers a new and exciting sound for Tote.

published on 04/06/2021

Chris Rockwell Talks About Soup Can Magazine

There are certain people around the state that New Jersey Stage likes to keep an eye on and Chris Rockwell is one of them.  He's a spoken word poet and hip-hop artist from the Jersey Shore who has organized cultural events throughout the tri-state area for over a decade. His latest project is called Soup Can Magazine, a printed publication featuring poetry and art which will be published quarterly. We reached out to him to learn more about the magazine.

published on 04/05/2021

Passage Theatre Presents “Surely Goodness and Mercy” Online as Part of 2021 Stages Festival

For nearly 25 years, theatre companies throughout the state have taken part in the annual Stages Festival presented by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. The festival offers free and low-cost events that can serve as a wonderful introduction to the world of theatre for families. Due to COVID-19, many of the events this year will be available online.

published on 03/18/2021

An Interview With New Jersey Bassist Mike Hall

Mike Hall is a bassist from New Jersey who toured throughout the east coast with the band Running Late, sharing stages with some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Blondie, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Third Eye Blind, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, Three Doors Down, and many more. Since Running Late disbanded last year, he's been featured in Bass Musician Magazine, received an endorsement by Skjold Design Guitars, released his first EP, and began creating bass covers on social media which have received thousands of views.

published on 03/15/2021

The Postal Project: "Whistling Down The Wire" by Crosby & Nash

Today’s record is “Whistling Down The Wire” by Crosby & Nash. This is a record I’ve never heard of before.  As a fan of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, along with their work in The Byrds & The Hollies, I was interested to see what Graham Nash and David Crosby would sound like on this album. 

published on 03/08/2021

Danielle Durchslag Talks About Her Short Films Being Screened At NJ Jewish Film Festival

Danielle Durchslag is an artist and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She has exhibited around the world, including solo exhibitions at Denny Gallery and Yale University. She has several short films being screened virtually in the New Jersey Jewish Film Festival, which runs now through March 21.

published on 03/01/2021

The Postal Project: "Teaser and the Firecat" by Cat Stevens

A few years ago, my long-time postal worker retired.  Knowing that I wrote about music and had an online radio station, he surprised me one day by giving me a few hundred albums from his vinyl collection. It was a mix of releases from the late sixties, seventies, and early eighties - generally classic rock and folk music. After Hurricane Sandy he was downsizing and I was one to benefit.

published on 03/01/2021

New Exhibits at Montclair Art Museum Reimagine Norman Rockwell and Spotlight Recent Acquisitions

Two new exhibits launched in February at the Montclair Art Museum, which is reopened to the public in a limited fashion due to the pandemic. “Fragile Freedoms: Maggie Meiners Revisits Rockwell” is an especially timely exhibit that reimagines the iconic work of Norman Rockwell through the eyes of modern America. Meanwhile, “New York To New Mexico: New Acquisitions” spotlights some of the museum’s acquisitions of American and Native American art in the past few years.

published on 02/19/2021

"World Premiere Video..." To Be Part Of United States Super 8 Film and Digital Video Festival On Saturday

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Like many budding young filmmakers, Mike J. Nichols grew up shooting Super-8 films with his friends.  One of his projects was a music video which forms the premise of World Premiere Video... - a short film that not only includes the music video, but the story behind how he got Dweezil Zappa to be make a cameo, how the film was lost in a fire, and how it somehow re-emerged thirty years later.  The film is part of three to be available for screening virtually during United States Super 8 Film and Digital Video Festival Day 1-Part 2 on Saturday, February 20th.  

published on 02/14/2021

"Heart of Camden: The Story of Father Michael Doyle" to screen at New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday

“Camden is a place… that holds beauty and holds pain.” Few people understand that quote as much as Msr. Michael Doyle, who was the Pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Camden for sixty years, recently retiring at the age of 85.  Throughout his career he helped improve neighborhoods in Camden, gave the city’s struggles a national presence, and even got Mother Teresa to pay a visit. A documentary film called Heart of Camden: The Story of Michael Doyle tells his story.  The film is available for rent virtually on Saturday, February 13 as part of the New Jersey Film Festival.

published on 02/10/2021

"Nobody Famous" - The Story Of Taylor Pie

If you are a fan of “where are they now?” documentaries, you’ll love Nobody Famous, a film about Susan Taylor from the 1960s folk trio, The Pozo Seco Singers. It follows the quick rise and fall of a band and an artist who reinvented herself to follow her own path away from fame and outside of the spotlight.  It also offers a fascinating look at a music industry that no longer exists. Directed by Elizabeth Ahlstrom, the film has a virtual screening at the New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 6th. The film may be rented and viewed from anywhere in the world.  

published on 02/02/2021

NJ Stage By The Numbers In 2020: Navigating A Year Unlike Any Other

(BELMAR, NJ) -- Now that all of the numbers are in for 2020, New Jersey Stage takes a look back at a year unlike any other. Despite the arts world shutting down, New Jersey Stage's audience continued to grow. Like most in the arts, the site tried making the best out of a bad situation. 

published on 02/01/2021

Dave Vargo and Sahara Moon To Take Part In First "Not Quite Nashville" Song Swap On Saturday, January 30

Dave Vargo has been running a weekly show online called 2forTuesday for most of the last year.  The show involves Dave or another singer-songwriter popping online and performing a pair of songs Tuesdays at 7:30pm (EST).  He's launching a new show on Saturday, January 30 at 8:00pm.  Entitled, "Not Quite Nashville," which will try to virtually recreate the atmosphere and interaction of a Nashville song swap.

published on 01/28/2021

The WBGO Story: Bright Moments from Newark to the World

“It was just something that was meant to be,” said Dorthaan Kirk, who is known as Newark’s First Lady of Jazz. Kirk was talking about the creation of WBGO, New Jersey’s first public radio station, which has been broadcasting jazz from Newark to the entire state and beyond for more than 40 years.  The radio station’s origins is told in a documentary by Chris Daniel entitled, “The WBGO Story: Bright Moments from Newark to the World.”

published on 01/27/2021

Michael Patrick Talks About His Live From The Stone Pony album

For years, Michael Patrick has been proving that Jersey artists can have twang too.  He's logged over 1500 shows with performances by the Michael Patrick Band, The Suburban Hillbillies, and his Johnny Cash tribute band - Ring of Fire.  Inspired by the more traditional folk, country, rockabilly,  roots and rock sounds & writing of such artists as Lyle Lovett, Hank Williams,  John Prine, and the Man in Black himself, Michael Patrick has developed an appreciation of simplistic story-telling lyrics, catchy hooks and memorable melodies.

published on 01/14/2021

Taylor Tote Releases "Quarter-Life Crisis" As Part Of Telegraph Hill Records Vol. 3

The latest song by Taylor Tote was released on Christmas Day as part of the Telegraph Hill Records Vol. 3 playlist. Artists were asked to sum up 2020 as they reflect on a year of limitations and loss and describe their individual contributions in their own words. Taylor Tote's contribution is "Quarter-Life Crisis" - an anthem for those in their 20s and 30s trying to make their way, while striving to discover exactly which way they want to go.

published on 01/04/2021

The Outsider Art of Donald T. Dunphy

“The Outsider Art of Donald T. Dunphy” was released in December 2020.  The Middletown based artist passed away in October 2019 at the age of 82.   He had never expressed an interest in artistic expression until his late 70s after his wife had passed away and he picked up the paints she once used.  What happened next was a lesson in how art can heal and people can grow.  It’s a book of artwork compiled by his son in the months that followed to let his father’s work and his story be known.

published on 12/31/2020

Brett Altman Releases "Holding on to Now"

Hoboken based singer-songwriter Brett Altman released "Holding on to Now" on Friday, December 18th. The song features music & lyrics by Brett Altman and Max Feinstein. The song is about living in the moment, a task which Brett admits has always challenged him. 

published on 12/18/2020

Experience "A Christmas Carol" the Way Dickens Presented It

Few stories connect us to the past the way “A Christmas Carol” does.  For more than 175 years, people have enjoyed watching one of the most miserable characters in the history of literature (Ebenezer Scrooge) go through a complete transformation, thanks to the miracle of Christmas.  For two weekends in December, Algonquin Arts in Manasquan presents a special one-man version of the classic tale - exactly the way Charles Dickens himself performed it for years.

published on 12/17/2020

An Interview With Tommy Strazza About His Best Of Album

Tommy Strazza has been a big part of the New Jersey music scene for over 20 years as a singer-songwriter putting out great records and as a lead guitar for several bands (The Strazzacasters, Hey Bulldog, Misguided Muse, The DeLoreons) and solo artists (Anthony Walker, Anjelia, Emily Grove, and Michael Askin).  His guitar work earned him the Top Guitarist Award at the 2011 Asbury Music Awards and he's earned nominations with the records.  New Jersey Stage featured him in a 2014 magazine article.

published on 12/14/2020

Classic Jersey Releases Xmas 2020 Radio Mix With 85 Tracks By Jersey Artists

(BELMAR, NJ)  — If you’re in the mood for some Christmas music, New Jersey Stage has 85 tracks by artists connected to New Jersey for you to listen to.  Recorded as a mixtape, the show is available in one standalone form (with nearly 5 hours of music) or as individual hour broadcasts.  Either way you’ll get some of your favorite holiday tunes and originals from indie artists to the biggest names in New Jersey musical history.

published on 12/12/2020

A Dozen New Christmas Tracks For 2020

If you love Christmas music, we’ve got new songs from a dozen artists you should check out.  There are pandemic inspired holiday tracks, a few covers of classic Christmas songs, and even one classic updated with lyrics inspired by 2020.

published on 12/04/2020

Social Justice and the NJSO

The Black Lives Matter movement began several years ago, but reached new heights in 2020. Even a deadly pandemic couldn’t stop protests around the world from making George Floyd and Breonna Taylor household names, while growing a movement centered on social justice. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) was among those who knew it was time to take on a higher role.

published on 11/21/2020

Dan Amato Releases "Home For Christmas"

​​​​​​​What happens when a musician is stuck in quarantine with two things: no studio to record and an undying love for the holidays? He puts together a Christmas record with the help of some friends. 

published on 11/19/2020

Gay Elvis talks about "Readymade Blakeup"

"Why did we even bother? Why go back 17 years to finish up demoes of music that no one was really asking to hear, for a band that relatively few people even heard about?" 

published on 11/12/2020

Kriz Oehme Passes, But Leaves Us With One Last Wellbaby Record

New Jersey artist Christopher (Kriz) Oehme died one month ago on October 15 after a long hard battle with kidney disease. He was a big part of the Jersey music scene for many years, working as the doorman at The Saint in Asbury Park and performing with his band Wellbaby.  Many knew him for his poetry, which earned him the Poet Laureate title at the Asbury Park Music Awards in 2004, or for his graphic design work, his paintings and eclectic jewelry.  He also put together numerous shows that included poets and musical performances.

published on 11/10/2020

Celebrate Halloween With Something Wicked

In a year that has been anything but normal, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will provide a semblance of normalcy this week with their annual production of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Its a program that mixes classic literature of the macabre and supernatural, eerie ghost stories, and a dash of humor to go along with the chills. This is the 11th straight year for the production, which changes the stories in the show each time.

published on 10/29/2020

Glen Burtnik Talks About Returning To His Original Songs

On Sunday, October 18, Glen Burtnik will perform in concert as part of the Sundays on St. John's series presented by the Asbury Park Music Foundation.  What makes this show special is that Glen will be performing his original songs - probably for the first time in the local area in a decade or longer. Around the music world some people know him as a member of Styx, some for his popular tribute shows (Summer of Love, Beatles, etc.), and some for his current band - The Weeklings; but before any of those became part of his resume, he was known for his original songs like "Here Comes Sally" and "Follow You."

published on 10/07/2020

Get Happy at MPAC with the Return of Live Music

It’s been a year of reinvention for the arts world ever since the pandemic hit. Venues like Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown were forced to shelf the majority of their shows for the year and find new ways to stay active. Instead of shows in the theater, they presented concerts in parking lots and online. On Friday, October 2nd, MPAC will welcome audiences back into the theater for the first time in months – with the added wrinkle of the show being available for purchase as a livestream as well.

published on 10/01/2020

This Week In The Arts: 9/25/20

Here's a look at five big stories in the arts this past week and links to the feature articles run at New Jersey Stage. This week includes news about the Metropolitan Opera, Showroom Cinemas, Bruce Springsteen, The Princeton Festival, and NJ Stage Magazine.

published on 09/25/2020

Shane Casey

There are songs with a certain rhythm - a symbiotic balance between the words and the music that seem timeless.  Songs which sound both brand new and as though they’ve been a part of you throughout your life.  That’s how “Oh Father” sounded to me the first time I heard it.  The song kicks off the debut album by Shane Casey, a singer-songwriter from Sussex County.

published on 09/22/2020

ELTC Films Nothing Matters with rare Actors’ Equity Contract

Like the rest of the theatre world, East Lynne Theater Company (ELTC) in Cape May could only watch from the sideline as the season they had planned for 2020 was shelved due to the pandemic.  But they refused to go quietly.

published on 09/22/2020

The Islander

Super Storm Sandy was an experience that few who lived through it will ever forget.  Filmmaker Derek J. Pastuszek captures the lonely, dreary aftermath of the storm and the hope for rebirth afterwards in his short film The Islander.  It will be screened during the New Jersey Film Festival on October 4th along with three other shorts (Ashes to Ashes, The Hustle Is Real, and Karaoke League).  The year the festival is virtual, which lets you purchase and rent films from anywhere.  Films are available for 24 hours.

published on 09/22/2020

Art Against Racism

Since the murder of George Floyd, artworks protesting police violence against Black lives have emerged all over the world. Art Against Racism: Memorial.Monument.Movement is a nationwide virtual exhibition created in response to this issue and will be presented on a groundbreaking video platform beginning October 3 at 5:00pm EST, just in time to get out the vote.

published on 09/22/2020

Inez & Doug & Kira

There are films about important subjects, films that bring characters to life, and films that are challenging for the viewer - Julia Kots’ debut full-length film, Inez & Doug & Kira is all three.  It features great acting performances, superb character development, and enough mystery to keep viewers glued to each scene.  The New Jersey Film Festival offers a virtual screening of the film on October 16. It will be available for 24 hours.

published on 09/22/2020

BlowUpRadio.com Turns 20!

BlowUpRadio.com is a website and online radio station that has put a spotlight on New Jersey music for two decades.  Run by Lazlo, the site is also known for music news, benefit compilations, and a never dying mission to promote New Jersey artists.   

published on 09/22/2020

NJ Film Fest Goes Virtual for Fall 2020

Film lovers will not be able to enjoy the Fall 2020 New Jersey Film Festival (NJFF) in the theatre, but they will be able to see the films at home. Since Rutgers University will not have any events take place on the New Brunswick campus this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will be presented virtually.  Running from September 13 to October 25, more than 40 films will be screening, with many receiving their New Jersey or area premieres (Middlesex County).

published on 09/11/2020

Almost Queen

“The name of the band is a tip of the hat to them,” explained Joseph Russo who portrays the legendary Freddie Mercury in the popular tribute band Almost Queen.  “I mean, nobody could ever be Queen.  We can almost get there, but nobody can get there.”

published on 08/23/2020

Brian Dunne & NYC

The pandemic has been difficult on all of us, but it’s been especially harsh on musicians who routinely spend much of each year on the road.  That’s where the majority of their income is made - everything from selling CDs and merch to money earned at the club. Equally as important is the ability to perform in front of strangers who wind up becoming fans.  For the Brooklyn-based artist Brian Dunne, the pandemic was the first time in years he could honestly say he wasn’t on tour.

published on 08/23/2020

Christopher Jackson: Live from the West Side

“It must be nice… It must be nice… to have Washington on your side.” Millions of people have had that ear worm ringing through their households during the pandemic thanks to the Disney+ film of “Hamilton.” For 17 performing arts centers, including Millburn’s Paper Mill Playhouse, the man who portrayed George Washington in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s revolutionary show will be on their side with “Christopher Jackson: Live from the West Side” - a livestream concert taking place on Saturday, August 15 at 8:00 p.m.

published on 08/13/2020

Kansas: Tom Brislin Joins The Legendary Prog Rock Band

Like millions of kids, Tom Brislin always wanted to be a musician when he grew up.  Unlike most with that dream, Brislin’s talent as a keyboardist has led to recording albums and touring with the likes of Meat Loaf, Yes, Patti Rothberg, Renaissance, Camel, and numerous progressive rock bands.  The latest album on his resume, The Absence of Presence, was released in July and marks his first as a member of Kansas.  

published on 07/24/2020

Get In The Car, Jane!

For nearly 50 years, Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore formed a writing team that was behind hit television shows, movies, and popular plays.  They started out as a couple, broke up, got back together, broke up again, and eventually became friends - all while continuing to create together.  It’s rare enough to find a great writing partner, but to have the kind of career they had is remarkable.  And to do it after a painful breakup is even more amazing.

published on 07/24/2020

New Parent Smell

What happens when a pair of professional stand-up comedians become new parents? Jokes in their set are bound to be influenced by parenting and may become harder hitting between the spouses.  When Rutgers alum Ben Rosenfeld and his wife Michelle Slonim Rosenfeld found themselves in that situation, the jokes led to an illustrated guide to pregnancy and parenting that is very different from your usual baby books. Their book, New Parent Smell, gives both comedians the spotlight as it bounces back and forth with jokes by each.  

published on 07/24/2020

View From The Sound Board

John DiCapua is the Assistant Head of Audio at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark.  He’s also well known to music fans at the Jersey Shore for his work at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park where he got his start. While everyone wants the arts to come back, the people behind the scenes like John are facing difficult times too. Unfortunately, they are part of the forgotten class of people left behind in the arts during the pandemic.

published on 07/24/2020

Little Miss America

Inspiration can strike at any time.  For Gordon Burke, lead singer and songwriter for the Australian band Josh Orange, the band’s latest single was inspired by a waitress who served him at the Miss America Diner in Jersey City.

published on 07/24/2020

Almost Queen Returns to the Drive-In

Today, there are dozens of bands around the world who pay tribute to the legendary act Queen, but back when Almost Queen started nearly 16 years ago, there were next to none. On Wednesday, July 29th, the band will perform at the second music concert in the Drive-In Live series presented by the Count Basie Center for the Arts at Monmouth Park. For Joseph Russo, who portrays lead singer Freddie Mercury, it’s a hometown show.

published on 07/16/2020

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes Offer a New Kind of Party

When Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes look out from the stage on July 11, they’ll see 1,000 cars instead of fans dancing along to the music. The band kicks off the Drive-In Live series of shows at Monmouth Park racetrack presented by the Count Basie Center for the Arts.

published on 07/09/2020

Filmmaker Steve Herold Talks About "Waimea"

Jersey Shore filmmaker Steve Herold has been working in film and television since graduating from the film program at New York's School of Visual Arts. His award-winning films include H.R. Pukenshette, Bum Runner, and Death Of An Umbrella Salesman. In total, his films have screened at over 75 film festivals worldwide. 

published on 06/30/2020

Mike Peters of The Alarm Looks back

​​​​​​​The Alarm is a band from Wales led by Mike Peters that arrived on the scene in the early 1980s with a run of anthemic rock songs that resonated with millions around the world. Many of the lyrics were about fighting to survive. In the 90s, Peters fought a battle with lymph cancer.  He’s since fought rounds with chronic lymphocytic leukemia as well.  Looking back, it’s almost as though he’s been fighting cancer through his lyrics long before his first diagnosis.  One such example is their breakout hit for America, “Strength” which opened with the lines, “Give me love / Give me hope / Give me strength / Give me someone to live for.”

published on 06/23/2020

Matt Slocum on Drumming, Teaching, and the Meaning of Success

Matt Slocum always knew he wanted to live close to New York City someday. The Wisconsin native grew up seeing his jazz idols all spend time living and performing in the city, and as he built up his professional resume, he knew fate would lead him there as well. After graduating from the University of Southern California and spending a few more years in California, he moved to the East Coast. He settled in Essex County where he teaches drummers and percussionists at Newark Academy and works with the jazz program at New Jersey Youth Symphony.

published on 06/19/2020

Bora Yoon: Sound & Vision

Bora Yoon is a Korean-American composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist who creates fascinating soundscapes composed of both audio and visual stimuli. While you may see her playing standard instruments like a piano or violin, she also utilizes found objects and instruments from a variety of cultures and historical centuries. Yoon has perfect pitch, which provides her with the ability to hear and know sounds without a reference. It’s a skill that lets her play around with objects and see how their sounds can be manipulated or changed when paired with other objects or instruments.

published on 06/14/2020

The Incoherents

There’s something about being a rock and roller in your youth that is hard to let go. The adrenaline of being on stage, the groupies, the fame - even when there isn’t much fame - is hard to forget while you work each day in your cubicle. The Incoherents is a comedy about a guy named Bruce Flansburgh who gets the itch to return to rock and roll years after breaking up his band.

published on 05/25/2020

Ben Reel and the Lure of Nashville

Irish artist Ben Reel released The Nashville Calling, his ninth studio album, at the end of March.  The plan was to promote the record with a month long tour of Holland and Germany, but the tour was cancelled when the world basically shut down due to the pandemic.  Instead, he’s been promoting the record with live concerts streamed from his house each Friday on Facebook with his wife Julieanne.  It’s a shame because this is his strongest album to date.

published on 05/25/2020

Christopher Lloyd Time Travels Again in ReRUN

Imagine you could go back in time and relive a particular moment. Fans of the British television show Doctor Who might remember an episode called “Turn Left” in which the future of one person’s life depended on whether she turned her car left or right at an intersection.  Sometimes life is that simple; where one incident holds the key to our future.  In the independent film ReRUN, such a moment occurs for the legendary actor Christopher Lloyd.

published on 05/25/2020

John Godfrey Talks About A Special Edition Of The Troubadour Show Featuring Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska"

Radio Troubadour is a radio show hosted by John Godfrey that plays the best new releases from Independent artists mixed with classic tracks from some of your favorite artists. Radio Troubadour plays a mix of Alt Country, Americana, Country & Western, Folk, Rock, Roots, Singer Songwriters. It's one of several shows available each day on The Penguin Rocks - an online radio station run by New Jersey Stage.  When we learned his latest show was a special edition featuring songs from Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska album (all covered by different artists), we reached out to him at his home in Scotland to learn more.

published on 05/09/2020

Inside NJ Stage's Virtual Event Calendar

Sometime in February events started getting cancelled or rescheduled throughout New Jersey. For the past five years, New Jersey Stage has been running an event calendar which regularly listed 5,000-7,000 events a year. We tried maintaining the calendar for a few weeks, modifying and deleting listings until it became both too big of a job and a fruitless one. It was clear events would not be taking place any time soon. So on March 20th, we made changes to our calendar's programming code to make it easier to list virtual events and our virtual event calendar was born.

published on 05/09/2020

Sara Barry Talks About Songs from Quarantine: A Compilation

Because of COVID-19, most of us have had to learn how to adapt to the changing world, and sometimes that's difficult. In the midst of social distancing and quarantine, things can seem disheartening, but ultimately we know we're all taking these precautionary measures so we'll be better off in the long run. But for those on the front lines of this crisis, social distancing isn't always an option. Sara Barry of the band Teen Idle has organized Songs from Quarantine - a compilation of quarantine songs that is meant to benefit those impacted by and on the front lines of this crisis. New Jersey Stage spoke to her for more information on the project, which is available online.

published on 04/26/2020

Michael McDermott: What in the world is happening here?

It’s a strange time to be releasing a new album.  While a release show is still scheduled for June 5 at City Winery in Chicago, Michael McDermott doesn’t know if it will take place or not.  Nevertheless, he feels this is a good time for the album which features a title and opening single perfect for the absurd, terrifying, quarantine world we find ourselves in. 

published on 04/25/2020

Remembering Bucky

“I feel like I’m burying my father again,” said jazz guitarist Ed Laub. Laub was talking about the legendary New Jersey musician Bucky Pizzarelli who passed away from complications of COVID-19.  Laub was friends with Pizzarelli for decades from the days he was a teenager studying guitar with Bucky to playing as his partner in a guitar duo for well over a decade. Pizzarelli died at his home in Saddle River, New Jersey on April 1st at the age of 94.

published on 04/25/2020

Save The Saint In Asbury Park

Every day NJ Stage receives news about venues struggling to stay afloat or laying off employees due to being forced to shut down on account of the pandemic.  I tell people you can’t save them all so choose who means the most to you and donate what you can to help them.  For me, the place that’s on top of the list is The Saint in Asbury Park.

published on 04/22/2020

An Interview With The BlowUpRadio Founder On "Stay Home With Lazlo"

Blowupradio.com is an online radio station / music website that was launched in 2001 by Lazlo. It has almost certainly played music by more New Jersey based artists than any other station in the world because Garden State artists are the base of the station's programming each day. Lazlo has been very involved in producing concerts, benefits for causes, and has interviewed tons of artists. He's taken advantage of the quarantine period to launch a daily show called Stay Home With Lazlo, which airs every night at 6:00pm.

published on 04/15/2020

NJ Stage Gives Back To The Community With Offer Of 25 Free Ads

These are perilous times for many industries, but especially for entertainment based ones.  Not only are shows no longer taking place, but no one knows when shows will be able to return or even if audiences will be there when they do.  New Jersey Stage is hurting as much as artists and art organizations are, but we know we only exist because you do.  So we are offering up to 25 free full-page ads in our monthly magazine to help out.

published on 04/14/2020

Stormin' Norman Seldin Nominated For East Coast Music Hall of Fame

Stormin' Norman Seldin is among the handful of musicians who have been a part of the Asbury Park music scene from the very beginning.  From booking shows as a teenager to breaking racial barriers by including a young Clarence Clemons in his band to performing up and down the east coast for over 50 years, his legacy is intact. Now he needs your help. Seldin is a nominee for the East Coast Music Hall of Fame for Best Music Maker in the Jazz / Blues / Swing / Retro category.  Voting runs until May 30th.

published on 04/14/2020

Bucky Pizzarelli: Jersey Through and Through

On April 1st, the patriarchs of two influential jazz families passed away. They lived more than 1,000 miles apart, but their losses were felt throughout the jazz world. One was Ellis Marsalis Jr. who passed away in New Orleans; the other was Bucky Pizzarelli, who passed away at his home in Saddle River, NJ at the age of 94. Both died from complications of COVID-19.

published on 04/07/2020

Light In An Era Of Darkness (a letter from the publisher)

When the South X Southwest music festival in Austin was cancelled, the COVID-19 pandemic became very real to millions of people.  One after another, major events became cancelled or postponed.  The Montclair Film Festival was one of the first big names in New Jersey to cancel, but it was far from the last. Some vowed to return later in the year or tried going virtual like the Garden State Film Festival, but the situation remained the same - nothing was going to be normal for quite a while.

published on 03/23/2020

Freedom Rider

The historic journey of the Freedom Riders took place nearly 60 years ago. On May 4, 1961, a group of young people, black and white, from colleges and universities across the country, boarded two buses southbound from Washington, DC on a journey to prove that love and compassion could conquer hate and that what was a right for one American should be a right for all Americans. For them, it was a cause worth fighting for in spite of the dangers they knew they would have to face along the way.

published on 03/23/2020

Exploring New Jersey's Musical History

In Dewar MacLeod’s new book, Making the Scene in the Garden State: Popular Music in New Jersey from Edison to Springsteen and Beyond, he explores the state’s music history through stories about the musicians, listeners and fans who came together to create sounds from across the American popular music spectrum.  The book was published by Rutgers University Press and released on March 13.

published on 03/23/2020

Corona Concert Classics Will Keep The Music Playing

​​​​​​​While clubs and concert halls across the country are shut down due to the COVID-19 virus, one music fan has come up with a unique way to keep live music performances going.  Ellen Berman’s Viral Video Productions will host a series of Corona Concert Classics featuring artists performing older albums in their entirety.  The series is initially scheduled to host a live concert on Facebook every Wednesday from March 18 to April 15 starting with a performance by Arlan Feiles and his wonderful album, Razing A Nation.

published on 03/16/2020

"Matilda" and the Power of Reading

March is National Reading Month and there’s no better way to celebrate this with your children than seeing Roald Dahl’s “Matilda, the Musical” at Axelrod Performing Arts Center. The play is based on the popular children’s book about a girl who is able to escape the problems of her own world through the books given to her by a librarian.  The musical revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination, and offers the inspiring story of a girl who dreams of a better life. Axelrod’s production runs for three weekends beginning March 7th.

published on 03/04/2020

"Gatsby In Connecticut" An Interview With Filmmaker Robert Steven Williams

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has long been recognized as one of the premier American novels of all-time.  It has become synonymous with the lifestyle of the rich and famous and instantly transports readers to Long Island, but what if the setting wasn’t Long Island at all.  What if the real West and East Egg are found on the other side of Long Island Sound in Connecticut?

published on 02/26/2020

Honey Wild: The Making Of A Band

It’s rare that a band plays its first gigs in August, releases its first EP in November, and winds up with the Makin Waves Song of the Year (“Don’t Call Me Baby”).  But that’s the story of Honey Wild, a bluesy rock band led by Hana Denson which is comprised of musicians from Central and North Jersey that has been playing shows in New Jersey and New York.

published on 02/26/2020

East Lynne Turns 40!

While many theaters around the Garden State take the summer off, East Lynne Theater thrives on the summer season.  Located in Cape May, the theater is dedicated to presenting American theater classics.  Seasons often include a play or two that hasn’t been performed in decades. In 2020, the theater celebrates its 40th season with the theme of “Challenging Change” and productions of Possessing Harriet, Born Yesterday, and Why Marry? to go along with their annual radio shows, Halloween, and Christmas based productions. 

published on 02/26/2020

"The Promotion" - an interview with playwright Joe Giovannetti

Trish and Josh are coworkers and good friends, but when they are both up for a promotion things change. Youll see just how far people are willing to go to get ahead inThe Promotionby Joe Giovannetti. The comedy about surviving in the dog eat dog world of business is being presentedatNew Jersey Repertory Companyin Long Branch through February 20, 2022.

published on 02/26/2020

Princeton University Senior Marshall Dylan Schaffer's "Hotel on Fremont" at the Lewis Center for the Arts

“Hotel on Fremont” by Princeton University senior Marshall Dylan Schaffer takes place in a luxury hotel lobby’s public and private spaces and focuses on a group of young people and the situations that ensue in their pursuit of relationships. The pop-punk based jukebox musical uses music and dance to explore how we form our personal relationships and how we develop our relationships with ourselves.

published on 02/05/2020

Beauty and Ruin

Americana artist David Starr has been on a terrific creative streak in the last five years, releasing several albums that were among the best of each year including Love and Sabotage (2016), The Head and Heart (2017) and South and West (2018).  He’s about to release Beauty and Ruin, an album inspired by a book called Of What Was, Nothing Is Left - the last book written by his grandfather before he died.

published on 01/25/2020

Strive

When California-based filmmaker Robert Rippberger sought scripts that had entertaining stories of social impact, he whittled over 120 submissions down to a few.  One of the finalists was Strive - a film by Sha-Risse Smith and Piper Dellums about a teenager named Kalani who is trying to go from a Harlem housing project to the Ivy League.

published on 01/25/2020

Sean Glonek In The Studio

In 2003, I first became aware of the Trenton band The Commons from their wonderful release Come On Get Gone. It would be one of my favorite albums of all-time from a New Jersey band and still holds up well today.  Years after that band broke up, Commons’ guitarist Sean Glonek has become one of the hottest studio guys in the state, working with local artists like Doc Rotten, The Cryptkeeper Five, Honah Lee, and numerous others in addition to being part of national records by Juliana Hatfield and Tanya Donelly.  It’s a second act that led to SRG Studios.

published on 01/25/2020

Jay & Molly: Connecting People to the Past via Their Music

Art has always been about connecting us to the past.  Hundreds of years after Shakespeare’s death, theatres around the world still perform his plays. People visit museums to see works by artists from the Renaissance era. And music from more than 150 years ago fits nicely into sets by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, a married duo whose song “Ashokan Farewell” was the hallmark of the Ken Burns’ Civil War series. 

published on 01/08/2020

Highwind Premieres Video for "2023"

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Highwind, a two-piece pop-rock outfit based out of Asbury Park, is premiering the video for "2023" - a stand-alone single that is available on Spotify, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Bandcamp, and pretty much anywhere you can buy or stream music.

published on 01/03/2020

David Vargo

When you’ve been around the Jersey music scene for a while you begin to realize that nearly everyone has a backstory that might surprise you.  David Vargo certainly has one.  When he first became a professional musician after graduating from Berklee College of Music he found himself on the road more than 300 days a year touring with artists like Whitney Houston, Phoebe Snow, and Rupert Holmes. These days he’s running his own successful financial services company, promoting his second solo album, and playing clubs instead of arenas.  Despite the lower profile he sounds much happier.  In fact, he thinks of his national touring days as part of his past musical life.

published on 12/25/2019

Work Songs

"I don’t mind the machine, I just don’t want to be its victim…" Ever since the industrial revolution workers have been face to face with technologies that helped their productivity while threatening their jobs.  In the documentary Work Songs, New York filmmaker Mark Street takes a look at how people are coping with work and today’s challenges.  He interviews people in a range of industries who are trying to survive economically while finding meaning in their jobs and sometimes doing so alongside the very technology which may eventually replace them.

published on 12/25/2019

Four Of My Favorite Artists

I gave up writing CD reviews many years ago, but like to highlight records from time to time.  As the 2010s come to an end, it dawned on me that four of my favorite artists from New Jersey had all released albums throughout the entire decade with new releases in 2019.  There’s something comforting about knowing these artists (James Dalton, Rick Barry, Arlan Feiles, and Anthony D’Amato) are not just continuing to produce music, but continuing to make great music.  So here’s a look at their 2019 releases.

published on 12/25/2019

David Spelman of the New York Guitar Festival

The New York Guitar Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary in May 2019.  It has explored virtually every type of music that can be created on a guitar and presented many of the world’s most influential guitarists at venues like Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, (Le) Poisson Rouge, National Sawdust, and Brookfield Place Winter Garden.  The lineup includes masters of classical music, blues & jazz, pop & indie rock, folk & Americana, artists from Central & South American, and eclectic, genre-defying innovators.

published on 12/25/2019

“A Christmas Carol” Through the Ages

Whether you have grown up reading the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” or have seen it on stage or screen, you’ve never experienced it the way Reid Farrington presents it.  His take on the holiday story combines the original book with clips from roughly 35 film versions and live actors.  If you’re a fan of the BBC television show “Doctor Who” or loved “Scrooged,” this version is right up your alley.

published on 12/06/2019

Wesley Stace & His Cabinet of Wonders

One of the most intriguing shows this December will take place at The Strand in Lakewood on Friday the thirteenth.  Wesley Stace, an artist who released great albums for two decades under the name John Wesley Harding, will bring his Cabinet of Wonders show to town. It’s a one of a kind variety show featuring musicians, writers and comedians. The goal is to make the audience laugh, think, and sing along. Cabinet of Wonders has been described as a little bit vaudeville, a little bit literary, and a lot of rock ‘n’ roll.

published on 11/26/2019

Catching Up With Joe

​​​​​​​The South Camden Theatre Company that Joe Paprzycki founded is celebrating a pair of anniversaries this season.  It is the theatre company’s 15th anniversary and the 10th year of the Waterfront South Theatre, which was built on the site where Paprzycki’s grandfather once owned a bar. Joe’s life was closely tied to the theatre and to Camden itself for a long time, but that ended a few years ago.  Today, he’s living up in North Truro, Massachusetts, and enjoying a new chapter in his life.  Instead of regrets, he’s having fun hanging out with people like Kathleen Turner and Tony Kushner.

published on 11/26/2019

Sonofdov

​​​​​​​Those of us who were affected and lived through Hurricane Sandy in 2012 will never forget it.  For many of us, our lives were never the same after that storm.  Dennis King chose to stay in his Morris County house despite having no heat or power for 11 days. One thing he did have was a guitar and a desire to write music.

published on 11/26/2019

Zaritza

In the #metoo era, we have become accustomed to seeing women portrayed as victims.  Zaritza, an artist living in Monmouth County, recently released a single and music video for a song that shows a different side - instead of being a victim, the song celebrates female desire and sexuality.  It would be a bold song in any era, but it’s completely eye-opening today.

published on 11/26/2019

Social Justice and The Quilts of Angola Prison

“I have not given up. I’m here and I want outta here, but, in the meantime, I will create.” That’s the message Maureen Kelleher says she gets from the quilts created by prison inmates. While it may be surprising to learn that people serving life sentences are quilters, it’s a wonderful way for them to express their humanity. Kelleher, an artist, activist, and private investigator, is the curator of an exhibit showcasing quilts created by inmates who first began making quilts through their work as volunteers in the prison hospice project.

published on 11/07/2019

"Four Women from Trenton" at The Center for Contemporary Art

Decades before Trenton’s first Art All Night, the Trenton Artists Workshop Association was created to promote local artists. On view now, works from several TAWA artists are on display at The Center for Contemporary Art in an exhibit entitled “Four Women from Trenton,” which was curated by Mel Leipzig - a name synonymous with Trenton’s art scene. The exhibit runs through October 26 in Bedminster.

published on 10/04/2019

Stop Motion Animation

Pit Stop is a 4 minute stop-motion film by New Jersey native Mikail Ekiz that premiered at the New Jersey Film Festival in New Brunswick in September.  The short film is about a gas station convenience store clerk who has a Magic 8 Ball for a head which can predict the future.  Fearing that others will discover his secret, he lives in a constant state of paranoia.

published on 09/24/2019

The Lucky Ones

When her best friend is diagnosed with cancer, it forces both to examine their friendship and what truly matters. That’s the premise behind The Lucky Ones by Lia Romeo, which kicks off the 25th season of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre in Summit.  With wit and humor, Romeo serves up an exploration of aging, mortality, and the value and complexity of female friendship.

published on 09/24/2019

Shield: Superheroes Do Exist

In a cinematic world dominated by Marvel superheroes, Shield shows us that true superheroes actually walk among us.  This wonderful short independent film by Danielle Eliska Lyle will be screened at the New Jersey Film Festival in New Brunswick on Sunday, October 13 on a night filled with short films - many by Garden State filmmakers and on October 23 at Princeton University during SHE BAD: Women In Film - a night of five short films curated by Lyle.

published on 09/24/2019

Mrs. Stern Wanders The Prussian State Library

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” is a quote attributed to George Santayana. Theatre has the ability to bring history to life in plays which resonate with the current world.  Luna Stage in West Orange will present the World Premiere of one such play in October.  Entitled, Mrs. Stern Wanders the Prussian State Library, the play by Jenny Lyn Bader is set in Nazi Germany, but contains elements that will sound more familiar to events in America today than we would like to admit.

published on 09/24/2019

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

The world lost one of its most powerful literary voices when Toni Morrison passed away on August 5th at the age of 88.  For New Jersey, we lost someone who became such a part of the fabric of our state - especially in Princeton - that she was among the initial inductees to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.  

published on 08/27/2019

Sammy Kay: Through Hell & Back

Morris County native Sammy Kay didn’t think he had anything left after his third album, Untitled.  He was battling mental health issues and substance abuse.  He was tired of touring and didn’t know what his future would hold, but he still believed. In fact, he ended Untitled with the song “I Believe.” 

published on 08/27/2019

Impossible Monsters

“I’ve been fascinated by dreams and nightmares for a long time,” explained filmmaker Nathan Catucci. “And how they relate to our perception of reality.” Catucci’s debut film, Impossible Monsters, will be screened at the New Jersey Film Festival in New Brunswick on Saturday, September 14th.

published on 08/27/2019

The Waterboys

The Waterboys are one of those bands that people who love music seem to love.  They sprang out of the 1980s and have been creating great albums ever since, often incorporating Irish and Scottish sounds into their folk rock base. Led by Mike Scott, the band will be touring America in support of their latest release, Where The Action Is.  As luck would have it, the American part of their tour kicks off in New Jersey on Tuesday, September 17th at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank.

published on 08/27/2019

Two Trentons: An American City Speaks

Filmmaker Brad Mays thought he had wrapped up filming everything for his documentary, Two Trentons: An American City Speaks and then the Art All Night tragedy happened.  He was actually wrapping up the film at the festival, but quickly realized he was no longer done and he was now making a different movie.

published on 08/27/2019

An Interview With Richie Santa Ahead Of His Show At The Strand

Richie Santa is a singer/Elvis Tribute Artist, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and now lives in Staten Island, NY about twelve miles from where he initially grew up. His career started with a band called Neighborhood Jukebox, which was an oldies band that opened for Roy Orbison and sang live on the Don K. Reed Do Wop-Shop Radio show on CBS's 101.1 FM. Richie also sang the title track to a short-lived TV show back called "Fast Forward."

published on 08/11/2019

Williamsboy: An Old Soul

​​​​​​​Songwriters write songs for many reasons.  Matt “Billy” Williams, a singer-songwriter in Burlington County who performs as Williamsboy, writes songs about the human experience with one central goal in mind - to let people know they aren’t alone.

published on 07/25/2019

Catching Up with Carolyne Mas

Carolyne Mas came out of the Greenwich Village music scene in the 1970s along with artists like Willie Nile, Steve Forbert, and The Roches. For a while her career seemed destined for greatness, but a myriad of issues prevented her from reaching that level.  She was up against sexism in the music industry, bad record labels, a manager who stole her royalty checks, eating disorders, and a mysterious knifing attack which almost cost her life.  

published on 07/25/2019

REVIEW: "The Wake" at Premiere Stages

(UNION, NJ) — It’s easy to deny what you don’t see.  That’s one of several themes in Tammy Ryan’s wonderful new play The Wake, which is being presented by Premiere Stages now through July 28th.  The play, which won the 2019 Premiere Play Festival, deals with issues involving family, marital problems, nature, the environment and climate change.  In each area, it’s clear that problems are easier to overlook when you don’t see them directly.

published on 07/13/2019

Heavy subjects inspire a comedy in Tammy Ryan's "The Wake"

Maggie and Rosemary rent a beach house in Florida to scatter their sister’s ashes six months after she loses her battle with cancer. They soon find themselves and their partners staring down a hurricane. As the storm begins to rage, strange encounters with wildlife signal something more is going on. The premise may appear rather dark, but playwright Tammy Ryan views her latest work as a comedy.

published on 07/10/2019

Why Don’t Indie Artists Create Best Of Albums?

Imagine you are in a club watching an opening act that you’ve never seen before.  Two or three songs in it’s clear you are hooked. After their set you head over to the merch table and see several CDs they’ve released over the years.  You pick one up, then another, scanning through the titles trying to find one with songs you’ve just heard. Wouldn’t it be great if the band simply had a CD featuring their best songs?

published on 06/24/2019

When I Last Saw Jesse

Jesse Ross was a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City when he traveled to Chicago with classmates to participate in a model United Nations conference in November 2006.  Filmmaker Brian Rose, a grad student from the Kansas City area, was in Chicago just a few days earlier visiting a friend.  The two did not know each other, but their paths would ultimately meet when Rose created the documentary When I Last Saw Jesse.

published on 06/24/2019

Anywhere Is Here

Among the many films screened at the recent New Jersey International Film Fest at Rutgers was Anywhere Is Here, the debut feature film from Ian Lettire.  The screening took place not long after Lettire graduated from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

published on 06/24/2019

"Sing You a Brand New Song - The Words and Music of Coleman Mellett"

On February 12, 2009, Coleman Mellett, a talented jazz guitarist in Chuck Mangione’s band, was one of 50 people to perish in a plane crash. He was married to jazz singer Jeanie Bryson (daughter of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie) and had been working on his first album of original music with Grammy Award-winning producer Barry Miles.

published on 06/05/2019

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Imagine spending four months on the other side of the world in a place where the sun doesn’t rise for about nine weeks. That’s where New Jersey natives Matthew Runciman and Danielle Galietti found themselves as they created interdisciplinary, multi-sensorial artwork in Iceland.   

published on 05/27/2019

Lauren Davidson: Urban Country From A Jersey Girl

It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago that the New York City radio market didn’t have a single country music station.  One look at the summer concert lineup for 2019 shows country artists headlining several shows at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel and BB&T Pavilion in Camden, while some of the biggest stars have brought huge crowds to shows on the Atlantic City beach in recent years.  Even many of the biggest rock and roll clubs in the Garden State are hosting sold out country music shows nowadays. There’s no doubt that country music is big in the area now and getting bigger each year.  One person who hopes to benefit from this is Lauren Davidson, a country music artist originally from Freehold who aims to build a fanbase while living outside of the Nashville scene.

published on 05/27/2019

Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am?

As the saxophone played alongside the Great Wall of China, a voice bellowed, “Who do you think you are?” The man playing the sax was Clarence Clemons and he was in China on a quest to learn the answer to that very question.

published on 05/27/2019

The Reservoir: Go To College Or On Tour?

One of the challenges in making a short film is telling a complete story.  The Reservoir is one that both succeeds and makes you wonder if you will ever see the main characters again - either in a longer film or a television or web-based series.  The film was Jordan Rowe’s thesis at New York University.  It’s a story about two friends, Aaron (played by Jared Gilman) and Grant (played by Eli Bridges), who are about to graduate high school in North Caldwell, New Jersey.

published on 05/27/2019

Life Is Short. Music Is Forever - The Words and Music of Coleman Mellett

On February 12, 2009, jazz guitarist Coleman Mellett was among the 50 people who lost their lives when Continental Flight 3407 crashed just outside Buffalo, New York. He was on his way to perform with the Buffalo Philharmonic as the guitarist with the Chuck Mangione Band. 

published on 05/27/2019

From Immigrant To Street Artist: A Look At Joshua Lance

Street painters have been around for centuries, but are still rare in New Jersey.  If you wander around Lambertville this summer you might see one at work.  His name is Joshua Lance and even though he’s a native to the town, he’s painted all over the globe including stints in several area of Asia and Europe. 

published on 05/27/2019

An Interview with Filmmaker Doug Bollinger About "The Samaritans"

​​​​​​​The Samaritans is a new micro-budget horror/thriller flick written and directed by Doug Bollinger and was based on a story by Keith Collins. It tells the story of four co-workers who get together to finish a project at their manager’s home. They haven’t actually met face to face and they discover they have more in common than the new mobile app they are perfecting. 

published on 05/27/2019

Mountain Man To Perform at SOPAC

Many bands are started by a group of friends, but the three women that form Mountain Man were students at Bennington College in Vermont who just happened to stumble upon the magic of how their voices sound together by accident.  That discovery launched a whirlwind ride for them that began in 2009 and led to the release of their debut album the next year and an international tour in which they opened for and backed up Feist. Afterwards, they all went their separate ways, leading the music world to wonder if they would ever return.

published on 05/23/2019

A Look at Makin Waves Fest 2019 - Help Save The Wave

It’s not easy being an arts journalist these days.  Newspapers have continually used the arts section as a place to make cuts - reducing or eliminating arts coverage entirely.  New Jersey Stage was created to help keep arts coverage alive and we have been fortunate to lure many arts writers to our site and magazine.  They come because of our audience, their love of the arts, and because they love covering the arts.  Unfortunately, they are also working for free.  Even celebrated journalists like Bob Makin do not get paid because there simply isn’t the money to do so.

published on 05/12/2019

Kim B. Chinh Talks About "Reclaiming Vietnam"

An interview with Kim B. Chinh who wrote and stars in "Reclaiming Vietnam" which will be performed at The Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck on Saturday, May 11.

published on 04/30/2019

New Jersey Uncorked

While many throughout America may snicker at New Jersey’s nickname of The Garden State, the truth is we still have plenty of farmland throughout the state.  And, in the past few decades, many of these farms have been producing wine and increasingly award-winning wines.  The state now boasts about 50 wineries and David Mullen has not only visited them all, he’s visited some that haven’t even opened to the public yet.  He details his travels each week on his blog and in his book, New Jersey Uncorked: A Snob-Free Taste of NJ Wine, which was released at the end of last summer.

published on 04/26/2019

Maternal Instinct

“I would never have thought I would have a third child,” said singer-songwriter Sheli Monacchio.  “If you asked me a few years back that wasn’t even in the cards.  He’s what I consider to be a gift from the universe.”

published on 04/26/2019

Getting Over

Imagine waking up one day to your own personal version of The Matrix in which everything you thought you knew about your family was a lie? 

published on 04/26/2019

Remembering Joe Harvard: It's Hard To Be A Saint In Two Cities

On Sunday, March 24, 2019, the music world lost one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met.  I say music world because although Joe Incagnoli (better known as Joe Harvard) had become an Asbury Park legend when he moved to the city in 2001, he was already a legend in Boston, and one who played a major role in the career of many bands who went on to become household names.

published on 04/26/2019

A Trip to the 'Heartland' at Luna Stage

“Our entire season is exploring this idea of how we have conversations across cultural divides, which I feel is one of those fundamental things that we need to explore as a culture right now,” explained Ari Laura Kreith, who has been the Artistic Director at Luna Stage in West Orange since February 2018. She’s discussing the theatre’s latest work, the regional premiere of “Heartland” by Gabriel Jason Dean, which runs from April 4th to May 5th.

published on 04/03/2019

Matt O'Ree: Back On The Road

The last five years have been a crazy time for Jersey bluesman Matt O’Ree.  He went on tour across Southeast Asia as a member of Bon Jovi in 2015 and was inducted into the NY/NJ Blues Hall of Fame the following year with Eryn Shewell. He released a record that included a guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen, headlined shows at The Stone Pony, and married Eryn forming the state’s preeminent power blues duo.

published on 03/25/2019

Women Who Rock! An Interview With Meredith Ochs

“Rock and roll is built of fierce women,” writes Meredith Ochs in the introduction to her fascinating book, Rock-and-Roll Woman: The 50 Fiercest Female Rockers.  “Blues, jazz, R&B, and country artists who laid its groundwork.  Girl groups who projected a flashy, united front.  Counterculture singers who protested the establishment.  Punk rockers who democratized music-making.  Riot grrrls who politicized it.  And so many more.  They all subverted stereotypes and challenged expectations, whether they set out to or not.  Their rebellion is empowering and exponential.”

published on 03/25/2019

Rock on Radio with Danny Coleman Celebrates 10th Anniversary

There are many writers who contribute to New Jersey Stage, but one of the most dedicated is Danny Coleman.  He’s been penning a weekly column for us since the end of 2013.  In addition to writing, playing drums for several bands, and making award-winning chili, Coleman has been hosting a weekly radio show called “Rock on Radio” since April 26, 2009.  It currently airs every Sunday night at 7:00pm on www.coaradio.com.

published on 03/25/2019

An Opportunity For McCarter

Michael Rosenberg talks about his first year and what Emily Mann’s retirement means for the company.

published on 03/25/2019

The Adventures of a Girl with a Pain in Her Brain

​​​​​​​Rhonda Musak is an actress and writer with an interesting autobiographical show entitled Rhonda Badonda: The Adventures of a Girl with a Pain in Her Brain.  In this show, her character (Rhonda Badonda) wants to function normally, but her brain has other ideas.

published on 03/25/2019

An Interview With The People Behind "Native Gardens" at Eagle Theatre

When New Jersey Stage was preparing our theatre preview for March, one of the plays which stood out was Native Gardens by Karen Zacarias. It will have its Regional Premiere at Eagle Theatre in Hammonton from March 22nd – April 14th.

published on 03/01/2019

The Source: an invasion of privacy

Ever since our lives became intertwined with cellphones, the issue of privacy has moved to the forefront.  Just imagine someone hacking into your phone, seeing or stealing your photos, text and voice messages, and contact information.  It’s a scenario that can keep you up all night.  And rightfully so, because hackers have already shown the ability to do this.  

published on 02/23/2019

Joe Pug: Success May Be Around The Corner

Every now and then an artist has a good idea for promotion that makes you wonder why it’s not done by everyone.  For Joe Pug, a singer-songwriter from Austin, that idea is a podcast.

published on 02/23/2019

James Dalton's Show of Shows

Local artists often find themselves performing in small clubs, coffeehouses, house parties, and even on the streets in downtown areas.  They rarely get the chance to show their talents on the big stage, but that may be changing.

published on 02/23/2019

One Step Back: The Rock & Roll Odyssey Of Splooge

For every rock and roll band from New Jersey that becomes a household name, there’s a band full of people working day jobs and holding onto the dream of success.  One such band is Splooge out of Union County.  Their story is told in the documentary One Step Back: The Rock & Roll Odyssey of Splooge by Peter Ventrella.  The film was released in January as a video-on-demand rental through iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Google Play as well as on DVD through the film’s website.  

published on 02/23/2019

The Songs 4 U

For roughly two decades, Alice Leon led the band The Alice Project.  They released several albums and toured throughout the East Coast.  After the band disbanded, she began releasing music under her own name.  She’s also taken her songwriting talent to a different use - running songwriting workshops and performances for children in schools and libraries, Girl Scout troops, as well as with senior citizens and children with disabilities and life-threatening conditions with TheSongs4U.COM

published on 02/23/2019

"Family Ties" Stars To Perform "Love Letters" At Kean Stage

It may be coming up on 30 years since Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter starred as the Keatons on “Family Ties,” but that image is still hard to shake for many. Both have routinely appeared on lists of top TV moms and dads, and are forever remembered in our minds as a symbol of the 1980s.

published on 02/07/2019

Photographer Barry Schneier Talks About His New Book Featuring Springsteen Photos From A Legendary Night

On May 9, 1974, Bruce Springsteen performed a show that basically changed his life and rock and roll history.  He opened for Bonnie Raitt at the Harvard Square Theatre and Jon Landau, a music critic for Rolling Stone magazine and Cambridge-based The Real Paper, just happened to be in the audience.  When Landau's report on the show came out, the words "I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen" jumped out on the page.  Landau was hired by Springsteen, and is noted as co-producer on Springsteen studio records from 1975's Born to Run through 1992's duel release of Human Touch and Lucky Town.

published on 01/31/2019

Here We Are: An Interview With David Bellarosa

David Bellarosa is a filmmaker from New Jersey currently living in Austin, Texas.  His first feature film, Here We Are, is a terrific coming of age story about a writer that finds himself seemingly trapped, broke, and stuck in Austin. Unlike typical slacker films, this is one of hope.

published on 01/23/2019

Mimi Vang Olsen: Pet Portraitist

Within two minutes, I knew I wanted to write about Mimi Vang Olsen: Pet Portraitist.  It’s a wonderful film - just over a half hour long - that chronicles the last West Village painter with her own storefront as she enters the lives of several eccentric clients and immortalizes their pets.  

published on 01/23/2019

How They Got Over: An Interview With Robert Clem

Robert Clem’s How They Got Over: Gospel Quartets and the Road to Rock and Roll shows how black quartets began traveling in the 1920s as radio and records became popular.   Young black men with few ways to escape poverty saw music as a way out, traveling the “chittlin’ circuit” of churches, schools and small auditoriums across the South.   Beginning with spirituals sung in an acapella “jubilee’ style, playing to all-black audiences, these groups developed over time a harder, often blues-influenced style with guitars, drums, organ and piano, playing at concert halls like the Apollo Theatre and large auditoriums across the country.   

published on 01/23/2019

John Oates Returns To His Roots

What began as a tribute to the music of blues great Mississippi John Hurt became a much wider portrait of American music for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Oates.  On the album, Arkansas, Oates goes back to the music which inspired him to pick up a guitar. He describes the music as being “like Dixieland, dipped in bluegrass, and salted with Delta blues.” It’s the record he says he always wanted to make, and one which may never have been created if he had not moved to Nashville a few decades ago.

published on 12/22/2018

Rise of the Goatman

Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.

published on 12/22/2018

Dr. Demento Covered In Punk

Do you remember Dr. Demento radio shows from back in the day? The show featuring music and comedy was nationally syndicated for decades and is still available weekly online. Many of the legendary songs from the show’s history are celebrated in the compilation album Dr. Demento Covered In Punk, which was released in January 2018.

published on 12/22/2018

"Snow Day" - An Interactive Live Radio Show

Do you remember what it was like waking up when you were a kid and seeing a blanket of white snow outside your bedroom window? To turn on the radio and listen for the station to call your school’s name and make it official – today is a snow day? And then wondering what to do with your day off from school?

published on 12/19/2018

Ray Andersen Releases Instrumental CDs Which Will Be Featured On British Airways

(HIGHLAND PARK, NJ) -- Ray Andersen has been busy adding another side of music to his resume this year.  The Jersey musician has had four instrumental albums released on the boutique record label, October Night Music in 2018.  It's a label that specializes in relaxing, chill music. Ray's titles include Christmastide, Lighthouse, Winter Hours, and Autumn Road. The latter two will be featured in flight on British Airways starting in 2019.  

published on 12/05/2018

REVIEW: "A Doll's House, Part 2" at George Street Playhouse

For well over a century the world has been wondering what ever happened to Nora Helmer from Henrik Ibsen’s classic play A Doll’s House.  Nora was a woman during the 19th century in male dominated Norway when women could not sign contracts without their husband’s permission.  She challenged this law, essentially committing forgery.  And, even though she committed a crime for the purpose of saving her husband’s life, her actions wound up destroying her marriage when someone tried to blackmail her. 

published on 12/04/2018

Gooch & the Motion

This New Year’s Day will be 15 years to the day that Ryan Nelson’s life changed forever.  The Salem County musician crashed his pickup truck head first into a tree, smashing his C7 vertebra, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.  Doctors told him he died three times on the helicopter ride to the hospital.  He would move on to a second hospital for spinal cord surgery and a third for rehabilitation.  It was there that music literally saved his life by giving him a purpose.  

published on 11/27/2018

An Actor's Carol

There’s something absolutely wonderful about A Christmas Carol, the holiday classic penned by Charles Dickens in 1843.  The story has been told in countless films, plays, and cartoons.  It is performed on stages around the world towards the end of every season and is universally loved.  But imagine being one of the many actors of a certain age who get typecast as Scrooge and are forced to relive that nightmarish night over and over again each year.

published on 11/27/2018

Dreaming of Dylan

“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours,” sang Bob Dylan in his song “Talking World War III Blues.”  Mary Lee Kortes found inspiration in those words to compile a book entitled Dreaming of Dylan: 115 Dreams About Bob in which she shares several of her own dreams about Dylan as well as over 100 more from others around the world.

published on 11/27/2018

Roots Rock Legends: Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore

“Forty years on the highway, living on dreams and gasoline” That’s a line from the wonderful title track of the album  Downey to Lubbock  the first collaboration from Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.  The longtime friends embarked on a series of acoustic shows in Texas, which were so much fun and well received that they decided to create an album. 

published on 11/27/2018

"The Spitfire Grill" and Caitlin Geisser Return To Their Roots

“I saw something in her that you rarely come across,” recalled Ted Wioncek III, Artistic Director at Eagle Theatre in Hammonton. “She’s more than wise beyond her years; I believe she’s going to be a game-changer and a trendsetter for this art form.”

published on 11/15/2018

The Life Of Tom Richards To Be Celebrated On Saturday, November 17

(WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ) -- The cover story of New Jersey Stage magazine Issue 44 was on Tom Richards, a musician born and raised in New Jersey, and his battle with an aggressive and incurable form of cancer.  At the time, Tom believed he had a year or two left and was fighting to complete an album in that time.  Sadly, Tom lost his battle on October 2, 2018.  A  celebration of his life will take place at the O'Brien Funeral Home in Wall Township on Saturday, November 17 from noon to 4:00pm.

published on 11/12/2018

Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Two Roots Music Legends To Perform At SOPAC on Thursday

"​​​​Forty years on the highway, living on dreams and gasoline" - That’s a line from the wonderful title track of the album Downey to Lubbock - the first collaboration from Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.  The two artists had been friends for three decades before embarking on a series of acoustic shows in Texas.  Those shows were so much fun and well received that they decided to create an album.  They’re back on tour and will be performing at South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) on Thursday.  Tickets are $30-$40.

published on 10/30/2018

Michael Patrick: Garden State Country

Growing up in New Jersey doesn’t generally lend itself to becoming a country music artist. Michael Patrick took a bit of a winding road to get there, but he’s about as Americana as they come.  On his latest release, John Wayne Movies, Michael Patrick weaves country songs alongside rock and roll, folk and rockabilly tunes to create an excellent album that few would guess was born in the Garden State.

published on 10/24/2018

Interview with Damian Rucci

Damian Rucci is a poet from Keyport, New Jersey.  His first full length book is forthcoming. Being a poet is never easy and over the summer he was able to take part in an arts residency in the midwest.  Since we know many artists not only dream of doing such a thing, but have no idea how to make it possible we thought we’d learn more from Rucci about the experience.

published on 10/24/2018

Heather Ujiie Explores "Terra Incognita" At Rowan University Art Gallery

“My life’s mission is to challenge myself to go to new places,” said Heather Ujiie, a Bucks County, PA, multimedia artist whose latest work, “Terra Incognita,” is on display at the Rowan University Art Gallery now through November 17, 2018.

published on 10/18/2018

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Long before we had Twilight and True Blood, one vampire ruled them all - Dracula.  Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel brought Count Dracula from Transylvania to Victorian London.  In this blood thirsty tale of terror, the city seems helpless against his power, and only one man, Dr. Van Helsing, can stop the carnage.  But to do this, he must uncover the vampire’s lair and pierce his heart with a wooden stake.  

published on 09/27/2018

Baba Babee Skazala

Among the many intriguing films being screened at New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018, one title immediately caught our eye — Baba Babee Skazala: Grandmother Told Grandmother.  

published on 09/27/2018

Hendrix & Cream At Monmouth University

Imagine getting to see Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton perform on the same night? That’s physically impossible, but the next best thing will take place on Saturday, October 13th when Monmouth University presents Kiss The Sky and Heavy Cream - two tribute bands that do all they can to provide the most authentic concerts around.

published on 09/27/2018

House On Haunted Hill

House On Haunted Hill is a classic B-movie by William Castle that came out in 1959.  It starred Vincent Price as a millionaire who offers $10,000 to five people who agree to spend the night locked in a house he’s rented on Haunted Hill.

published on 09/27/2018

Larry Weiss: A Second Chance At A First Impression

Many people have their jaws drop when they first learn that the classic country song, “Rhinestone Cowboy” was actually written by a Jersey boy.  

published on 09/27/2018

Two River Theater Presents The World Premiere of "Pamela's First Musical"

If anyone ever doubts that New Jersey is home to great theatre, just point them to the world premiere of “Pamela’s First Musical” at Two River Theater. The cast and creative behind this show by Wendy Wasserstein and Christopher Durang includes a combined total of more than 25 Tony Award nominations and seven wins. It’s a cast that would look impressive at any theatre – Broadway  or otherwise. According to one of the stars, the opportunity to work with the 10-time Tony Award nominee director/choreographer Graciela Daniele and to be part of a new musical was too good to pass up.

published on 09/20/2018

Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC

(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  

published on 09/14/2018

An Interview With Nicole Pandolfo

Nicole Pandolfo is a talented playwright from New Jersey whose work has been produced on four continents along with readings and productions throughout the Garden State. Her play, Brick City, is currently being presented at Premiere Stages at Kean University now through September 23rd. The play was commissioned and developed via the NJPAC Stage Exchange program. Premiere's production features Rafael Benoit, Jacqueline Correa, Madison Ferris and Chris Grant under the direction of Jessi D. Hill.

published on 09/14/2018

The Luring: Fear & Neurosis In Vermont

“As a kid, I was always drawn to the darkness,” said filmmaker Christopher Wells.  “I’d think, ‘Why can’t monsters protect me? If I’m friends with the monsters then I don’t have anything to fear.’”

published on 08/25/2018

Kelly McKay: Jersey City's Loss Is Nashville's Gain

For a decade, Kelly McGrath and her husband Frankie formed the core of Maybe Pete - a popular rock band from North Jersey whose influences ranged from The Replacements to Bruce Springsteen to The Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls.  It was a unique blend of Jersey Shore roots rock with a punk attitude.  When the band went on hiatus in 2011, Kelly began focusing on her own songwriting.  

published on 08/25/2018

An interview with Shawn Fisher

Cape May Stage presents the World Premiere of The Shuck by Shawn Fisher from September 19 through November 9th. Fisher grew up in Vineland, NJ and remains very connected to South Jersey despite being the Head of the MFA Program in Theatre at Utah State University.  He started the National Playwrights Symposium along with Roy Steinberg at Cape May Stage in 2013 and returns each year to be part of it. In addition to being a playwright, he’s also a set designer who has created sets for many theatres throughout New Jersey.

published on 08/25/2018

The Wag Celebrates 20 Years

For twenty years, The Wag has been entertaining audiences with a fun and upbeat live show featuring original songs that carry the sounds and spirit of the British Invasion groups of the sixties.  They perform wherever they can - clubs, coffeehouses, festivals, benefits, you name it, and they also push the boundaries more than most bands in Jersey.  They’ve done this by going on tours on the West Coast, Canada, England, and even Japan.  And they’re about to release their first new album in five years.

published on 08/25/2018

The Healing Power of Art

Entering the office to see a neurologist can be a terrifying experience.  I know because I’ve had to do it for years.  Thankfully, when I see my doctor I am surrounded by his photographs on the walls. It’s more than a hobby for Dr. Noah Gilson, it’s a lifelong passion.

published on 08/25/2018

Wicked Enigma Hits The Web

Terrence Edmonds has been seen on television shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Major Crimes, and the remake of 90210.  His latest project is a series called Wicked Enigma in which he not only stars, but is the writer, director, and producer as well.  His partner, Jake Doull, is the editor and executive producer. We spoke with Edmonds via email to learn more about the project, which is described as an LGBTQ suspense thriller with the drama of Pretty Little Liars and the horror elements of Scream. 

published on 08/25/2018

Pat Foran: The Art of Economizing Songs

Lambertville native Pat Foran was always told that his songs were too long.  When they clocked in at four minutes, he was told they needed to be trimmed down to three.  It was always a challenge for him until he began working with Rob Figarola, a Los Angeles based A&R consultant who was with UnsignedDaily.com - a site that identifies and develops unsigned artists. 

published on 08/25/2018

A New Ballet Company Launches At The Shore

Monmouth County has long been a hub for the arts, with a celebrated music scene, thriving original theatre and artists throughout the area, but one thing was missing – the area did not have its own professional ballet company.

published on 08/22/2018

REVIEW: "Fern Hill" at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — The latest World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company is Fern Hill by Michael Tucker.  Wonderfully directed by Nadia Tass, the play features an all-star cast and a story about three couples in the latter half of their lives who come up with a rather intriguing way to avoid a retirement home.

published on 08/16/2018

Bruce Tunkel Finds His Creative Groove

What does an artist do when he finds himself in one of the most prolific phases of his career, but the songs don’t seem to go together?  When he knows there are more than enough songs to create an album, but it just doesn’t feel like an album?

published on 07/24/2018

Deconstructing The Myths Of Bruce Springsteen

When Bruce Springsteen was about to release his debut album, the record company wanted him to say he was from New York City, but he refused.  It’s somewhat ironic that over 40 years later, he has turned a legendary Broadway theatre into his home five nights a week with Springsteen on Broadway - a show that has performed in front of over 150,000 people and grossed more than $75 million since making its debut on October 12, 2017 after several preview performances. 

published on 07/24/2018

Passion & Discipline: A profile of Corey Landolt, Washington Ballet

Corey Landolt is in his ninth season with The Washington Ballet.  The New Jersey native grew up on the border of Voorhees and West Berlin, and first studied at the Academy of Ballet in Berlin, New Jersey under David Gallagher.  His interest in ballet began when he was about five years old and saw his sister performing in The Nutcracker.

published on 07/24/2018

S0F Makes Her Move

This is an exciting time for Sofia Khorosh, a singer-songwriter who performs under the stage name S0F. She recently graduated from Rowan University and on July 10th announced her next big move - one that immediately caught our eye.

published on 07/24/2018

REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean

(UNION, NJ) — Craig Garcia’s new play, Linger, gives new meaning to the term “nuclear family” and offers a powerful story, terrific performances, and fine direction by John J. Wooten.  Sadly, it has also changed the way I'll remember my favorite song by The Beach Boys.  I will never hear it without thinking of this play.

published on 07/18/2018

REVIEW: "When I Sing"

Most of the world learned of Linda Chorney in 2012 when her name was listed as one of the Grammy nominees for Best Americana Album. Her film, When I Sing, not only follows her rise from obscurity to the Grammy Awards, it goes much further.  It’s a love story between a die hard Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan; a spotlight on how indie artists survive on the road; and a deeply, revealing portrait of how the media and the music industry turned what could have been a wonderful Cinderella story into a very hurtful experience.

published on 07/18/2018

An Interview With Terrence Edmonds about "Wicked Enigma"

Terrence Edmonds has been seen on television shows like Grey's Anatomy, Major Crimes, and the remake of 90210.  His latest project is a series called Wicked Enigma in which he not only stars, but is the writer and director as well.  The series is currently part of a crowdfunding campaign on kickstarter and hopes to raise enough to shoot 16 episodes of the show. His partner, Jake Doull, is the editor and executive producer. We spoke with Edmonds via email to learn more about the project, which is described as an LGBTQ suspense thriller with the drama of Pretty Little Liars and the horror elements of Scream. 

published on 07/15/2018

New Jersey Hall of Fame: CLASS OF 2017

“First some comments about New Jersey,” said Whoopi Goldberg, the surprise host of the 10th Annual New Jersey Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  “I live here.  It’s a wonderful state and what most people don’t know is that the amount of brain power that comes out of New Jersey is extraordinary!  The musicians and their prowess is amazing! When you look at the amount of folks who are here - this is your city; this is your state; these are your people.  Maybe you will be up here at some point.”

published on 07/01/2018

Mike Daly & The Planets

For a long time, Mike Daly had trouble envisioning himself as a lead singer.  He knew his baritone range was much deeper than the majority of singers heard on the radio and rarely heard anyone who sounded like him. Until one day when the late Pat DiNizio,  a fellow North Jersey artist who fronted The Smithereens, entered the picture.

published on 07/01/2018

Mercy: Is Someone In Pain Capable Of Forgiveness?

Imagine losing your wife in a car accident and instantly having your entire world change.  Your father is mostly taking care of your new baby daughter; your boss is aggressively trying to comfort you; and you are hoping to get on with your life.  Then, everything changes once again when you inadvertently meet the man responsible for your wife’s death.  Is someone in this much pain capable of forgiveness?

published on 07/01/2018

Erik Mason Returns To The Jersey Shore For Three Shows Benefiting Three Non Profits

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) — Piano-based singer-songwriter Erik Mason returns to the Jersey Shore for three shows this summer.  Mason, raised in Brielle, will be performing at The Saint (June 21 at 10:00pm) and House of Independents (July 5 at 7:00pm) in Asbury Park, and at Beach Haus Brewery (August 17 at 7:00pm) in Belmar.  He is donating proceeds from these shows to three nonprofit organizations in the area: Monmouth County SPCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, and Foodstock NJ.

published on 06/15/2018

"Half Time" - A New Musical About Not Acting Your Age

Dori Berinstein knew she wanted to tell a story about celebrating life, grabbing opportunities and living life to its fullest. She found that story in Newark, New Jersey.

published on 06/14/2018

Night With Oscar Is A Night of Laughs at George Street Playhouse

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — George Street Playhouse’s temporary home on the Rutgers’ campus was host to a star-studded cast for a benefit reading of Eugene Pack’s Night With Oscar on Friday, June 8, 2018.  Proceeds from ticket sales and a post-show reception with the cast went to the theatre.

published on 06/09/2018

VIDEO PREMIERE: "The Prayer" by John Paciga and Charlotte MacMurray

It’s a busy time for John Paciga these days.  The young musician has just graduated from Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey and is preparing to start a new chapter at Yale University.  He’s also just released a cover of “The Prayer” with Charlotte MacMurray and New Jersey Stage is proud to premiere the video.

published on 06/06/2018

An Interview With JD Wilson, Director of "Shellfish"

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Point Pleasant Beach native and military veteran JD Wilson’s film Shellfish will be screened at the Rutgers University-based New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 9th at 5:00pm.  The screening takes place on the Rutgers' New Brunswick campus in Voorhees Hall.  It is the feature film of the group, following screenings of several short films: The Magic of Reading by Claudia Moysset (4 minutes); Conflict by Barbara Holstein (5 minutes); Mr. Jim by Jack Foley (13 minutes); and Bullies by Daniel Bydlowski (28 minutes).  Shellfish is 40 minutes in length.  Many of the directors, including JD Wilson, will take part in a Q&A session during the evening.

published on 06/04/2018

Stacie Rose

One thing many female singer-songwriters have in common is that they all seem to disappear when they have a child.  Taking time off is to be expected, but time flies and before they know it a decade has already passed since they last performed or recorded new music.  New Jersey native Stacie Rose did not put her career on hold. In fact, she found herself in a burst of creativity, leading to a complete album in 2013 written from the end of her pregnancy to her son’s infancy. Rose continues to move forward with the recent release of her self-titled album.

published on 05/26/2018

The Eleventh Hour!

It’s the end of the world as we know it and a burnout basement rock and roller, his ex-girlfriend, a rising star astrophysicist, just might have the key to surviving the black hole bearing down on the Earth.

published on 05/26/2018

No One Can Hurt Me When I Sing

It’s rare to get the chance to talk to actors portraying their own lives on screen, but Linda Chorney is no ordinary actor and her story is anything but ordinary.  In 2012, she became known as the artist who crashed the Grammy Awards.  Her story is now told in the film, When I Sing.

published on 05/26/2018

An Interview With Stephen Larsen About "My Old Friend" - The Final Meeting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney

(HOLMDEL, NJ) -- The Holmdel Theatre Company will present a reading of Stephen Larsen's play My Old Friend on Monday, June 4th at 7:00pm. The play is about a little-known final meeting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.   This is the first public reading of the play. Admission is free and coffee is served.

published on 05/24/2018

Willie Nile's Birthday Bash To Take Place At House Of Independents

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- No stranger to the Jersey Shore, Willie Nile returns to Asbury Park on Saturday, June 9 for a Rock 'N Roll Birthday Bash at House of Independents. He will be supported by local favorites Colossal Street Jam.  Doors are at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $30 to $60.

published on 05/17/2018

"Madagascar - A Musical Adventure" At The Growing Stage

“We were looking for a fun musical with a score that our audiences could relate to and appreciate,” said Stephen L. Fredericks, the Founder and Executive Director of The Growing Stage – The Childrens Theatre of New Jersey in Netcong. “’DreamWorks’ Madagascar – A Musical Adventure’ features an upbeat, modern style that fit the bill, and the book has a great story with humor that can be appreciated by all ages. That’s an important quality that we don’t overlook in our selections since we are attempting to create a piece that can be appreciated by an entire family, and not simply a targeted age group.”

published on 05/02/2018

The Smithereens With Marshall Crenshaw To Perform At Outpost In The Burbs

(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- When Pat DiNizio passed away on December 12, 2017, the future of The Smithereens was suddenly thrown into doubt. Thankfully, the band has decided to continue motoring on with shows here and there.  One show coming up is at Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair on Friday, June 1st with fellow 80s rock legend Marshall Crenshaw on hand as special guest vocalist alongside Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, and Mike Mesaros.

published on 04/30/2018

REVIEW: The Nerd at George Street Playhouse Is Hilarious!

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — George Street Playhouse is closing out their season with The Nerd by Larry Shue.  The production, which runs now through May 20th, features an amazing cast in an extremely funny comedy. The first act is simply hysterical.  The second is comic genius.  You seriously can’t help but laugh out loud at this wonderful comedy directed by Kevin Cahoon.

published on 04/29/2018

Colin Hanlon in The Nerd

Apparently, the fountain of youth has been found and is located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Fourteen years ago, actor Colin Hanlon first appeared at George Street Playhouse in a wonderful production of tick, tick... BOOM! by Jonathan Larson (creator of Rent).  Hanlon portrayed Larson as the artist on the verge of turning 30.  

published on 04/23/2018

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

A feature on Morris County singer-songwriter Amanda Rose Riley, who recently released her first studio album: Secrets I Told To A Sound Hole.

published on 04/23/2018

Hoboken’s Field Colony

Throughout history, artists have consistently helped revive downtrodden city areas into vibrant locations, bursting with life. Unfortunately their reward has often been rents too high for the artists to remain in the area.  And so they move out to a new city or area of a city and watch the process repeat.  Aaron Boucher and Laura Vaccarella opened Field Colony in November 2017 to help prevent the cycle from happening to artists in Hoboken.

published on 04/23/2018

Kids On Keys & Dueling Pianos To Promote Autism Awareness

“As a schooled pianist and seeing so much since the age of three when I started formal lessons, I have always thought that when someone has a setback with Autism or something similar, that somewhere they are rewarded with a special talent that I’ll never have,” said Stormin’ Norman Seldin, a Jersey Shore musical legend.

published on 04/23/2018

Celebrate Geekdom at Camden Comic Con

“If you feel you are geeky about anything in pop culture, you will find something here for you,” said Miranda J. Powell, talking about Camden Comic Con.

published on 04/11/2018

The Magic Man In The Studio

Steve Greenwell doesn’t care if your demos are polished.  In fact, he doesn’t expect them to be.  He doesn’t care if you’ve sold millions of records or haven’t sold a single one.  He’s worked with everyone from Grammy Award winners to indie artists just starting out.  For him, it’s all about the artist.  If he believes you have what it takes, he will work with you and bring out the best in you. He’s done it time and time again.

published on 03/22/2018

The Making Of A Broadway Musical

It all starts with the lyric hook.  That’s one of the central building blocks behind the dynamic musical theatre team of Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann.  

published on 03/22/2018

So You Want To Be A Comedian?

“I feel I have the kind of life where people think I’m making things up all of the time, but weirdness is kind of attracted to me,” said Jess Alaimo, a comedian from Monmouth County.  “So, I just go with whatever happens to me.”

published on 03/22/2018

The Who's Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry

Forty-five years after its original release, The Who’s Tommy will be performed as a full-length bluegrass tribute at The Grunin Center for the Arts in Toms River on Friday, April 13 at 8:00pm.  The band bringing this legendary classic rock story to a bluegrass tint is The Hillbenders from Springfield, MO.

published on 03/22/2018

An Interview With EmiSunshine

​​​​​​​EmiSunshine was only nine years old when a video captured her performing Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No. 6” at a flea market in Tennessee and went viral.  This led to an invitation to “The Today Show” that introduced her to the world.  Since then, she has released several albums featuring songs steeped in the sounds of Appalachia.  It’s rootsy, Americana music, that has found airplay far beyond traditional country radio stations.

published on 03/22/2018

So, You've Made A Video... Now What?

“Hey, I think we might have a video for you,” a woman from Lost Highway Records said in a phone call to Andy Gesner in January 2003.

published on 03/22/2018

REVIEW: “Trying” at George Street Playhouse

Playwright Joanna McClelland Glass has a story to tell. In her 20s, she was hired by former Attorney General Francis Biddle to help him finish his memoirs.  That in itself could make for a fascinating tale, but the real story comes from building a relationship with someone who was once one of the most powerful men in the world.  The two engaged in a battle of wits with the young woman more than holding her own.  Her story is told in Trying, the latest production at George Street Playhouse.

published on 03/18/2018

Relive The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes With East Lynne Theater's Radio Play

“Mr. Holmes, I am under such a strain that I shall go mad if it continues. Do you think that your powers could shed a little light in the darkness which surrounds me?” asks Enid Stonor, who made her way from an eerie country mansion to London to talk to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  Her sister died under mysterious circumstances and she’s asking for help because Enid believes she will be the next to be murdered.

published on 03/15/2018

Tom Richards Fights On

You won’t find Tom Richards’ name in many history books.  His bands from The Slices to The Baby Seal Club never had a Top Ten record.  He describes himself as a musician’s musician - a guy who has been a professional for decades and one working on his first ever solo album.  It’s more than just something he hopes to put out into the world.  This is more than just a statement from an artist.  This is his chance to leave something for the world to remember. Tom is dying of cancer.

published on 02/26/2018

Boy Sees Flying Saucer: An Interview with Playwright Mike Czuba

The Growing Stage presents the World Premiere of Boy Sees Flying Saucer from March 9th through March 25th. The play, written by Mike Czuba and based on the true and original story by Brian Dorscht, was the winner of the theatre’s 2017 New Play-Reading Festival.  The production is directed by Danny Campos, veteran actor and teaching artist at The Growing Stage.

published on 02/26/2018

Death of an Umbrella Salesman

A door to door salesman is likely among the worst jobs one can imagine.   Images come to mind of middle-aged men in cheap suits attempting to clean rugs soiled by a handful of dirt with a shiny, new vacuum or a bookish fellow hawking encyclopedias.  But imagine an even stranger product sold door to door like an umbrella.  That’s what Stanley Grimp faces in Death of An Umbrella Salesman by Jersey Shore filmmaker Steve Herold.

published on 02/26/2018

The United States of Russia

Rutgers alum, Ben Rosenfeld released his third comedy album in January.  Entitled, The United States of Russia, the album was released by Comedy Dynamics and continues the Russia born, American raised comedian’s style of mixing tales of his immigrant parents and outsider childhood with topics ranging from millennials, terrorism, politics, and adjusting to life as a newlywed.  We caught up with Ben to talk about the album.

published on 02/26/2018

Feast Your Ears

It’s hard to explain just how powerful the movement of free form progressive FM radio truly was.  When it emerged in the 1960s, it was unlike anything anybody had ever heard.  Instead of listening to the same five hit songs over and over again, you might hear five straight songs about rain or five songs that featured the same guitarists in different bands.  There were no playlists, no corporations in charge, only DJs.

published on 02/26/2018

REVIEW: "American Hero" at George Street Playhouse

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — One of the best plays last year in New Jersey was American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown at George Street Playhouse.  He returns with American Hero - the second in what will be a trilogy of plays exploring American injustice.  From the explosive opening scene until to the end one thing is clear - George Street has found an emerging voice that truly has something to say.

published on 02/07/2018

Rowan Jazz Festival To Honor Oliver Nelson and "The Kennedy Dream"

“He was kind of an unsung hero,” said Oliver Nelson, Jr. about his father, an acclaimed African-American composer and jazz saxophonist. Some of his father’s most remembered work will be performed along with selections from “The Kennedy Dream” to close out this year’s Rowan Jazz Festival

published on 02/07/2018

Ain’t Misbehavin’

The arts community throughout New Jersey has been buzzing with anticipation ever since the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center project was first announced.  It will be a facility to rival any in Central New Jersey and one that will be home to many arts organizations.  

published on 01/23/2018

Dovere For Camden

Dovere is an Italian word for responsibility, respect.   Joseph M. Paprzycki and Pepe Piperno felt a responsibility to deliver the respect that their beloved, broken city - Camden, New Jersey - deserved. Once a thriving city, Camden fell on hard times in the 1960s and 1970s. Drugs, crime, and corrupt politicians brought the city to its knees. Joe, Pepe, and a small group of folks came together to breathe life into Camden by investing their creativity, hearts, souls, and treasure to turn what used to be Joe’s grandfather’s abandoned bar into a professional theatre.

published on 01/23/2018

Street Poet Review

Underground poets are about to roar. Street Poet Review, a new online journal being launched by Damian Rucci in February, will let them roar as loud as they want.  The goal is to give a voice to those who are currently silenced by existing journals. Rucci understands their silence because his work has been silenced many times as well.

published on 01/23/2018

An Interview With Michael Brett

Michael Brett has been performing and writing songs for twenty years now; both as a solo artist and alongside Deirdre Forrest in The May Darlings. From his first EP (Done, released in 1998) to his latest albums (Serenade Postcards and Dislocate), he has grown with each release.  He’s carved out a niche for himself in a genre that he calls “rock/folk.”   

published on 01/23/2018

Driving Miss Daisy

Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken will kick off 2018 with a production of Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry.  The play, set in the South between the late 1940s and early 1970s, explores an unlikely friendship between an elderly white Southern Jewish woman, Daisy Werthan, and her African-American chauffer, Hoke Colburn. The original production ran for nearly 1,200 performances and won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, while a 1989 film starring Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, and Dan Aykroyd won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

published on 01/23/2018

A Look At Light Of Day Winterfest 2018 Kick Off Show At House Of Independents

​​​​​​​(ASBURY PARK, NJ) — I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of time travel and I think I actually experienced such a trip when Light of Day Winterfest 2018 kicked off at the House of Independents on Thursday, January 11.  The night featured performances by Mark Wright, Joe D’Urso and Stone Caravan, Dramarama, and Bobby Bandiera playing tribute to Tom Petty.  For me, it was like reliving my musical past.

published on 01/12/2018

Rick Springfield Gets "Stripped Down" In Morristown

No matter how many hits he’s had throughout his career, Rick Springfield will always be associated with the ‘80s – a period in which he portrayed Dr. Noah Drake on the hit soap opera, “General Hospital,” while topping the charts with “Jessie’s Girl.” But that’s only part of his story.

published on 01/03/2018

Goodnight Rhonda Lee: Nicole Atkin's Best Album Yet!

One of the hardest things for musicians is learning when they should listen to the advice given by others and when they should simply trust their gut instincts.  For years, Nicole Atkins fought her natural talent and tried being what others wanted her to be.  The result was several critically acclaimed albums that always felt as if something was being held back.  On her latest release, Goodnight Rhonda Lee, she is finally at peace with her life and her music.  And she’s never sounded better.

published on 12/25/2017

"The Calling" An Interview With Playwright Joel Stone

New Jersey Repertory Company presents the World Premiere of The Calling by Joel Stone from January 4th through February 4th in Long Branch. This play was commissioned by NJPAC’s Stage Exchange in Association with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and NJRep.

published on 12/25/2017

Classic Rock Tarot

Inspiration comes in many forms.  Sometimes even in the form of a challenge issued by a loving wife. Just ask Anthony J. Parisi, an illustrator and caricaturist from Gloucester County who created a unique line of tarot cards inspired by classic rock musicians based on a dare from his wife, Mary.

published on 12/25/2017

Spectacular Shorts

The first two weeks of the New Jersey Film Festival feature amazing short films that cover virtually every genre.  The works were selected by a panel of judges which include media professionals, journalists, students, and academics.  Four shorts stood out for us.

published on 12/25/2017

The Lost Village

“You came to the Village because you were looking to fit in; because everyone was different.  You were an artist or you were gay - God forbid you were straight.  People came to the Village because it was different,” opens The Lost Village, a new documentary by Roger Paradiso.

published on 12/25/2017

El Coqui Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom

Playwright Matt Barbot knows what it’s like to read comic books and yearn for a super hero that looks like the reflection he sees in the mirror. In El Coquí Espectácular and the Bottle of Doom, he deftly uses the super hero genre to explore questions of individual and national identity - including what it means to be “Latino” or “not Latino enough” — in contemporary America.  The play will have its World Premiere at Two River Theater from January 6 through February 4.

published on 12/25/2017

Light of Day 2018

The annual Light of Day concerts roll into the tri-state area in January with shows in Montclair, Asbury Park, New York City, and Philadelphia. 

published on 12/25/2017

Experience a Holiday Tradition In A New Way

Imagine being able to experience “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the very first time again.

published on 12/20/2017

REVIEW: "An Act of God"

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — One thing you can count on with George Street Playhouse is to present plays that challenge the audience.  The theatre company is never afraid to shock audiences or test limits.  Unfortunately, challenging theatre is not always good theatre. And we are reminded of that as David Javerbaum’s An Act of God heads into its final week.

published on 12/17/2017

Pat DiNizio Of The Smithereens Passes

According to the official website of The Smithereens, lead singer and songwriter Pat DiNizio passed away on December 12, 2017.  The cause of death was not known as of this writing.

published on 12/13/2017

An Interview With Veronica Kuehn from "Elf, the Musical" at MSG

The Madison Square Garden Company presents Elf, The Musical from December 13th through December 29th.  The musical, based on the hit film with Will Ferrell, tells the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. The cast is highlighted by George Wendt (of Cheers fame) as Santa, Eric Gratton as Buddy, and Veronica Kuehn from Spotswood as Jovie.  The production is directed by Sam Scalamoni, the Artistic Director of Skyline Theatre Company in Bergen County.

published on 12/11/2017

The Successful Failures

Long before The Successful Failures were even a band, lead singer Mick Chorba had them in mind.  You could almost say he willed them into existence.

published on 11/21/2017

New Brunswick Seeks To Reclaim Its Place In Jersey Music History

Hub City Sounds - New Brunswick’s Live Music Series - wrapped up in early October.  The award-winning arts reporter Bob Makin was a big supporter, including being the driving force being the ROCK! New Brunswick festival, which took place at Boyd Park in September.  That event was intended to showcase some of the performers to come out of the Brunswick scene, while highlighting artists in the scene today.  

published on 11/21/2017

A Special Why Hunger Benefit In Asbury Park To Feature Night Of Springsteen Songs

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) — One of the best “good guys” in the music scene is Joe D’Urso.  He’s been a major force in benefits for organizations such as the Light of Day Foundation and WhyHunger for years and years.  On Wednesday, November 22, he’s back at it with a great lineup in support of WhyHunger with a night of songs by Bruce Springsteen. In addition to Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, the lineup includes JoBonanno & the Godsons, Joe Rapolla & the Perfect Square, Bobby Mahoney & the Seventh Son, Jon Caspi & the First Gun, Dan Amato & the Sentimental Gentlemen, Stella Mrowicki and DJ Lee Mrowicki.

published on 11/15/2017

The Edgy Ember Ensemble Tackles Issue of War

The Ember Ensemble of Schola Cantorum on Hudson is not your usual choir.  This eclectic group does not shy from tackling important issues of the day with their programs. In previous seasons, they have examined themes as diverse as energy and the environment to immigration.  This year’s theme focuses on military conflicts and the aftermath of such conflicts.  The season begins on Sunday, November 12 in Montclair when the Ember Ensemble presents the East Coast Premiere of a dramatic oratorio by John Muehleisen called “But Who Shall Return Us Our Children? A Kipling Passion.”

published on 11/09/2017

The Cryptkeeper Five

One of the most unsung bands in the New Jersey music scene for decades has been The Cryptkeeper Five (CK5) from Trenton.  They’ve been banging out their unique style of punk rock since 1997. Punk that includes a wide range of influences from Roy Orbison to the Misfits to Bruce Springsteen.  In a way, they’re like the Ramones with a Jersey twist.

published on 10/23/2017

The Story Of The Man Who Shaped The Beatles

You might think that every angle of The Beatles story has been covered by now, but one very significant piece was largely left untouched - the story of George Martin, the producer who helped shape and mold the music which defined one of the greatest bands in history.   Martin penned three autobiographies, but acclaimed author Kenneth Womack has stepped in to tell the rest of the story.

published on 10/23/2017

Herrings: A Web Series

What happens when a filmmaker has too much material for a feature film? That’s the situation Jersey native Keith Chamberlain found himself in with the project Herrings. His solution was to turn it into a serial web series.  He shot six episodes for the first season and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help shoot season two.

published on 10/23/2017

The Matt O'Ree Band To Headline The Stone Pony On October 28

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Fresh off his honeymoon and ready to rock again, The Matt O'Ree Band will return to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Saturday, October 28.  They will be joined on the bill by Secret Sound, Slapjack, and Cigar Box Stompers.  Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door.

published on 10/16/2017

A Different Take On Springsteen On Broadway

​​​​​​​Press reviews are pouring in for Springsteen on Broadway this week and, while the critics love the show, many fans are still upset at the ticket costs which started out at hundreds of dollars more expensive than his regular tour tickets.  Die-hard fans who often attended multiple shows on each tour are struggling with the idea of being able to see just one performance or none at all.  Rich Lynch, a writer/musician from New Jersey who now lives in Nashville, was so incensed by the comments he saw from Bruce fans that he actually wrote and recorded a "protest" song in their honor.

published on 10/13/2017

The Honeymooners Is A Riot!

(MILLBURN, NJ) — Whether you are a die-hard fan of The Honeymooners or have never seen the classic television show, Paper Mill Playhouse’s latest World Premiere is a treat.  The history of television shows moving on to the stage has been a dicey one at best, but The Honeymooners has figured out the right formula. The play is hilarious, touching, and includes great music and dancing… Of course, having an absolutely tour de force performance by Michael McGrath as Ralph Kramden doesn’t hurt either.

published on 10/10/2017

Princeton University Celebrates The New Lewis Center Complex With A Festival of the Arts

Strolling through the Princeton University campus for the first time leaves many awestruck at the beauty of the buildings. While many of the structures contain a neo-Gothic style, over the years several modern buildings have been built alongside them. The latest is the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts complex, which is being introduced to the public with the multi-day Festival of the Arts from October 5-8. Designed to match the size and shape of existing campus structures, the new complex is a welcome addition that will benefit all of the arts programs at the university.

published on 10/03/2017

The Pair Of Asbury Angels Who Directly Changed My Life

(OCTOBER 2, 2017) — I woke up this morning to the news about the devastating Las Vegas shooting and later heard of Tom Petty in the fight for his life.  After weeks of natural disasters and death, I want to end this day with something positive.  So I’m going to report on a pair of Asbury Angels who helped me become who I am today. I rarely write pieces that involve me, but I'm trying to make sense of today and I think this might help.

published on 10/02/2017

The inner struggles of Deirdre Forrest

Deirdre Forrest has been performing for nearly a decade throughout the tri-state area.  She grew up in South Amboy and is best known for her work with the bands Beannacht and May Darlings along with her solo career.  You could say she’s a modern day artist - one raised on social media to the point where her life is truly an open book.

published on 09/22/2017

The Honeymooners

Chances are if you’re from the tri-state area you’ve grown up with The Honeymooners on television.  You may have watched the show during its original run or as sketches on The Jackie Gleason Show or Cavalcade of Stars where it began; or you could be one of the millions to grow up with the show as a staple on late night television reruns.  Whatever the case, the Kramdens and the Nortons are likely to be etched in your memory, but the two couples are about to come alive like never before.

published on 09/22/2017

The Net Will Appear

Erin Mallon’s The Net Will Appear is on stage at Mile Square Theater (MST) in Hoboken from September 13 through October 8. It’s a funny story full of heart, in which two wonderful, eccentric people find true friendship. The production stars  film, TV, and stage star Richard Masur. New Jersey Stage had the opportunity to speak with Erin Mallon via email soon after she gave birth to her baby girl.

published on 09/22/2017

The Growing Stage Wants You To Dare To Dream This Season

Introducing children to the theatre is important for many parents.  Unfortunately, some productions designed with kids in mind lead parents to steal glances at their watch as they wonder how much time is left in the show.  That’s not the case at The Growing Stage. They may be known as the Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, but their shows are not just for kids. The theatre, located in the Historic Palace Theatre in Netcong, strives to put on productions that the entire family will enjoy and the upcoming 2017-18 season continues that mission. 

published on 09/22/2017

New Brunswick Gets Ready To Rock Again

When people talk about great rock ‘n’ roll scenes in New Jersey, two areas generally come to mind: Asbury Park and New Brunswick. The former spawned some of the biggest and most recognizable names in the state’s history, while the latter launched the careers of more national acts than any other place in the Garden State.

published on 09/02/2017

Nalani & Sarina: Moving In Stereo

The first thing most people notice about Nalani & Sarina is that they are identical twins, but they are much more than that. The two are extremely confident, focused, and charismatic young musicians who are determined to carve out a musical career on their own terms.  And they recently discussed their goals and vision for their music during a TED talk in Delaware.

published on 08/22/2017

What The Butler Saw

​​​​​​​The name Joe Orton may not be familiar to many American theatre fans, but in the mid 1960s he was a rising star in England.  Orton was an openly gay man during a time in which homosexuality was actively persecuted by the police.  His career was tragically cut short when his partner (Kenneth Halliwell who suffered from severe depression) brutally murdered Orton and then killed himself in 1967.  This occurred roughly one month after Orton finished the satirical comedy What the Butler Saw, which would be his final play.  It made its debut in London in 1969 and will have a rare performance in America at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison.

published on 08/22/2017

Melody Makers: Should've Been There

Imagine being a rock and roll journalist hanging out with the Rolling Stones in the recording studio when news that the band’s original founder, Brian Jones, had died of drowning.  But instead of having the scoop of a lifetime, Keith Richards makes you swear to secrecy that you won’t write anything about it because they had to tell Brian’s parents first.

published on 08/22/2017

On stage with Iain Matthews

Iain Matthews first gained attention in the late 1960s as a founding member and vocalist for the influential British folk band Fairport Convention on their first three albums. He went on to create Matthews’ Southern Comfort, whose cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” topped the charts in the UK in 1971. In addition to a lengthy solo career, he’s also released several albums with Plainsong.  In a strange twist, he has brought back both Matthews’ Southern Comfort and Plainsong at various times throughout the years.

published on 08/21/2017

New Brunswick Invests In The Arts

For decades, New Brunswick has been one of the most vibrant arts towns in the state, but the city is just getting started.  Construction has begun on the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, an exciting project which will help cement the city’s “theatre row” as a premier destination for the arts.

published on 08/21/2017

A Year In The Trenches

"If someone in the year 1916 told me that in 1917 I would be in the army, I would have thought him insane." - Charles Edward Dilkes. Dilkes was the inspiration behind A Year In The Trenches, a new play, written by James Rana and developed with Gayle Stahlhuth, Artistic Director of East Lynne Theater Company. It was commissioned by the New Jersey Historical Commission and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the United States entering World War I. The play will be performed by East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May from September 20 through October 14.

published on 08/21/2017

Rick Barry Wins Another Songwriting Award He Doesn't Want To Talk About

Some artists give the impression they are shooting to win awards; others act like they couldn't give a damn about them.  Rick Barry is definitely the latter, which is funny because he continues to win them. He's won everything from Asbury Music Awards to earning national recognition with wins in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the Unisong International Songwriting Contest.  Earlier this year, he added another to the list - the Akademia Award for "So Soft, So Sweet" which was named Best Americana Song.

published on 08/09/2017

"No Tickets Required" - Montclair Jazz Festival

​​​​​​​On Saturday, August 12, thousands of people will enjoy a full day of live music at the 2017 Montclair Jazz Festival. It takes place in Nishuane Park, a beautiful 17-acre setting in Montclair’s South End, and is the culmination of two weeks of musical events throughout the town. Since the end of July, Montclair has been home to everything from live performances on the streets to photography exhibits and master classes–and the festival is the perfect finish!

published on 08/08/2017

NJ Artist Brian Clayton Has Song Placed In "The Big Sick" motion picture

Garwood native singer/songwriter Brian Clayton had his song "She Let Me Go" placed in the feature film The Big Sick, a romantic comedy about how a new couple deals with their cultural differences as their relationship grows. Directed by Michael Showalter and produced by Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, the film stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, and Holly Hunter. 

published on 07/31/2017

An Interview with Renee Bang Allen about "54 The Musical"

The wild sights and sounds of the iconic ‘70s disco Studio 54 will be recreated at the Asbury Hotel in Asbury Park on Friday, August 11th when a concert version of a new theater piece 54- The Musical by Renée Bang Allen takes the stage.  The event is a fundraising preview to help bring the show to Broadway.

published on 07/23/2017

An Interview with DJ Lee Mrowicki of Radio Jersey

Radio Jersey is the flagship program of AsburyMusic.com, broadcasting every day Monday through Friday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  Hosted by Lee Mrowicki, the long-time DJ at Asbury Park clubs like The Stone Pony and the Wonder Bar, the show puts the spotlight on the Garden State like never before.  Mrowicki doesn’t just focus on one genre of music, he spins music by New Jersey artists of every genre - including songs you won’t find anywhere else.  You’ll quickly realize just how amazing the state’s musical history once you tune in.

published on 07/23/2017

Peter Prasa: Poets & Heroes

What do you do when your music doesnt quite fit into any particular genre? In an industry that lives on nicely packaged descriptions like rock, jazz, and country, what happens when your music is all three?

published on 07/23/2017

Bad Hombres Comedy

Bad Hombres Comedy is a comedy group created by Brian Nichols, Paul Salazar Jr. and Bernardo Cubría.  The trio all studied together at the University of Houston and have kept in touch ever since.  Together, they create a weekly podcast and a video web series that satirizes the world we now live in thanks to Donald Trump.

published on 07/22/2017

REVIEW:" Skeleton Crew" by Premiere Stages at Kean University

(UNION, NJ) — Imagine working in an industry that is seemingly falling apart with plant closings announced each month and the threat of your own job being eliminated weighing heavily on your mind each day.  That’s the premise behind Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau, which takes place in Detroit (circa 2008) when auto plants were downsizing, shutting down, and moving outside of the area.

published on 07/17/2017

A Special Night With Constantine Maroulis

“For the first time in many years, I feel like I have something to say as a writer,” said Constantine Maroulis, the Tony-nominated actor and rock ’n’ roll star. “I’m 41 years old now and I think it’s starting to click.”

published on 07/05/2017

Tom Kanach Returns With "Undertow"

“Undertow is this damage that we all have in our lives that tries to pull us under and drown us,” explains Tom Kanach, a veteran of the Jersey Shore music scene with popular 80s/90s bands Mischief and Wells of Souls.  The Monmouth County native recently released his first recording of new music in more than two decades with the absolutely brilliant, Undertow.

published on 06/22/2017

Skeleton Crew

The issue of automation is one that politicians have a tendency to avoid.  It’s easy to tell people that factories making outdated equipment like typewriters and rotary phones are no longer needed, but it’s far more difficult to let people know that most jobs can be replaced by automation.  Automotive plants were among the first to have employees work side by side with robotic technology, and the evolution of the technology and the changes it has meant to the industry is the focus of Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau.

published on 06/22/2017

Postmodern Jukebox

“A song can be detached from its genre pretty easily,” explains pianist and bandleader Scott Bradlee, the man behind Postmodern Jukebox, a band that gives modern songs a retro twist.  “I think we’re used to hearing songs covered in a certain style because the original artist did it that way.  I decided to take the opposite approach and do it completely different.  You find that a great song can transcend genre.”

published on 06/22/2017

Halftime With Don

Retired NFL player Don Devers is a man who has had more surgeries than he can count, experiences violent outbursts, and relies on Post-It notes to offset his struggle with traumatic brain injury. Just when things seem their darkest, a desperate longtime fan arrives at his doorstep. But when devoted fan, Ed Ryan, appears at his doorstep, a series of events are put in motion that just may bring Don out of his self-imposed isolation and salvage his life.

published on 06/22/2017

Nai-Ni Chen Talks About CrossCurrent

(NEW YORK, NY) -- Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will present the New York Premiere of CrossCurrent June 22-24 at the Martha Graham Studio Theater in New York City. CrossCurrent is a collection of new works created on Nai-Ni's journey as an immigrant artist.  Choreographer/Dancer Nai-Ni Chen is an artist whose work defies categorization, as she is continually working on new ideas from influences around the world. 

published on 06/19/2017

An Interview With Dw. Dunphy about The Co-Op Communique

The Co-Op Communique distributes music from independent artists seeking to share their artistic output with an enthusiastic audience. The latest release, The Co​-​Op Communique Volume Three, went live on May 26, 2017.  It contains songs by 35 different independent artists and is available for free. New Jersey Stage spoke with Executive Producer, Dw. Dunphy about the release and the artist series.

published on 06/07/2017

Matthew Stephen and the Sweet Action Release Video For "Grooving To The Beat"

Matthew Stephen and the Sweet Action might be a new name for you, but fans of Airacuda will instantly recognize the voice. Matthew Stephen Menges began his solo project in April 2016 when Airacuda went on an indefinite hiatus. He was the frontman for the band with major writing credits on both of the band's EPs, including full credit on their singles 'Pals' and 'I Got A Woman'. He has just released the video for his new single, "Grooving to the Beat." The video was shot by Nelson Wong of Something Something Productions. Makeup by Jamie Leigh Artistry, with Matthew starring as the old man.

published on 05/22/2017

Company of Wolves

Company of Wolves was a popular rock and roll band in the early 90s in the tri-state area. They made some noise nationally with a self-titled record on Mercury/Polygram that included “Call of the Wild”, “The Distance”, and “Hangin’ By a Thread” - all of which charted on AOR (album-oriented rock) stations. The band just released its first single in 20 years and is playing a reunion show on June 3 at Club 66 in Edgewood, MD.

published on 05/22/2017

Memories of George Street

Of all the theatres in New Jersey, George Street Playhouse has always held a close place in my heart. Back in 2003, I launched a monthly print publication called Upstage Magazine. Even though we were based along the Jersey Shore, New Brunswick quickly became our adopted home base. And George Street was part of the magazine from the first issue in which we interviewed the actor Alan Rachins who was starring in Attacks on a Heart at the theatre.

published on 05/22/2017

Music, Dance and Collaboration Brings “Carmina Burana” to Life in Princeton

When Carl Orff first conceived “Carmina Burana,” he pictured it as a “scenic cantata” with music and dance working together to create a truly beautiful experience. That combination will be on display at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium on May 21st when three Garden State-based arts organizations—Princeton Pro Musica, Princeton Girlchoir and Roxey Ballet—team up for a performance.

published on 05/16/2017

REVIEW: Curvy Widow at George Street

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — The death of a spouse is a rather odd choice of subject matter for a musical comedy, but Curvy Widow pulls off the trick in fine style. Led by Nancy Opel, the final play to be staged at the current George Street Playhouse building is the perfect choice to close this chapter of the theatre’s history and begin looking forward to the next.

published on 05/08/2017

BobFest: Songs of War & Peace

Ever since 1997, Pat Guadagno has been celebrating Bob Dylan’s birthday in a grand way with BobFest. The show returns to the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank on May 25 with this year’s theme: Songs Of War & Peace. In honor of the holiday, Jersey Mike’s is providing tickets for any veterans who wish to see the show.

published on 04/24/2017

Hit Her With The Skates

“It was a time when we had our differences, but when it all came down to it you got out on that floor, whether it be the dance floor or the roller rink floor, and all of the difference melted away and we’d just come together and have fun,” said Christine Rea, who wrote Hit Her with the Skates with her husband Rick Briskin.

published on 04/24/2017

Bruber

Ever wonder what life is like in the life of an Uber driver? Vincent Brue and his wife Eve take you behind-the-scenes at the crazy characters that come in and out of Vincent’s Prius in the web series, Bruber.

published on 04/24/2017

Catching Up With Victoria Williams

For many music fans in the 90s, Victoria Williams was their introduction to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The Louisiana born Williams was a rising star in the indie world, touring as the opening act for Neil Young when she first began having neurological problems. Faced with a sudden bout of medical bills and without health insurance, 14 artists including Pearl Jam, Soul Asylum, Lou Reed, and The Waterboys covered songs written by Williams on a tribute album entitled “Sweet Relief: A Benefit For Victoria Williams.” The album did so well that it led to the creation of the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that aids musicians with their medical bills.

published on 04/24/2017

Ambitious Theatre At Paper Mill

Long before Paper Mill Playhouse received the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the theatre had been begun known as a place where shows heading to Broadway could be found first. The 2017-2018 season will continue that trend in a big way with 2 World Premieres and 2 East Coast Premieres on the schedule. While much of the buzz deals with Half Time, I’m excited to see what they do with The Honeymooners musical comedy.

published on 04/24/2017

A look at female artists and the Artists who inspired them (part 2)

For the third issue of 2017, New Jersey Stage featured an interview with Ann Wilson of Heart as the cover story. Thinking back to the classic rock songs from Heart got us wondering who were the female artists that inspired artists in the area. We spoke with 11 artists. In this piece we talk with Reagan Richards (from Williams Honor) Eryn Shewell, Meagan Brothers, Sofia Khorosh (SØF), and Alicia Van Sant (from The Wag). This is part one of two features.

published on 04/15/2017

A look at female artists and the Artists who inspired them (part 1)

For the third issue of 2017, New Jersey Stage featured an interview with Ann Wilson of Heart as the cover story. Thinking back to the classic rock songs from Heart got us wondering who were the female artists that inspired artists in the area. We spoke with 11 artists. In this piece we talk with Karen Mansfield, Amy Schindler (from ViRAGO), Tara Elliott, Jody Joseph, and Catherine Wacha. This is part one of two features. Click here for the second part.

published on 04/15/2017

An Interview With Jim Testa, publisher of Jersey Beat On 35th Anniversary

Jersey Beat has long since morphed from a print zine to an online blog (with a podcast) and remains of the most influential music publications in the Garden State. Created by Jim Testa, Jersey Beat will celebrate it's 35th anniversary at Maxwell's Tavern in Hoboken on Friday, April 14. The show includes performances by many of the artists who inspired Testa to create Jersey Beat including Richard Barone of the Bongos, Glenn Morrow (Individuals, Cry for Help), Mod Fun, The Cucumbers, Tammy Faye Starlight & Keith Hartel, Prosolar Mechanics, Balloon Squad, Karyn Kuhl & Alice Genese, Paul Richard (Adrenalin OD), Marc Maurizi (Cropduster), and Tris McCall. Admission is $12 at the door and $10 in advance. Proceeds will benefit The Project Matters, a local NJ charity that mentors and supports young musicians.

published on 04/12/2017

REVIEW: Million Dollar Quartet at Paper Mill Playhouse

(MILLBURN, NJ) — Imagine being a fly on the wall during one of the greatest moments in rock and roll history… that’s the premise behind Million Dollar Quartet, which lets you see an impromptu jam session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. Paper Mill Playhouse revives this play with an amazingly talented cast. As to be expected, the music is sensational. What I didn’t expect was how much comedy would be in the play as well. Million Dollar Quartet is often described (and generally derided) as a jukebox musical, but it has created a rather fascinating back story as well. As Johnny Cash warns, “An atom bomb is about to go off in there tonight.” There is more to the story than just the music and calling it merely a jukebox musical fails to do it justice.

published on 04/05/2017

Art + Autism at Monmouth University

For those living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, art may be their only mode of communication. One end of the spectrum includes those who are the most isolated and who literally live in their own world. Yet, even if they are unable to write or speak, some are able to create art which offers a glimpse of the person inside. For those at the other end of the spectrum who are much more functional, artwork shows how strong their abilities can be.

published on 04/04/2017

REVIEW: “Bad Jews” at George Street Playhouse

​(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — The hatred is real, and the hatred is beautiful. It’s the type of hatred that can only stem from a relative - someone you know by blood. Picture the hatred between two people who have known each other for their entire lives, but can’t stand to be in the same room. That’s the energy which drives Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, a hilarious comedy that is on stage at George Street Playhouse until April 9.

published on 03/28/2017

REVIEW: Murder On The Orient Express

(PRINCETON, NJ) — There’s just one weekend left to see the World Premiere of Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express at McCarter Theatre Center and I can’t rave enough about this wonderful production. Emily Mann directs the classic story adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy For You) who manages to craft a masterful whodunnit tale while finding the humor in the work and the story’s zany characters. But, as always, the train is the star.

published on 03/27/2017

Into The Rabbit Hole

There are few things worse than the death of a child. One family’s struggle with dealing with and overcoming their grief is the foundation of Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire. The Pulitzer-Prize winning play is being performed by The Company Theatre Group in April.

published on 03/27/2017

Scott Moreau Is Back As The Man In Black

Imagine being a fly on the wall during one of the most iconic moments in music history. The setting is Sun Records in Memphis in 1956 where an impromptu jam session involving Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins takes place. It was a moment in time when the stars truly aligned. The story was immortalized in the musical Million Dollar Quartet, which is being presented at Paper Mill Playhouse.

published on 03/25/2017

Multiple Family Dwelling: It’s a Bed Of Lies

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — Multiple Family Dwelling by James Hindman takes place in the present day in Mt. Clemens, Michigan - a rather downtrodden neighborhood where Kelly and James own a house they live in and rent upstairs. They have just gotten rid of their current tenant and plan on having their friend Tia move in with her fiance Stuart. It’s the latest World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company and one that examines which is worse: telling a lie or living with one.

published on 03/11/2017

Makin Waves Comes to NJ Stage

When Upstage Magazine was first launched in 2003, I wanted the publication to quickly gain credibility in the arts & entertainment world. I had a short list of music writers I wanted on board that included Bob Makin and Chris Barry. Both were in our first issue and helped us make an instant splash in the local music scene.

published on 03/06/2017

How Will Theatre React To The Changing Political Climate? Playwright Perspective

New Jersey Stage reached out to a pair of playwrights to get their take on how the current political climate might affect their work, whether they think it will affect others, and what it means to theatre as a whole. We spoke with Joseph M. Paprzyki and Bernardo Cubria.

published on 02/23/2017

Ellis Paul: 25 Years On The Road

It’s never been easy to carve out a career in the music business and it may be more difficult now than ever. Despite a plethora of websites to let people discover artists, music fans are largely on their own. MTV gave up on music videos long ago, the power of radio has been greatly diminished, and even publications like Rolling Stone are arguably read more for their political writing today as much as their profiles on artists. With that in mind, it’s remarkable when artists like Ellis Paul can simultaneously build a devoted fan base throughout the country and remain under the radar for 25 years.

published on 02/23/2017

How Will Theatre React To The Changing Political Climate? Artistic Director Perspective

Not long after the presidential election, Vice President Mike Pence caught a performance of Hamilton on Broadway. Afterwards, Brandon Victor Dixon — who plays Aaron Burr — gave one of the show’s patented closing speeches.

published on 02/22/2017

Nibbler

It’s the summer of 1992 in Medford, New Jersey. Adam and his friends are spending their last summer together before they all head off to college. One night while out drinking beers in the woods, they see a strange light and hear unusual sounds. As they encounter a mysterious visitor from another world, their lives are forever changed.

published on 02/22/2017

REVIEW: American Son

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — George Street Playhouse promotes American Son as a story ripped from today’s headlines. The play, by Christopher Demos-Brown, is a chilling look at a family’s nightmare — a situation involving their son, an abandoned car, and the police — and how the world sees an 18 year old black man.

published on 02/15/2017

Valentine's Weekend at Kean Stage

What is it like for a pair of artists to be married to each other? The question has been posed to Broadway stars Jarrod Spector and Kelli Barrett over and over again since they tied the knot in October 2014. It peaked their interest enough to begin researching famous musical marriages throughout history; a project that developed into the show “This is Dedicated: Music’s Greatest Marriages.”

published on 02/07/2017

#50 Brian Molnar: Brian Molnar

Before he added The Naked Hearts as his backing band, Brian Molnar performed as a solo artist. On his self-titled debut, he shows a more folk-based style than the Americana/Alt-Country genre that his newer work with the full band possesses. Both styles seem to suit Brian well, and it’s fascinating to look back and see how the different musical directions changed his songs.

published on 01/26/2017

#49 Echo Screen: An American Tale

Echo Screen’s debut An American Tale begins with “The Things We’ve Left Behind,” a brief instrumental that sets a rather somber setting. It sort of reminds me of the cartoon character Schroeder from Peanuts tapping away at his little piano while watching bombs fall during World War III. The song then ends with a loud bang and bursts into “An American Tale,” a blistering pop punk tune that leads into a collection of songs that appear to have been somewhat inspired by 9/11 and its aftermath.

published on 01/26/2017

#48 Lisa Bouchelle: Paint Your Dreams

As a child growing up in Trenton, the only time Lisa Bouchelle’s parents stopped fighting was when Lisa was singing. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father struggled with three jobs to make ends meet. All of their problems seemed to subside when Lisa would start to sing. At four years old, she won a talent contest while singing “America The Beautiful” dressed in an American flag costume. It was at that moment that she knew she wanted to be a singer.

published on 01/26/2017

#47 Divine Sign: Definitely Overdue

Divine Sign began as a duo featuring the pairing of Lindsey Miller on guitar and Kerry McNulty on vocals. Through the years, they added additional members to round out a full band, but often went back to working as a duo. Even though the full band treatment found on this album helped develop the band’s sound from its folk beginnings to a more country/rock flavor, Lindsey and Kerry always remained the backbone of the group.

published on 01/26/2017

#46 The Bouncing Souls: The Gold Record

At a time when most punk bands have long since packed it up, The Bouncing Souls released The Gold Record, another amazing album from start to finish. Full of incredibly catchy tunes featuring punk and pop/rock styles, the release saw the band venturing slightly away from its punk origins.

published on 01/26/2017

#45 The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem put a lot of pressure on themselves to make a great album after the breakthrough success of The ‘59 Sound, a release that made them practically a household name for rock and roll fans throughout the world. The band was not only up to the task, but crafted an album in American Slang, which solidified their place as one of the hottest rock bands alive.

published on 01/26/2017

#44 Ken Shane: South Ridgeway Avenue

Ken Shane grew up in both North Jersey (Springfield) and South Jersey (Atlantic City), but it’s clear his heart remained at the Shore. His memories of the beach, boardwalk, and summers spent at his Grandparents’ house on South Ridgeway Avenue were the inspiration behind this wonderful collection of songs.

published on 01/26/2017

#43 Joe Whyte: When The Day Breaks

Born and raised in Matawan, Joe Whyte is proof that even Jersey boys can sing with an honest to goodness country twang. Currently living in Rutherford, Joe is part of New York City’s Americana/Alt-Country scene.

published on 01/26/2017

#42 Anthony D'Amato: Down Wires

Down Wires comes firing out the gate with “Ballad Of The Undecided,” a full-blown rocker that hints at an expansion of the folk-rock sounds Anthony D’Amato was gaining a reputation for. But by the first few stanzas of “Holy War,” he also hints that he is ready to serve as a major voice of his generation.

published on 01/26/2017

#41 The Dipsomaniacs: The Life You’re Faking

The Dipsomaniacs got their name straight out of the dictionary. It means, “one who has an irrepressible desire for alcoholic drinks.” Tom O’Grady, the band’s drummer had it on a list of potential band names he created back in high school. Tom and Mick Chorba, the band’s songwriter and lead singer, had been in bands together since they were 13, but it was the band inspired by alcohol that gave them their shot at stardom.

published on 01/26/2017

#40 The Milwaukees: American Anthems Vol. 1

For years, The Milwaukees’ band name mystified me. Who names a band from New Jersey after a city in Wisconsin? But with the release of American Anthems Vol. 1, it suddenly all made sense. The band, which has had a series of personnel changes through the years, was the true personification of American rock and roll. And what city in America represents the average blue-collar American more than Milwaukee?

published on 01/26/2017

#39 James Dalton: Smile Goodbye To The Kings & Clowns

Around the time James Dalton recorded Smile Goodbye To The Kings & Clowns, he could be found somewhere on stage most every night along the Jersey Shore. One night he might be seen adding mandolin to the songs of Nicole Atkins, the next he might be jamming on harp with Matt Witte. Everybody knew him as JPAT back then, a young artist with an incredible voice and an unrelenting desire to play.

published on 01/26/2017

#38 Rick Barry: Declaration Of Codependence

Rick Barry is a bit of an enigma. He’s got an uncanny ability to win over a crowd’s attention with even the quietest song, yet that power has rarely shown in the studio. Personally, I think this brilliant songwriter from Point Pleasant is often guilty of trying to dress up his recorded tunes too much. Maybe that’s why I love this particular release.

published on 01/26/2017

#37 Maybe Pete: Pancakes And Martinis

Pancakes And Martinis by Maybe Pete may only contain six songs, but six very impressive songs. There’s no fluff at all here. It contains some of the pounding rock and roll the band was known for, but also shows the band expanding their songwriting through tunes written by Kelly McGrath that sound unlike anything else they had ever released.

published on 01/26/2017

#36 The Bouncing Souls: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation was the first Bouncing Souls album to feature Michael McDermott on drums. This was the first and only lineup change throughout the history of the band. From the very first track it was clear that McDermott was up to the task and the band had come through with one of their best releases to date.

published on 01/26/2017

#35 Mimi Cross: I Slept...

Mimi Cross is not your typical singer-songwriter. Her music is like a blend of the sound experimention of Kate Bush and the prose of Patti Smith. She lures you in and has the ability to seduce you with her voice. The combination of these attributes is a style uniquely her own; one that sounds mystical and almost spiritual. Mimi was born in Toronto, but grew up in Millburn and Long Beach Island. Later on she would settle in the Red Bank/Highlands area and become a fixture of the Asbury Park music scene.

published on 01/26/2017

#34 Dramarama: Everybody Dies

Dramarama remains one of New Jersey’s most underrated bands of all-time. During the ‘80s, the boys from Wayne had the distinction of holding the #1 fan voted song for KROQ in California (“Anything, Anything”) and WHTG in New Jersey (“Last Cigarette”) yet never truly rose above cult status elsewhere. They broke up in 1994, but their songs lived on through live shows by lead singer John Easdale.

published on 01/26/2017

#33 Arlan Feiles: Come Sunday Morning

Come Sunday Morning sounds much more polished than Razing A Nation, but the themes are similar. Arlan remains true to the ideals he believes in and isn’t afraid to speak out. While, at times, the music may be more upbeat than his previous release, it’s still a folk album at heart; focusing on love and war, and souls seeking salvation.

published on 01/26/2017

#32 John Gorka: The Company You Keep

There’s something about growing up in the Garden State that stays with people; it becomes part of their identity regardless of whether or not it’s readily apparent, and it’s something that’s hard to shake. Even though John Gorka has lived in Minnesota long enough for the state to claim him as one of their own, the man who once penned the song “I’m From New Jersey” has never forgotten the roots he planted growing up in Colonia.

published on 01/26/2017

#31 Jon Caspi: Eddie Knows!

Who would have thought a song like “What Does Eddie Know?” from I’m Not Angry... Anymore could inspire an entire rock and roll concept album? Perhaps more surprising is the fact that it led to a rock and roll concept album that actually works!

published on 01/26/2017

#30 April Smith and the Great Picture Show: Songs For A Sinking Ship

April Smith grew up in Toms River and became one of the stars of the Asbury Park music scene before moving to Brooklyn; there she became an indie-music darling and was placed on several national tours. She’s always had a remarkably powerful voice, it just took a few years to develop a style that took full advantage of it. On Songs For A Sinking Ship, she’s found that style.

published on 01/26/2017

#29 Red Wanting Blue: These Magnificent Miles

Red Wanting Blue first released These Magnificent Miles independently in 2008 as the band’s eighth full-length album. The title was a nod to the band’s lifestyle, a perpetual ride through the country performing night after night as if they were members of the circus coming to town.

published on 01/26/2017

#28 The Amboys: Everything Between The Moon And The Sun

The Amboys hail from Asbury Park. The band, comprised of C.M. Smith, Manny Castanon, Connor Effenberger, and Dan Effenberger (who replaced Kyle Waugh, who played on the album and was the band’s original rhythm guitarist), has been one of my favorites in the Asbury Park music scene since they first began hitting the stage in 2009. Their debut album provides brilliant country-infused garage rock and roll that reminds me of Johnny Cash waking up on the wrong side of the bed after an all night binge, taking some speed, downing a Jack and Coke, and heading out to the local punk rock bar to jam with whoever was on stage. It’s got a true kick ass spirit to it.

published on 01/26/2017

#27 The Commons: Dirt Waffle

Dirt Waffle represented a major change of direction for The Commons. This release moved away from the collective moodiness and introspection of Come On Get Gone towards a mixed bag of rock, pop, and even jazzy numbers. The result is somewhat akin to the music released by the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies during the ‘80s. It was something entirely unexpected from The Commons, but they pulled it off well. In fact, the album seems to get better with age.

published on 01/26/2017

#26 Casual Gypsies: Crazy Places We Take Ourselves

If you try searching for information about Casual Gypsies on the Internet, you won’t find much. The band literally disappeared from the face of the Earth after releasing this amazing collection of songs; a shame because when you hear this debut, you’re bound to wonder just what this band was capable of in the future.

published on 01/25/2017

Why Asbury Park?

Ever since Bruce Springsteen released Born To Run and became a household name, music fans have traveled to Asbury Park to learn more about the town. They came to see the Palace, the boardwalk and the rides and to hear Madame Marie tell their future. They came to have a drink at the Stone Pony and see shows at Convention Hall. They came to imagine they were cruising down the circuit on a Saturday night. And, even after the rides disappeared and Madame Marie left town, the fans kept coming.

published on 01/25/2017

JPAT

James P. Dalton Jr., or JPAT as he’s known, is one of the most interesting musicians along the Jersey Shore. An extremely talented singer-songwriter, he plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica and brings back the spirit of the Upstage Club to Asbury Park. Since there no longer is a place like Upstage where young musicians can go and jam, he’s created his own version of that club. One night you might see him adding mandolin to the songs of Nicole Atkins, the next night he might be playing harp with Matt Witte. He’s known throughout the musical community and he’s jammed with just about everybody.

published on 01/25/2017

DeSol

The faces along the Jersey Shore have been changing as more and more ethnicitys settle down here. In recent years, Spanish food markets and restaurants have opened and conversations can regularly be heard in languages other than English. So it should come as no surprise that one of the most interesting bands to hit the area in some time contains a strong Latin American influence.

published on 01/25/2017

Matt Witte & The New Blood Revival

Matt Witte just might be one of the most exciting artists to come out of the Jersey Shore in decades. He’s known as a brilliant songwriter and tremendous live performer but what really sets him apart from others is the type of music that he plays. Matt infuses bluegrass and country influences with folk, punk and rock and roll. The result is a sound not heard around the Shore for some time.

published on 01/25/2017

Maybe Pete

Maybe Pete is the latest in a long list of great Jersey rock and roll bands to find a home along the Shore. The band is based out of North Jersey, but has been playing clubs like the Saint and the Stone Pony on a regular basis. Maybe Pete was formed at the end of 2000 and includes the husband-wife team of Frankie and Kelly McGrath on guitar, Marc Gambino on bass and Sal DiMaria on drums.

published on 01/25/2017

Last Perfect Thing

Last Perfect Thing is a band based in Asbury Park that has a sound based more in punk music than it does with traditional Asbury sounding bands. They’ve been around since 1998 and are a regular at clubs like the Stone Pony and the Saint.

published on 01/25/2017

Jody Joseph and the Average Joes

Jody Joseph and the Average Joes remind you of what Jersey Shore music is all about. Each show contains the mixture of good blues, R&B, and rock and roll featuring the wonderful vocals and songwriting of Jody Joseph.

published on 01/25/2017

Bob Burger

Bob Burger is a member of the Bobby Bandiera Band and a longtime songwriting partner of such Jersey Shore artists as Glen Burtnick, Bobby Bandiera and Joey Vadala. In 2002, Bob headed to the studio to record a bunch of original songs for a CD called Almost an Island. Backing him in the studio is Rob Tanico from Highway 9 and TJ from John Eddie’s band.

published on 01/25/2017

Danny White

Danny White is proof that the Jersey Shore is still producing great singer-songwriters. The Matawan-based artist writes songs filled with stories of people you feel as if you know. His words capture their hopes and dreams like a modern street poet. He has often been compared to Bruce Springsteen, a comparison not likely to go away anytime soon.

published on 01/25/2017

Mimi Cross

Mimi Cross is not just another pretty face, she’s also one of the most talented singer-songwriters on the Jersey Shore. Born in Canada, she now lives along the Shore and is a veteran of the local music scene. Mimi has graced stages from local clubs like T-Birds Cafe, the Saint and the Stone Pony to Maxwell’s and the Liquid Lounge in Hoboken. She’s played in clubs from New York to Boston, Philadelphia on down to Washington, DC and has opened for such artists as Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Lauryn Hill, Jeffrey Gaines, Jill Sobule and Chris Whitley.

published on 01/25/2017

Joe D’Urso

Joe D’Urso is one of the adopted sons of the Jersey Shore, mainly due to playing here often and because his music evokes comparisons to people like Bruce Springsteen. Born and raised in New York, Joe is a fine singer-songwriter who has released a bunch of records through his own independent record label.

published on 01/25/2017

The Pony’s Crazy Ride

The Stone Pony has always had a strange run during its history. From its early days as a disco bar to the heights of the Asbury music scene when the club would be packed night after night with lines around the block, the bar had seen it all. As the town itself moved further into ruin, the Pony remained the one constant you could count on.

published on 01/25/2017

The Outcry and Blowup

The Outcry started playing the clubs in the early 90s at a time when the Asbury Park scene was in trouble. But the band certainly made the most of their opportunities. They had regular gigs at the Fastlane and the Stone Pony as well as clubs in Long Branch and musicians like Bruce Springsteen and Brian Setzer jammed with them.

published on 01/25/2017

Peter Scherer of Mr. Reality, Samhill, and Highway 9

At the end of the eighties a new band took over the Jersey Shore scene. Known as Mr. Reality, the band featured the songwriting of Gordon Brown and the vocals of Peter Scherer. Together, along with Rob Tanico, they formed an acoustic trio playing sets unlike anything else. Everything seemed to move fast for the band. One day Peter was opening the door for people at the Fastlane, the next day the crowd at the Fastlane was there to see him. Mr. Reality soon was signed to a deal and released a debut record. A tour of the country followed and then just as quickly as it had started the band was finished.

published on 01/25/2017

Gordon Brown of Mr. Reality, Samhill & Highway 9

At the end of the eighties a new band took over the Jersey Shore scene. Known as Mr. Reality, the band featured the songwriting of Gordon Brown and the vocals of Peter Scherer. Together, along with Rob Tanico, they formed an acoustic trio playing sets unlike anything else. Everything seemed to move fast for the band. One day Peter was opening the door for people at the Fastlane, the next day the crowd at the Fastlane was there to see him. Mr. Reality soon was signed to a deal and released a debut record. A tour of the country followed and then just as quickly as it had started the band was finished.

published on 01/25/2017

Soul Engines

Soul Engines was one of the most popular bands along the Jersey Shore in the early 90s. Built around the brilliant songwriting of Mark Nuzzi, the band had a largely acoustic rock sound that picked up a loyal following of music fans in Shore towns like Asbury Park and Long Branch.

published on 01/25/2017

T-Birds Cafe and the Saint

Every good music scene needs that one person who goes out of their way to support up-and-coming bands, in Asbury Park that person is Scott Stamper. In the eighties, he was responsible for booking the bands at T-Birds Cafe, an intimate venue located on Main Street. After that club closed, he opened up the Saint and continued to provide new talent with a great place to play.

published on 01/25/2017

The Fastlane

Around the world the Fastlane is noted in rock and roll history for being one of the clubs where a young Jon Bon Jovi got his start. Bon Jovi played here long before becoming famous with bands like Atlantic City Expressway, the Rest and the Wild Ones. The Fastlane was always home to several of the traditional Asbury Park musicians like Billy Chinnock and Lance Larson, but its true claim to fame lies in being the premier venue for alternative music in the area.

published on 01/25/2017

The Bongos

The Bongos were one of the pioneers of early alternative music. A favorite of college radio fans, their music was an eclectic blend of pop and punk that stood just outside the mainstream. The band was originally a trio which included Richard Barone, Rob Norris and Frank Giannini with James Mastro joining the band a few years later. The Bongos released three albums that have reached near cult-like status.

published on 01/25/2017

Well of Souls

Well of Souls was a band on the verge of success for many years. They won the East Coast Rocker “Unsigned Band Contest” in 1989, had a radio hit with the song “No More Rain” and spent countless nights in New York City showcasing in front of music industry people, but never managed to get signed to a record deal.

published on 01/25/2017

The Whirling Dervishes and Everlounge

The Whirling Dervishes was a classic alternative band. They were the typical popular band, always drawing large crowds, always on the brink of success but never quite getting there. During the 80s, the band was part of the emerging music scene along the Jersey Shore in clubs like the Green Parrot and Fast Lane and was a favorite of the alternative rock radio station, WHTG.

published on 01/25/2017

Billy Donahue of The Blases

The Blases were formed by Billy Donahue and Rob Wagner while they were high school students in Union County in 1980. They were originally called the Hernia Boys and also included the bass player, Paul Virdon, who died after being hit by a train. This experience provided the basis for the songs on their only released CD, which came out in 1989.

published on 01/25/2017

Rob Wagner of The Blases

The Blases were formed by Billy Donahue and Rob Wagner while they were high school students in Union County in 1980. They were originally called the Hernia Boys and also included the bass player, Paul Virdon, who died after being hit by a train. This experience provided the basis for the songs on their only released CD, which came out in 1989.

published on 01/25/2017

James Deely & the Valiants

James Deely was born in Washington, DC, but he grew up in New Jersey. After studying music in Los Angeles and a brief stint in the LA based pop-rock band the Palisades, Deely returned home and put together the Valiants.

published on 01/25/2017

Tony Stives of Red House

Red House was formed by a bunch of guys in Union County in the early 80s. They became one of the most popular bands along the Jersey Shore and one of the leaders of the alternative scene taking place in clubs like the Green Parrot and the FastLane.

published on 01/25/2017

Bruce Tunkel of Red House

Red House was formed by a bunch of guys in Union County in the early 80s. They became one of the most popular bands along the Jersey Shore and one of the leaders of the alternative scene taking place in clubs like the Green Parrot and the FastLane.

published on 01/25/2017

Bob Nichol of Red House

Red House was formed by a bunch of guys in Union County in the early 80s. They became one of the most popular bands along the Jersey Shore and one of the leaders of the alternative scene taking place in clubs like the Green Parrot and the FastLane.

published on 01/25/2017

Ron Baumann of Red House

Red House was formed by a bunch of guys in Union County in the early 80s. They became one of the most popular bands along the Jersey Shore and one of the leaders of the alternative scene taking place in clubs like the Green Parrot and the FastLane.

published on 01/25/2017

Mark Englert of Dramarama

Dramarama was an explosive live band that recorded several brilliant records during the late 80s and early 90s. The band was formed by a group of guys from Wayne, New Jersey who moved out to California around the time they were signed to their first record deal. Even while they were living on the West Coast the band played a major role in an emerging alternative rock scene along the Jersey Shore. With sold out shows at clubs like the Green Parrot, the Fastlane and the Stone Pony, Dramarama became one of the most popular bands of its day.

published on 01/25/2017

John Easdale of Dramarama

Dramarama was an explosive live band that recorded several brilliant records during the late 80s and early 90s. The band was formed by a group of guys from Wayne, New Jersey who moved out to California around the time they were signed to their first record deal. Even while they were living on the West Coast the band played a major role in an emerging alternative rock scene along the Jersey Shore. With sold out shows at clubs like the Green Parrot, the Fastlane and the Stone Pony, Dramarama became one of the most popular bands of its day.

published on 01/25/2017

Chris Carter of Dramarama

Dramarama was an explosive live band that recorded several brilliant records during the late 80s and early 90s. The band was formed by a group of guys from Wayne, New Jersey who moved out to California around the time they were signed to their first record deal. Even while they were living on the West Coast the band played a major role in an emerging alternative rock scene along the Jersey Shore. With sold out shows at clubs like the Green Parrot, the Fastlane and the Stone Pony, Dramarama became one of the most popular bands of its day.

published on 01/25/2017

WHTG 106.3  and the Green Parrot

By the mid-80s, the Jersey Shore music scene was pretty much running on fumes. Cover bands were the rage, original artists were no longer getting record deals and the drinking age had been raised, forever changing the face of the bar crowd. Things certainly looked bleak until a small radio station in Eatontown decided to change its format and wound up creating a music scene of its own.

published on 01/25/2017

Asbury Park Rock ‘N Roll Museum

In the eighties, two memorabilia collectors named Billy Smith and Stephen Bumball had a dream to create a museum that would be centered around the Jersey Shore’s top acts like Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny and Bon Jovi but also include lesser known bands and artists of historical significance. The museum opened during the summer of 1986 in the Palace Amusements building. It gave music fans a place to go to learn more about their favorite local artists.

published on 01/25/2017

Joey and The Works

Joey Vadala is a talented singer-songwriter from the New Brunswick area. He played in several bands with Glen Burtnick while they were both teenagers and actually replaced Glen in La Bamba and the Hubcaps years later when Glen left for a solo career. After La Bamba, Vadala fronted Joey and the Works, a popular band along the Jersey Shore. From there he went on to the band Poetic Justice, which changed its name to Big Sky after a movie by the same name came out.

published on 01/25/2017

WNEW On the Beach

In the mid-80s, Asbury Park had already become largely a ghost town even during the summer season. The Palace was still open but most of the rides along the boardwalk were long gone as were many of the restaurants and shops. The once crowded beach was largely abandoned in favor of nearby towns like Belmar and Manasquan. But for two days each year, WNEW-FM of New York made Asbury the place to be again.

published on 01/25/2017

Secret Lovers

Secret Lovers was a popular band along the Jersey Shore in the mid-80s. They released a EP in 1986 which contained the hit song, “Desiree (I Know You’re Home Tonight).” That song would be played heavily on radio stations throughout New Jersey and Philadelphia.

published on 01/25/2017

In Between Dreams

In Between Dreams has been called one of the most influential punk bands of the Jersey Shore. The band burst started out at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch during the early 80s and then would go on to play many of the legendary clubs in the tri-state area like Maxwell’s, the Stone Pony, the Green Parrot, CBs, the Loop Lounge, the Court Tavern, the Melody Bar and the Limelight.

published on 01/25/2017

The Smithereens

The Smithereens are one of the most successful bands to come out of the Jersey Shore scene. Based in North Jersey, the band played some of its first gigs at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Lance Larson, a favorite of the Shore crowd, invited the band to open his shows there. With influences ranging from the Kinks to the Who to Buddy Holly and the Clash, the Smithereens developed a sound a bit like punk mixed with Beatlesque melodies. Deemed “alternative music,” it was very different from what the Asbury Park crowds were used to but the band ultimately won crowds over.

published on 01/25/2017

John Eddie

John Eddie may have been born in Richmond, Virginia but he’s got Jersey Shore blood flowing in his veins. A long-time favorite of local music fans from the Shore to Philadelphia and back down to Virginia, his live performances embody the definition of Jersey rock and roll music.

published on 01/24/2017

Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi grew up in Sayreville, just up the Garden State Parkway, but he made his name in the clubs of Asbury Park. Early in Jon’s career his band used to open for Lance Larson and many of the national acts that came through Asbury Park with at the Fastlane. It was a great opportunity for Jon to play in front of the demanding Asbury Park crowds and he became a great performer because of it.

published on 01/24/2017

Bobby Bandiera

Bobby Bandiera has long been considered one of the Jersey Shore’s best secrets, but he’s really not a secret anymore. He’s been Southside Johnny’s right hand man since the At Least We Got Shoes record, has released a pair of independent solo records, has played with Jon Bon Jovi for his solo concerts and has backed up Bruce Springsteen on numerous benefit shows. No longer a secret, the real question may be why isn’t he a household name?

published on 01/24/2017

Fran Smith Jr.

Fran Smith Jr. has been part of the Jersey Shore music scene since the mid-70s. He was a member of the Shakes, a popular Stone Pony house band that was once looked upon as the next big thing to come out of the Jersey Shore by record executives. After leaving that band he joined Johnny’s Dance Band, a legendary band in the Philadelphia/Trenton area that had a record deal with RCA Records. Eventually Fran returned to the Jersey Shore and back to Asbury Park where he was part of the famous Stone Pony house band, Cats on a Smooth Surface.

published on 01/24/2017

Glen Burtnick

Glen Burtnick is a singer songwriter from the New Brunswick area that has been entertaining fans along the Jersey Shore since the early 80s. His first big break was when he auditioned and got the role of Paul McCartney in the West Coast production of Beatlemania alongside Marshall Crenshaw as John Lennon. From there he went on to stints in the Jan Hammer Band and Helmet Boy before returning to New Jersey where he married his high school sweetheart.

published on 01/24/2017

Cats: The Ultimate House Band

The Stone Pony has always prided itself on being a great judge of talent. Ever since Southside Johnny & the Jukes put the club on the map, every house band at the Pony has been thrust into the spotlight. It’s a hard job to acquire but one that instantly catches the eyes and ears of record company executives. The list of success stories include such bands as John Eddie & the Front Runners, Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers, the Smithereens, the Outcry and Highway 9 and, of course, Southside Johnny & the Jukes. Ironically, the band that just might have had the title of most famous house band in America never made that list.

published on 01/24/2017

Billy Hector

Billy Hector has been a fixture on the Jersey Shore scene since the 70s. Now recognized as one of the best blues guitarists in the state, Hector once played in classic R&B and rock bands like the Shots, Paul Whistler & the Wheels and Hot Romance before forming the Fairlanes and his current band.

published on 01/24/2017

Lance Larson

Lance Larson is one of the most popular artists to ever take the stage at a Jersey Shore club. An extremely talented singer and songwriter, Lance was the leader of Lord Gunner Group which developed a following from New Jersey to Maine and down to Virginia. The band regularly played local clubs like the Fast Lane and the Stone Pony. They were close to record deals, but something always went wrong. Usually it was due to the “rock and roll lifestyle” of Lance that always seemed to crash and burn at the wrong time.

published on 01/24/2017

Steven Van Zandt

Few people were as instrumental in creating the “Asbury Sound” as Steven Van Zandt. He was a lead guitarist with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, a key member of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and basically left his fingerprints on the entire Jersey Shore music scene.

published on 01/24/2017

Talking with Joey Stann

An interview with Joey Stann, longtime member of the Jukes.

published on 01/24/2017

Talking with Rusty Cloud

An interview with Rusty Cloud, former member of the Jukes.

published on 01/24/2017

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes was the first band to make it from Asbury Park after the success of Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen. Originally the house band at the Stone Pony, the Jukes went national with the release of I Don’t Want To Go Home in 1976. A record release party was held at the Pony with the band’s live show syndicated on nine radio stations across the country.

published on 01/24/2017

Stone Pony and the Asbury Sound

Let’s get this straight, there never was an Asbury Sound. It was simply a way of grouping the bands from the area into one category. It was probably more derogatory than anything. It gave the impression that everyone was trying to capitalize on a winning formula. To the musicians and people closely involved, each of the bands had a personality and style of their own.

published on 01/24/2017

David Sancious

David Sancious may have been one of the youngest members jamming at the Upstage but he was one of the most talented as well. He played in several classic Jersey Shore bands including the Sundance Blues Band with Southside Johnny and Miami Steven Van Zandt and Glory Road with Billy Chinnock and Garry Tallent. He first played with Bruce Springsteen in Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom and when Bruce formed the Bruce Springsteen Band and later the E-Street Band, David was there as well. In fact, the E-Street Band was named after the street in Belmar where David lived.

published on 01/24/2017

Bruce In Asbury Park

I can still remember the night Dave and I were invited to the Asbury Rock ‘N Roll Museum to hear an advance copy of Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love CD. The guys from the museum, Billy Smith and Stephen Bumball, had managed to have a copy sent to them a month before it was scheduled to be released. They invited a bunch of their friends to a special listening party. There must have been at least thirty people cramped into a small room all anxious to hear which direction Bruce was going. Dave and I were the youngest in the crowd by far and we were kind of surprised to be invited. It was the first time I had ever been part of something like that and it would be a night I’d never forget.

published on 01/24/2017

Bruce Springsteen

It’s safe to say that if Bruce Springsteen hadn’t burst on to the national scene with Born To Run the history of rock music along the Jersey Shore might have been a rather short chapter or two. For years, New Jersey had not only lived in the shadow of New York City but record labels there couldn’t care less about bands from the Shore. Even though Asbury Park is only an hour away from Manhattan, it was a world’s away in their eyes. Until Bruce made it big, they wouldn’t even bother come down to see what the area’s biggest bands were all about.

published on 01/24/2017

Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom

For a couple of months in 1971, Bruce Springsteen built a band unlike anything seen on the Jersey Shore before. The band was called Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom. Many people consider it to be a transitional band for Springsteen, who was moving away from the heavy metal sound of Steel Mill and towards the type of music the E-Street Band would later play.

published on 01/24/2017

The Asbury Riots

I was born right around the time the riots were taking place. Racial trouble was boiling in towns all across New Jersey as well as the entire nation. Asbury Park just happened to be one of the towns hit the hardest. The Asbury I knew and grew up with was very different from the Asbury pre-riot. A lot of things have to happen for a town to die, but the riots certainly pushed Asbury towards that end.

published on 01/24/2017

A Look at Mercy Flight

A look at Mercy Flight through interviews with Robbin Thompson, David Hazlett, and Tom "Cool" Yolton.

published on 01/24/2017

Steel Mill & Mercy Flight

There was a time when Bruce Springsteen really knew how to rock. I mean really rock. Picture the best guitar licks from the Darkness On The Edge Of Town record and then multiply them by ten. That will give you a little bit of the hard hitting sound of Steel Mill, one of the legendary bands of the Jersey Shore.

published on 01/24/2017

Billy Chinnock

Billy Chinnock just might be the forgotten hero of Jersey Shore rock and roll. Long before the E-Street Band was ever formed guys like Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez, Garry Tallent, David Sancious and Danny Federici all played in bands with Chinnock. In many ways, the history of Jersey Shore music is incomplete without taking a closer look at Chinnock and his contributions to the scene.

published on 01/24/2017

Sonny Kenn

Sonny Kenn is widely regarded as the first rock and roll star of the Jersey Shore. In the early sixties, his bands Sonny and the Sounds and Sonny and the Starfires routinely played shows at places like the Eatontown Shopping Center (currently known as the Monmouth Mall), the Hullabaloo Club in Asbury Park and the Canteen in Belmar as well as high school dances throughout Monmouth County.

published on 01/24/2017

Hullabaloo and the Sunshine In

In the early 70s, Asbury Park was fortunate to have some of the biggest names in rock and roll come through town. The bands that had already made it could be found playing Convention Hall or the Casino. Those on the way up could be found playing the Sunshine In. Bruce Springsteen played here often with bands like Steel Mill, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom and the Bruce Springsteen Band. But before it was the Sunshine In, it was one of several “Hullabaloo” clubs in the area.

published on 01/24/2017

The Student Prince

Historians and rock and roll fans will forever remember the Student Prince as the place where Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons first met. As the story goes, friends of Clarence had been telling him to check out Bruce’s band and so he did on a very stormy night. The wind was howling and blowing up and down the boardwalk. When Clarence opened the door, a huge gust literally ripped the door off of its hinges. Clarence saw Bruce on stage and yelled, “I want to be in your band.” Seeing the very large man standing in the doorway that no longer had a door, Bruce replied something like, “Sure, you do whatever you want.”

published on 01/24/2017

Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre

One of the most impressive buildings along the Jersey Shore has got to be where Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre converge on Asbury Park’s boardwalk. The complex was built by architects Warren and Wetmore who were also the designers of New York’s Grand Central Station. It opened on July 11, 1930 with a show at the Paramount Theatre featuring the Marx Brothers and Ginger Rogers.

published on 01/24/2017

The Upstage

This is where it all began. Musicians gathered each night at a club on the corner of Cookman Avenue and Bond Street that was set on top of a Thom McAn shoe store. The Upstage brought the sights of San Francisco psychedelia and the sounds of Greenwich Village together in an endless array of all night jam sessions, which attracted the best young musicians in the area.

published on 01/24/2017

#25 Lost In Society: Eastern Empire

Not since The Replacements had an album simply kick me between the eyes the way Eastern Empire did the first time I heard it. Lost In Society has been labeled everything from alternative rock to pop punk, but labels go out the door when you hear this disc. The album moves effortless through rock and roll styles the way Paul Westerberg and his bandmates did in the ‘80s. Lost In Society’s personal influences may be from ‘90s artists like Green Day and Blink-182, but their spirit lies in the songs of ‘80s legends like the Jim Carroll Band and The ‘Mats.

published on 12/10/2016

#24 Val Emmich: Slow Down Kid

Val Emmich originally released Slow Down Kid on Childlike Records, an independent label, in March 2003. When the album was rereleased nationally on Epic a year later, the list of songs changed dramatically. “Unstable,” “Selfish Blues,” “Black It Out,” and “Rat Race” were replaced by “Bury Me,” “Medical Display,” “The Patient Patient,” and the brilliant “Separate Things.” The inclusion of that last song is why the rerelease was chosen instead of the original.

published on 12/10/2016

#23 Bruce Tunkel: Sitting/Waiting

For a few years in the late ‘80s, Bruce Tunkel appeared poised to become the second musician named Bruce from New Jersey to hit it big nationally (or third if you want to include Bruce Willis). At the time, the Linden native was the leader of a popular band called The Red House who released an amazing independent album in 1987. That album led to a cover photo on the College Music Journal (CMJ), something unheard of for an independent band. Record labels soon took an interest in them and The Red House ultimately signed with SBK and released their self-titled debut nationally in 1990.

published on 12/10/2016

#22 Wicker Hollow: Live Like You Know What You’re Leaving

Wicker Hollow, based in Howell, has had an incredible run since releasing their amazing debut, Live Like You Know What You’re Leaving. The band has performed on the main stage of national music festivals like the Bamboozle, had songs in independent films such as Mysterious and The Roadhouse, and headlined some of the biggest venues in the state.

published on 12/10/2016

#21 The Bouncing Souls: Anchors Aweigh

For over 20 years, The Bouncing Souls have been one of the most important acts to ever come out of New Jersey. A seminal punk rock band, they started out as high school kids in Basking Ridge back in 1987. The band released four studio albums in the ‘90s along with a handful of EPs, but an argument could be made that they truly hit their stride in the past decade. During 2001-2010, they released four albums with three appearing in this book.

published on 12/10/2016

#20 Zak Smith: An Endless Doubt

The opening songs on An Endless Doubt simply floored me the first time I heard them and left me scratching my head as to why I had never heard of Zak Smith before. Born and raised in New Jersey, the Montclair artist plays mostly in New York City, which is probably a mixed blessing for him. On one hand, he’s forced to compete with a zillion other bands; but, on the other hand, he most likely avoids the comparisons to being the next Bruce Springsteen that he might hear on a daily basis throughout the Garden State.

published on 12/10/2016

#19 Jon Caspi: This Town

Born in St. Louis, Jon Caspi moved to New Jersey at the age of four and grew up in Montclair. In the ‘80s, he got his first taste of record industry success when his band, Bouncing Off Bob, was played on hundreds of radio stations across the country. Years later, This Town would find similar success.

published on 12/10/2016

#18 Maybe Pete: Between The City & The Stratosphere

Nobody can really explain rock and roll except for maybe Pete Townshend. That line from the film Almost Famous gave Frankie and Kelly McGrath the name for their band Maybe Pete. The husband-wife duo started out from their East Rutherford location, but made their mark in Asbury Park clubs more than anything.

published on 12/10/2016

#17 Anthony D'Amato: Shades Of The Prison House

Anthony D’Amato ended the decade as one of New Jersey’s brightest and fastest rising stars. Born and raised in Blairstown in Warren County, D’Amato fostered key relationships with several prominent artists as a teenager while serving as a music journalist. He was New Jersey’s own Almost Famous character, bouncing around from show to show, penning reviews, and artist interviews. The contacts proved invaluable when Anthony began his own artistic career and was able to utilize those connections to land key opening spots.

published on 12/10/2016

#16 George Wirth: The Lights Of Brigantine

George Wirth seemed to burst out of nowhere with the release of The Lights of Brigantine. While age may not automatically make someone wiser, George’s lyrics carried a sense of purpose and memories that appeared born from a lifetime of experiences. It’s hard to believe that an album so full of wonderful stories and interesting characters could materialize in a debut release, but George, who didn’t even start playing out until he was around 55, had plenty of tales to tell. The album was released a few years after the long-time native of the Jersey Shore began performing in local clubs and coffeehouses and firmly entrenched himself as one of the area’s top singer-songwriters.

published on 12/10/2016

#15 Echo Screen: Euphoria

The pages of rock and roll history are filled with stories of bands like Echo Screen who wound up being a stone’s throw away from greatness, yet just a footnote in the end. Formed in 2003 by four guys who lived within a mile of each other in Brick, Echo Screen had an impressive ride during the decade, but could have been so much more.

published on 12/10/2016

#13 The Gay Blades: Ghosts

If there’s a list of the most creative bands to ever come out of New Jersey chances are The Gay Blades would be among the names chosen. The band features James Dean Wells on guitar and Quinn English on drums, with both sharing vocal duties. And that’s it. Just two guys who happen to make loud, boisterous rock and roll, which they call “trash-pop.” It’s a mixture of gritty guitars and dirty drums that shatters the myth that it takes three to have a power trio. The Gay Blades are that and more.

published on 12/09/2016

#12 Keith Monacchio: The Long Evening

Keith Monacchio of Hamilton may be best known as the former lead singer of The Commons, but his solo career got off to a stunning debut with The Long Evening; an album about growing older, looking at one’s place in life, and peering over to the other side of the bed to see if it’s empty or not.

published on 12/09/2016

#11 Val Emmich: Sunlight Searchparty

Val Emmich had a pretty amazing decade. In addition to releasing seven critically acclaimed albums, appearing in major television shows like 30 Rock and Ugly Betty, shooting commercials for Macy’s and Heineken, being the lead in an independent film, and getting married, he still managed to find time to write a novel. Along the way, he also became a star within the music scenes of Asbury Park, Hoboken, and New Brunswick.

published on 12/09/2016

#10 John Eddie: Who The Hell Is John Eddie?

John Eddie has been one of the most popular artists in New Jersey ever since he left Richmond, VA for the Jersey Shore in the ‘80s. He released two albums on Columbia, and had the hit “Jungle Boy,” but could never shake the hype surrounding him as the “Next Springsteen.” Nevertheless, he kept on plugging away, year after year, performing to “The Faithful” in packed rooms.

published on 12/09/2016

#9 Brian Molnar and the Naked Hearts: Temperance & The Devil

As I listened to release after release, trying to make sure I didn’t leave any stone unturned, there were moments when I wondered if I really needed to go through everything on my list. I remember reaching a period where I didn’t find a single album worthy of the Top 100 within several hundred releases and it seemed foolish to keep going. It was during one of those moments that I stumbled upon Brian Molnar, and he made all those hours searching worthwhile.

published on 12/09/2016

#8 The Commons: Come On Get Gone

The Commons were the pride of Trenton’s rock and roll scene for nearly a full decade. Consisting of Keith Monacchio, lead vocals, guitar, and songwriter; guitarist Sean Glonek, bassist Tom McDonald, and drummer Tom Kale, the band became one of the few Trenton acts to be able to break into Asbury Park’s music scene as well as their own.

published on 12/09/2016

#7 Arlan Feiles: Razing A Nation

Arlan Feiles once taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. A copy of Razing A Nation (The New Lone Ranger) got buried in a pile of releases simply because the cover art struck me in a very bad way. It reminded me of something you might find on a cheap bootleg back in the ‘80s. Months later, while cleaning up my office, I found it unopened in the pile and put it in the player. Within a few seconds, I was hooked.

published on 12/09/2016

#6 The Gaslight Anthem: The ‘59 Sound

Every now and then an album comes out that reminds you of why you love rock and roll. The ‘59 Sound is that kind of album. It was basically an upper cut right to the head of rock fans across the country; the type of album that actually exceeds its hype. While the Billboard Top 200 was littered with rap and dance artists, this release gave notice that rock and roll’s corpse was far from cold.

published on 12/09/2016

#5 Brian Fitzpatrick: Further Down The Line

Further Down The Line is a devastatingly personal, soul-searching album. Brian Fitzpatrick creates an amazing cast of characters to mask the problems taking place within his own life at the time. It’s an utterly beautiful, brutally honest, and simply haunting release.

published on 12/09/2016

#4 Red Wanting Blue: Pride: The Cold Lover

Every now and then you see a band that reminds you just how crappy radio has become. You’ll be listening to the singer on stage and wonder why you haven’t heard of them before. Each song sounds better than anything played on your favorite station that day, yet you have no idea who they are until you ask the bartender or the person next to you. Red Wanting Blue is one of those kinds of bands.

published on 12/09/2016

#3 My Chemical Romance: The Black Parade

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 changed all of our lives, but for Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, it was a sign that he needed to do something more with his life. At the time, he was trying to pitch a show to the Cartoon Network that was going nowhere. While contemplating the tragedy that had just unfurled, Way wrote the words to “Skylines and Turnstiles,” a song that would lead to the creation of My Chemical Romance.

published on 12/09/2016

#2 Bruce Springsteen: The Rising

Hailing from Freehold, Bruce Springsteen is without doubt one of the most popular musicians to ever come from New Jersey. Among his many great albums are three masterpieces that all originated from being immersed in extremely difficult situations. When he was caught in the middle of a legal matter following the release of Born To Run, he returned with the brilliantly stark Darkness On The Edge Of Town; troubles within his first marriage led to the amazing and brutally honest Tunnel Of Love; and when our world was turned upside down on September 11, 2001, he responded with The Rising, a remarkable album that, in my opinion, is Springsteen’s last great recording.

published on 12/09/2016

#1 Fountains of Wayne: Welcome Interstate Managers

Simply put, Welcome Interstate Managers is one of the most brilliant pop albums of all-time. From high school kids lusting after their friend’s mom, workers in dead-end office jobs, waitresses that never return to a table, and kids partying while their parents are away on Fire Island, this is the suburban Sgt. Pepper. Songs include the witty lyrics and word plays of Elvis Costello with melodies and choruses that mirror The Beatles.

published on 12/09/2016

Jersey On Film: Danny Collins

The recent success of the film Paterson got us thinking about what other films utilize New Jersey as more than just a setting, but as a character as well. For our first film we will take a look at Danny Collins starring Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, and Jennifer Garner.

published on 01/21/2017

An Interview With Joey Skaggs

Joey Skaggs is a fine artist and social activist. Although he has painted and sculpted throughout his life, starting with his iconoclastic and controversial performance-art protests in the Sixties, his public work took on a new direction. Skaggs realized he could use art to challenge the system. Appalled at the cultural hypocrisy he saw around him, especially how it was blindly supported in the media, he began to satirize social issues with public performances and elaborately contrived media hoaxes. The mass media in turn became an unwitting collaborator in his concepts, reporting his satire as news. Some of the rather insane stories he was able to get covered by major tv networks and newspapers include hoaxes such as Celebrity Sperm Bank, Cathouse for Dogs, Fat Squad, and Portofess.

published on 01/21/2017

The Bitter Chills

“When I formed the band with Pete, part of the mantra for me was I wanted to do something with more of a sense of humor to it,” said Matt Cheplic, talking about the history of The Bitter Chills. “The first go around for me was straight forward and honest, which was fine. It was what I was doing at the time, but I felt I had done that and wanted to do something that was a little more tongue in cheek… a little sillier.”

published on 01/21/2017

The Northlander

The Northlander is a science fiction film unlike anything you’ve ever seen. In fact, as the first theatrical feature film in the sub genre of indigenous futurism, it’s unlike anything anybody’s ever seen.

published on 01/21/2017

Art Of The Prank

One of the most intriguing films at the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2017 is Art of the Prank, a documentary about Joey Skaggs that was directed by Andrea Marini. Skaggs is both an artist and a professional prankster. As this documentary follows his escapades, it offers a simultaneously funny and very alarming look at the propaganda and disinformation fed to the unsuspecting public every day by the mainstream media. Skaggs’ work is as relevant today--if not more so--as it was when he launched his artistic hoaxes 50 years ago. Audiences are inspired to question the very core of their beliefs.

published on 01/21/2017

South Jersey Orchestra Presents a Night to Remember

Symphony in C has an excellent program for classical music fans on January 28 at 8:00 p.m. The night includes a classic piece (Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88); a rarely performed work (Bernstein: “Serenade after Plato’s Symposium”) featuring special guest Augustin Hadelich, a 2016 Grammy Award-winning violinist; and the world premiere of “Vicious Circles” by Scott Lee, the winner of the orchestra’s 2016-2017 Young Composers’ Competition.

published on 01/17/2017

REVIEW: The Jag at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — Have you ever seen a car take a curtain call? You will if you see The Jag at New Jersey Repertory Company, and the curtain call is definitely earned. While the cast of three actors does a superb job telling the story, it is the car (a 1967 Jaguar) that plays the role of the character who is not seen that ties the story together.

published on 01/16/2017

The Light of Day Festival Takes Over House of Independents This Week

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Light of Day Festival is taking over Asbury Park this week and some of the best shows are taking place at House of Independents on Cookman Avenue. The festivities begin on Thursday night with the return of Dramarama on a bill with Willie Nile, Remember Jones, Hollis Brown, and Joe D'Urso and Stone Caravan. General admission. Doors open at 7:00pm and the show is open to all ages.

published on 01/11/2017

Four Jersey Acts In Little Steven's Underground Garage's Top 10 For 2016

Little Steven’s Underground Garage may spin bands from around the world, but 4 of the top 10 coolest songs in the world for 2016 (as voted by the show’s fans) have a Central New Jersey background! Coming in the top 5 was The Weeklings at #2 with “Little Elvis” and Steve Conte at #5 with “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight.” In the latter half of the top 10 was Anderson Council with “Magical” at #7 and “Charlene” by Garry Tallent to close out the top 10.

published on 01/06/2017

A Jersey Tradition: Southside Johnny On New Year’s Eve

For decades, New Year’s Eve has meant two things: Dick Clark and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Dick Clark may have passed on his torch, but Southside and his band are still rocking in the new year – and they will be doing it again at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

published on 12/27/2016

Original Theatre Thrives Along Jersey Shore

Monmouth County lies an hour and a half drive from the heart of New York’s theatre district. Nestled in Central New Jersey, it is home to Two River Theater and New Jersey Repertory Company. These two companies are building a solid reputation among the theatre world for producing original work and developing relationships with playwrights - a combination that is changing the way many think about regional theatre.

published on 12/27/2016

Chris Brown Looks Inward

Chris Brown is a gritty singer-songwriter from Asbury Park whose songs blend punk and folk in a way that evoke the spirit of an Irish pub. His latest release One More Night was produced by Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls and mastered by Tom Ruff at Asbury Media. It contains six songs that have rarely left my playlist since its release over the summer.

published on 12/22/2016

Hurricane Diane

In Hurricane Diane, playwright Madeleine George reimagines the classic story of The Bacchae by having the Greek god Dionysus come down to earth as Diane, a lesbian permaculture gardener from Vermont. The play takes place today and is set, in a fantastical way, in Red Bank, NJ - the town where Two River Theater presents the play’s World Premiere in January.

published on 12/22/2016

The Jag

When a friend told Gino DiIorio that Jack Klugman was looking for a new project, the playwright came up with The Jag - a play loosely based upon his own father and his desire to fix up his classic Jaguar car. The play was written with Klugman in mind and sent to him. Gino says Klugman read it, liked it, but passed on the play. And he wasn’t alone.

published on 12/20/2016

“Daddy Long Legs” Strides on to George Street Playhouse’s Stage

In this era of emails and instant communication, there is something beautiful about the art of letter writing. It harkens back to a period when people put more thought into every word, when future correspondence was looked upon with anticipation, mystery and intrigue. The question of whether or not someone could fall in love simply because of words themselves is one of the aspects of “Daddy Long Legs,” a musical based on the classic novel by Jean Webster. George Street Playhouse presents the show from November 29 through December 24.

published on 11/30/2016

REVIEW: Godspell at The Eagle Theatre

Chances are, you’ve never seen a production of Godspell like the one heading into its final 2 weeks at The Eagle Theatre. Performed “In the Round,” the play lives in an entirely different atmosphere - one in which the audience is very much part of the show and the theatre becomes a virtual playground for the actors. The end effect is like somewhere being part of a Church revival rather than simply watching one and seeing an episode of Schoolhouse Rock performed live on stage.

published on 11/30/2016

What Springsteen song best represents your life?

Bruce Springsteen’s long-awaited autobiography, Born to Run, was released in September and an audio version narrated by Bruce himself is coming to stores December 6. The book, written in a voice that sounds as if it was directly transcribed into a recorder, runs through his life from childhood to the present in the rock and roll version of “This Is Your Life.” He pulls no punches, filling in the details that remained from decades of songs.

published on 11/24/2016

James Deely & The Valiants Ride Again

Freed from the constraints of time and the dreams of landing a big record deal, James Deely took his time to work on his first album since 1995. Backed once again by the Valiants, the record called A Harder Road was ten years in the making. This decade of time was as difficult as the title suggests, but led to arguably the band’s finest release.

published on 11/24/2016

This Wonderful Life

It’s hard to imagine a discussion about Christmas movies without including It’s a Wonderful Life. The iconic holiday film starring Jimmy Stewart has been a staple on television stations for decades. One mention of the film likely brings up images of your favorite scene or two, but do you remember how the entire film goes? Could you imagine being on stage, retelling the entire story, while keeping each character in a separate voice?

published on 11/23/2016

Woody Guthrie and Mozart's Sister Comes To Hackettstown

“I think it is important for audiences, like theatres, to occasionally leave their comfort zones,” explained Carl Wallnau, Chair, Communication and Fine Arts / Producing Director for Centenary Stage Company. “Without exposing audiences to a variety of artists with diverse voices, you run the risk of presenting a bland, one note season of the tried and true, while never realizing that there exists a world of possibilities outside your usual circle of experience.”

published on 11/09/2016

An Interview With John Merjave

I first heard John play during Glen's Beatles Bash shows, playing the role of George Harrison and doing so very honorably. Since then, I've seen him as a duo with Bob Burger and as a member of The Weeklings where he is known as Rocky Weekling. His bio lists his earliest music instructors (or inspirations) as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Four Seasons. With that trio, it's easy to see why I love his playing. Ironically, his bio lists his first love as the drums, but once he was determined to learn guitar, he was hooked on it.

published on 10/27/2016

An interview with Josh Ritter

For years, Josh Ritter has been one of the most talented singer-songwriters making music today. Born and raised in Idaho, Ritter moved to the East Coast after graduating college and now lives in New York City. He’s got a pair of solo shows coming up in New Jersey — November 9 at South Orange Performing Arts Center and November 10 at McCarter Theatre in Princeton.

published on 10/24/2016

Mama's Boy - a look at Lee Harvey Oswald

Regardless of when you were born, it’s likely you have heard about Lee Harvey Oswald — the man who assassinated President Kennedy. He’s one of the biggest villains in modern times; someone you could imagine created by the mind of William Shakespeare. But even Oswald had a family. More importantly, even Oswald had a mother and it turns out he was quite the “mama’s boy.”

published on 10/24/2016

Lost Copy of Ninja Busters Found In Mojave Desert

According to its director, the martial arts comedy movie Ninja Busters was shot on 35mm film and released by an independent film distributor in 1984. Unfortunately, the distributor stole all of the money from the six films he had released (including Ninja Busters), and the man went to prison for six years. Consequently, the only print of Ninja Busters disappeared along with the distribution company.

published on 10/23/2016

Improve Your Business With Improv

Fifteen years ago, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre performed their first improvisational production after ensemble member Dave Maulbeck brought the idea to the group. They’ve been doing it ever since under the name Multiple Personality Disorder. The company’s improv troupe has attracted its own group of fans and helped improv become a key aspect of Dreamcatcher’s educational programs.

published on 10/23/2016

Meet The Weeklings!

In 2007, the first annual Beatles Bash featured The Smithereens performing the Meet The Beatles album and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band performed by Glen Burtnik and Friends. At the time, Burtnik was planning a series of shows paying tribute to classic albums. He wound up paying tribute to a different Beatles album each year and launched the popular Summer of Love and British Invasion shows. Along the way, fans noticed a tremendous amount of chemistry between the core musicians in his shows and wondered if they would ever create a band of their own.

published on 10/23/2016

Taylor Tote: "Fighter"

Taylor Tote is no stranger to good causes, often lending support to concerts for organizations like Light of Day, Holiday Express, and Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer. She recently performed in Washington, D.C. at Curefest for Childhood Cancer where she debuted a new song called “Fighter.”

published on 10/23/2016

When it Comes to Halloween Fun for the Whole Family, Frankenstein Rocks!

When you think of fun musicals for Halloween time, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” comes to mind for many. But what if you’re looking for a show that you can bring the whole family to? Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Company has the answer: “Frankenstein Rocks!”

published on 10/19/2016

Paper Mill Delivers With “The Producers”

The first show of a season is generally important, but the first show after winning a Regional Tony Award is really important. It means everybody is paying closer attention to you now. Paper Mill Playhouse (winner of the 2016 Regional Tony Award) pulls out all the stops and delivers with The Producers, proving that they’re ready for the extra attention.

published on 10/05/2016

Last Week For "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" at Two River Theater

(RED BANK, NJ) — Sadly, there are just seven performances left of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which closes on Sunday, October 9 at Two River Theater. In what might be August Wilson’s angriest and most powerful play, Two River provides the definitive August Wilson production. Everything from the cast to the set is absolutely perfect. If you have not been able to see the production yet, grab tickets for the remaining shows while you can.

published on 10/03/2016

Ed Tang & The Chops

The latest album by Ed Tang & the Chops, Magic Tricks and Rolling Stone, was released over the summer. It’s another brilliant collection mixing Americana, folk, and punk rock songs from a band that always seemed to be caught somewhere between being the next big thing from New Jersey and a footnote in history. That’s the line you walk when your lead singer and writer is in the Navy.

published on 09/26/2016

The American Soldier

In The American Soldier, a 55-minute tour de force, enhanced by an ingenious interplay of sound and lights, Douglas Taurel (Mr. Robot, Nurse Jackie, The Americans) enters into the personas of 14 veterans and their family members, telling their story of courage and sacrifice. The American Soldier exposes their flaws, and their scars, with both darkness and humor.

published on 09/26/2016

Music Of The Knights

The Music of the Knights brings songs by three musical legends (Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Elton John, and Sir Paul McCartney) on stage for a truly magical night. In addition to all being Knights, they all have an Academy Award and multiple Grammy Awards as recognition of their wonderful careers that have spanned decades. The show, designed by vocalist Scott Coulter, comes to Bergen Performing Arts Center (BergenPAC) on Friday, October 14. Kelli Rabke will share the stage with Scott as she has done for many of his touring shows like Blockbuster Broadway!

published on 09/26/2016

Sherlock Holmes and the Jersey Lily

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most legendary characters in fiction. First created by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, the character has enjoyed many resurgences of popularity throughout its history and is currently in the midst of another one. Thanks to recent films by Robert Downey, Jr. and Ian McKellen and the current BBC series Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch, the sleuth has picked up a new generation of fans. Centenary Stage Company hopes those fans along with fans of all ages come out to see their production of Sherlock Holmes and the Case Of The Jersey Lily by Katie Forgette, which runs October 7-23 in Hackettstown.

published on 09/26/2016

Springsteen Group Launches Food Bank Fundraiser In Honor Of Bruce's Birthday

(FREEHOLD, NJ) — Fans of Bruce Springsteen from around the world are sending him a special birthday present this year — they’re following his lead and raising money for The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The fundraiser runs from Springsteen’s birthday on Friday, September 23 until Monday afternoon.

published on 09/23/2016

An Interview With Jess Thoubboron About "Strangers"

In a city full of people who habitually avoid each other, two strangers connect and then must make a choice about whether to keep up the lies they tell themselves or to be vulnerable enough to admit defeat and surrender. The strangers challenge each other as they enter a bubble of intimacy that draws them closer than they ever could have anticipated. Set in an intimate, dream-like atmosphere, “Strangers” unfolds a chance encounter that offers audiences a glimpse into their own fantasies about the desire to be loved and understood.

published on 09/07/2016

REVIEW: Las Cruces at Premiere Stages

When Las Cruces opens, you don’t know why a man is breaking into an old camping trailer set in the New Mexico desert in the middle of the night, but your mind certainly imagines several scenarios. People don’t simply rent trailers in the middle of the desert - much less break into them. As the play evolves, the mystery unfolds. He is a man separated from his wife who carries a great amount of pain and guilt. In essence, he is a man trying to escape a parent’s worst nightmare.

published on 09/04/2016

An Interview With Douglas Taurel About "The American Soldier"

In The American Soldier, a 55-minute tour de force, enhanced by an ingenious interplay of sound and lights, Douglas Taurel (Mr. Robot, Nurse Jackie, The Americans) enters into the personas of 14 veterans and their family members, telling their story of courage and sacrifice. The American Soldier exposes their flaws, and their scars, with both darkness and humor. It is not simply a play, but a journey through the American story, moments that resound with lasting meaning for both audiences old enough to remember, and those young enough to yearn for inspiration.

published on 09/01/2016

REVIEW: Iago at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — James McLure’s Iago opened last week at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch. It is the New Jersey Premiere of a seldom seen work by the late playwright who died in 2011. The play offers a fascinating look inside the world of backstage romances. But we’re not just talking about a leading man falling for his leading lady, we’re talking about a triangle between a husband and wife team and her new lover - all in the same cast. And there’s more…

published on 08/31/2016

RIOT - The Week That Changed The World

For whatever reason, students in school are taught the distant past rather than recent history. Schools rarely teach the lessons learned in the sixties or inform students about the problems encountered in the areas they live. The Newark riots, which took place for 6 days during the summer of 1967, is a perfect example. While kids today are growing up seeing violence in places like Ferguson (Missouri), Baltimore (Maryland), and Milwaukee (Wisconsin), few outside of Newark probably ever know about the racial problems and riots that tore the state’s largest city apart.

published on 08/20/2016

One More Night For Days Awake

2016 may go down as the year of reunions that many thought would never happen. Earlier in the year, Guns & Roses began their Not In This Lifetime tour and, on September 30, Days Awake will perform together for the first time in about 7 years at House of Independents in Asbury Park — a reunion that was nearly as difficult to put together.

published on 08/20/2016

Las Cruces

Set in the New Mexico desert, not far from the casinos and the spaceport, an enigmatic story of buried secrets, improbable friendship, and unexpected redemption follows Sheridan, a Connecticut man who has fled his life on the East Coast under mysterious circumstances, and Soledad, the wisecracking, teenage card player he befriends. That’s the story behind Las Cruces by Vincent Delaney, which was the winner of the 2016 Premiere Stages Play Festival and receives a full production by Premiere Stages at Kean University in September.

published on 08/20/2016

Remembering Seeger

The Top Folk Albums, Songs, Artists, and Labels chart of July 2016 shows Sam Bush and Joan Baez, a pair of familiar names, at the top. In the third spot is New Jersey’s own, Spook Handy, with Pete, Woody & Me, Volume I - Keep the Flame Alive - the New Brunswick artist’s 5th full length release and the highest charting record of his career.

published on 08/19/2016

The King Of East Jabip

“My dad wanted me to write a play with a character that would be around his age,” explained Kelly McCarthy. “He was interested in a character that he felt still had things in life he wanted to do and didn’t want to give up just because he was older.”

published on 08/19/2016

Catching Up With Keith Monacchio

Keith Monacchio fans can finally get their hands on a few songs that he’s been playing live for a few years along with a bunch of new ones in his latest release, The Dust-Up. Some of the songs will remind long-time fans of his work in The Commons; some will evoke memories of his brilliant solo release The Long Evening; and some veer into new frontiers. And that’s exactly what he was looking for - a record that sounds a bit like an old friend, but isn’t the same record he’s put out in the past.

published on 08/19/2016

2016 Crossing Borders Festival Kicks Off Tonight In Red Bank

(RED BANK, NJ) — On Wednesday, August 3, the 2016 Crossing Borders Festival begins at Two River Theater in Red Bank. The festival, which celebrates the work of Latino artists, runs from August 3 to August 7. It begins with a neighborhood party on the Two River Plaza at 5:30pm. The party offers attendees the opportunity to meet the artists involved in the festival along with food and live music. Admission to the party and every event in the festival is free.

published on 08/03/2016

An Interview With Mimi Cross

For years, Mimi Cross was a singer-songwriter who performed live throughout clubs in Asbury Park and New York City. She took home a pair of Asbury Music Awards and shared bills with such artists as Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Jill Sobule, Peter Himmelman, and Nicole Atkins. But her musical career was basically put on hold after the birth of her son.

published on 07/21/2016

Joseph Alton Miller: The Vagabond Finds A Home

It’s been quite a busy summer for Joseph Alton Miller. In addition to releasing Songs of Travel for the Vagabond at the end of May, the folk singer celebrated the birth of his first child in June. Needless to say, touring in support of the new album has been put on hold.

published on 07/21/2016

Bobby Strange and the Art of Busking

Imagine grabbing your guitar and performing on a street corner for tips day after day, year after year. Never worrying about setting up club dates with owners or promoters who require you to bring a certain number of people to the show; being able to perform originals in front of thousands of people each week; and actually earning a living as a musician. Sounds like a dream, right?

published on 07/21/2016

South Camden Loses Its Identity

South Camden Theatre recently did the unthinkable. After 11 years of building a brand based upon high quality work centered around the identity of Camden itself, the theatre’s Board of Directors fired Joseph M. Papryzcki — the company’s Founder and Producing Artistic Director.

published on 07/21/2016

Persistence Pays Off For Mike Rocket

Indie musicians often work hard to get heard, but few have the drive and persistence of Mike Rocket. His persistence paid off in June when he performed at the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. Officially it was his first time playing the festival, but unofficially thousands have seen him perform outside the festival since it first began in 2012.

published on 07/21/2016

King For A Day

When Erin Feinberg first visited Memphis, her jaw dropped. Everywhere she looked she saw people dressed like Elvis Presley. She wondered if the city was saturated with Elvis impersonators. Actually, she happened to visit during Elvis Week — an annual celebration that leads up to the anniversary of the King’s death.

published on 07/21/2016

Jeffrey Gaines at "The Beach"

(BELMAR, NJ) -- Talk about making lemonade from lemons! 90.5's Songwriters On The Beach series kicked off 2016 inside the Belmar Municipal Building with a view of basketball nets and bleachers rather than the beach and beach chairs, but the atmosphere somehow inspired Jeffrey Gaines to take his set into strange, new directions. The result was a tremendously fun, intimate performance by an artist unafraid to take chances -- even on the fly.

published on 07/13/2016

A Look Back At The Recording Of Arlan Feiles' Live Album At The Strand

(LAKEWOOD, NJ) — Can you recreate magic? Should you even try? Or is it best to go a completely different way? On July 2, Arlan Feiles recorded a live album at The Strand in Lakewood. He was inspired by a live set he performed during one of the Strand’s “Backstage Pass” shows last year, which was broadcast live on internet radio. This time around, the show was designed to be recorded live. The band recorded an earlier run through and recorded the actual show with the hopes of capturing something wonderful for the record. I hope they succeeded because the show was incredible and will make a great album.

published on 07/10/2016

Anthony D'Amato Returns "Home"

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) — On Sunday, June 12, the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) was filled with music fans who came to see Valerie June and her band. But some in the audience were there to see the opener, Anthony D’Amato, instead. I was one of them. Having known Anthony since he was a teenager who wrote for several publications (including Upstage Magazine and AsburyMusic.com - previous incarnations of New Jersey Stage), I’ve followed his musical career from early albums recorded in his Princeton University dorm room to his major label releases. And this would be my first time seeing him on a big stage.

published on 07/09/2016

REVIEW: Struck at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — The latest World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company is Struck by Sandy Rustin. On stage now until the end of the month, the play is a comedy involving a woman who was “struck” by a young bicyclist in New York City who works for ancestry.com. As the play opens, we see the injured Vera Resnick hobbling into her apartment on the Upper West Side, helped by her husband Nate. She’s in good spirits. In fact, she feels oddly connected to the biker and wonders if the accident might have had a higher purpose.

published on 07/08/2016

Joe Rapolla of Monmouth University talks about "Always, Patsy Cline"

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- Before Loretta and before Dolly, there was Patsy – Patsy Cline, whose hits like “Crazy” and “Sweet Dreams” heralded the cross-over of country music and pop. This summer, Shadow Lawn Stage, the professional theatre in residence at Monmouth University, will present Ted Swindley’s ode to her: Always, Patsy Cline. Shadow Lawn Stage (at Monmouth University in West Long Branch) presents "Always, Patsy Cline" July 6-16.

published on 07/01/2016

An Interview with George Lopez

George Lopez has done it all. He’s been in movies, been on tv (including his own sitcoms and a nightly talk show), and received accolades for his years of stand-up comedy examining race and ethnic relations. He was named one of “The Top 25 Hispanics in America” by Time Magazine and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

published on 06/20/2016

Zach Caruso

When I first heard about Zach Caruso, a musician from New Jersey living in New Mexico writing for an online outlet called Urban Beardsman, my first thought was the witness protection program, but it turns out he just always wanted to live in mountain country. Caruso, who grew up in Salem County, recently released his fifth album called Afternoons With Miss Jones. The album features a lead single about the actress Anna Kendrick that offers hope to all who dream of having their celebrity crush fall in love with them.

published on 06/20/2016

An Interview With Reagan Richards: Always, Patsy Cline

Before Loretta and before Dolly, there was Patsy – Patsy Cline, whose hits like “Crazy” and “Sweet Dreams” heralded the cross-over of country music and pop. Her legacy is remembered in the play Always, Patsy Cline by Ted Swindley. Directed by Maurice J. Moran, Shadow Lawn Stage’s production stars Reagan Richards as Patsy and Katrina Ferguson as Louise.

published on 06/20/2016

Rodgers’ Romance

East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May presents the New Jersey premiere of Rodgers’ Romance from June 15 to July 23. It’s a musical revue of the work by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, and Oscar Hammerstein II. It’s also not your standard musical revue - it’s a trivia competition as well, with the winner of the night receiving a gift certificate to a local business. The production is also designed the way the songs would have been performed before the invention of microphones. Instead of amplification, the show utilizes the wonderful acoustics in The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, where the theatre company calls home.

published on 06/20/2016

Arlan Feiles and The Song That Changed His Life

In another time, Arlan Feiles would not be an artist floating under the radar. Talent like his would undoubtedly have risen to the top with a record deal, radio airplay, and a collection of writers comparing him to the greats. Unfortunately, Feiles’ solo career emerged during a period of change in the music industry. Many record labels went out of business, MTV stopped playing music videos, and radio station playlists began looking identical from coast to coast. Yet, he refused to let that deter him as an artist. In the past 15 years, he’s released several critically acclaimed albums and has watched one of his songs take on a life of its own - something every songwriter dreams about.

published on 05/19/2016

The Jersey Devil

If you’re the type who likes to watch late night comedies on cable television that feature memorable lines that you know by heart, The Jersey Devil is your type of film. Full of one-liners that poke fun at pop culture, rock and roll, and religion, it tells the tale of a leadership change in hell. When term limits force Lucifer to hand over the reigns to James Burnett, he expects things to stay as they have been for thousands of years. Needless to say, he was wrong.

published on 05/19/2016

Paper Mill Playhouse Wins The 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award

Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn has been on a rather magical run in recent years with productions like Honeymoon in Vegas, Les Misérables, Disney’s Newsies, and The Bandstand launching national tours and going on to Broadway. Their work has been recognized by many in the industry and on June 12 the theatre will become the third in New Jersey history to win a Regional Theatre Tony Award, which is presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

published on 05/19/2016

REVIEW: Villainous Company at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — Villainous Company is not so much a whodunit, but more like a who’s doing it to who now fest. The quick moving production features three women in a highly entertaining madcap caper as they play a game of cat-and-mouse. Running straight through without intermission, the play contains more than enough twists and turns to keep you thoroughly interested in the story. Written by Victor L. Cahn, the play is currently enjoying its NJ Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, NJ.

published on 05/11/2016

An Interview with Taylor Tote Before Stone Pony Headlining Show

The Taylor Tote Band is headlining Friday, May 20th at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park with SØF and Wyland. A veteran of the club, but headlining for the first time. New Jersey Stage spoke with Taylor about the show.

published on 05/11/2016

Miles G. Jackson: My Name Is Asher Lev

“As an actor, I understand that feeling of being possessed by a passion that some people can’t understand, but you know you can’t live without it and that you will make it work at all cost,” said Miles G. Jackson. The Linwood, New Jersey native stars in the title role in My Name Is Asher Lev at George Street Playhouse.

published on 04/21/2016

Knights Of New Jersey

Set in the world of Renaissance Faire actors and Game of Thrones cosplay fans, Michael Hadley’s Knights of New Jersey is like a medieval Christopher Guest film — one that has discovered an incredible playground for its characters which is hilarious on many levels. Webisodes in the series range from 4 to 9 minutes in length and are somewhat reminiscent of the cinema serial films of old; think of like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century set in medieval times.

published on 04/21/2016

Harry Chapin: A Celebration In Song

Harry Chapin may have died 35 years ago, but his music and spirit live on. There are Harry Chapin fan communities on the internet, his strong legacy of activism and charitable work continued on by his family, and songs like “Cats In The Cradle” and “Taxi” are still played each day on radio stations around the world. And on Friday, May 13, the Chapin family will pay tribute to Harry’s songs along with their own originals at the Bergen Performing Arts Center (BergenPAC).

published on 04/20/2016

SCTC Presents Rarely Performed Tennessee Williams Play

I’ve been a fan of the great work done by South Camden Theatre Company (SCTC) for a while now. Not only does the company have an amazing theatre of its own, it attracts wonderful talent to perform rather intriguing plays. Last issue featured the theatre’s “Shadows Of War” one-act festival of plays dealing with soldiers. I had the opportunity to see the plays and it was truly a remarkable night of theatre. Great acting, moving dialogue, and a successful collection of donations for homeless veterans that might have even exceeded the theatre’s expectation.

published on 04/20/2016

A Different Side Of Jim Testa

In February, Jim Testa released two records: American Spirits & Artisanal Cheese and Jim Testa For President. Best known as the creator of Jersey Beat, Testa has been covering rock and roll for decades. He’s so known as a writer that it sometimes surprises people to hear that he’s a musician as well. New Jersey Stage recently spoke with him to learn more about the releases and the history of Jersey Beat.

published on 04/20/2016

The Weeklings Look Towards Abbey Road And Need Your Help

One of the most intriguing bands in New Jersey to debut in recent years is one that looks to the past for its future. Known as The Weeklings, the band plays Beatles-inspired music that comes from actual songs written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison (but never released by the band) along with their own original songs written in the Beatlesque style. The result is something new that feels like you've known it all along. The band is getting ready to record their second album - one which will take the Beatles sound to a new level with the recording done in Abbey Road Studios.

published on 04/19/2016

Brian Fallon: The Jersey Interview

Last July, The Gaslight Anthem announced they would be taking a break following the conclusion of their European tour for Get Hurt. It had been a great 10 year run for the band, but they all planned to do other projects and needed to take a step back before deciding what they wanted to do next. In March, lead singer Brian Fallon released his first solo album, Painkillers. Some songs are easy to imagine as Gaslight tunes, while others veer into more country and folk music territory. Fallon spoke with New Jersey Stage about the record, what Jersey means to him, and why he thinks the band will play together again someday.

published on 03/22/2016

Heathers, The Musical

If you were a teenager in the eighties, there’s a good chance you have a special bond with the cult classic film, Heathers. While the decade was filled with John Hughes films placed in a high school setting, there was only one film that went as far into the dark, sinister world of popular cliques like Heathers. This was a dark comedy if ever there was one, involving everything from bullying to teen suicide to violence in schools. But it also was hilarious and introduced dozens of catch phrases into the lexicon and became a film that often appears in lists of the top 5 teen comedies of all-time.

published on 03/22/2016

Linda Chorney: The Opening Act

In 2012, Chorney stunned the world when she was nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album as an independent artist with Emotional Jukebox. With her new film, The Opening Act, she once again pulls back the curtain; this time to show what life is truly like for an independent artist in today’s music world — one in which album sales have been replaced by streaming and dollars replaced by fractions of cents. The former New Jersey resident, who now lives in Arizona, will return to the Jersey Shore for the world premiere of her film during the Asbury Park Music In Film Festival on Saturday, April 9th at Salt Studios (658 Cookman Ave) in Asbury Park. The screening takes place at noon, followed by a Q&A and performance by Chorney.

published on 03/22/2016

Jeff Raspe: Sing This With Me, This is 50!

For over 25 years, New Jersey native Jeff Raspe has been one of the most visible DJs in the state. He’s been the host of prominent events such as the Light of Day concerts and the Asbury Music Awards, and has been involved in organizations like Musicians On A Mission. He recently turned 50 and will be celebrating the milestone with a special show at The Strand in Lakewood on Friday, April 22. The lineup includes Jesse Malin, Mark Erelli, and Val Emmich - three artists that are all special friends of his.

published on 03/22/2016

Ears On A Beatle

On May 11, 1972, John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono appeared on The Dick Cavett Show and dropped a bombshell on the nation. Lennon claimed that he was being followed and that his telephone was being tapped by the FBI. Fans of The Beatles believed his story while millions of others thought he was crazy. Evidence would later come out which proved he was telling the truth thanks to a 14 year court battle by Jon Weiner over a Freedom of Information request for Lennon’s files.

published on 03/22/2016

Darlene Love creates the classic Asbury album

Her voice was known to millions even when her name was not. She sang on number one hits and backed up artists like Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, and Dionne Warwick. It took several decades for her to finally take center stage, but once she did she never looked back. And last year, she released Introducing Darlene Love — her long-awaited record of new material. Produced by Stevie Van Zandt, it’s not only a great record… it’s one of the best Asbury Sounding records in decades. She may be from California, but she’s got deep Jersey roots and it shows.

published on 02/20/2016

Shadows Of War

Four plays about four different wars and the battles veterans face long after leaving the battlefield; from World War II to Korea to Vietnam to Afghanistan, you’ll go inside the lives of veterans in very personal ways when the South Camden Theatre Company presents “Shadows of War” - a collection of one act plays which will be take place across three days in March.

published on 02/20/2016

Bobby Bandiera looks back

There are three names who stand above the rest when you’re talking about rock and roll in New Jersey: Southside Johnny, Jon Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen. One man with connections to all three is Bobby Bandiera. For several years now, Bandiera has created special tribute shows around artists like Roy Orbison and Eric Clapton or themes such as Motown or British Invasion acts. On Saturday, March 12 at the State Theatre, he turns the spotlight on his own illustrious career with a special show spanning the artists he’s shared stages with over the last 30 years.

published on 02/20/2016

For Better Or Worse...

In For Worse, playwright Deborah Rennard examines the question of marriage and fidelity in today’s world. Thirty years and three daughters later, Peter informs his wife that he’s been having an affair and has fallen in love. The admission came under pressure from his girlfriend who threatened to end the affair if he didn’t leave his wife. He’s under the impression that telling his wife about the affair will set him free, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

published on 02/20/2016

REVIEW: Nureyev's Eyes at George Street

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) — George Street Playhouse opened a wonderful production of Nureyev’s Eyes by David Rush last week. It is a fascinating fictional account of the relationship between the painter Jamie Wyeth and the Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. The play stars William Connell (Wyeth) and Bill Dawes (Nureyev). From the moment they hit the stage, the world becomes one of two tortured artists. One who seeks to rise to the standards set by his family of famous artists; the other who fights comparisons to his lover for the title best dancer in the world.

published on 02/11/2016

OFFSEASON: Winter Words from the Jersey Shore Returns To Asbury Park

Six years ago, James Dalton and Chris Rockwell debuted a show called OFFSEASON: Winter Words from the Jersey Shore at the original location for the Showroom in Asbury Park. The show featured both artists sharing stories, poems, and performing songs that celebrated life in local beach towns after the tourists have all left. While much of the region thinks the Shore simply closes up, locals know better and few know more about this than the two Ocean County natives behind this show.

published on 02/08/2016

Strand Presents A Wonderful Tribute To The Life Of David Bowie

Dozens of artists paid tribute to David Bowie at The Strand Theater on Friday, January 29th during an event that did much more than showcase Bowie, the Artist. It showcased the vision Anthony D’Amato has for the Strand. A vision that is exciting and long overdue for the Lakewood venue.

published on 01/30/2016

Francis Lombardi

“Trying to go out and make a living as a musician is the fuckin’ wild west,” said Francis Lombardi, a singer-songwriter based in the Asbury Park music scene who recently completed eight weeks on the road with Daphne Lee Martin.

published on 01/22/2016

Inside the New Jersey Film Festival

Albert Nigrin is the creator and founder of the New Jersey Film Festival and has been running it for about 35 years. Located on the campus of Rutgers University, the film festival’s seasonal approach makes it unique in the area and it’s highly curated film lineup is what keeps film lovers coming back year after year.

published on 01/22/2016

In The Dark

Filmmaker David Spaltro never imagined he would make a horror film. But when an investor hired him for a job with the only requirement being that it was in that genre, he began reviewing the classic films of his youth, and rekindled his love for horror. The challenge was to create a horror picture that was grounded in a story with real characters. The end result became In The Dark, a smart psychological film that is reminiscent of the spookiest episodes of the X-Files.

published on 01/22/2016

An interview with Stacie Lents

The issue of race on college campuses is looked at from the perspective of two groups of roommates in the same dorm room, separated by 50 years, in Stacie Lents’ new play, College Colors. The play has its world premiere this February at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick. Lents, who is director of acting and the Barn Theater at Fairleigh Dickinson University, is a professional playwright and actor. New Jersey Stage spoke with her about the new play.

published on 01/22/2016

Ben Rosenfeld

When you are a Jewish son of Russian immigrant parents who divorce when you’re young, you probably are destined to be a comedian. If nothing else, you’re born with a wealth of material. Rutgers alumnus Ben Rosenfeld blends his family’s experience as Russian Jewish immigrants in America with his philosophical beliefs, political observations, and unique characters. The result is something he calls “smarter comedy for smarter people.”

published on 01/21/2016

After Sandy

When Superstorm Sandy hit, Joe Minnella found himself working with a volunteer organization distributing food and supplies to various towns. He saw areas that weren’t hit that hard and others that were completely devastated, but he never thought about filming what he saw. Thankfully, others pushed him to take out his camera, leading to the wonderful documentary called After Sandy.

published on 01/21/2016

Back Water

If you live in New Jersey chances are you never imagined canoeing across the Meadowlands swamp region. But Jonathan Cohrs’ film Back Water will show you wilderness scenes you wouldn’t think possible. Deep in the Meadowlands, a strange landscape of wetlands and wildlife migration exists among toxic waste sites and the ruins of industry. Cohrs and six others spent 10 days in this region, discovering its beauty and exposing an environment that is changing around us.

published on 01/21/2016

The Book Of D

It’s often said that divorce is hardest on the children. In The Book of D, playwright Cody Daigle-Orians examines how a young boy named D handles his parents going through a divorce during a period in which he is struggling to fit in at school. D becomes friends with Blu, who introduces him to the world of Greek mythology. Inside these myths, D begins to find himself. The play has its world premiere at The Growing Stage in Netcong from February 12 to February 21.

published on 01/21/2016

The Death of Internet Radio

Independent musicians are losing many of their best supporters because of a major increase in royalty rates charged to internet radio stations. Over 5,000 stations on live365.com are forced to shut down at the end of January and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. It’s not that these stations don’t believe in paying royalties to artists, it’s that the royalty rate put in place is simply unworkable. Independent musicians should be upset since internet radio stations often provide their first (and sometimes only) radio airplay. Music licensing companies are supposed to be working for artists and not shutting down promotional outlets and potential revenue sources.

published on 01/21/2016

Light of Day WinterFest 2016 Preview: Part 2

Light of Day returns to the tri-state area with shows in Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. These shows feature incredible artists performing for a good cause -- to use the power of music to raise money and awareness in its continuing battle to defeat Parkinson’s disease and related illnesses such as PSP and ALS within our lifetime.

published on 12/22/2015

Light of Day WinterFest 2016 Preview: Part 1

Light of Day returns to the tri-state area with shows in Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. These shows feature incredible artists performing for a good cause -- to use the power of music to raise money and awareness in its continuing battle to defeat Parkinson’s disease and related illnesses such as PSP and ALS within our lifetime.

published on 12/22/2015

THE PAVILION: A 20th Class Reunion

There’s something about high school reunions to which everyone can relate. Whether you are the type that looks forward to them or avoids them like the plague; when that 20 year reunion notice comes in the mail it probably causes you to reflect on your life. Have you accomplished your goals? Did life turn out the way you thought it would? What if you made different choices?

published on 12/22/2015

Arlon Bennett & The Healing Project

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand and eventually affecting almost every part of the body. Some of the most recognizable names with Parkinson’s include Muhammad Ali, Michael J. Fox, Linda Ronstadt, and Bob Benjamin whose 40th birthday party led to the creation of the Light of Day Foundation.

published on 12/22/2015

The Saint Seeks Help From Its Fans

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- It's never easy asking for help, but dire times call for dire measures. The Saint, a rock and roll club in Asbury Park, has set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding page to help raise funds for its stability and growth. The club, which launched in November 1994, is one of the oldest, continously run rock and roll venues in the state. While larger places like the Stone Pony get the majority of press, The Saint has always been the place to see artists on their first go around through town. For many years, it was also my home away from home.

published on 12/01/2015

FINAL WEEK: The Second Mrs. Wilson

“People always love the first wife, don’t they?” asked Edith Bolling Galt, pointing out that the likes and dislikes of a first wife are already known, so she offers no unwelcome surprises.

published on 11/23/2015

Grace Potter

For more than a decade, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals have been a fixture on the jam band scene, playing the largest music festivals with a distinctive rock and roll sound that defied easy categorization. Some songs were bluesy, some rocked hard, some sounded like alternative rock and some sounded rootsy, but they were all held together via the powerful and soulful vocals of Grace Potter. In August, she released Midnight, her first solo record and she’s currently on a tour that will bring her to the tri-state area in December.

published on 11/21/2015

An Interview With Joe DiPietro

Award-winning playwright, Joe DiPietro, may live in New York City, but his Jersey roots have been apparent in many of his plays from the hit musical The Toxic Avenger to his latest work, The Second Mrs. Wilson. This play examines a look at a rather unique — and terrifying — period in the history of the United States when President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke and was essentially replaced by his second wife, Edith. This took place during a period in which America was debating about entering World War I and Wilson was trying to create the League of Nations. The play is currently running at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick until November 29.

published on 11/21/2015

Butch Bradley's Comedy Hideaway

Imagine a comedy club that never has to close, where the booze can flow all night long. One such club opened in Atlantic City a few months back, filling the void left when The Comedy Stop closed after a three decade run. Bruce Springsteen once sang, “everything that dies, one day comes back.” With the opening of Butch Bradley’s Comedy Hideway, that appears to be true.

published on 11/21/2015

Relationships Can Be Murder

In 1924, two wealthy, intelligent college students kidnapped and murdered a teenager in Chicago. The crime and its trial (led by famous defense attorney, Clarence Darrow) captivated the nation’s attention. Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Jr. and Richard Albert Loeb were the two behind the murder, which was the O.J. Simpson trial of its time. Their ‘complicated’ relationship is explored in the musical Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, which has its New Jersey premiere at Luna Stage in December.

published on 11/21/2015

An Interview With Meagan Brothers

Meagan Brothers is the author of the young adult novels Supergirl Mixtapes, which was a 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nomination; Debbie Harry Sings in French, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, won a GLBT Round Table ALA Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age; and her latest, Weird Girl and What’s his name.

published on 11/21/2015

Stone Pony Crowd Welcomes Matt O'Ree Back Home After Bon Jovi Tour

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) — “I can’t tell you how great it felt to be on the other side of the world and to open up Facebook and see so many people saying they were happy for me,” said Matt O’Ree on stage at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. The show on Friday, October 30 was a homecoming for O’Ree who was fresh off a tour of Asia with Bon Jovi. The tour went over so well, he was officially named the band’s new guitarist soon after.

published on 11/01/2015

An Interview With Andrea Clinton About Murphy's Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild

Murphy’s Law: Group Therapy Gone Wild is a play by Andrea Clinton, niece of the legendary musician George Clinton. The place will have its world premiere November 13-15 at the Hamilton Stage at Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway as part of Union County Advancing Community Theatre (UCACT) program.

published on 10/21/2015

The Art Of Concert Photography

In the old days, it was hard to take photographs at concerts. If you didn’t have a photo pass as a member of the media, you had to sneak in a camera. Chances are you were either shooting from a distance or risked having your camera removed by security. These days, you’ll see many people with digital cameras and even more taking pictures with their cell phones at every show. Many consider themselves photographers, but a true photographer sees things or does things with their photos that amateurs cannot. Bob Beucler’s work is a good example. He doesn’t just take pictures; he gives his photos an art-like quality.

published on 10/21/2015

Mike June's Revolution

When Mike June left New Jersey for Austin about eight years ago, the move made perfect sense. June’s gritty Americana songs seemed as though they were born from a Texan landscape anyway. Years of playing in the local scene helped him further develop his sound, culminating in a pair of brilliant records in 2012 (Exile On Wilson Street and Talkin’ Revolution Blues). His newest, Poor Man’s Bible, will be released early in 2016. It’s one that builds on several themes in his recent records — spirituality, honesty, and a revolution he notices taking place across the globe.

published on 10/21/2015

Danger In The Sky

If the truth is stranger than fiction, perhaps reality is more suspenseful. That premise is put to the test in the play Charlie Victor Romeo. Written by Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Irving Gregory, the play opens the 11th season for South Camden Theatre Company in October.

published on 10/19/2015

Sorrows And Promises: Greenwich Village in the 1960s

A year before his fatal plane crash, Buddy Holly moved to an apartment in Greenwich Village where he recorded his final demos. Like many local musicians, Holly used to perform in Washington Square Park. Locals say he often went unnoticed, blending in as just another musician despite having songs on the top of the charts. But he didn’t just live in the Village, unbeknownst to many music fans, Holly was also on top of the emerging folk scene.

published on 09/21/2015

Hiding Out In The Nether

Imagine a world in which you could do whatever you wanted, including satisfying every desire, without any consequences? That’s the premise behind The Nether by Jennifer Haley, which opens the season for Centenary Stage Company in October.

published on 09/21/2015

Brian & His Band of Brothers

Sometimes you see something while driving that captures your eye. It could be the way the sky is incredibly clear that day or someone walking along the side of the road. For Brian Fitzpatrick (leader of Brian Fitzpatrick and the Band of Brothers) it was a sign saying, “Welcome to the Heart of the Black Dirt.” He jotted it down in his phone that day so he wouldn’t lose the wording. Within a week later he had written the song which would be the title track of the band’s latest record. But it wasn’t until the band played the song at a show in Middletown, New York that he learned one of the meanings of the sign.

published on 09/21/2015

An Interview With Marina Donahue

Marina Donahue is a mother of two who lives in Summit, NJ. Her first feature film is All in Time, which she co-wrote and co-directed with Chris Fetchko. The film is currently making the rounds at film festivals, including screenings at the New Jersey Film Festival in New Brunswick on September 20 and the Long Beach International Film Festival (NY) on September 26.

published on 09/21/2015

Reimagining Shakespeare

In a rare departure from the classics, Shakespeare himself will make an appearance on stage in the next production at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. The company is presenting the New Jersey Premiere of Equivocation by Bill Cain from September 16 through October 4. The play takes us behind the scenes as Shakespeare is made an offer he cannot refuse by the Prime Minister of England.

published on 09/20/2015

Nobody’s Girl Has A Shocking Story To Tell

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — Nobody’s Girl by Rick Viede is a classic NJ Rep play. It’s a throwback to the highly experimental works you would have regularly seen a decade ago by the Long Branch company dedicated to presenting new plays. While the past few years have featured many outstanding new plays with extremely talented casts, some of the plays were — dare I say it — a bit mainstream for the company. Nobody’s Girl returns to the world of psychological mind games with twists and turns and scenes that flat out surprise the audience. It’s a disturbing, often hilarious, and sometimes shocking return to form.

published on 08/24/2015

Eryn Shewell: Bringing Classy Back

Eryn Shewell is building a brand. It’s based on a jazzy, bluesy sound mixed around her soulful vocals, wrapped in ‘50s pin-up culture, and enjoyed with wine and good food. She calls it “bringing classy back.”

published on 08/20/2015

Dead Man's Cell Phone

In an almost empty cafe, a woman sits, drinking coffee, and writing a thank you letter. Next to her is a dead man. When his phone won’t stop ringing, the woman decides to answer it and take a message. In doing so, her quiet life is turned upside-down as she’s thrust into a world of mysterious strangers, shady business deals, and the potential for true love. This is the story of Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a play by Sarah Ruhl that will be presented by Cape May Stage this September.

published on 08/20/2015

John Taglieri: The Conversation

Many musicians are afraid to have that honest conversation with themselves about their career. The one in which they take a look at what has worked for them and what hasn’t; when they try to envision what the next decade or two will look like; and when they realize it’s time to stop comparing themselves to their idols and start comparing their income to a regular paycheck.

published on 08/20/2015

A True Summer of Love For Glen Burtnik

He may always be a slave of New Brunswick, but Glen Burtnik was reborn in Asbury Park. His story is about to embark on a new chapter on September 19 when he will marry fellow musician Christina Shafer on stage at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park.

published on 08/20/2015

Cranston Dean Hits The Road

Far too often, bands in New Jersey tend to stay in the area. With New York City on one side and Philadelphia on the other, a case could certainly be made that there are more than enough places to play and millions of music fans to reach within a two hour ride; however, there is something to be said for challenging yourself to be that band on the road, hitting a club you’ve never hit before, walking through those doors and performing in front of people who are not your friends or family members -- just strangers.

published on 07/18/2015

A Twist Of Lemmon

“All my life, the one question I was asked was, ‘What was it like to be Jack Lemmon’s Son?’” explained Chris Lemmon. “It’s taken me a lifetime to finally find that answer.”

published on 07/18/2015

By The Water: A play about Hurricane Sandy by Sharyn Rothstein

The images of devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy will never be forgotten by those whose towns were ravaged. Sharyn Rothstein’s play, By the Water, begins with that image up close and personal. The audience meets the Murphy family whose Staten Island home has been destroyed and who has to choose between agreeing to the government’s buyout program or ruining the chance for government assistance for their neighbors. In their town, everybody has to be part of the buyout program or no one will be.

published on 07/18/2015

Jersey Illustrator Wins Grand Prize In International Competition

In April, Michelle Lockamy was invited to the 31st annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement awards in Los Angeles. At the time, the illustrator from Brown Mills, New Jersey knew she was one of the 12 winning illustrators out of several thousand to enter the international competition. What she didn’t know was that she would also be named the winner of the Grand Prize award which meant her illustration would be published in the bestselling Science Fiction anthology series - L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 31 along with a cash prize of $5,000.

published on 07/18/2015

Mr. Ray Tackles The Issue Of Bullying

Ray Andersen has had an impressive career as a rock and roll musician with stints in bands from the legendary Stone Pony house band Cats On A Smooth Surface to national acts like Meat Loaf, but he may be best known for something that began as a side project in 1994 — mr. RAY.

published on 07/18/2015

Mad Dogs and Englishmen To Roar Once More

Anthony D’Amato tends to think big. His band, Remember Jones, which is also his stage name these days, has 12 members but that’s nothing compared to the lineups he puts together for his tribute shows. He recently sold out Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park for a live performance of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album with an orchestra of 25. His latest show will recreate the legendary live album by Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, on Thursday, August 27 at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, NJ and this show is just as ambitious.

published on 07/18/2015

Our First Year Of New Jersey Stage magazine

This issue marks the beginning of the second year of New Jersey Stage magazine. It all started with the first cover you see at the bottom of this page featuring a cover story on New Jersey musician Jack Skuller. Since that issue, we have featured numerous local and national artists in music, film, theatre, dance, comedy, and art.

published on 07/18/2015

The Making Of The Princess Bride

Somewhere in the world, at this very moment, it is extremely likely that The Princess Bride is playing on a television or cable channel.

published on 07/18/2015

An Interview With Jo Wymer of HAIRSPRAY

(MANASQUAN, NJ) -- “Hairspray," based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters, ran for more than 2,600 performances on Broadway between 2002 and 2009. Featuring music written by Marc Shaiman with lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan brings this Tony-Award winning musical back to the stage with 6 performances (July 17-19 and July 24-26). You can save $7 off full-price tickets when you use the code "NJSTAGE" at all points of purchase.

published on 07/15/2015

Director Vince Parrillo Talks About The Comedy Of Errors At Bergen Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors is one of the Bard's funnest and funniest shows, beloved by audiences for over 400 years. In the play, Two sets of identical twins separated at birth, an old merchant with a short stay of execution, a goldsmith itching to get paid, sisters in love with the same man (or so they think), a hideous kitchen maid, a high maintenance courtesan, henchmen and hired goons, mishaps and loads of mistaken identity...and it all happens over the course of a single day!

published on 06/24/2015

Cary Elwes Of The Princess Bride Comes to NJPAC On Sunday

Some films become attached to a particular generation, others transcend generations. The Princess Bride is the latter. Released in 1987, the film wasn’t a hit at the box office but evolved into a cult classic over the years. Rarely a week goes by when you won’t find it playing on a channel somewhere on your cable box. If you’re one of the many who find themselves quoting lines from the film throughout the day, you won’t want to miss The Princess Bride: An Inconceivable Evening with Cary Elwes on Sunday, June 28 at NJPAC.

published on 06/24/2015

Wendie Malick: From One Hit Series To Another

Wendie Malick stars alongside Gary Cole (Office Space) in Closure at New Jersey Repertory Company this month. Born in Buffalo, NY, Malick has an extensive resume of roles on stage, films, and television, including three long-running series (HBO’s Dream On in the early 90s, Just Shoot Me! in the late 90s, and TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland which began in 2010 and had its series ending episode in June. With a role in the upcoming show, Rush Hour (based on the hit film franchise), there’s a good chance the Golden Globe and Emmy Award Nominee might be part of another long-running series. New Jersey Stage caught up with Malick to find out what it’s like for the cast when a show ends after a long run.

published on 06/16/2015

Donny Most Sings The Standards

Generations of sitcom fans knew him as the freckled, red-headed class clown on Happy Days, but these days Donny Most is singing a new tune. In fact, it’s one he’s wanted to sing all of his life. The music he loves is finally in favor and he’s glad to share it with fans across the country, including two shows in the New York/New Jersey area with his 7-piece band this July.

published on 06/16/2015

Mr. Lincoln

“Lincoln was a man who was President of the United States during the bloodiest conflict in this country,” said Gayle Stahlhuth, Artistic Director of East Lynne Theater Company. “He tried to prevent war, but once in it, he did all he could to win the war and reunite the country. The mounting loss of lives on both sides deeply affected him. At the same time, he had to deal publicly with accusations by those who thought his wife, Mary, was a spy for the South, living in the White House.”

published on 06/16/2015

One Man Star Wars

Millions of science fiction fans likely know every single line from the original Star Wars trilogies by heart, but how many would have the guts to perform an entire show alone on stage?

published on 06/16/2015

NJ Rep Continues To Lure Big Stars

For nearly two decades, New Jersey Repertory Company has been on a mission to bring new plays to life. To date, the theatre has produced over 100 works with many seeing their world premieres at the tiny playhouse along the Jersey Shore. The company’s dedication to new plays has always been respected in the industry, but is beginning to attract the attention of stage, film, and television stars who rarely are seen in theatres this size.

published on 06/16/2015

Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls

The Indigo Girls are back with their first album in four years (One Lost Day) and a tour that will include a number of shows in New Jersey and New York. The duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers first met in elementary school in Decatur, Georgia and began singing together during high school. They’ve been releasing records since the late 80s with this being their 13th overall.

published on 06/16/2015

Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls On Racism

The Indigot Girls are known for their work towards peace, justice and human rights; women’s health/hiv/aids; native & environmental; queer; independent media; music community; and voter education issues. So, we asked her if she could only promote and push one issue, what would be the most important to her.

published on 06/16/2015

Whatever Happened To Rural Humor On Television?

Vicki Lawrence will probably always be remembered for the character of Mama — that endearing old lady who was never afraid to speak her mind — that she created on the Carol Burnett Show. The character was so beloved that it went on to star in Mama’s Family from 1983 to 1990.

published on 05/20/2015

FOREVER INTO SPACE: An interview with Greg Locke

Forever Into Space, directed by Greg Locke, is centered around Audrey, an under-employed twenty-something blogger with several college degrees who moves to New York City. As she tries to find her way, we meet her friends, a group of young adults dealing with challenges of their own. The film will be screened on Sunday, May 30 as part of the New Jersey International Film Festival.

published on 05/20/2015

JON HERINGTON: From The Jersey Shore To Steely Dan

It’s going to be another busy summer for guitarist Jon Herington, but that’s nothing new for him. Since 1999, he’s been touring and recording as a member of Steely Dan along with lending support to a lengthy list of artists that include Boz Scaggs, Bette Midler, Phoebe Snow, Madeline Peyroux, Catherine Russell, and countless others. As a rock and roll player with a solid jazz background and a love for the blues, Herington is often in demand.

published on 05/20/2015

The Graduate

Chances are you’ve seen the seminal sixties film, if you haven’t you should. It’s the film that made Dustin Hoffman a star and helped cement Anne Bancroft as the ultimate seductress. In 2007, the American Film Institute’s (AFI) ranked The Graduate as #17 in a list of the 100 greatest American movies of all time.

published on 05/20/2015

Can The Arts Save Atlantic City?

The cliché has always been that low rents attract artists to downtrodden areas that nobody else wants and the artists wind up playing a major role in the area’s revival. Their reward is generally to be priced out of those communities just when things get going. It’s a story that plays out year after year in towns and cities across the country. Each time it does, artists are left to wonder why art can play such an important role in the local economy yet artists are rarely, if ever, part of actual community planning.

published on 05/20/2015

Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins Comes To Cape May Stage

Molly Ivins was a no-holds-barred newspaper columnist from Texas who had a widely read syndicated column and helped inspire a generation of female journalists. Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins celebrates this rowdy satirist and her courage and tenacity.

published on 05/20/2015

Somebody's Darling

The members of Somebody’s Darling like to think of themselves as something akin to the way My Morning Jacket would sound if they were fronted by a woman or what Alabama Shakes might be like if they’d been born in Texas.

published on 05/20/2015

An interview with Mary Krohnert

Mary Krohnert is a classically trained Canadian actor who has worked in a diverse array of award-winning theatre, television and film productions. In the independent film Nocturne, she stars as Cindy, an adult woman who falls for a much younger guy who is a sleepwalker. In one way, they see each other and date every night. In another, he’s never seen her before and has no recollection of ever being with her. New Jersey Stage caught up with the actress to discuss the film and the challenges of portraying this unusual character.

published on 05/20/2015

Nocturnal Attraction

What happens when an insomniac falls in love with a sleepwalker? Saul Pincus takes a look at this unusual love connection in the independent film, Nocturne. The premise may suggest a comedy, but Pincus is not aiming for cheap laughs, he’s presenting a story about attraction, anxieties, and the fear of escaping one’s comfort zone.

published on 05/20/2015

FM106.3 Reunion Show Takes Place May 15

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- When Faye B. Gade, the former owner of the Jersey Shore radio station WHTG (better known as FM106.3), passed away on January 29, it sparked a renewal in nostalgia towards the pivotal alternative rock station. Former DJs and musicians began gathering on social media and posting their memories of Gade and the station. It didn't take long before the idea of a reunion show came into play and on Friday, May 15, the official FM106.3 reunion swill take place at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park.

published on 05/09/2015

The Story Of Nils & Bruce

Nils Lofgren replaced Steven Van Zandt just before the Born In The USA Tour in 1984 and has been with the band ever since. He first met Bruce Springsteen in 1970 when his band Grin shared a bill with Steel Mill at the Fillmore West. Over the years, Lofgren saw Springsteen perform live several times and the two became friends.

published on 04/20/2015

Nils Lofgren Faces The Music

After 26 months on tour, many musicians would be ready for a break, but Nils Lofgren is excited to be heading back on the road. The E Street band member is moving back to his role as front man and touring in support of Face The Music, a ten disc set that serves as a comprehensive retrospective of his career as an artist. The tour will bring him back to the Garden State in May with shows in Wyckoff, Newton, Millville, and West Long Branch.

published on 04/20/2015

Summer Of '77

Tar Beach revolves around sixteen year old Mary Claire and her best friend Mary Francis as they begin the day sunning themselves on the roof of an Ozone Park row house. Claire’s younger sister Reenie is searching for her lost Greek Mythology class project, while their parents are consumed by the battles of their troubled marriage. The boy crazy girls hatch a plan to stay out all night, but an overstressed electrical grid leads to a city-wide blackout and a sudden loss of innocence.

published on 04/20/2015

The Doo Dah Man

Everybody likes to think they have a story in their past that would make a great film. Somewhat ironically, documentary filmmaker Jack Ballo, had a doozy of a tale that he largely kept to himself for decades. During a long car ride from Nashville back home to Jersey, he finally told the story to his wife. The result? A film called The Doo Dah Man which shares his story of hitchhiking to California after graduating high school with a friend, meeting an escaped convict, and finding himself on the run from the cops while traveling from Arizona to Texas. The film had its world premiere in Atlantic City at the Garden State Film Festival in March.

published on 04/20/2015

An Interview With Griffin House

Singer-songwriter Griffin House has a couple of dates in the tri-city area at the end of April. New Jersey Stage spoke to him about the right blend of music, golf & family; building an audience in the social media age; and performing at a prison.

published on 04/20/2015

The Realization of Emily Linder

Richard Strand penned Butler, one of the best new works to premiere last year. He returns to NJ Rep in April with The Realization of Emily Linder, a comic-drama about an eccentric, retired university professor who has come to the “realization” that she knows the exact day that she will pass away.

published on 04/20/2015

Dreamgirls

“We try to do things we think are innovative and interesting and we don’t run away from them because of their size,” explained Sam Scalamoni, Artistic Director of Skyline Theatre Company in Fair Lawn, NJ. This April, the company presents Dreamgirls, winner of six Tony Awards, which is based on R&B acts like The Supremes, The Shirelles, James Brown, and Jackie Wilson.

published on 04/20/2015

Jim Weider Talks About The Weight

The Band may be best remembered for backing Bob Dylan and being the subject of Martin Scorsese's brilliant documentary The Last Waltz, but their music holds a special place in history as well. In fact, one could argue that they were one of the originators of the Americana sound so prevalent in today's music. Songs like "Up on Cripple Creek", "Life Is A Carnival" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" have been staples of class rock radio stations for decades. The music continues on stage thanks to a group called The Weight, which takes its name from another classic cut. The Weight will perform at The Newton Theatre on Saturday, April 18 at 8pm. Tickets range from $32-$42.

published on 04/08/2015

Marc Muller Discusses Dead On Live

In honor of the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary, Dead On Live is paying tribute to this milestone by performing the band's music in full production, both as heard on the band's commercial releases and as performed live in some of their most famous shows throughout the years. On Friday, April 10 at 8PM, Dead On Live marks their first appearance at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC). Tickets range fro $25-$35.

published on 04/01/2015

Ignore The Evidence

When you first hear the electric guitars roar on “Mercy of the Radio,” you know that Michael Askin’s Ignore the Evidence is anything but a typical singer-songwriter record. The record does have its folk side, but it rocks out just as much.

published on 03/19/2015

An Interview With Marcus Yi, Author of Micro Shrimp

Chances are that when Marcus Yi’s parents first bought him a microscope they never expected it would lead to a musical involving dancing shrimp, but that’s exactly what happened. His play, Micro Shrimp, won the 2014 New Jersey Playwright’s Contest held each year by William Paterson University and will have its world premiere March 31 through April 18 at the Hunziker Black Box Theatre.

published on 03/19/2015

AC Ballet Is Finally Home

If you didn’t know there was a professional ballet company in Atlantic City you’re not alone. Founded in 1982 by the international ballerina, Phyllis Papa, the history of the Atlantic City Ballet is one of struggle and perseverance. Decades after the company’s debut, it looks like they finally have a home and are trying to play a role in the city’s revitalization.

published on 03/19/2015

Adventures In Comedy

“Spinal Tap showed every horrible thing that an aging rock band would run into,” said stand-up comedian Tom McCaffrey. “I wanted to do that for comedy. Every nightmare experience that comedians could relate to, but not only comedians — I wanted it to be relatable to anyone who’s ever been in show business in general.”

published on 03/19/2015

Going Country In Cali

A few years ago Anjelia Pelay celebrated the release of her first CD with a giant show at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. In the years since, she’s moved away from the pop/rock sound of her first release to one of country and has left the Jersey Shore for California.

published on 03/19/2015

Hitchhiking Across America With Filmmaker John Waters

If a friend from college said he planned on hitchhiking across the country after graduation, you might not think much of it. Chances are the thought has crossed your mind a time or two as well. But if your 66-year-old grandfather said he wanted to hitchhike from Baltimore to San Francisco, you’d think he was crazy.

published on 03/19/2015

REVIEW: Buyer & Cellar

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- If you're a regular patron to shows at George Street Playhouse, you might be taken aback by the set for Buyer & Cellar. Instead of the lavish sets you are accustomed to, you'll notice a set that's very plain and bare. It is designed this way because Buyer & Cellar lives more in the audience's imagination than on stage. And your host is John Tartaglia, someone born to play this role.

published on 03/09/2015

The Wayside Shakeup

Two guys were walking down the street carrying guitars when a limousine pulled up, a window rolled down, and a guy who appeared to be Sylvester Stallone said, "You guys looking for a wayside shakeup?" The window then rolled up, the limo drove away, and a band was named.

published on 02/22/2015

An Interview With Jillian Petrie

Jillian Petrie is the choreographer for The Growing Stage. Her latest work is with And Then Came Tango. New Jersey Stage caught up with her to learn more about the role dance plays in the story.

published on 02/22/2015

And Then Came Tango

The Growing Stage isn't one to shy away from a little controversy. Based in Netcong, the theatre performs productions for young audiences with a twist — they treat young audiences as adults. That mission was upheld when Emily Freeman's And Then Came Tango was chosen as the winner of their 2014 New Play Reading Festival. The play, which deals with the subject of two gay penguins, faced pressure by conservative groups a few years back when an early version was being produced in Austin, Texas. The Growing Stage doesn't expect any such problems in New Jersey, but is committed to presenting the work regardless of what comes up.

published on 02/22/2015

Carolyn Dorfman: An Exploration of Sound and Dance

Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance is an annual production at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. Originally composed of performances by multiple companies, it has evolved into a spotlight for individual dance companies in the state.

published on 02/22/2015

Mike Morse: Comedian Who Writes

Mike Morse lists himself as a "Writer. Comedian. Comedian Who Writes." It's a pretty apt description of the guy who has developed a solid resume writing comedy for the likes of MAD magazine, Cracked Magazine, and the Weekly World News. He also was a monologue writer for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has written several celebrity roasts, including the recent one for Terry Bradshaw which aired on ESPN this year. While the writing work keeps him busy, he still performs stand-up regularly and can be seen in March at Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club in Point Pleasant.

published on 02/22/2015

Annie Minogue Returns To The Area

This March marks the return of Annie Minogue to the area in a big way. She's got several shows lined up in New York and will be coming to New Jersey later in the year. Originally from the Bronx, she now lives in North Jersey and is focusing on this region after years of touring nationally. In addition, she's been in the studio recently and looks forward to releasing her next record (called Suburbia) on the Varese Sarabande record label and distributed through Fontana Universal.

published on 02/22/2015

Fortune Cookies

This is the 10th season for South Camden Theatre Company and they call it "A Season of Faith." The neighborhood around the theater has improved dramatically over the years and the company has played a major role in the revitalization. Each of the productions this season has dealt with faith in a unique way. In Fortune Cookies, the company looks at how the audience has kept its faith in the theater. The play, written by Joseph M. Paprzycki, was first performed in 2007 back when the company's home was the basement of Sacred Heart Church. In the years that followed, the play was always the most requested work by the audience. To thank the people who have kept coming back year after year, the theatre decided to bring the production back and give it the type of production that wasn't possible the first time around.

published on 02/22/2015

ZZ Top: 40 Years of Rock 'n Roll & Cars

For over forty years, ZZ Top has been recording, touring, and residing on classic rock stations. The trio of Billy Gibbons on guitar, Dusty Hill on bass, and Frank Beard on drums has remained the same since first forming in Houston back in 1970. They're instantly recognizable thanks to the long beards of Gibbons and Hill and their trademark sunglasses. Meanwhile, over 25 million records sold and a steady stream of hits earned them an induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

published on 02/22/2015

An Interview with Taylor Tote

Taylor Tote will celebrate the release of her debut EP and new music video, "Superman", at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ on February 20 at 8pm. Rock on Radio host Danny Coleman will emcee the night which includes a guest performance by the Glimmer Grass Band and special instrumentalist guests Steve Jankowski and Michael Ghegan. Tickets are $25 with a limited number of tickets available for students at $15. A copy of the EP is included with each ticket purchase.

published on 02/06/2015

REVIEW: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

(MILLBURN, NJ) — Paper Mill Playhouse presents Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by New Jersey native Christopher Durang now through February 15. The play, which was originally commissioned and produced by McCarter Theatre in Princeton, went on to become a hit on Broadway, picking up the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.

published on 02/03/2015

Michael Luwoye Talks About The Big 30 and "Tick, Tick...BOOM!"

American Theater Group, New Jersey's newest professional theater company, is presenting Jonathan Larson's rock musical tick, tick...BOOM! January 28 through February 8 at Hamilton Stage (360 Hamilton Street) in Rahway. The play deals with a struggling artist who is trying to keep it all together; his girlfriend, his childhood buddy… and turning thirty, all while trying to write the next great american musical. Before there Jonathan Larson became a household name with RENT, there was tick, tick...BOOM -- his own story.

published on 01/26/2015

Nicholas Park Talks About "tick, tick...BOOM!"

American Theater Group, New Jersey's newest professional theater company, is presenting Jonathan Larson's rock musical tick, tick...BOOM! January 28 through February 8 at Hamilton Stage (360 Hamilton Street) in Rahway. The play deals with a struggling artist who is trying to keep it all together; his girlfriend, his childhood buddy… and turning thirty, all while trying to write the next great american musical. Before there Jonathan Larson became a household name with RENT, there was tick, tick...BOOM -- his own story.

published on 01/26/2015

REVIEW: The Whipping Man

Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man is a powerful, emotionally-draining drama that is brilliantly produced by George Street Playhouse. Running now through February 15, George Street has outdone itself with this production. It's a play about the choices we make in life; how they define us, and what they say about the people we are. Featuring an outstanding cast and crisp direction from Seret Scott, the play should definitely be on your radar as a must see production.

published on 01/25/2015

Poor Little Rich Girl -- A Review of Swimming At The Ritz

“One thing about money is that you can never have enough,” says socialite Pamela Churchill Hayward Harriman in Charles Leipart’s, Swimming At The Ritz. She’s an utterly amazing character — one that found a way to parlay a good name (“Churchill”) into husband after husband and fortune after fortune… that is, until the money runs out which is where the play begins.

published on 01/21/2015

An Interview with Raymond "The Amish" Comic

Raymond "The Amish" Comic is coming to Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club (518 Arnold Avenue) in Point Pleasant this weekend. Since, we've never heard of an Amish comic before, we thought we'd get the scoop on the guy...

published on 01/21/2015

Wildlike by Frank Hall Green

The beautiful landscape of Alaska contrasts a rather dark story in the independent film, Wildlike. Written and directed by Frank Hall Green, the film tells the story of a teenage girl named MacKenzie who is sent to live with her uncle in Alaska. Her father is dead and her mother is struggling, so this seems like the best arrangement for her. Unfortunately, MacKenzie's uncle tries to take advantage of her and she runs away, fighting the vast wilderness in her effort to escape. Along the way, she meets a lonely backpacker who becomes the father figure she desperately needs.

published on 01/18/2015

Ellis County Has An Arts Grant... Who Is The Most Deserving?

Did you ever wish you could pullback the curtain and get a glimpse behind the scenes of an arts committee debating who should receive grant money? It's a process that befuddles many, including artists and those who often decry the winning works as controversial or not something they believe was art. In Catherine Trieschmann's play, The Most Deserving, we get to see the Ellis County Arts Council of Kansas debate how to award $20,000 to a local artist with an "under-represented American voice."

published on 01/18/2015

Ellen Lewis Has Her Own Gun Story To Share

For about a decade, Ellen Lewis wrestled with a story she didn't want to tell. Eventually, she realized she had to tell it. It's a story about guns and her husband and why her husband is no longer alive. If you think she became 100 percent anti-gun, you'd be wrong. Lewis grew up in rural Oregon in an area where everybody had guns. She's also spent time living on both coasts and heard from people on both sides of the issue. Her play, The Gun Show, attempts to tell the story from a human perspective — one that's conflicted and sees how normal people could disagree on the issue. Her goal is simply to start a conversation about guns, an honest conversation.

published on 01/18/2015

Riot On The Dance Floor

Many people look back at the clubs they went to when they were young with something more than just nostalgia. These were the places they went to during a time when music somehow seemed a bit more important to them than it does now; places that allowed them to get out of their house and become part of a different world — a scene of their own. Steve Tozzi pays tribute to City Gardens, a legendary club in a beaten down part of Trenton, New Jersey that was one of those places. Booked by Randy Now, the club hosted shows from some of the biggest bands of the 80s and 90s while they were on their way up. Tozzi's film Riot on the Dance Floor: The Story of Randy Now and City Gardens takes a look at this influential venue with a story of musical champions, underdogs, and a bunch of misfit kids who found an unlikely home.

published on 01/18/2015

Fur Peace Ranch: It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

Tucked away in the hills of southeast Ohio is a place called Fur Peace Ranch. Founded by Jorma Kaukonen, guitarist for Hot Tuna, it's a place where musicians share their wisdom and perform concerts in front of fans and fellow musicians from across the country. A new documentary by Andie Walla called Fur Peace Ranch: It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This provides a glimpse into the world Kaukonen conceived in 1989 to be "a ranch that grows guitar players." It's a place where budding and seasoned musicians immerse themselves for several days and leave inspired and better musicians.

published on 01/18/2015

An Interview With Karen Mansfield

Despite being well known inside the New Jersey music scene for decades, Karen Mansfield had never released a record of her own until a few months ago. Once a punk rocker with The Bleeding Knees, she has recorded, performed, and shared stages with artists such as Jewel, the Whirling Dervishes, Willie Nile, Mikeal Jorgensen of Wilco, and Erik Paparazzi of Cat Power. Through the years, the Rutgers University graduate has recorded several albums that were never released for one reason or another. Her self-titled debut contains six songs which run through a myriad of influences and sounds like radio stations of the sixties and seventies when the charts weren't so homogenized. It's also well worth the wait.

published on 01/18/2015

An Interview With Bob Gruen

Few photographers are as synonymous with rock and roll as Bob Gruen who has been documenting the rock scene for over 40 years. His work will be on display at Art629 Gallery in Asbury Park now through February 28 through an exhibition that encompasses a new edition of oversize framed silkscreens of classic photographs of rock greats John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Mick Jagger, and Debbie Harry, the result of a collaboration between Bob Gruen and Gary Lichtenstein Editions, along with more than 40 photographs of Bruce Springsteen, The Clash, The Ramones, Kiss, and many more.

published on 01/18/2015

A Souled Out Christmas Delivers

(RED BANK, NJ) — The only thing more difficult than finding a parking place in Red Bank during the holidays was finding a ticket to The Count Basie's "A 'Souled' Out Christmas" show on Sunday, December 21. Those fortunate enough to be in the audience were treated to two legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famers backed by two amazing bands. The night was filled with classic hits and Christmas songs with a stage adorned with Christmas trees, lights, and enough poinsettias to put everyone in the holiday spirit.

published on 12/23/2014

Just Around The Corner To The Light of Day: An Interview With Joe D'Urso

It's common for musicians in New Jersey to donate their time and perform at benefit concerts for good causes, but there's nothing like the annual Light of Day concerts. What began as a birthday party to celebrate the 40th birthday of Bob Benjamin, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, has turned into a worldwide movement to raise money to help find a cure. In addition to raising millions of dollars, Light of Day has become its own music community, spreading the sounds of the Jersey Shore across the globe.

published on 12/19/2014

David Cassidy On His Jersey Roots

In the early 1970s, David Cassidy was about as famous as a person could get. He was Keith Partridge, the lead singer in The Partridge Family. He came into people's homes each week and dominated the radio with hits like "I Woke Up In Love This Morning" and "I Think I Love You" along with that memorable opening theme.

published on 12/19/2014

Catch Me If You Can

Kids often dream of running away and going on a wild adventure, but Frank Abagnale, Jr. actually did. The story of how he spent years posing as a pilot, doctor, and lawyer while living a life of luxury thanks to forged checks was revealed in his book Catch Me If You Can. It was later turned into a major Hollywood film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, and brought to Broadway as a musical several years later, earning 4 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. The Eagle Theatre in Hammonton will take Frank's story to a new level when it presents a unique multimedia version of the play in January.

published on 12/19/2014

The Return of Don Lee

One of the scariest things in the world for singers is to face surgery on their vocal chords. It's an instrument that cannot be replaced and is usually the most recognizable facet on their work. Don Lee faced such a procedure in the past few months after releasing his fourth solo record since the breakup of Red-Headed Boogie Child. Ironically, the new release is entitled Who's Talkin' Out There?

published on 12/19/2014

Swimming At The Ritz

Pamela Churchill Hayward Harriman, the ultimate party girl, has been living an idyllic life at the luxurious Ritz in Paris for the past several years accompanied by her young Italian valet, and has been spending her and her stepchildren's vast inheritance on paintings, clothing, jewels, furs, champagne (her day-to-day necessities). But her stepchildren's attorneys are about to shut her down. On the verge of losing everything, with the creditors literally at her door, Pamela reveals her journey from man-to-man and bed-to-bed, in a funny, poignant tour-de-force.

published on 12/19/2014

Hey, Round Boy!

Everybody knows somebody they think could be a great comedian. Most of the time, that person will never take the leap and step on stage. Jimmy "Round Boy" Graham was literally pushed into taking his shot while recovering from a truck accident that left him recovering from a broken femur. While wheelchair bound for a year, his wife decided he needed to laugh again.

published on 12/19/2014

Letter From The Publisher: The Future of Arts Journalism

In the past year, many arts leaders have joined in a debate about the future of arts journalism. It's easy to see the writing on the wall. Newspapers have been laying off writers (especially those covering the arts) for years and are struggling to survive. Meanwhile, a movement towards Internet based blogs and digital publications has clearly taken root. Unfortunately, many arts leaders still cling to the idea that the best way to get news coverage and promote their shows is to find ways to work with traditional media rather than to support new media.

published on 12/19/2014

MLK Celebration At NJPAC

For the second straight year, the Dance Theatre of Harlem has been chosen to headline NJPAC's annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. The event on Friday, January 16 pays tribute to the life and legacy of one of the 20th century's most inspiring leaders. In addition to the dance performance, Rev. Jerry M. Carter, Jr., pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown, will be the guest speaker.

published on 12/19/2014

It's Time To Think About Valentine's Day

The holidays come and go so quickly. Before you know it, Valentine's Day will be upon us. Rather than wait until the last minute to decide what to do this year, check out the incredible deal available from the Shea Center for Performing Arts at William Paterson University. For $60 you get a seat on stage for A Valentine's Day Celebration featuring jazz and blues singer Catherine Russell. Admission also includes dinner and a dessert buffet along with two hours worth of open bar that includes premiere beer and wine. It's the perfect date night, but seats are limited for the event on Saturday, February 14.

published on 12/19/2014

The Power of Laughter

There's an old saying that laughter is the best medicine. Comedian Jeff Norris believes it. In fact, he's seen it in action.

published on 12/19/2014

Paper Mill's ELF is Spectacular!

(MILLBURN, NJ) — One of the hottest gifts this holiday season may be a ticket to see Elf at Paper Mill Playhouse. The theatre has created a fantastic, lavishly designed show that not only captures all of the magic of the 2003 film, but actually exceeds it. It's a wonderful musical that takes full advantage of the Paper Mill stage, a huge ensemble, and the ability to create sets on the fly allowing us to fully experience Buddy the Elf's trip to New York City.

published on 12/01/2014

REVIEW: The Fabulous Lipitones

You don’t have to be a fan of barbershop quartets to enjoy The Fabulous Lipitones, but ideally you come for the music and leave with the message.

published on 11/24/2014

A look at PL@Y & The Amboys

When Hurricane Sandy hit the area, J.D. Wilson and Nicholas Norcia found themselves stuck in a blackout for two weeks. With no power to use computers or watch television, they began writing the script for a play. The two had always been fans of the Jersey band, The Amboys, and were inspired to write a play based on the characters from the band's songs. The end result was a production entitled PLatY which was first produced in 2013 and is being performed November 21-22 at The Strand in Lakewood, NJ.

published on 11/21/2014

Don't Mess With Frank

Frank lived alone. He had no job. No friends. No girlfriend. Then he met Charlie and everything changed... That's the premise behind Faces, a new film by Tom Ryan who grew up in Jersey City and shot nearly every scene of the film there. Ryan and the cast and crew celebrated the world premiere of Faces at the beautiful Loew's Jersey City theatre on October 10th.

published on 11/21/2014

The Fabulous Lipitones

Imagine three white, middle-aged, guys from Ohio that are part of a barbershop quartet who have just lost their fourth member who died while singing the high B flat in competition. They suddenly find themselves scrambling to find a tenor before the nationals. As luck would have it, they hear an amazing voice in the background of a telephone conversation. The three agree to take on the voice as their fourth member, but when they meet him in person he looks a bit different than expected.

published on 11/21/2014

Another Side of Paradise

Few places on earth had as much to do with the success of F. Scott Fitzgerald as Princeton University. It was there that a young writer fell in love with the woman who would serve as inspiration for one of his most famous characters and where the seeds of his first novel were sown. The Underclassman, a new play by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, running now through November 30 at The Duke on 42nd Street in New York City, takes a look at this pivotal time in Fitzgerald's life.

published on 11/21/2014

Art of Motion Dance Theatre Performs at TEDMED

TEDMED is the medical edition of the famous TED conference. It is dedicated to "ideas worth spreading" and held in two cities (Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA) each year. This past September, Art of Motion Dance Theatre (AOMDT) out of Ridgewood, NJ, was one of 50 organizations selected from a list of over 1,600 to perform during TEDMED. Originally, it was going to be just a single piece, but the dance troupe wound up playing a role throughout the conference, which simulcasted their performance to over 140 countries. And it all came about because a teacher made a memorable difference in someone's life.

published on 11/21/2014

Your Teachers Were Never As Funny As Jay Black

Jay Black is a comedian born and raised in South Jersey who lives in Marlton. He will be performing at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Point Pleasant on Wednesday, November 26. Jay has found a nice niche performing at colleges (over 700 to date), comedy clubs, and casinos. In addition, he has had success as a writer along with his childhood friend and writing partner Brian Herzlinger. The two co-created their first TV show, "Paulie" in 2013 and have written several movies including "How Sweet It Is" and the soon-to be released "The Bus Driver", and "After I’m Gone".

published on 11/21/2014

Lauren Marsh

Many indie artists handle every aspect of their careers from writing and recording songs to booking shows and promotion. Some, like Lauren Marsh of Hopewell NJ, go even further. Marsh graduated from William Paterson University in May with a degree in Music Business. Her courses helped her learn what a singer-songwriter needs to know to succeed these days, but her musical education began long before her degree.

published on 11/21/2014

An East Nashville Christmas

On December 10, four critically-acclaimed songwriters from Nashville will bring a little East Nashville Holiday spirit to The Strand in Lakewood. Amy Speace, Rod Picott and Doug & Telisha Williams (of Wild Ponies) will transform The Strand into The Bluebird Cafe. Rod Picott gives us the scoop on the show.

published on 11/21/2014

Every Picture Tells A Story

In 2010, photographer David Bergman began the job that he dreamt of his entire life. In a career in which he's shot everything from Sports Illustrated magazine covers to hundreds of major events and had shots like the one he took of President Obama's inauguration go viral and seen by millions around the world, his dream was to one day be on a tour around the world with a major band.

published on 11/21/2014

Paper Mill Presents Elf

Every year a handful of new Christmas films are released with the hopes of becoming the next Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or A Christmas Story- films that usher in the season and become ingrained in our lives. Most simply join the never-ending marathons on cable tv for the holidays, but every now and then one breaks through and gets a strong following. And just when it seemed as though A Christmas Story might be the last pure Christmas classic, Elf came along in 2003. Starring Will Ferrell, the film was so full of Christmas magic and originality that it became an instant classic. Seven years later, Elf the Musical landed on Broadway.

published on 11/21/2014

Willie Nile's Journey Continues

It always makes me laugh when people say that rock and roll is dead or complain that nobody makes great albums anymore. I guess they've never heard of Willie Nile. One of the most under-rated rock and roll artists in the world, he's been on a roll for the past decade releasing album after album, each better than the one before. In 2013, his American Ride record received nearly universal acclaim as an instant classic. Could he possibly top it?

published on 11/20/2014

Raymond McAnally Talks About SIZE MATTERS

American Theater Group, New Jersey's newest professional theater company, opens their 2014-2015 season with the East Coast premiere of Raymond McAnally's one-man show, SIZE MATTERS. The production runs November 12 through November 23 at the Hamilton Stage at Union County Performing Arts Center (360 Hamilton Street) in Rahway, NJ.

published on 11/08/2014

Ralphie May Comes To SOPAC This Friday

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) - This Friday, comedian Ralphie May will bring his no-nonsense, un-PC brand of comedy to the South Orange Performing Arts Center. The larger than life comedian will be featuring material from his upcoming special on Netflix along with classic bits from throughout his career. Tickets are available at www.SOPACnow.org from $29 to $49.

published on 11/03/2014

REVIEW: Angels and Ministers of Grace

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — There's a lot going on during Angels and Ministers of Grace and nothing much going on. The latest world premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company offers quirky characters, multiple storylines, and fine acting, but gets a bit lost during the way and winds up resembling a soap opera.

published on 10/29/2014

REVIEW: Outside Mullingar

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- There's an entire world outside Mullingar, but not to Anthony Reilly and Rosemary Muldoon. The two have known each other all of their lives, growing up on neighboring farms. As the play begins, we see their worlds becoming even smaller.

published on 10/22/2014

Corey Rodrigues

He was named the Funniest Comic in New England, but Corey Rodrigues hopes to put that title in the rear-view mirror soon. His appearance on Gotham Live helped, but a shot at being the Last Comic Standing might place his career in the fast lane. And he's got a shot. By the time Corey Rodrigues returns to Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club in November, he will have been part of the second round. If he's lucky, he'll continue on to the TV show.

published on 10/19/2014

Manhunt Flips The Formula

When you think of horror films, chances are you imagine teenagers in peril. That's the classic formula but not what you'll find in Manhunt. In the upcoming horror flick from Jay Lee (Zombie Strippers!), we see what happens when a couple of guys who know how to take care of themselves wind up in a worst case scenario while on vacation with their lifelong pals. We're talking the ultimate wrestler versus psycho killer mountain man smack down!

published on 10/19/2014

Tommy Strazza: Songs From The Escape

Boy meets girl... boy loses girl... boy winds up writing an album about losing girl... boy finds himself promoting the album to men across the country who order razor blades by mail. It's the same old story, right?

published on 10/19/2014

The Porchistas: DIY Rockers

Many bands complain that there aren't enough places to play in New Jersey. The Porchistas aren't one of those bands. They not only developed a great relationship with a local club, but they did the ultimate DIY thing and turned their own home and backyard into venues as well. They're proof that sometimes artists can control more than they think they can.

published on 10/19/2014

Revisiting The Making Of A Monster

Rock and roll and vampires go together, so it makes perfect sense that Gail Petersen of The Catholic Girls would choose the topic for her book, The Making of a Monster. In the book, a woman moves to Los Angeles to restart her life, but a chance meeting with a vampire turns her into a creature of the night. She joins a rock and roll band and searches among the lost souls in the City of Angels for companionship, but always feels as though she does not belong. Facing a bloody struggle, she finally embraces her vampire nature and only then does the mystery of immortality explode.

published on 10/19/2014

CARVER: An Interview With Emily DiPrimio

When Emily DiPrimio set up a KickStarter campaign to raise funds for her film Carver she had no idea about the media storm that would follow. Not only did she surpass the campaign's $25,000 goal, but the idea of an 80s slasher film written and directed by a teenager resonated across the industry. Within a few months, the movie was featured in places as diverse as Fangoria, MTV, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Mail in the UK.

published on 10/19/2014

A Little Bad Luck Won't Stop Bret Ernst

Growing up in New Jersey, comedian Bret Ernst moved around an awful lot as a kid. He estimates he attended about 15 different schools before moving to Florida for high school. As anyone who was ever the new kid knows, it can be a little rough; but, it also helped him find his calling.

published on 10/19/2014

Infliction: An Interview With Jack Thomas Smith

Filmmaker Jack Thomas Smith moved to Sparta, NJ as a teenager. It was there that he discovered the films of George A. Romero, Stanley Kubrick, Brian DePalma, and John Carpenter. His latest work, Infliction has several screenings in the area in October and November and is making its way around the festival circuit. New Jersey Stage spoke with Smith about the film and what led him into the horror genre.

published on 10/19/2014

The Night of Broken Glass

Dance is a unique medium to present stories such as Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass. It's an art form with the ability of showing beauty and pain simultaneously, to be both abstract and narrative at the same time. In a story that details the event which many look upon as the beginning of the Holocaust, the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company uses dance to show hope and the human spirit in the midst of ultimate adversity. The company will present a special performance of "The Legacy Project: A Dance of Hope" on Thursday, November 13 at South Orange Performing Arts Center. Following the performance will be a panel discussion entitled, "Yesterday's Story is Today's Reality" featuring the artists alongside clergy, Seton Hall professors, and special guests.

published on 10/19/2014

The Second City Does New Jersey

The legendary improvisation group The Second City is coming to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center for shows on November 7th and 8th with a show that's somewhat different from their standard touring production. New Jersey Stage spoke with Kelly Leonard, Executive Vice President of Second City about the show and his upcoming book Yes, and.

published on 10/19/2014

Lines In The Dust

As the country remembers the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, Nikkole Salter revisits the idea of segregation in "Lines In The Dust," a new play running at Luna Stage in West Orange now through November 9. While the decision was supposed to end segregation, Salter believes we are very much still segregated today. In some ways, she believes we are even more so than ever before.

published on 10/19/2014

Williams Honor: An Interview With Gordon Brown

It's always been rare for an artist to get signed to a major record label. Gordon Brown, a talented songwriter from Long Branch, did it twice — in the late 1980s with Mr. Reality and again in the 2000s with Highway 9. Both bands featured a blend of country and rock and roll, creating a rather unique sound along the Jersey Shore.

published on 10/19/2014

Review: Dinner With The Boys

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — Before each play, Gabor Barabas (Executive Producer at New Jersey Repertory Company) gives a little speech in which he tries to sell attendees on a season subscription, points out the emergency exits, and urges them to be ambassadors and tell their friends about the show. As a theater company that almost exclusively presents new works, word of mouth is vital for the company. But before the start of "Dinner With The Boys," Barabas took a very different approach.

published on 09/22/2014

Diego Allessandro and Lot 25 Take Over The Saint

Few local bands ever get a 45-minute set, much less an hour to showcase their own tunes at the rock and roll clubs in the area. On Saturday, October 18 at The Saint in Asbury Park, Diego Allessandro and Lot 25 will buck that trend with a special 90-minute set of originals from all 3 of their full-length releases. The show will also be professionally filmed and recorded as part of something they're calling "The Losin' Kind Virtual World Tour" which will be available on YouTube.

published on 09/20/2014

Dreamcatcher Turns 20!

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre is a professional ensemble company in Summit, NJ that presents a mix of new plays and world/New Jersey premieres each season. The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary season this year. New Jersey Stage spoke with Laura Ekstrand, the company's Artistic Director, about the new season and the company's mission.

published on 09/20/2014

Within The Law: East Lynne Theater Revives An Early Broadway Hit

The theme of this year's season at East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May is "What is legal?" That theme continues with Bayard Veiller's "Within The Law". It's a play that was one of the most popular on Broadway in the early 20th century but is rarely produced today. The plot involves Mary Turner, a store clerk who is wrongly convicted for stealing and given a prison sentence to make her an "example" to other employees. While behind bars, she learns how to be a real criminal. When her prison term is over, she seeks revenge on those who wronged her while staying within the boundaries of the law.

published on 09/20/2014

Changing The Way People Look At Camden

Starting any theater company is a risky venture. Imagine trying to start one in a city with a heavily damaged reputation like Camden. Joseph M. Paprzycki was given a golden opportunity to do just that and the Camden native jumped at the chance. Ten years later, the theater company is going strong and is bringing people to the city - many, for the first time in years, if ever.

published on 09/20/2014

Patty Rosborough

Female comedians have often felt on the outside looking in. Comedy is still very much an old boy's network - especially for those hoping to make the leap from comedy clubs to television or films. For Patty Rosborough, a comedian from New York City, she's not only finding doors shut on her because she's a female comic, but because of her age. After years of struggling with growing older, she's finally comfortable with herself and even laughs at things that would have made her cringe a few years ago.

published on 09/20/2014

Brent Bourgeois: Rip Van Winkle Awakes

In the 1980s, a band called Bourgeois Tagg created one of the catchiest songs of the decade, a Beatlesque tune called "I Don't Mind At All." As the song charted around the world, troubles with drugs and alcohol began for Brent Bourgeois, who grew up in Morristown, NJ. Ironically, it wasn't the alcohol and drug use that threatened the future of the band, it was Brent's recovery. After sobering up and becoming a Christian, his lyrics became more and more religious in nature, something that rattled his bandmates.

published on 09/20/2014

Jersey Band From 1980 Turns Up In Lost Photos

Nowadays, your favorite camera is probably in your pocket, but decades ago you used to have a 35mm with film that needed to be developed. Sometimes people forgot to develop a roll, which may have found itself lost over time or stuck in a camera and eventually tossed aside. Azriel Knight from Calgary seeks out undeveloped film and tries to learn the story behind the pictures at his website MysteriousDevelopments.com.

published on 09/20/2014

An Interview With Anthony D'Amato

Anthony D'Amato grew up in Blairstown, NJ and attended Princeton University. After years of releasing albums on his own (recording them in dorm rooms and apartments), his major label debut, The Shipwreck From The Shore, was released in September. New Jersey Stage caught up with Anthony shortly after his record release show at the Mercury Lounge in New York City.

published on 09/20/2014

Dan Lauria: Dinner With The Boys

Dan Lauria says he doesn't like to look back, but it's hard not to imagine his old friends Charles Durning, Jack Klugman, Dom Del Louise, and Peter Falk during "Dinner With The Boys", a new play Lauria wrote and stars in at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch. The play, which was originally written with those four actors in mind, runs until October 5 and is one of the hottest theater tickets in the state. Nearly every performance was sold out before the run began, a first for the company.

published on 09/20/2014

Vic Dibitetto finally gets his shot

Eight months ago, comedian Vic Dibitetto uploaded "Who's gonna give me my shot?!" on YouTube. In the video, Dibitetto, who lives in Central Jersey, makes a plea for somebody to give him a shot at a television role, rattling off a list of comedians he started out with that are world famous today. "If I suck, I suck," he says, "just give me my shot."

published on 09/20/2014

Interview With Scott Terry of RWB on Autobiographical Songwriting

The cover story of the August 2014 issue of New Jersey Stage magazine was on Red Wanting Blue, a band from Columbus, Ohio that's led by Scott Terry (who grew up in Moorestown, NJ). Here's a little extra from our interview with him that focused on his autobiographical songwriting style.

published on 09/10/2014

Canadian Band ZERBIN Plays The Saint in Asbury Park Tonight

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you're like me and you listen to satellite radio in the car, chances are you've got a couple of favorite stations you turn to on a regular basis. One of mine is Iceberg, a station that largely plays Canadian artists. One band I've been hearing a lot of on the station is ZERBIN from Victoria, BC, which features the songwriting duo (Jason Zerbin & Peter Mol). Songs like "New Earth" and "Take Your Heart" are regularly in rotation. ZERBIN comes to The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ for the first time tonight (Friday, August 29) on a bill that includes Modern Suits and Underwater Country Club.

published on 08/29/2014

Tommy Strazza Holds CD Release Party At Rosie's Cafe

(BRICK, NJ -- AUGUST 10, 2014) -- "If I knew this would be so much fun, I would have done it years ago!" said Tommy Strazza during a break between songs at his CD Release Party. His big night was not held in a club, as is usually done, but took place at Rosie's Cafe, the name for the house concerts held by Brenda Wirth. These intimate (generally restricted to 25 attendees) gatherings are not only wonderful shows for music lovers, but offer artists the opportunity to have an audience that truly listens to every song -- something that is rare during club shows.

published on 08/23/2014

Stormin' Norman: a Jersey Shore Legend

If you're a fan of Bruce Springsteen, you may have heard the story about how Clarence Clemons was playing in a bar one night when Bruce walked in and was blown away by the music. The band Clarence was playing in was led by Norman Seldin, and while that moment may be part of rock and roll history, it's just one part of the Stormin' Norman legend.

published on 08/18/2014

Genetic Testing Sends Janice Underwater

Clare Drobot, resident dramaturg and producing associate for Janice Underwater, described it as sort of a coming of age story for a woman in her thirties. I think that's a good way of looking at it. Janice is going through hard times. She gets a letter from her schizophrenic mother, whom she hasn't seen in twenty years. Her father shows possible early signs of Alzheimer's disease. She avoids dealing with either situation. Instead, she mails out some genetic tests she got online and the anxiety this creates leads to a blowup at work and triggers visions of her mother, which occur throughout the play. She tries to find paying work as a visual artist (her true passion), make her rent, maintain her sanity, and make the right choices for herself and her family as she waits for these test results. She even initiates a romance with her troubled super along the way. Things don't turn out as she expected.

published on 08/18/2014

Cape May & Ghosts... Perfect Together

There's just something about ghosts and Cape May. The seashore town has ghost walking tours, ghost trolley tours, even haunted restaurants. And from now through September 19, the town also features a production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" - a play about a zany medium (played by Jennifer Harmon) that accidentally stirs up the temperamental ghost of a novelist's first wife after a seance that goes awry.

published on 08/18/2014

The Hopeful Romantic in Red Wanting Blue

Most of the country may know Scott Terry as the lead singer in the Columbus, Ohio band, Red Wanting Blue, but the friends and family members that will pack upcoming shows in the tri-state area still think of him as a Jersey Boy. Born and raised in Moorestown, Scott's band released their latest album, "Little America", on July 1.

published on 08/18/2014

I'm From New Jersey

People have been making fun of the Garden State ever since New Jersey was founded. That's one of the things filmmaker Daniel Goodman has learned while shooting, "I'm From New Jersey" and one of the things he's trying to change.

published on 07/18/2014

An Interview With Colin Quinn

Politics has always played a role in Colin Quinn's comedy, but never more so than in his current show, "Unconstitutional", which makes a stop at The Newton Theatre on July 26. In his latest one-man show, Quinn takes a look at how the Constitution influences the national character of America regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are on.

published on 07/18/2014

An interview with Robert Caisley

Sara Fine's having a bad week. The light bulbs in her apartment keep burning out; the aquarium is perpetually full of dead fish; the cat's gone AWOL, again, and her blind, elderly father -- who chased off her last beau -- is immediately suspicious of Tom, the new neighbor, a TSA agent who just brought Sara home from the emergency room on New Year's Eve with a fractured 5th metatarsal. As Tom's attraction to Sara intensifies, he learns of an increasingly bizarre streak of bad luck that's been haunting Sara for years – twenty two years to be precise.

published on 07/18/2014

An Interview With Dom Irrera

Comedian Dom Irrera first made a splash nationally from a spot on a Rodney Dangerfield special in the 80s. He's gone on to earn two CableACE Awards for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special and has been seen in films like "Hollywood Shuffle", "The Big Lebowski", "The Fourth Tenor", and "The Godson." He also received a CableACE nomination in the writing category for his work on Comedy Central's animated series, Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist.

published on 07/18/2014

Jack Skuller Wins Buddy Holly Prize

Buddy Holly was one of the true legends of rock and roll whose short but brilliant career included such hits as "That'll Be The Day", "Peggy Sue", and "Oh, Boy!" His death in a plane crash on February 3, 1959 was immortalized in the Don McLean song, "The Day The Music Died". In 2009, the Songwriters Hall of Fame began recognizing upcoming songwriters while honoring Buddy's legacy with The Holly Prize. This year's recipient was Jack Skuller of Weehawken.

published on 07/18/2014

An Interview with John G. Williams

Butler by Richard Strand is in its final two weeks at New Jersey Repertory Company (in Long Branch). The play tells the true life story of Benjamin Butler, a lawyer turned Major General during the start of the Civil War, who is in charge of Fort Monroe, a Union hold-out in Virginia. Shepard Mallory, played by John G. Williams, is an escaped slave who seeks sanctuary at the fort. Unfortunately, the law of the land still allows for slavery and his owner seeks to have him returned. It's a wonderful play that mixes drama with comedy to great effect, while telling an amazing historical story that deserves to be told.

published on 06/29/2014

"Butler" Is Brilliant!

"Running away is easy... the only thing is we didn't have any place to run to." (LONG BRANCH, NJ) — New Jersey Repertory Company has world premiered many plays during its 17-year existence in Long Branch, but "Butler" — the company's latest production — just might be my favorite to date. Based on real life events that changed the lives of more than 10,000 slaves, the play is expertly constructed by playwright Richard Strand, superbly acted, and uplifting as it shows how simple decisions can truly change the course of history. It's an often hilarious look at a particularly important part of the Civil War that history books often ignore.

published on 06/16/2014

Wasserstein's Work Shines Again In Two River's Production of "Third"

In the late sixties, Laurie Jameson began her work as a college professor at an elite, New England liberal arts college. As the Vietnam War raged on, Jameson was a rebel, fighting the establishment and its traditional views. Well known throughout academia for her work, she's challenged thirty years later by a student that is able make coherent and sometimes brilliant arguments against the values she holds deeply. In short, she has become the establishment and the student, Woodson Bull III, is the new rebel.

published on 06/11/2014

"Grease" At Paper Mill Is The Perfect Kick Off To The Summer!

(MILLBURN, NJ) — There's just something about "Grease" that makes it one of the quintessential musicals of all-time. The story includes the universal high school concepts of fitting in and self-identity, falling in and out of love, and the play contains wonderful characters and the 1950s vibe, but, in the end, it's all about the music. The songs have the uncanny ability to be silly and sincere at the same time, and you'll undoubtedly find yourself singing along. As the production at Paper Mill Playhouse proves "Grease" is still very much the word. It's nearly impossible not to smile during this performance. The show is too much fun.

published on 06/03/2014

Morristown Rocker Doesn't Want To KickStart His New Record... He Wants To Kick-Finish It!

(MORRISTOWN, NJ) — Imagine being a musician accustomed to producing records with budgets of $250,000 suddenly finding himself with just $5,000 to work with. That's the world Brent Bourgeois, one half of the 80s band Bourgeois Tagg, discovered when he started working on his first release in twenty years. High production costs and diminishing sales had soured him on the music industry, but the advent of home recording technology brought him back. His challenge now is to let his fans and those of his former band know he's got a new album.

published on 05/07/2014

Review of A View Of The Mountains

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- New works are nothing unusual for the New Jersey Repertory Theatre Company, but rarely do they get the opportunity to debut a new work like A View of the Mountains. Written by Lee Blessing, the play is a sequel to his brilliant A Walk in the Woods, which was nominated for the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize in 1988. The staging is quite the coup for the Long Branch theatre company.

published on 04/29/2014

Review of "Our Town" at George Street Playhouse

Our Town is a play that has been performed hundreds of times on Broadway, in community theaters, and high schools throughout America. The script is undeniably sappy, but in the way that It's a Wonderful Life is sappy; often corny, but still capable of bringing people to tears every time. George Street Playhouse shows the brilliance of Thornton Wilder's 1938 classic with its season-closing production that runs now through May 25, 2014.

published on 04/26/2014

The World Is His Oyster

Cassandra Wilson, Fatoumata Diawara, Edmar Castaneda, Nina Attal, and Pat Metheny are just some of the artists performing at this year's Jazzkaar festival, the biggest jazz festival of the Baltics held in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Oh yeah, Bay Head's own James Dalton is also blowing his harp, playing guitar and mandolin, and guesting with some of the biggest names in Estonian music history while the annual festival celebrates its 25th anniversary.

published on 04/23/2014

NJ Musician Wants To Live In A Dome

My first thought upon hearing that Rich Lynch wanted to live in a dome wasn't that he was crazy, it was what does his wife think? Apparently, the Ringwood, NJ, musician chose the right person to share his life with because Laura (his wife) shares his dream of "embracing a more enlightened way of functioning on a daily basis."

published on 04/22/2014

A Look At Xenia Sky

Imagine being asked to write a new song in a matter of minutes now imagine that the song has to be centered around a ridiculous title and you're not only asked to perform it but to do so on live television with millions of people watching. That's the scenario Xenia Sky found herself in last March when she was one of three artists on the Jimmy Fallon Show in a segment entitled, "Battle of the Instant Songwriter". Her mission? To write a song based on the title, "Turtle Sunrise".

published on 04/10/2014

George Wirth's Words & Music

(APRIL 6, 2014) I finally made it out to one of George Wirth's "Words & Music" monthly shows at Espresso Joe's in Keyport. Actually, it was my first time back at the coffeehouse in years and my first time at a show in months. Espresso Joe's was the second place to ever "request" copies of my old Upstage Magazine, so the place holds a special spot in my heart. It's also a great venue for music and tonight was a lineup too good for me to pass.

published on 04/07/2014

Review of "Clever Little Lies"

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Marriage is difficult. Ask anyone that's ever been married and they're bound to admit that there are moments in time that threaten to unravel all of the good memories accumulated over the years. "Clever Little Lies" is about such moments. An outrageously funny comedy, "Clever Little Lies" offers more than just laughs. This well-written play (making its world premiere here) evokes the relationship tension of Edward Albee, the non-stop barrage of one-liners a la Neil Simon, and the morality of Arthur Miller.

published on 12/01/2013

Turning 40 Has Never Been So Much Fun!

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Whether you thought the eighties were awesome or not, you're bound to have an awesome time at "Getting the Band Back Together". Based on what I saw, the season opener for George Street Playhouse will not only be a major hit locally, but will very likely shoot up the road and be a hit on Broadway for the next few years. More of a comedy than a straight musical, it's the type of play that has universal appeal; it's got wonderful music, is very funny, and puts forth the optimistic mantra that it's never too late to follow your dreams. It has just the right amount of campiness, hilarity, and sentimentality; and the music is pretty good too!

published on 10/08/2013

"Broomstick" Rides Into Long Branch

(LONG BRANCH, NJ -- SEPTEMBER 21, 2013) -- NJ Rep's latest premiere, "Broomstick", opened last weekend. Set in a remote cabin deep in the woods, the one-woman play is a fascinating study into the mind of a serial killer told as if it was a fairy-tale. It's sort of like Dahmer meets Hansel and Gretel. It's spooky, funny, and extremely well acted -- perfect to get you into the spirit of Halloween.

published on 09/26/2013

Ken Davenport Talks About Getting The Band Back Together

Ken's new musical, "Getting the Band Back Together", makes its debut at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick this month. The play revolves around Mitch Martino who is 40 and has just been fired from his job on Wall Street. He moves back to Mom's house in Sayreville, NJ and reconnects with the old gang for en epic high-stakes battle of the bands.

published on 09/16/2013

Interview With Debra L. Rothenberg:
Born To Shoot

For many years, Debra L. Rothenberg was a fixture along the Jersey Shore. She was one of the area's top photographers in the days before everybody and their brother took photos at the local shows. Her shots captured the 80s and 90s in a way few others did. She didn't just photograph the stars, she was the person EVERY band sought out for their promo shots and chances are she had shots of them performing live as well.

published on 09/13/2013

Two Bongos for the Price of None!

(BELMAR, NJ -- AUGUST 29, 2013) -- It was supposed to be the first concert in this year's 90.5 Songwriters Series, but it wound up being the last... And it was worth the wait. The show finished up what hopefully will be the first of many years in Belmar with a huge crowd (the biggest of the ones I was able to attend) and amazing music by The Sunday Blues and Richard Barone.

published on 08/30/2013

The Sunday Blues: Worth The Wait

(ASBURY PARK, NJ -- AUGUST 10, 2013) -- Sometimes I worry when bands take several years to release a record. Will they lose momentum? Will people still care? For one incredible night at the Saint in Asbury Park, those questions were answered for The Sunday Blues. A packed house full of fans, friends, and family came out for the official cd release of "City Folklore" proving that sometimes good things can come to those who wait.

published on 08/13/2013

Review of Saving Kitty at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ -- JULY 27, 2013) -- In the 1988 hit film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, there's a line in which Jessica Rabbit says, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." That was the feeling I was left with after seeing "Saving Kitty" at NJ Rep. With the character named Kate, playwright Marisa Smith has created one of the most annoying, mean-spirited characters I've ever seen. If you're a fan of watching people on "American Idol" rip into the contestants you'll probably enjoy this play; if not, you're in for a bit of a rough ride.

published on 07/29/2013

McDermott and Jerzy Jung Rock Belmar's Beach

(BELMAR, NJ -- JULY 18, 2013) -- A new era for 90.5 The Night's summer Songwriter series began on Thursday, July 18th when Michael McDermott and Jerzy Jung became the first artists to take part in the weekly showcase in 2013. Held for years in Red Bank, the show was moved to Belmar this year and was supposed to make its debut on July 11th, but the initial concert featuring Richard Barone and The Sunday Blues had to be cancelled due to inclement weather. I've waited a long time to have shows like this take place in Belmar, shows like those that the town used to hold at the Taylor Pavilion decades ago. If all of the shows go as well as this one, the wait was definitely worth it.

published on 06/20/2013

Keith Monacchio Named Finalist For Philadelphia Songwriters Project Songwriting Contest 2013

It's shaping up to be a pretty big year for Keith Monacchio. The singer-songwriter from Hamilton is not only about to become a father for the first time, but is one of 11 finalists in the Philadelphia Songwriters Project Songwriting Contest 2013. The song in the running -- "Coffee House" -- is one of my personal favorites from Keith, who has been putting out great records as a solo artist and member of The Commons and Semi-Beings for well over a decade.

published on 05/04/2013

Eric Miller's Bold Move To Raise Awareness Of Epilepsy

Eric Miller is coordinating 50 Concerts in 50 States for Epilepsy Awareness in honor of his wife Carolina who passed away from epilepsy at 25. The concerts partner with the largest organizations (Epilepsy Foundation, CURE & others) in epilepsy on a single weekend. Some of the artists they have on board include Eric Clapton, Colbie Caillat, Owl City, Supertramp's Roger Hodgson, Brian Regan, Loudon Wainwright III, They Might Be Giants and dozens more. The 50 Concerts in 50 States had its origins years ago as a house concert series in Pennington, NJ. NewJerseyStage.com recently spoke with Miller about taking the awareness project to a much higher level.

published on 03/01/2013

"Two Trains Running" at Two River Theatre

(RED BANK, NJ) -- I can still remember a conversation I had once with an African-American playwright from Asbury Park. We were talking about influences and I mentioned August Wilson's name. He hadn't heard of Wilson yet. I said, he's a brilliant playwright who penned a 10-play series on the African American experience in America. The guy said, "Why does every white playwright think they can just write about our experiences?" I replied, "He's not another white playwright..."

published on 02/20/2013

Review of "Ants" at New Jersey Repertory Company

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- As a guy married to someone in academia, I never imagined the concept of a college professor sleeping with a student very funny; yet, there I was last Saturday night laughing -- quite often -- during the world premiere of "Ants" by Saviana Stanescu at New Jersey Repertory Theatre. This quirky comedy takes a look inside the world of ants, offspring, and how our two species are more alike than you'd think.

published on 02/14/2013

REVIEW: "Good People" at George Street Playhouse

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The acclaimed play, "Good People" by David Lindsay-Abaire, opened at George Street Playhouse on February 1st with another one of the theatre's stellar casts. Dealing with the concept of the choices we make and the luck or support needed throughout one's life, the play takes a stark look at the social class structure as seen within South Boston's Lower End and Chestnut Hill regions.

published on 02/02/2013

Top Songs Of 2012 -- a music playlist for you

It's that time of the year again when music journalists and critics praise their favorite songs and albums of the year. Personally, I simply can't rank the songs of the year, I prefer to put them together for a true music playlist. Thus, the songs listed here aren't in any particular order other than I liked the way they flowed together. I love all of these tunes and I hope you get the chance to check out these great artists. The full mix comes out to about 3 hours and will be aired on ThePenguinRocks.com several times in January.

published on 12/31/2012

Top EPs of 2012 & Forgotten Discs From 2011

A look back at our favorite EPs of 2012 and album releases from recent years that found their way to The Penguin in 2012...

published on 12/29/2012

The Completely Unnecessary, Totally Irreverent, Top 70 Albums of 2012

I have a love/hate relationship with these end-of-the-year lists. On one hand, I remember poring through lists from my favorite writers while growing up to see if there were artists I should check out; but, on the other hand, putting this lists together takes a lot of time. I'm not one to simply spit out a list either from memory or by glancing through my notes over the year. No, I'm one of those idiots who actually relisten to everything and grade each release before coming up with the list...

published on 12/29/2012

Recap: 2012 Winter Solstice Show at The Saint

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Every year I'm simply amazed at the amount of talented musicians in the Asbury Park area. Events like Cook Smith's Annual Winter Solstice Show help bring otherwise overlooked artists to the forefront. On Wednesday, December 19, the annual event returned with over 30 different artists performing holiday tunes in a rapidly moving show at the Saint in Asbury Park. While some of the artists were well known veterans of the local scene, many were artists just starting out or open mic regulars getting the rare opportunity for a true stage performance.

published on 12/20/2012

Jersey Strong (a look back at Hurricane Sandy & the arts)

"Hello, this is Mayor Matt Doherty with an important emergency message. It is with a heavy heart --"

published on 12/16/2012

Johnette Still Has It: Concrete Blonde At The Stone Pony

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - DECEMBER 14, 2013) -- After many years, Concrete Blonde returned to Asbury Park with a stellar performance at the Stone Pony. I had seen the band a couple of times before through the years, but Johnette Napolitano's voice sounded better tonight than I can ever remember. She's always had one of the best set of pipes in the business, but after seeing her in such form as tonight, I'd say she just might be the most underrated vocalist in rock and roll. And her band can flat out rock.

published on 12/16/2012

20th Annual Asbury Music Awards Rant & Recap

The Asbury Music Awards was held for the 20th time on Thursday, December 13th at the Stone Pony, bringing most of the local music scene together for a night of fun music and recognition, but, once again, it could have been so much more.

published on 12/14/2012

Concrete Blonde Returns To The Stone Pony

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- There are many bands from the 80s and 90s who continue to tour around the world, play their most recognizable tunes, and cash a paycheck each night. Concrete Blonde, who is coming to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, is not one of those bands. In the past decade, they've released two new albums and lead singer Johnette Napolitano has released several solo releases as well. They even have a new single out called "Rosalie". Chances are unless you're a die-hard Concrete Blonde fan, you probably weren't even aware of those releases. That's not because they weren't good (they are), but because so few radio stations play new music anymore that bands like Concrete Blonde are largely on their own.

published on 12/12/2012

The Best Of Enemies

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- "There's a lot of hate here," said Ann Atwater, an African-American civil rights activist in Durham, North Carolina around 1971. Ann is one of the central characters in Mark St. Germain's "The Best of Enemies" play. The others include C.P. Ellis, a Grand Cyclops of the KKK, and Bill Riddick, a community organizer who attempts to bring the pair together during the desegregation of the Durham schools. It's a remarkable story about racial tension, changing times, and the goodness that is in all of us. Best of all, it's a true story.

published on 12/03/2012

Said The Whale Makes New Jersey Debut Tonight

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- In just five years, Said The Whale has become one of the most popular bands in Canada. Based in Vancouver, the power pop/rock band won the JUNO Award for New Group of the Year in 2011. They have played New York City and Philadelphia a couple of times before, but will make their New Jersey debut tonight at the Saint in Asbury Park. It's another one of those shows you'll be kicking yourselves a few years from now if you miss it.

published on 11/15/2012

Review: "Annapurna" at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- New Jersey Repertory Company continues its long history of premiering new works with the East Coast premiere of "Annapurna" by Sharr White. This is the 85th new play produced by NJ Rep in the company's 15th year -- truly a remarkable achievement in an era in which people have a tendency to go only to plays that already know or which have a big name star involved. Some of their debuts are brilliant, some not so much; "Annapurna" is somewhere in between. It's a play with a lot of potential, but could use some tightening.

published on 10/14/2012

Asbury Park: The Untapped Legacy

While searching my computer for an old file, I stumbled upon this proposal to bring back the Upstage Club. This was actively proposed to the City of Asbury Park in 2004. Unfortunately, at the time, neither Asbury Park nor Monmouth County or even New Jersey had money to really get a project like this off of the ground. I'm posting it to show some of the ideas we had -- some of which have begun seeing the light of day in recent years -- with the hope that maybe some more will become reality in the future. It's also kind of cool looking back at how Asbury Park was in 2004 and just how far it's come in less than a decade.

published on 10/10/2012

Father Knows Best In One Slight Hitch

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -- OCTOBER 5, 2012) -- It's rare to say that a play has a killer soundtrack, but a great 80s playlist is one of the many joys of Lewis Black's play and helps set the tone for "One Slight Hitch". The play, which opened on October 2nd and runs until October 28, is the season opener for George Street Playhouse.

published on 10/07/2012

REVIEW: Local Legends Return To The Saint

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- On nights like this, I realize just how lucky we are along the Jersey Shore to have a place like The Saint -- a bar that on certain magical nights resembles "Cheers" with live music. On Friday, September 28, we had one of those nights. Three artists who all stamped their mark into the local music scene shared a bill with one of the area's fastest rising stars. It was one of those rare nights that felt like a homecoming with hardly a barrier at all between the performers and the members of the audience. People sang along, joked with the performers, and turned the club into a living room. We were all friends on this night and those are always the very best and most special shows.

published on 09/29/2012

Asbury Honors Its Angels

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 23, 2012) -- Apparently, it just became a little easier to be a saint in the city...

published on 09/25/2012

Outstanding Production Of Topdog/Underdog At Two River Theater

(RED BANK, NJ) -- Two River Theater Company kicked off its 2012-2013 season on Friday, September 14 with a wonderful production of Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks, who also serves as director. This powerful drama was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play during the 2002 season and earned a Pulitzer Prize Award for Parks. The play, which tells the story of two brothers (Lincoln and Booth) and the world of three-card monte, stars the real-life brothers Brandon J. Dirden and Jason Dirden.

published on 09/17/2012

Asbury Park Pays Tribute To The Concert For New York City On Anniversary Of 9/11

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Several generations of musicians will gather on stage to pay tribute to the artists who helped soothe the soul of America following the attacks on 9/11. Inspired by the Concert for New York City, Marc Ribler and an assortment of local artists including Glen Burtnik, Bob Burger, Sandy Mack, and Emily Grove will perform original music inspired by September 11 and cover songs by many of the musicians who took part in that legendary showcase. The tribute takes place on Tuesday, September 11th at McCloone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.

published on 09/07/2012

Interview with Justin Moore of Ingram Hill

Back in 2004 or so, I was wrapping up an issue of my old magazine late at night when I saw a band called Ingram Hill pop on a CNN segment. As luck would have it they were playing at the Saint in Asbury Park later that night. I checked them out that night and liked what I saw; four guys from Memphis playing rock and roll with hints of southern rock thrown into the mix. There was only a handful of people that first show, but the next time they returned to the Saint I think there was a couple dozen. They've since kept the Saint on their list of regular clubs they play throughout the country and will be back in town Sunday, September 9 in support of their new self-titled release. I spoke with lead singer Justin Moore about their new album, touring, the difficulties of being named Justin Moore, and the Big East...

published on 09/06/2012

The New Zoo Music Review Takes A New Look At Music Festivals

(KEYPORT, NJ) -- There have been a number of legendary music festivals throughout history for music fans; Woodstock, Monterrey, and Live Aid set the standard while the torch continued with festivals like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and Bamboozle, which showcase acts many are seeing for the first time. But I've never actually heard of a festival like the New Zoo Music Review, which will take place on September 15 from 2pm-7pm at the Keyport Marine Basin. For this festival, EVERYONE can be part of the musical lineup.

published on 09/03/2012

Red Wanting Blue Closes Out Red Bank's Songwriters in the Park Series in Style

(RED BANK, NJ -- AUGUST 24, 2012) -- "So this is a Songwriters in the Park show to actually happen. I thought it would be rained out so I didn't prepare," said Rick Barry who opened the outdoor show in Red Bank's beautiful Riverside Gardens Park.

published on 08/29/2012

Interview With Scott Terry of Red Wanting Blue

Red Wanting Blue will be headlining the final Songwriters In The Park show on Friday, August 24 in Red Bank, NJ. They'll also be returning to their regular haunt, The Saint in Asbury Park, on October 14. Led by lead singer Scott Terry, the band is fresh off their network television appearance on The David Letterman Show. I was able to catch up with Terry, a former Jersey boy from Moorestown, as he drove his band's tour bus across Indiana for a gig in Indianapolis. We fought bad cell phone connections and racing truck drivers, but managed to talk about a ton of things.



published on 00/00/0000

Interview With Scott Terry of Red Wanting Blue (PART 2)

Here's part 2 of my interview with Scott Terry of Red Wanting Blue. In this half, Scott talks about the need for artists to leave the basement and hit the road; how staying in Columbus wound up benefiting the band; and his love for 8-tracks.

published on 08/23/2012

Interview With Scott Terry of Red Wanting Blue (PART 1)

Red Wanting Blue will be headlining the final Songwriters In The Park show on Friday, August 24 in Red Bank, NJ. They'll also be returning to their regular haunt, The Saint in Asbury Park, on October 14. Led by lead singer Scott Terry, the band is fresh off their network television appearance on The David Letterman Show. I was able to catch up with Terry, a former Jersey boy from Moorestown, as he drove his band's tour bus across Indiana for a gig in Indianapolis. We fought bad cell phone connections and racing truck drivers, but managed to talk about a ton of things.



published on 08/22/2012

Belmar Launches Music & Arts Festival

(BELMAR, NJ) -- Despite being somewhat of a spur of the moment idea, Belmar's First Annual Music & Arts Festival was a smashing success. In fact, a certain town a few miles away that appears to be eliminating free music should pay attention. Belmar just might grab the mantle if the town decides to use its beach and boardwalk to lure the immense musical and arts talent in the area for free shows. Someone is bound to find a way to do it, why not Belmar?

published on 08/21/2012

Belmar Holds 1st Annual Music & Arts Festival On August 21

(BELMAR, NJ) -- While Asbury Park gets most of the credit, a little seashore town up the road named Belmar has had a pretty impressive musical history as well. After all, this is the town that put the "E Street" in E Street Band. On Tuesday, August 21, Belmar will hold its 1st Annual Music & Arts Festival to showcase some of the artists and performers who call the town home. Live music by the Danny White Band, Pat Roddy Band, and the Beach Music Rock Band will take place between 6pm and 9pm at the 5th Avenue Pavillion. Local artists will also be exhibiting their work. Admission is free.

published on 08/18/2012

Asbury Park - Where Music Is On Life Support

A few days ago, The Sand Witch got word from the Asbury Park Police Department that their boardwalk establishment could no longer offer live music outside. I spoke with a town official who had no knowledge of why The Sand Witch was told this. "The restaurants are allowed to provide music on the boardwalk as long as they are permitted to operate on the boardwalk," was the response I received via email.

published on 08/11/2012

Catching Up With James Dalton: Off Broadway Debut

NewJerseyStage.com had the opportunity to talk with singer-songwriter James Dalton (aka JPAT) hours before he made his long-awaited New York City theatre debut in a production called "Mirror, Mirror".

published on 08/09/2012

Jim Boggia: This Could Be The Last Time

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- It's a bit strange, I know, especially for someone who covers live music, but I don't usually go out on the weekends during the summer. The simple act of avoiding Bennies who haven't a clue as to their destination presents something of an obstacle course; you face cars and trucks that pretend you don't exist, New Yorkers who should stick to the subway, and the entire experience turns my normal five-minute jaunt into a stress-inducing fifteen to twenty-minute slice of hell. But the thought of possibly missing the last local performance of Jim Boggia led me to take a break from the book I'm writing and dragged me out to The Saint in Asbury Park on Saturday night.

published on 08/05/2012

Jersey Shore Meets Austin Night

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Most everybody that goes to The Saint in Asbury Park on a regular basis knows that Scott Stamper, the club's owner, is a huge fan of music from Austin, TX. Not only has he made an annual pilgrimage to Austin each year for the City's vaunted South by Southwest music festival, but he often encourages bands from the area to make a stop in Asbury Park when they can. On Tuesday, June 26, a pair of bands from Texas took him up on the offer and helped make for a very interesting Jersey Shore versus Austin night.

published on 08/04/2012

The Trews Hit Asbury Park

I can't explain it, but ever since I was a teenager my favorite artists have either been from New Jersey or Canada. If a dozen artists were played on the radio, chances are I'd somehow manage to pick out the ones from those two areas without ever knowing their histories. My collection of Canadian artists began to grow exponentially when I first subscribed to satellite radio a few years back. Ever since then, Iceberg 151 (a station that mostly plays Canadian artists) has been one of my top presets.

published on 07/26/2012

It's All Good In The Neighborhood

(ASBURY PARK, NJ -- JULY 14, 2012) -- Just a few doors down from where the magic first happened, Albie Monterrosa held a CD release party for his new band with the hopes that lightning might strike twice. As Albie & The Neighborhood rocked Chico's House of Jazz, it was like a flashback to the early part of the last decade when deSol first hit the scene. People were out on the dance floor, swaying to the mixture of latin and classic rock sounds; the audience had a much more diversified mix than usually found in the clubs around this area; and Albie, once again, was showing why he's such a tremendous front man that lightning just might strike twice.

published on 07/15/2012

Bob Burger At The Celtic

(LONG BRANCH, NJ -- JULY 12, 2012) -- There was a time when Bob Burger owned Thursdays at the Celtic Cottage in Long Branch. Sadly, he only comes by once or twice a month these days. Even though he's branched out and plays shows all over the area now, the Celtic is truly my favorite place to see him. I've heard some people label these shows as just cover nights, they're not only wrong about that but they clearly miss the point. On Thursday nights like these, Burger not only winds up playing the majority of his latest album as well as cuts from his other releases, but he plays them in front of a crowd that's become something of its own unique music community. It's like Cheers in a way, everybody knows your name.

published on 07/13/2012

Malt House Limited Brings Home Brewing To Mt. Airy

(PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 9, 2012) -- Beer lovers are an interesting breed. Once their palate locks on to the myriad of tastes available via craft beers, they not only leave the mass-produced brands behind, but often get the urge to brew their own suds. Yet, while interest in home brewing has soared throughout the last decade, the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia lacked its own home brewing supply store until recently.

published on 07/09/2012

Review of "Twelve Angry Men" at George Street Playhouse

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- In a hot jury room lacking air conditioning, twelve jurors gather for a quick vote on whether or not they believe a young man is guilty of murdering his father. If they all agree he is guilty, he gets the electric chair. The vote, which must be unanimous either way, is 11 to 1. The lone vote comes from a man who isn't convinced the boy is innocent, but doesn't believe his guilt is certain either.

published on 03/22/2012

James Maddock Finds His Music Community

On Saturday, February 25, James Maddock returns to Asbury Park for an early show at The Saint. The British born singer-songwriter was first recognized in the USA as lead singer of the band Wood who released "Songs From Stamford Hill" on Columbia Records in 1999. That album contained the hit track "Stay You" which was included in the first Dawson's Creek compilation. Maddock resurfaced a few years ago with the acclaimed "Sunrise On Avenue C" disc and released its followup, "Wake Up And Dream" last year.

published on 02/22/2012

Who Says Live Music Is Dead? We Just Had A Great Atmosphere At The Saint

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18, 2012) -- There's something about a packed rock and roll club that just makes the beer taste better, the music sound spectactular, and the vibe feel right for a Saturday night. The Saint in Asbury Park had that kind of atmosphere on February 18th for a stellar bill featuring James Arlowe and the Ruffian Circus, Rick Barry and the New Rick Barrys, and the headliner, Red Wanting Blue, from Columbus, Ohio.

published on 02/20/2012

Review of "Red" at George Street Playhouse

(FEBRUARY 5, 2012 -- NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- I'll put it as simply as I can… Red is the best play I've seen in years. Written by John Logan, Red won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2010 and George Street's production certainly does it justice. Set in the 1950s, the play takes a look at the Russian-American painter, Mark Rothko, as he undertakes the most ambitious project of his career -- a set of murals designed exclusively for the new Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram's Building. While the play provides an amazing insight into the creative process of Rothko and a fascinating look into modern art, it's also a wonderful coming of age story that deals with Rothko's assistant and his quest to become an artist in his own right.

published on 02/05/2012

Review of August Wilson's "Jitney" at Two River Theatre Company

(FEBRUARY 4, 2012 -- RED BANK, NJ) -- August Wilson's Jitney opened last night at the Two River Theatre Company in Red Bank. Wilson is undoubtedly one of the most important playwrights of the last fifty years and one of my personal favorites as well. A star-studded cast comprised of former Tony, Obie and Drama Desk winners, and veterans of Wilson's work, brought the play to life under the expert direction of Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

published on 02/05/2012

The Completely Unneccesary, Totally Irreverent Top 70 Albums of 2011 List

Gary Wien's picks for the Top 70 Albums of 2011. All of these artists were played on The Penguin's online radio station during the past year.

published on 01/02/2012

Eryn Shewell Talks About Mardi Gras In New Jersey On New Year's Eve

Eryn Shewell and her band will once again ring in the new year at Giamano's (310 Main Street in Bradley Beach, NJ) on New Year's Eve with a show featuring a Mardi Gras theme. NewJerseyStage.com had a chance to catch up with Eryn to talk about the NYE show, her love of New Orleans, and her upcoming album.

published on 12/29/2011

The Nutcracker And I

Around this time of the year, I always pity the person in charge of event calendars at arts publications. There's only so many times you can type "The Nutcracker", "A Christmas Carol", or "Handel's Messiah". Trust me, I've been there and speak from experience.

published on 12/10/2011

An Interview With The Monacchio's

On Friday, October 21 from 7:00pm - 10:00pm, Keith & Sheli Monacchio will host a CD release party for Wedding Album at Espresso Joe's (50 West Front Street, Keyport, NJ). NewJerseyStage.com had the chance to speak with the two songwriters on writing together, how they avoided sounding cheesy, and what the future holds for them...

published on 10/19/2011

Michael Askin Celebrates EP Release In Princeton

Michael Askin, a New Brunswick area singer-songwriter, first made an impression in the Jersey Shore music scene when he joined the popular Asbury Park band known as Divine Sign sometime around 2006. At the time, he was known as the "guitarist with mystique" -- part of the band's expanded lineup which led the acoustic duo towards more of a full-fledged rock and roll sound. He would move on to the indie band My State of Attraction, before deciding to head out on his own. With a stripped down, alt-country/acoustic guitar sound, Askin writes deeply personal lyrics that remind me of classic songs from the '70s.

published on 10/13/2011

U.S. Rails Roll Into Asbury Park On Thursday

In the summer of 2003, I began working on a new arts and entertainment magazine called Upstage. One of the very first features was on a band called 4 Way Street from Philadelphia who was putting out their debut album and had a show coming up at The Saint in Asbury Park. Comprised of Ben Arnold, Scott Bricklin, Joseph Parsons, Jim Boggia, and Matt Muir, the band was sort of a Philadelphia supergroup of area singer-songwriters. They had a sound that reminded me of Crosby, Stills, and Nash and I jumped at the opportunity to get them in the first issue.

published on 08/30/2011

Outside The Box Hits Upon Winning Formula

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- House bands at The Stone Pony are part of a pretty interesting history. Some have gone on to get major label record deals or regularly jammed with the Jersey Shore's top musicians or even wound up performing stadium shows themselves, but whoever holds the title knows they are part of something special. Outside The Box, the current placeholder, is not only building upon the club's history, but finding new ways to continue the story. And on Wednesday, August 17, another chapter was born...

published on 08/19/2011

Interview With Sean Guess

As a kid, Sean Guess held boxing matches in his basement and tried to emulate Rocky Balboa. Realizing he could never take a beating like Rocky, he turned his passion to filmmaking. Born in Orlando, Fl, Guess is making a name for himself along the Jersey Shore. His current project reflects his love of Asbury Park and of its musical heritage. NewJerseyStage.com spoke with Guess about the upcoming film, his background, and how he has dealt openly with his struggles of mental depression.

published on 08/07/2011

Andy Vaughan & the Driveline

Andy Vaughan & the Driveline are a band from Richmond, Virginia that's a blend of rockabilly, honky-tonk, and old fashioned country music. The relatively new band started towards the end of 2010 when Vaughan left the group Hamburger James that he fronted for four years. He lined up steel guitarist Tim Stanton, drummer Chip Farnsworth, lead guitarist Jerry Renshaw, and bass player Erik Kutzler and formed The Driveline. The band will be heading to the area for a pair of shows in support of their debut album, "Long Gone."

published on 08/07/2011

Lonnie, Anthony D'Amato, Israel Nash Gripka: A Solid Trio At The Saint

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - JULY 20, 2011) -- Mid-week shows at The Saint in Asbury Park are always the best in my opinion. These are the days when you really get a chance to see up-and-coming artists before the music press gets a hold of them, the hype machine starts spinning, hipsters latch on, and tickets become hard to get. It's also the kind of day when clubs get to present some of their most interesting acts. On Wednesday, July 20, the Saint presented a night that featured two up-and-coming artists along with the club's debut of a wild avant-garde performance act. While attendance was extremely light, I have a feeling all three of these acts will almost certainly play before much larger crowds when they return.

published on 07/23/2011

Interview with Joel Plaskett & The Emergency

Joel Plaskett is a Juno Award-winning artist from Nova Scotia whose band's set at the 2011 Southern Shore Music Festival in Millville was one of the highlights of the day. I was able to catch up with Joel after his set to talk about his band, Canadian music, opening for Paul McCartney, and building an audience in the States. His band will be returning to the area on Thursday, August 18th when they take part in the Philly Folk Festival in Schwenkesville, PA.

published on 07/11/2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Crankamacallit

Today I will build you a Crankamacallit / With pieces and parts from my carpenter's kit / With buttons and levers and yes, of course, CRANKS! / With switches and gears and an old baseball mitt.

published on 07/07/2011

Raise A Glass For The Big Man

(JUNE 18, 2011) -- Words fail me. They really do. I had just come home from a music festival in South Jersey when I checked my emails to find that Clarence had passed away. To me, Clarence Clemons WAS the E Street Band. His sax provided the sound that I fell in love with as a kid. Through that sax, the definition of the Asbury Park Sound was written.

published on 06/18/2011

Interview With Mike Black

Mike Black is one of the leading photographers along the Jersey Shore. He's been shooting the Asbury Park music scene for many, many years. But, in addition to taking photos, Mike's a performer as well. He's also got a background in radio and has had videos of his seen millions of times on Youtube and cable stations across the world. In other words, he's a pretty interesting guy. New Jersey Stage got a chance to talk to him and get to know the man behind the lens.

published on 06/08/2011

Interview With Michael Brett

Michael Brett will celebrate the release of his new album on Sunday, June 5 at Rosie's Cafe at the Atonement Lutheran Hall (308 First AVenue in Asbury Park, NJ). The show runs from 5:00pm to 8:00pm and will include performances by Matt Kay, we are., Emily Grove, along with Michael and special guests. Admission is $5. BYOB and some food to share.

published on 05/24/2011

REVIEW: God Of Carnage at George Street Playhouse

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- "God of Carnage," an outrageously funny comedy, closes out the season for George Street Playhouse. The play involves a meeting between parents of two 11-year-old boys that got into a fight where one was badly injured.

published on 05/14/2011

Interview with Colie Brice

Colie Brice has been a mainstay in the Asbury Park music scene for decades as a musician, industry professional, and record label owner. Unfortunately, few people really know much about his background. NewJerseyStage.com caught up with Colie to give people a better picture about the man and his role in New Jersey music.

published on 03/14/2011

Top Acoustic Artists Celebrated With 2011 JAMMIES

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - MARCH 12, 2011) -- George Wirth, Matt Kay, and Emily Grove each took home two awards in the 2nd Annual Jersey Acoustic Music Awards. Held at the Atonement Lutheran Church Hall, the night contained live performances by 19 artists in front of a standing room only crowd.

published on 03/12/2011

Interview with Pittsburgh rocker, Bill Toms

Bill Toms, the long-time Pittsburgh rocker and former member of Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers will return to Asbury Park for a show at The Saint on Saturday, March 19. New Jersey Stage caught up with Bill via email to talk about the show, his new record, and surviving as an independent artist.

published on 03/07/2011

Interview With Kimon On Returning To His Roots

Kimon & the Prophets won the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation battle of the bands and recently competed in Memphis, TN along with 110 other bands at the International Blues Challenge. Comprised of veteran musicians who have long since paid their dues in the NYC club circuit and beyond, the members of the Prophets have been in numerous bands with national releases. Early on Kimon (pronounced kéy-mon) survived a long stint as guitarist and co-writer with an over-the-top, edgy NYC garage band called The Wilsons, later joining Hoboken NJ favorites Fear of Falling as guitarist, there gaining much experience in making albums and performing via touring in Europe and the U.S. He went on to form Psonica, signing with the now defunct Navarre Entertainment. They released their national debut effort, but disbanded soon after due to internal disagreements, at which point, Kimon went on in the following five years to release 4 critically acclaimed solo albums, methodically cultivating his own brand of protest blues, while simultaneously developing an incendiary guitar technique.

published on 03/02/2011

An Interview With Dan Coleman, Rock On Radio

If it's Sunday night, it's time for Rock On Radio -- a weekly radio show broadcast on a mix of AM/FM and online radio stations throughout the world. Hosted by Danny Coleman, the show features interviews and live performances from artists in the New Jersey music scene broadcast and streamed from the studio at http://www.wifi1460am.com. NewJerseyStage broadcasts an encore recording of the show every Thursday (1pm and 8pm) and Friday (7pm) on our station, htttp://www.ThePenguinRocks.com -- we caught up with Danny to see how the show was going and how it's rejuvenated his own personal music career.

published on 02/27/2011

A Belated Birthday Celebration For John Lennon

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -- FEBRUARY 19, 2011) -- For the last few years, Glen Burtnik has been organizing shows to pay tribute to the work of the Beatles with friends of his from the music business. The shows went to great lengths to showcase individual albums exactly as the music was originally recorded -- note by note, instrument by instrument; often using dozens of performers to replicate the work of the Fab Four. On Saturday, February 19, Burtnik provided a different sort of tribute to the songs of John Lennon. The show, which ran through Lennon's work from the Beatles to his solo albums, was a bit looser, allowed for creative takes on the songs, and was even a little sloppy at times... in other words, it was probably exactly as John would have wanted it.

published on 02/20/2011

Review: The Subject Was Roses

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Timmy Cleary returns from war, but finds himself smack in the middle of the on-going battle between his mother and father in Frank Gilroy's The Subject Was Roses, a powerful family drama playing at George Street Playhouse now through March 6. Michael Mastro, who was part of the cast for George Street's productions of The Pillowman and The Sunshine Boys, returns as director. He leads an exceptional cast comprised of Chris Wendelken (Timmy Cleary), Lee Sellars (John Cleary), and Stephanie Zimbalist (Nettie Cleary).

published on 02/14/2011

Glen Burtnick Talks About John Lennon Tribute

When I heard Glen Burtnik had some free time while stuck in Alaska, I figured I'd ask him a few questions about his upcoming tribute to John Lennon. The show, "John Lennon - 70th Birthday Celebration," takes place at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ on Saturday, February 19. It's another in a wonderful series of tributes Glen has put together for the Beatles and the Who. If you haven't checked out one of these shows, you'll be amazed at how much fun they are. Glen brings in some of his friends from the music business, some local talent, and fills the stage with incredible musicians who offer you the chance to see music that not many of us were fortunate enough to see live the first go around.

published on 02/09/2011

Interview With Danny White

Danny White has long been a fixture on the Jersey Shore music scene. He's the owner of Beach Music Studios and will soon release his first record in many years. NewJerseyStage had the chance to talk with Danny recently about his career, the studio, and the New York Rangers!

published on 02/07/2011

Interview with Emily Grove

You've had quite an amazing year locally. It seems you've made the move from upcoming star to star very quickly, what are some of your best memories of the year? This has been a crazy year for me, with so many ups and downs and so much soul-searching and decision-making to do. My best memories are all the great people I've met (and keep meeting), and all the fun I've had playing with these people. Sonny from Espresso Joe's has supported me from Day One. Some awesome, talented people let me record with them on their music, and recording my own music has been very cool. But I'd probably hold off on that "star" label just yet, ha ha.

published on 01/06/2011

Three Miles to Home (Or how the government failed me)

People get abandoned and ignored by the government all of the time. I've always known this, but on the day after Christmas I became one of the abandoned and ignored...

published on 12/30/2010

My Completely Meaningless Top 20 Records of 2010 List

Personally, I thought 2010 was an incredible year for music - and especially local (NJ) music as this list implies. Unlike many people, I no longer do lists of national and local artists. Since my online radio station (ThePenguinRocks.com) plays the locals alongside national artists I felt this list should treat them the same as well.

published on 12/22/2010

CD REVIEW: "Strange Situation" by Jon Caspi

The latest release by Jon Caspi finds the Jersey artist veering in a slightly new direction. After two solid power-pop releases and a brilliant "rock novel", the new record leans more towards a faster rock/punk feel. Caspi has again penned a couple great songs although what I like most about this record took me quite a while to figure out.

published on 12/17/2010

Joe Harvard Talks About The Long Weekend

The Long Weekend has been making Mondays fun for over two years now. I had the chance to talk with host Joe Harvard about the show just after its second anniversary...

published on 12/14/2010

Interview with Nicole Lipman, The Mastermind Behind Hey Cole Presents

Nicole Lipman is one of the hardest working people in the tri-state music business. She's also been one of the most successful. I recently got the chance to speak with her about her company, her artists, and the services she provides to her clients.

published on 12/13/2010

Interview with Jon Caspi on his new record, new band - The First Gun

I had the chance to speak with Jon Caspi recently about his new record (and new band) - The First Gun. It's a bit of a departure from his usual sound - more punk based. Here's what he had to say...

published on 12/07/2010

Albie Monterrosa Talks About Love At The Bodega

New Jersey Stage talks with Albie Monterrosa of deSol about his new band, Love At The Bodega. Find out who's in the new band, what their music sounds like and how it differs from deSol, and whether or not deSol will ever get back together again...

published on 12/02/2010

Kat & Me -- Kindred Spirits

People who share the same passion have a tendency to run into each other somewhere down the line. I can't remember where or when I first met Kat (Kathleen Falcey), but I think we were bound to meet since we both share a passion for music.

published on 11/26/2010

America Votes For Change... Again

"We're going to listen to what the American People want." Somehow I imagine we are going to hear that a lot in the next few days. Of course, the politicians, pundits, and reporters are once again largely missing the overall message; the truth is that the Republicans won an awful lot of election races yesterday but the only "mandate for change" comes when people make the mistake of treating politics as sports.

published on 11/03/2010

Songwriters By The Sea - October 30, 2010

"We were going to play a lot longer tonight, but Jesse's got great stories," joked Joe Rapolla, who along with Joe D'Urso hosted another brilliant "Songwriters at the Sea" show October 30 at the Strand Theater in Lakewood, NJ.

published on 11/01/2010

CD REVIEW: "Down Wires" by Anthony D'Amato

One of the greatest compliments I can give an artist is to say that I believe they carry the spirit of John Lennon in their work. Anthony D'Amato carries that spirit. He's got that Lennonistic ability to be daring musically through different styles while offering provocative and insightful lyrics that can inspire or make one truly think. He's also got John's ability to tear down the walls and strip everything down to its bare skeleton revealing one's true essence, warts and all. On Anthony's latest release, "Down Wires", the young songwriter continues his progression as one of the most impressive talents of his generation. It's a journey that I am thoroughly enjoying. One reason why I listen to so much new music is because there is something magical about discovering artists while they are just beginning to hit their creative stride. Anthony had a coming out party with his last release and "Down Wires" shows he's just getting started.

published on 10/08/2010

Interview with George Wirth

George Wirth is one of the area's best songwriters. With vivid descriptions, his songs come to life with characters that live and breathe in ways few songwriters can match. His first record, "Lights of Brigantine" was one of the best records I've heard in the past decade. His latest disc, "The Last Good Kiss", was released over the summer and is just as good. I had the chance to interview George via email recently to talk about his career, his music, and Asbury Park.

published on 10/07/2010

CD REVIEW: Ben Arnold -- "Simplify" (3 ½ Stars)

Ben Arnold's latest solo album, "Simplify," reminds me of what you might have experienced during an early concert by Billy Joel when he was still experimenting with one musical style after another. Arnold weaves from New Orleans-based rock and roll to smoky piano-bar ballads to upbeat pop numbers with ease. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable and extremely catchy record.

published on 09/21/2010

CD REVIEW: U.S. Rails (4 Stars)

U.S. Rails is the new name for the former Philadelphia-based band 4 Way Street. Long-time fans will not be disappointed in the direction of the band as the debut by U.S. Rails may be even stronger than the lone record released by 4 Way Street. The "supergroup" of sorts continues to include Ben Arnold, Scott Bricklin, Joseph Parsons, and Matt Muir and now adds Tom Gilliam to replace Jim Boggia. The pairing brings together a mix of great songwriters who all have very distinct vocal styles that compliment each other. The end result is a largely brilliant followup record that is sure to please long-time fans and make many new ones.

published on 09/21/2010

CD REVIEW: The Amboys - "Everything Between The Moon & The Sun" (3 1/2 stars)

The Amboys have been one of my favorite New Jersey-based bands ever since they first started kicking around the Asbury Park area a year ago. Their debut record, "Everything Between The Moon & The Sun" provides brilliant country-infused garage rock and roll that reminds me of Johnny Cash waking up on the wrong side of the bed after an all night binge, taking some speed, and heading out to the local punk rock bar to jam with whoever was on stage. It's got a true kick ass spirit to it.

published on 09/21/2010

The Brunswick Beatles Rock The State Theatre

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -- SEPTEMBER 18, 2010) -- "I would like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we've passed the audition", said Bob Burger, echoing the words of John Lennon as Glen Burtnik & Friends closed out a set that saw the band cover the American versions of "Help!", "Rubber Soul", and "Let It Be" -- complete and note for note as originally recorded while images and videos of The Beatles played in the background.

published on 09/20/2010

The Sun Doesn't Always Shine In Asbury Park

(ASBURY PARK, NJ -- SEPTEMBER 5, 2010) -- As the summer came to a close, more than twenty musicians performed during the afternoon on stages set upon the Asbury Park boardwalk. These artists were loosely part of the Paramount Sessions, a night deemed a celebration of the Asbury Park music scene that featured three artists at the Paramount Theatre followed by an after-party at The Stone Pony. I use the term loosely because none of the twenty-odd musicians were listed on the show posters nor in the press release; in fact, they were not even listed in the information provided on the show's Facebook page. In essence, while 900 people packed the Paramount that night, the artists performing during the day were on their own when it came to promotion and, sadly, many wound up performing largely in front of empty chairs and a dozen folks or so.

published on 09/20/2010

Hundreds Pack Paramount & Stone Pony As Locals Take Center Stage

(ASBURY PARK, NJ -- SEPTEMBER 5, 2010) --There may not have been a music festival in Asbury Park this summer, but the local music scene was still able to make waves. Over 900 people packed the Paramount Theatre on September 5th to close out the summer with a free show featuring a trio of local acts (Jerzy Jung, Outside The Box, and Rick Barry) and several guest stars hosted by John Pfeiffer of The Aquarian. Afterwards, most of the crowd headed over to The Stone Pony for another free show, this time featuring The Sunday Blues. By all accounts, the night called The Paramount Sessions, was a smashing success.

published on 09/17/2010

Asbury Park Music Scene Loses One Of Its Pioneers

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) - The Asbury Park music scene, which lost two of its biggest fans earlier in the year, recently lost one of its founders. Larry "The Great" Gadsby, a member of The Jaywalkers -- one of the scene’s most popular bands in the 1960’s -- and one of the names honored on the Sound of Asbury Park memorial plaque, passed away.

published on 09/13/2010

Celebration of Life - Susan Lisle

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Asbury Park Music Scene lost another member of its community in July when Susan Lisle passed away at 61. Susan was truly one of the strongest supporters of the local scene and could often be seen throughout the clubs in the area. Unfortunately, in the end, cancer finally got the best of her.

published on 08/10/2010

Interview with Brenda Wirth about "Rosie's Cafe"

Rosie's Cafe brings great singer-songwriters to the area in the tradition of house concerts. The monthly show is produced and run by Brenda Wirth. We spoke with Brenda recently about how the series got started, her favorite shows, and who she would love to see be part of a future production.

published on 07/27/2010

Recap of Sunday at XPoNential Festival 2010

From the first chords of The Great Unknown to the final notes from Robert Randolph and The Family Band, the 2010 XPoNential Music Festival provided an incredible day of music in Camden. This was my first time seeing a show in this city in many, many years and I couldnt stop thinking about how beautiful the waterfront area is and how perfect it was for a music festival. Between the amazing scenery and XPNs excellent track record in spotlighting some of the best indie artists around, this is definitely one of the best festivals in the state.

published on 07/20/2010

The XPoNential Music Festival 2010: Five Six Can't Miss Acts

One of the best music festivals of the summer takes place July 16-18 in Wiggins Park along the Camden Waterfront area. Known as the XPoNential Music Festival, it has been held annually in Camden by the Philadelphia radio station WXPN for several years now, ever since moving across the river from its original home. It may seem a bit odd for a Philadelphia radio station to hold a festival in New Jersey, but WXPN is far from just a Philadelphia station. In fact, you can easily hear WXPN or one of its affiliates in parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland making it one of the most powerful stations along the east coast.

published on 07/12/2010

The Hidden Gem of Asbury Park

Of all the musical landmarks that once existed in Asbury Park, the most important of all is still standing; a tiny club that fostered the talents of Bruce Springsteen and the band mates that would comprise the original E Street Band. According to legend, Springsteen got his big break at The Stone Pony, but locals know that Bruce and his friends actually came of age playing at The Upstage Club- a short-lived venue on Cookman Avenue that may be as important to American music history as The Cavern is to Britain.

published on 07/12/2010

Jersey Girl Is The Real Deal

You may know Marisa Petroro from her work on "Deal or No Deal", the popular television game show, but it might not be long before her film acting career trumps that show on her resume. In fact, her upcoming film Everybody Wants To Be Italian just might be the role to take this former beauty queen from Elizabeth, New Jersey to the top. Ironically, the film will be released around the same time that Marisa will be honored as "Italian-American Woman of the Year" by The Center for Italian and Italian-American Culture. The honor comes at a black tie gala event at The Villa in Mountain Lakes, NJ on September 22nd.

published on 09/01/2007

L.P. Rocks! Why Isn't She FAMOUS?

One look at the van's odometer and you realize just how hard L.P. and her band work. They drive that van from one side of the country to the other; over and over again. They practically live out of it, and just might from time to time. For a touring band, a good van means everything. And L.P. certainly pushes their van to the limit. Just as she does with her music.

published on 08/01/2005

Low Flying Jets

Low Flying Jets have been tearing up the New York City clubs for over two years now. Based in Jersey City, the band has been successful in bridging the gap between NYC band and Jersey band by holding steady gigs in New Brunswick and Asbury Park as well.

published on 11/01/2004

Lisa Bouchelle's Passion Makes Things Perfect

Hal was right. That's what I told Lisa Bouchelle after seeing her live for the first time. Hal (Selzer) started telling me about Lisa several months ago, but I finally got the chance to see her when she was part of a bill at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.

published on 09/01/2004

Lanky

It may not rank up there with Bob Dylan going electric at the Newport Jazz Festival, but watching Lanky grab hold of a Telecaster with the backing of a full band does make a live set different from his solo shows.

published on 04/01/2005

The Man Of Many Voices

Kevin Pollak has captured the attention of audiences worldwide with his range of both dramatic and comedic roles. Over the past two decades, he has appeared in over fifty films, as well as countless television projects, and has established himself as one of the few stand-up comedians to have a successful dramatic film career. In addition to his acting talents, he has also proven himself as both a writer and producer. He will be performing his stand-up act at the Rahway High School (1012 Madison Avenue) in Rahway on May 12th.

published on 05/01/2007

New Jersey's Renaissance Man

As someone who recently went to a college reunion, I must say I pity the people who have to run into Kenneth Del Vecchio when they return to campus. This guy has done more in his thirties than most people could ever dream of doing in their entire lives. He's been a best-selling author, a successful attorney known as the expert on criminal law, won dozens of bench-press competitions, attended parties with people like Steven Spielberg and Jon Voight, created the Hoboken International Film Festival, and has acted, directed, written, and produced five feature films. How's that for small talk over drinks at a reunion?

published on 11/01/2007

Better Late Than Never!

Some things are definitely worth the wait. That's what I thought when I first listened to Ken Shane's debut CD, "South Ridgeway Avenue". The record, which was released in 2003, is simply a remarkable ode to spending summers growing up in Atlantic City. That once proud city now fallen in decay serves as a wonderful metaphor for loss of innocence and days gone by. With a voice that evokes memories of Warren Zevon and songwriting that has been compared to Jackson Browne, the record may have taken Shane decades to make but it's a story that was worth the wait. Ken may have always lived in North Jersey but his heart clearly remains with the summers he spent along the Shore. His lyrics evoke comparisons to Bruce Springsteen largely because both artists grew up around the same time and both fell in love with seashore towns on the decline.

published on 07/01/2004

When Johnny A Comes To Town

Johnny A may well be on his way to a having a household name, the question is which will get him there first? His brilliant instrumental songs which show off his mastery of the guitar or the custom made Gibson guitar that's named after him.

published on 08/01/2004

Do Not Be Afraid To Rock (The Jon Caspi Credo)

One of the questions we've been getting the most at the magazine is "who's this Jon Caspi guy and where did he come from." Well, the truth is that Jon is actually a veteran of the Jersey Shore music scene through bands like Boss Gremlin and Bouncing Off Bob. The difference is that he's a little bit older, hopefully a little bit wiser, and booking shows under his own name now. But one thing's for sure - he's not afraid to rock.

published on 04/01/2005

Justina Makes Her Move

It didn't take Justina long to realize that she was meant to be on stage. She was finally coaxed on stage by her father one night at "Van Gogh's Ear" in Union and played her first three songs live. Immediately afterwards, she couldn't wait to be back on stage.

published on 06/01/2005

The Next Billy Bragg

Rick Barry may be a man without a home, but he's a man with a vision. The 23-year-old poet turned singer-songwriter is about to release his long awaited debut record. The recordings on the CD issue may very well be the signal that the next great New Jersey songwriter has emerged. Only don't call this guy the next Bob Dylan, he's got too much Billy Bragg in him for that. He's an artist that doesn't give a fuck what people think. In other words, he's the real deal...

published on 07/01/2005

Red Wanting Blue: Ohio's Indie King

Every now and then you see a band that reminds you just how crappy radio has become. You'll be listening to the singer on stage and you'll wonder why you haven't heard of them before. Each song sounds better than anything played on your favorite station that day, yet you have know idea who they are until you ask the bartender or person next to you. Red Wanting Blue is one of those kinds of bands.

published on 03/01/2005

Country Music's Rising Star Comes to Town

Phil Vassar's father gave him two pieces of advice for life. He told him, don't go into the restaurant business and don't get into the music business. So, being a good son, Phil did both.

published on 02/01/2005

White Boy With Soul

The crowd always got a little quieter and paid more attention to the stage every time they heard Phil Bensen's voice project from the Stone Pony's stage. He was a regular at the club's open mic night and he never failed to disappoint. Mixing originals with classics from Marvin Gaye and the Tempations, Bensen created quite a stir with a booming, Motown-influenced voice. It was something the Jersey Shore hadn't heard in a while.

published on 06/01/2005

The Starchild Continues To Dream New Dreams

He's known as The Starchild to millions of rock and roll fans around the world. With makeup covering up his face, Paul Stanley and his bandmates in KISS became one of the most popular rock bands on the planet, but before he was a rock star he was a budding young artist. Years later, he's now becoming known for his paintbrush as much as his axe.

published on 02/01/2007

Rewriting History...

We call it rewriting history because New Jersey's true music heritage has been kept in the dark for so long. That's all about to change with the creation of the New Jersey Music Hall of Fame. The museum was officially announced on May 16th at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.

published on 06/01/2005

All Is Calm...
On New Year's Day

Bono was right after all. Things really are quiet on New Year's Day - especially when you're sitting in a room that's freezing because it's missing a wall and there's no heat or electric service.

published on 01/01/2006

New Blood Revival: Jersey's Next Great Hope

New Jersey has had a rather impressive history of being the home for great rock and roll artists. Names like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi instantly come to mind, but it's been a while since the Garden State has sent someone beyond our borders and watched them get embraced by the rest of the world.

published on 09/01/2004

The Search For John Gissing

Don't feel bad if you've never heard of The Search for John Gissing. The new DVD by Mike Binder (Reign Over Me, The Upside of Anger) made the film festival rounds six years ago, but never wound up with a distribution deal even though the film featured a stellar cast including Alan Rickman, Janeane Garafalo, Juliet Stevenson, Frank Harper, and Mike Binder. This despite the fact that the film is extremely funny and is probably funnier than about 75% of the films released in the last decade.

published on 10/01/2007

Mieka Pauley

Mieka Pauley is a performer from the Boston area that is very quickly generating a buzz in the music industry.

published on 11/01/2004

So Funny It's Scary

When we checked out the performers for this year's Sketchfest, one group caught our eye immediately - Meat. Comprised of Elizabeth Ellis, Reggan Holland, Becky Poole and Livia Scott, these four women write extremely interesting and often hilarious sketches that are on the dark side. How dark? Well, their show at the festival is named "Camp Blood" - that should give you an idea. I had a chance to speak with Livia Scott about the group, her career, and what she loves about sketch comedy.

published on 06/01/2007

Nobody can really explain rock 'n roll... except for Maybe Pete

If New Jersey's first rock and roll couple is BruceSpringsteen and Patti Scialfa then next in line must be Frankie and Kelly McGrath of the North Jersey based band Maybe Pete. The two met in high school and are now leading one of the most exciting bands in the local scene.

published on 07/01/2004

Matt Keating Is Doomed to Obscurity (Graham Parker told him so)

Matt Keating is one of those guys who rarely makes the trek from New York City over to the Jersey side unless he's got something new to support; so it probably won't come as a surprise to find out that he will indeed be bringing copies of his upcoming disc to his show at the Saint in Asbury Park on April 12th.

published on 04/01/2005

Does Your Church Have A Liquor License?

(KEYPORT, NJ - DECEMBER 6, 2008) Review of Jon Caspi's CD Release Party for "Eddie Knows!" at Trinity, Keyport, NJ. There's definitely something special about seeing Jon Caspi perform in Keyport, his adopted hometown. He has a huge base of fans there and they all come out for his shows knowing every word to every song - even on nights like this one where Caspi is celebrating the release of a new CD. Caspi chose Trinity, a former Church converted into an upscale restaurant/night club, as the site for the party this time around.

published on 12/06/2008

Republic: The Revolution Starts Now

"Make sure you tell them that this was the women's bathroom," yelled Brian Saint, of the band Republic, as we shot the picture found on the cover. I'm not sure exactly why he wanted that information to be known, but you can tell him that you read it here.

published on 03/01/2005

Interview with Richard Jeni

Hot off the heels of his 3rd HBO Special "A Big Steaming Pile of Me," award winning comedian Richard Jeni will be performing in the New Jersey area in May and June.

published on 05/01/2005

Hobo Poetry, Sword Swallowers, Live Music and Beautiful Women

Sometimes in order to do something different you have to dig into the past and that's exactly what the Yard Dogs Road Show is all about. Born from the old saloon vaudeville shows that toured the Wild West in the late 1800s, the show combines the elements of saloon vaudeville and noir burlesque. In other words - anything goes.

published on 04/01/2005

Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers Go Old School

"I think of myself like Seabiscuit, an underdog." So begins the bio of songwriter Stephen Kellogg who will be releasing his fifth and sixth records on Valentine's Day (well, actually midnight on Valentine's Day or February 15th if you want to be exact). Kellogg and his band will be making a stop at the Saint in Asbury Park on February 16th along with two other great artists - Virginia Coalition and Matt Wertz.

published on 02/01/2005

What About Frank?

What About Frank? is one of the hottest bands along the Jersey Shore these days. In October, they took home the Asbury Music Award for Top Indie Rock Band and were nominated for a bunch of other awards including Top Live Act (Nick Villapiano, the bassist for the band also took home the Top Bassist Award) but what has people jumping the most is the band's intense live show.

published on 11/01/2004

The Mayhem Poets Prove Art Is smart business

True to their name, the Mayhem Poets are about to shake up the poetry world. The poetry group based out of Jersey City recently won the Ideawins.com Ultimate Challenge for the best small business idea in America sponsored by Microsoft.

published on 04/01/2007

The Pierces Will Steal Your Heart

Imagine if Simon and Garfunkle were a couple of really hot, young, talented women with Southern accents that melted you every time they opened their mouth...

published on 01/01/2005

Andy Warhol Called... Your 15 Minutes of Fame are Up

Recently a local writer wrote about how the web has taken away the thrill of discovering what was going to be played at a Bruce Springsteen show. I don't normally comment on other people's work, but I just found the idea behind this article so ridiculous that it deserved comment.

published on 04/08/2009

Rick Barry / Hammel On Trial / Tara Elliott & the Red Velvets

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - February 24, 2009) - Since I had seen Hammel on Trial several times before, I knew tonight was going to be an interesting show, but I wasn't expecting Tara Elliott and the Red Velvets to be so good. It's a shame that the crowd had thinned out a bit before Tara's band closed out the night, because they missed a truly awesome performance.

published on 03/08/2009

Night in Progress First Anniversary

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - February 11, 2009) -- It's hard to believe that Rick Barry has been hosting the "Night In Progress" shows for an entire year. What started out as a dare from Saint owner Scott Stamper, has become one of the best nights of music in the area and remains as fresh today as it was the day the show made its debut.

published on 03/08/2009

Just Another Tuesday...

(ASBURY PARK -- FEBRUARY 10, 2008) -- Tuesday nights at the Saint has got to be my favorite day of the week. You never really know what will be scheduled, but it's always a night for music fans. It might be a great touring band that doesn't quite have the following for a weekend spot; or an up-and-coming local act that has been flying under the radar; it might be an acoustic show, experimental, or even heavy metal; but it's always something cool. Tuesday nights may get even better if Hey Cole starts booking on a regular basis as the talent base has a chance to go way, way up. And last night was a perfect example of that. Placed in a combination listening room / regular club setting, the show featured Allie Moss, George Wirth, Matt Jones, and Alex Brumel and Janel Elizabeth.

published on 02/11/2009

Owning The Moon

Did you ever gaze up at the moon at night wondering what it would be like to live there? Writers like H G Wells and Jules Verne filled imaginations with tales from space, and science fiction movies added to the adventure. In 1969, the world appeared to stand still as Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon and made the impossible possible. Well, you may never have the chance to go during your lifetime, but you still can proudly own your own piece of the moon thanks to The Lunar Embassy.

published on 08/01/2001

Close Enough For Rock-n-Roll

I arrived at the Saint sometime around 9:15 or so. Outside the building was Kelly McGrath of Maybe Pete. She was on the cell phone and looked rather nervous. I asked her what time the band was supposed to go on and she said "9:30... but Frankie's not here yet." And so began a rather tenuous twenty minutes for the band as they got ready for the CD release of Between the City and the Stratosphere.

published on 02/12/2005

Dramarama Returns To Asbury Park for the First Time Since Breaking Up at the Stone Pony

Nearly 10 years ago, Dramarama played their final show as a band at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Last Saturday night (May 1st), the band finally returned to the city as the surprise guest headliners for the Upstage Magazine benefit show at the Wonder Bar. Even though the band had played a show the night before, Dramarama gave the crowd a full 21-song set that went from 1:15am until 3:30am.

published on 05/06/2004

Tearing Down The Upstage Club

It was a bittersweet day for the history of rock and roll music as musicians and music fans paid their last respect to the Upstage Club today. The short-lived, but greatly remembered place on top of the old Thom McCann building on Cookman is slated to be gutted for the arrival of a new condo building.

published on 12/18/2005

Spotlight on Steve Mittleman

He's got one of the most recognizable faces in the business thanks to roles in major feature films like Roxanne and Radio Days, appearances on late night talk shows from David Letterman to the Tonight Show (hosted by both Jay Leno and Johnny Carson) and spots in over 50 commercials. He's comedian Steve Mittleman and he'll be coming to Catch A Rising Star in Princeton.

published on 08/01/2004

GOODWILL: THE FLIGHT OF EMILIO CARRANZA

Robert A. Emmons Jr., associate director of the Honors College at Rutgers-Camden, directed and produced the film, "Goodwill: The Flight of Emilio Carranza," about Carranza's goodwill trip between New York City and Mexico City, which returned the favor of Charles Lindbergh's famed nonstop flight to Mexico City the year before. The film explores Carranza's life as "Mexico's Charles Lindbergh," and his death in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey on July 12, 1928.

published on 07/01/2007

Recap of "A Few Uneven Rhymes" show at the Strand Theater

(FEBRUARY 7, 2009 -- LAKEWOOD, NJ) -- Jeff Raspe of 90.5 The Night had the unfortunate job of getting the night off to a rather somber note as he announced that a death in the family had canceled the appearance of Frankenstein 3000, who were scheduled to open the show. The show, which included several of the artists who donated tracks to the recent CD, "A Few Uneven Rhymes: A Tribute to Winter Hours" took place inside an art gallery at the Strand Theatre in Lakewood, the room provided an amazingly intimate setting for a night of great music.

published on 02/09/2009

Christian Beach CD Release Party

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - APRIL 10, 2009) -- I love it when the night starts off with a nice surprise. In this case, it was a band from Dallas called The O's who kicked things off with a really strong set. The duo used guitars, banjo, and a single drum and kick-pedal to give off a sound that had the flavor of country-rock, but was much more alternative sounding than traditional country sounding. Their live set was so strong that you hardly noticed it was just a duo.

published on 04/21/2009

Songwriters By The Sea - March 2009

(LAKEWOOD, NJ -- March 27, 2009) -- Songwriters By The Sea took a big leap from America's Cup in Asbury Park to the Strand Theatre in Lakewood. Held inside the Theatre's art gallery area, the show featured Willie Nile, Marah, April Smith, and hosts Joe D'Urso and Joe Rapolla.

published on 04/16/2009

Seems Like Old Times

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - April 6, 2009) -- When the show was announced on April 1st, many people probably thought it was just an April's Fools joke, but it was no joke. Days Awake not only got back together for one night, but showed why they were the Jersey Shore's top live act for several years. Even without practice, the band moved so effortlessly through their set it was as if they had never left.

published on 04/08/2009

The Torch Has Been Passed to Nicole Atkins

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - March 20, 2009) - The Stone Pony was the site of another special rock and roll evening on Friday night when Butch Walker invited a special guest on stage. For decades, the thought of a special guest at The Pony meant Bruce Springsteen was in the house, but tonight was different. Tonight was the passing of the torch to a new generation of Asbury Park heroes and the leader is Nicole Atkins.

published on 03/23/2009

The Debate over the Wave Gathering Festival

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - JUNE 19-21, 2009) - The fourth annual Wave Gathering music festival took place in Asbury Park during one of the wettest Junes in memory. The festival got off to a good start on Friday night thanks to a break in the weather, but had to battle the elements through most of the weekend. The rain definitely kept some people away, but couldn't stop another excellent festival from taking place. In many ways, this year's festival was better than any of the previous years.

published on 06/25/2009

He Was My Mickey Mantle

On Tuesday, June 23, 2009, Brian Leetch officially got word that he would be entering the Hockey Hall of Fame. For many New York Rangers fans like myself, Leetch was the greatest homegrown player we had ever seen on Broadway. My generation was too young to remember Eddie Giacomin or Rod Gilbert; we had suffered through an endless parade of stars who gave us some great memories but whose best days were behind them (Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky) and others who were on their last legs (Guy LaFleur, Marcel Dionne); and we grew up as a dynasty was built in Long Island heard the taunts of "1940, 1940" throughout the years.

published on 06/25/2009

Interview with Gordon Brown about The 2009 Wave Gathering Festival

We caught up with Gordon Brown of All Hour Entertainment Group to talk about the festival, which he helped start four years ago along with Scott Stamper of The Saint.

published on 06/10/2009

Money Can't Buy You Love...

The Wave Gathering Festival coming back to Asbury Park this June 19-21 is excellent news! This festival, which has brought hundreds of bands and singer-songwriters to Asbury Park, has improved every year and has added a few new wrinkles (including a free streetfair one day) that should help this year be great as well. A quick look at the bigger names sponsoring the festival is excellent news too. Or so I thought...

published on 06/02/2009

Recap of Wave Festival 2009

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Back in the day, I used to judge how good Dramarama shows were by how much my body hurt the next night. I think I'm going to start judging Wave Festivals that way as well. In this case, my body really, really hurt for two days after the festival, which meant I had a pretty good time! The Wave Festival has been a favorite of mine since it made its debut four years ago. Each year seems to get better and better. I remember thinking last year that the festival had arrived when people still hung out despite an afternoon of rain... well, this year people hung out in spite of rain throughout Saturday and Sunday. An impressive feat if you ask me.

published on 06/26/2009

Maybe Pete Kicks Off Residency at The Saint in Asbury Park

(ASBURY PARK, NJ JULY 8, 2009) "Cheap beer is good," said Frankie McGrath of the band Maybe Pete. "So keep drinking it."

published on 07/08/2009

Review of Steel Mill "All Man The Guns For America"

In some far off parallel world, Bruce Springsteen signed a record contract with Bill Graham for his band Steel Mill. Instead of saxophones, the sound was defined by soaring guitar licks, thundering drums, and pounding bass and the E Street Band was never formed. Steel Mill took their legions of fans in New Jersey and Virginia and became one of the major rock bands in the country playing music festival after festival. And judging by the tunes found on Steel Mill's second release, "All Man The Guns For America", that might not have been such a bad thing.

published on 08/16/2009

John Luraschi, Jersey Shore Rocker, Loses Battle To Cancer

The history of Jersey Shore rock and roll would be incomplete without the name John Luraschi. One of the "Creators of SOAP (sounds of Asbury Park)", Luraschi passed away on August 12, 2009 after a long battle with cancer.

published on 08/13/2009

Turning A Curse Into A Blessing

Sometimes karma can play strange games with us. Nik Everett, a Delaware-based singer-songwriter was attending his cousin's funeral when he met Christina Eliopoulos, a filmmaker working on a documentary about Asbury Park. As it turns out, Nik's cousin who loved Asbury Park was one of the early supporters of the film The two struck up a conversation and the next thing you know, he's back in Asbury Park and playing a significant role in creating the soundtrack for Christina's film, "Greetings From Asbury Park".

published on 08/10/2009

Maybe Pete Will Find Their Way Somehow...

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - AUGUST 5, 2009) - "Sorry if I ever let you down when you needed me to be your man. I was out there playing in a rock n roll band..."

published on 08/09/2009

Interview with Mick Chorba of The Successful Failures

Mick Chorbo is probably best known as the man behind The Dipsomaniacs, one of New Jersey's best and sadly overlooked bands. Currently, he spends most of his time with the band, The Successful Failures, who will be releasing a new CD out in a few months. We caught up with Mick through an email interview to talk about his bands, the upcoming record, and his record company - Face Down Records.

published on 07/21/2009

CD REVIEW: Shades Of The Prison House by Anthony D'Amato

I once read that no matter how old we are we will always write with the point of view that we had when we were 25. If that's true then Anthony D'Amato will have a long and amazing career because he gets the world better now than most people will ever know and he's not even close to 25 yet.

published on 09/02/2009

Status Green:
On To The Next Goal

Status Green has not only been one of the most popular bands along the Jersey Shore for several years, but they one of the hardest working bands as well. Their hard work definitely paid off this summer when the band landed great shows at the PNC Bank Arts Center, Jones Beach, the Warped Tour in Camden, and at the Florida Music Festival. It's always great to see local acts getting a taste of success, but sometimes the good stuff gets lost in the shuffle so I contacted Lou Montessano to hear his take on the band's recent successes and to see if there was anything else under the radar or in the future that people should know about...

published on 08/31/2009

Review of Night In Progress - August 2009

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- "This will be our last Night In Progress for a while," explained Rick Barry, the host of the popular monthly series at The Saint in Asbury Park. "Some people don't know this, but I was recently diagnosed with laziness and can't come up with new songs each month."

published on 08/24/2009

The End of The Woods: An Interview with Chris Batten

On Friday, October 23rd, Chris Batten and The Woods will play their final gig at Maxwell's in Hoboken. The band has been one of my favorite local acts over the past five years, so I was glad to get the chance to talk with Chris about the situation and what's in store for the future. The show, which also includes Tris McCall and Val Emmich, takes place during the CMJ Music Festival.

published on 10/21/2009

He's No Ordinary Joe

There's a classic song from the 80s where the artist laments about being "big in Japan." It's normally a bit of a joke among artists to say that you're bigger in Europe, but in some cases it's true. Take Joe D'Urso, for example, he's hardly a household name in the tri-state area, but he's got a major following in places like Italy and the UK.

published on 07/01/2004

For Jodelle The Adventure Is Only Beginning

Virtually every singer-songwriter from New Jersey has been compared to Bruce Springsteen at one time or another. That's a pretty unfair comparison but it's not even close to the unjust world female musicians like Jodelle face every day. Imagine being a female musician that plays piano?

published on 05/01/2005

The Many Faces of Jessi Rand

Many people think you have to live in L.A. or New York City to make it as an actress. The truth is that one of Hollywood's brightest stars (Kirsten Dunst) grew up along the Jersey Shore, and if Jessi Rand has her wish she'll be shining along Kirsten someday soon.

published on 01/01/2005

Safe In Sound

Jim Boggia has been a staple of the Philadelphia music scene for nearly a decade, but the release of his latest CD, "Safe In Sound", should take him above and beyond the local region.

published on 06/01/2005

Man's Best Friend Comes To New Jersey

Jeremy Crisi is a cartoonist who grew up in Ocean County and is moving back to the Shore after living in Northeastern Pennsylvania for a while. His strip "Man's Best Friend" was published weekly in "The Weekender" over there. With any luck you'll be seeing it in a Jersey paper sometime soon. Hell, we'd probably publish it if we had any money to offer the guy but we're doing the next best thing - letting you know about him.

published on 06/01/2006

America's Forgotten Children

Inspiration for Jeffrey Musillo's first book came after he and some friends were driving around East Orange at three in the morning looking for food after a night of partying. As he stared at the gloomy imagery all around him, his mind filled with questions about the city's poverty, its vulnerability, and how it had arrived at this state. Those questions ultimately led to "America's Forgotten Children, Vol 1: East Orange, NJ" which was published by AuthorHouse and released under the pen name MuZ.

published on 11/01/2007

Grace In Wonderland

Wonderland must truly exist because Grace Slick went through the rabbit hole as a child and never left. The former lead singer of Jefferson Airplane (and later Jefferson Starship and then just Starship), Slick traded in her microphone for a paintbrush in 1989 and hasn't looked back. Her paintings largely consist of images of her contemporaries from the 60s like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jerry Garcia. But Wonderland images play a major role as well.

published on 10/01/2006

Frank Thewes Triumphs With Peripheral Division

Singer-songwriter Frank Thewes is the host of Triumph Brewery's Singer-Songwriter Showcase every Thursday in Princeton and on the second Wednesday of the month at Triumph's New Hope club. The Central Jersey native and Rutgers graduate has just released a wonderful record called Peripheral Division that blends together a myriad of musical styles over intelligent lyrics.

published on 06/01/2006

Erin Wants To See You Dance

When Erin McKeown sees the audience dancing, she knows that she's made a connection with them. The singer-songwriter says she feels more like a musician when people dance. That may be something you'd expect to hear from the next Madonna wannabee, but Erin's music is far from the usual sounds heard in a dance club. That and the fact that most people don't seem to dance at rock shows anymore.

published on 07/01/2005

DL: No Apologies Needed

Darryl Lynn D. L. Hughley will be coming through our area in October to promote his new HBO special and let everyone know that hes the new host of HBOs Def Comedy Jam premiering later this fall. Hes also excited about sharing his views on the world - a place he apparently thinks is severely messed up.

published on 10/01/2007

Dennis Zimmer Is Singing A different song

There's something interesting going on in the world of New Jersey cover bands. Several of the most popular groups are taking a break from performing Bon Jovi classics in front of their usual throngs of fans. Instead, they're finding themselves in clubs where a couple dozen people could be called a good night. In other words, they're taking a stab at the original music scene.

published on 01/01/2005

Rutgers Alumnus Releases Debut Novel

When One Man Dies is the debut novel from David White, a New Jersey native who teaches 8th Grade English at the Christopher Columbus Middle School in Clifton New Jersey. The Rutgers University alumnus (class of 2001) with a M.A. in Teaching from Montclair State University has been steadily working his way up the ranks of the detective story world and appears ready to have his character Jackson Donne stand alongside such legendary literary figures as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.

published on 10/01/2007

An Interview with Dave Mac, host of Box of Blues on WBJB

An interview with Dave Mac

published on 10/01/2004

Inside The Promised Land

Daniel Wolff says his friends thought he was crazy to write a book about Asbury Park. They didn't think the town was worthy of such treatment. Oh sure, maybe the locals might be interested in buying the book but nobody else would care. They saw it as a bad career move. Wolff saw something different.

published on 10/01/2005

Fogler Has Balls Of Fury

Back in college, Dan Fogler was told that he was a character actor and character actors don't really start working until their mid thirties. Thankfully, for him, things got going a little sooner.

published on 08/01/2007

Take Me To Your Circus Tent

If you're a fan of Jefferson Airplane, Craig Fenton's book, "Take Me To Your Circus Tent" should be part of your collection. The book features interviews with over 30 musicians including members of the band, music industry professionals, and friends of the band; complete detailed information on over 120 Jefferson Airplane live concerts; a look at 60 unreleased songs; and over 93 rare photographs in a giant 543-page encyclopedia of everything Jefferson Airplane!

published on 04/01/2007

Cherry Picking The Best Films

I'm sure there are still plenty of people who think that they have to go to New York City or Philadelphia for major arts events, but it's simply not true. In fact, that's the reason this Magazine was started in the first place. We know there are all of these cool things like the Filmmakers Symposium taking place throughout New Jersey and we want to point them out to you.

published on 10/01/2007

Broadcasting Christmas From Princeton To The World

Some people like Christmas music and some people really, really, really like Christmas music. I guess you can count Jon Solomon among the latter. For the past 16 years, Solomon has been manning the controls on Christmas Eve at WPRB (103.3 FM) for a 24-hour marathon of Christmas tunes.

published on 12/01/2004

Christina Eliopoulos Proves You Can Go Home Again

Asbury Park filmmaker retraces her town's history in the upcoming feature-length documentary "Greetings From Asbury Park"

published on 06/01/2005

Roberto Duran's Story Is Finally Told

Roberto Duran was born into poverty in the Panama Canal Zone and grew up on the streets. He learned to fight to survive and gained a reputation as someone willing to fight anyone. Ironically, to millions of boxing fans, this ultimate symbol of bravado - the man they called "Hands Of Stone" - will forever be remembered for words uttered during a fight he knew he would lose.

published on 02/01/2007

Spotlight on Chris Buono

It takes a certain level of courage to go out on stage under your own name. For years, Chris Buono said he hid under various band names. This year, Chris has decided to take center stage and place his own name and reputation on the marque. In doing so, he hopes to further his career in more ways than one.

published on 08/01/2004

They've Got the Swagger!

Every now and then a band literally seems to come out of nowhere. Chris Batten & The Woods is that type of band. In less than a year, they've managed to land regular gigs at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, the Court Tavern in New Brunswick and be part of shows at Rutgers University. And these aren't just any shows they're the ones bands would kill for. Shows like the recent Light of Day concert at the Stone Pony or the 2nd Annual Andy Diamond Christmas Show at the Court Tavern on December 23rd and with Gavin DeGraw at Rutgers University on December 10th. In other words, shows where a good crowd is to be expected.

published on 12/01/2004

CD Review: David Steele

If you're looking for something a little different than the usual stuff being played on the radio, check out David Steele's "Underneath The Ice" on City Canyon Records.

published on 01/01/2005

CD Review: JPAT - "Smile Goodbye To The Kings & Clowns"

JPAT is no longer a man of mystery, he's settled into the blues musician his voice has always beckoned him to be. Shortly before hopping on a plane to China, he recorded his first full-length CD of original blues tunes. The disc was recorded raw - usually in just a take or two - with just JPAT strumming guitar, blowing on his harp, and howling in the way nobody in Jersey has ever howled since Southside Johnny first hit the scene.

published on 12/01/2004

Roots Rock From Southern Jersey

Deep in the Southern part of New Jersey lies a band called Casual Gypsies. Their sound is like a natural extension of the Jersey Shore's roots rock and roll mixed with a bit of country flavor. But unlike true Gypsies, this band is just starting to move around a bit. So, keep your eyes open for them because they're somebody you're going to want to check out.

published on 07/01/2004

Inside The Camden 28

One of the things I love is when filmmakers turn to their own backyards to discover rather incredible pieces of history that have largely been forgotten. Director Anthony Giacchino does just that with "The Camden 28", a documentary about 28 people who risked everything to protest the war in Vietnam. Their goal was to break into a federal building in Camden and destroy draft records.

published on 09/01/2007

BlowupRadio Turns 6!

Blowupradio.com is an online radio station / local music news resource that recently celebrated its sixth anniversary. The website and station is run by Lazlo, a former DJ at Monmouth University's WMCX and the Dover station WDHA. What makes blowupradio.com so unique is that the station only plays music from New Jersey artists. So if you're interested in learning more about the local music scene, there's no better starting point than here. The radio station launched on Live365 on December 15th, 2000 and the website was started a few weeks later. We spoke with Lazlo about the website and its six years of operation.

published on 02/01/2007

Ben Arnold's On His Own Again

When bands break up, it's kind of like watching an episode of Divorce Court. Some band members go one way, others go another way. In the case of 4 Way Street, Ben Arnold clearly won the prize settlement. And the result is the recently released CD entitled Calico.

published on 10/01/2004

The World's Greatest Beatles Artist...

Sometimes it really pays to ignore your teacher's advice. Just ask Shannon, who was told she'd never amount to anything unless she stopped drawing the Beatles. Years later, she is known as The World's Greatest Beatles Artist and has been commissioned to create over 100 pieces for an upcoming Beatles themed hotel opening in Liverpool in 2007.

published on 10/01/2006

It's Time For Asbury Park To Create An Arts District

This is a critical time for the arts in Asbury Park. The city has always attracted artists from around the world, but as redevelopment moves forward, the city is in the unique situation of breaking the perpetual urban pattern of revitalization.

published on 06/01/2005

Arlan Feiles is The New Lone Ranger

Arlan Feiles doesn't want to be a rock star. He just wants to be around people who appreciate and enjoy hearing live music. That's one of the reasons why he spends so much time along the coffeehouse and open mic circuit. In fact, he performed a tour entirely comprised of open mics around the country - playing a staggering 89 shows in 90 days in around 35 different states!

published on 03/01/2005

Creating An Arts Capital - A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY

The New Jersey arts community has an opportunity like never before. That's what I thought as I left the Berkeley-Carteret Hotel on September 28th. Earlier that evening the Arts Coalition of Asbury Park (ARTSCAP) held an Arts Summit, which was supposed to be for the announcement of the Asbury Park Cultural Arts Plan but wound up being about that and much more. In fact, what transpired that evening was not so much about Asbury Park as it was about the future of New Jersey arts.

published on 10/01/2005

One Scary Ass Girlfriend... one rockin' chick

April Smith seemed to burst out of nowhere. I still remember the first time I saw her as she was heading to the stage. The crowd expected her to be just another female singer-songwriter. Maybe a little bit like Joni Mitchell; maybe a little poetic like Jewel or quirky like Liz Phair. But they never expected the second coming of Melissa Etheridge with a voice that seemed to attack the audience from every angle.

published on 08/01/2005

The Hottest thing at Starbucks

You might think that the members of Antigone Rising would be getting free cups of coffee for life after selling nearly 75,000 copies of their debut record at Starbucks around the United States, but they're still forced to pay for their lattes like everyone else. Nobody's complaining though as the deal with the coffee giant helped put the band on the map.

published on 08/01/2005

Interview With Al Austin

The Perfume Factory is a coming of age novel set along the Jersey Shore. It is the debut novel from Al Austin, a seasoned playwright and screenplayer writer. Al grew up in the Union Beach / Keyport area but currently lives out on the West Coast.

published on 12/01/2005

The Secret's Out

Jen Elliott may not want to be called a diva, but her voice is definitely diva-worthy. She's coming to Triumph Brewery in Princeton on July 2nd with her band and she's intent on proving that she's a rocker - not a diva.

published on 06/01/2004

The Dipsos Take Philly!

For several years now, the Dipsomaniacs have watched their career progress on a rather slow, manageable plane. Each year found the Trenton based band playing bigger shows and each new record receiving more recognition than the previous one. It's a path that has definitely built a fanbase throughout the area, but one that practically ensured that the band would never be an overnight success.

published on 06/01/2004

Pushing Over The Edge

Every Thursday night, the Celtic Cottage in Long Branch is packed with people ranging from college students to those in their 60s. They come to see Bob Burger play and they're never disappointed.

published on 06/01/2004

An interview with Playwright Mike Folie

Mike Folie is a playwright currently living in New York. He is the Playwright-In-Residence for the New Jersey Repertory Theatre Company in Long Branch. Some of his recent productions there have included Naked by the River, Panama, An Unhappy Woman, Slave Shack and The Adjustment. I spoke with Folie about Lemonade, his current production being run at NJ?Rep now through June 6th.

published on 05/01/2004

Back in 20!

It's been twenty years since Gary U.S. Bonds has recorded a new studio album, but he's logged hundreds of live shows around the world in that time. Bonds, one of the few performers to have hit records in both the '60s and '80s, is quietly celebrating five decades as a recording artist. Only this time, Bonds didn't have to go very far to record.

published on 05/01/2004

Walking On The Moon

Rock and roll has had its share of poets, but most of the time bands will admit that its their lyrics that need the most work. In true punk style, the Steel Pier Sinners kind of started out backwards. Instead of being good musicians that learned how to write better songs, they were a pair of poets that learned to become better musicians.

published on 04/01/2004

International Man Of Mystery

There's a scene in "Where the Buffalo Roam" when Bill Murray, speaking as Hunter Thompson, is asked if his friend Lazlo is a figment of his imagination. He says,"No, you couldn't make up Lazlo, he's one of a kind." The same thing could be said for James P. Dalton, better known as JPAT.

published on 04/01/2004

Let The Light Shine In

Tommy Anton was destined to be a singer-songwriter along the Jersey Shore. After all, his astrolocation astrologist told him so.

published on 03/01/2004

The Ayes Have What It Takes

From the moment you hear the opening words on the 4-song EP by The Ayes, you know that you're hearing something special. And by the time you run through all four tracks, you're begging to hear more. Rarely has a band become so polished in so short of a period of time.

published on 03/01/2004

Anger Is His Energy...

Lewis Black is not only known as the angriest man in America, he's damn proud of it too. The stand-up comedian, who is seen weekly on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", will make an appearance at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on March 26th. Black took out a few minutes to speak with me while he was in California getting ready for the start of his tour.

published on 03/01/2004

Jen Chapin's Urban Folk Manifesto

Jen Chapin isn't quite sure where the word manifesto fits into the description of her new CD, but her publicist may be on to something. Linger, the major label debut for Chapin, truly is a declaration from an emerging voice.

published on 03/01/2004

The Right Elements

Almost every guy in the world has had a dream to open a bar with his best friend, but few ever see that dream come true. After eight years of watching life take its different twists and turns, Matthew Bongiovi and Vincenzo Rizzo refused to let that dream die. Their persistance finally paid off last October when Elements, the Lounge opened in Sea Bright.

published on 03/01/2004

It's His Turn Now

Boccigalupe and the Bad Boys are ready to take their act across the globe. Their debut CD, It's My Turn Now!, will be released on Sound City Records and available in stores everywhere on March 9th. For Tony Amato, his first major record deal is better late than never.

published on 03/01/2004

StereoSoul

StereoSoul's name may not sound familiar, but the guys have all been part of the local scene for quite some time. The band members started playing together around eight years ago in a series of band names that wound up being Cosmic Avenger. According to Gene Pompilio, the band's drummer, the band basically evolved into StereoSoul after running its course.

published on 11/01/2003

Josh Ritter: Finding His Voice

Josh Ritter is getting used to the comparisons to people like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. He's heard that stuff many times before - it's the kind of comparisons people make when your melodies flow and your lyrics seem like poetry. He doesn't really care about comparisons, he's just looking to find his own voice.

published on 11/01/2003

Here Comes the Sun

"I believe that if you dream and you envision yourself at Madison Square Garden you will get there," explains Albie Monterrosa. He's the driving force behind the band deSol, a group which just might make that dream come true.

published on 04/01/2004

Dramarama

This month I spoke with John Easdale of Dramarama, the 80s rockers who achieved nearly cult-like status. The band broke up over ten years ago, but recently reunited and has a new EP with a full record coming in the future.

published on 11/01/2003

4 Way Street

When looking at the band 4 Way Street, the sum really does add up to more than the individual parts. The band, from Philadelphia, is comprised of four successful singer-songwriters who have each put aside their solo careers to see where this group may lead them.

published on 10/01/2003

Interview with Alan Rachins

Alan Rachins recently finished the fifth and final year of the hit television show, "Dharma & Greg" where he played the hippie father, Larry Finklestein. Before that he had a long-running role as attorney Douglas Brackman on "L.A. Law." In addition to his television work, Alan has been in several films and theatrical productions across the country. He is currently starring in the world premiere play, "Attacks on a Heart" playing by George Street Playhouse. Alan spoke to me via phone before one of his rehearsals.

published on 10/01/2003

Bill Chinnock: Livin' In The Promised Land

Livin In The Promised Land is the latest record by Bill Chinnock and the first in over a decade. After the release of Out on the Borderline, Bill took a break from the music business and started producing and directing business videos and short films. He even directed a full-length film called The Forgotten Maine. Between that and a nasty bout with Lyme Disease, he's been out of the spotlight for a while. But he's ready to take another run at it.



published on 10/01/2003

No Need To Panic (Val Emmich)

Val Emmich is about as hot right now as any artist in New Jersey. In fact, he's about as hot as any artist in the country. With recent appearances on two different MTV shows ("Advanced Warning" and "TRL") and upcoming guest spots on popular television shows, exposure is not a problem for Val. Neither is keeping true to his music, but it doesn't stop him from worrying about it.

published on 10/01/2003

The Liza Minnelli Scrapbook

You never know whom you're going to meet in Asbury Park these days. Once Upstage Magazine moved to the downtown area, we found ourselves face to face with a man generally regarded as one of the world's "experts" on Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland.

published on 11/27/2004

End Of An Era

He's not quite sure what he's going to do on Tuesday nights from now on, but one thing is certain - Tuesday nights just won't be the same in New Brunswick without the Spook Handy Show. The longest running open mic night in Hub City has a staple for musicians and music fans for the last twenty years. But on September 13th, the Spook Handy Show will celebrate its 1,000 night and conclude an era with a final go around at the Corner Tavern.

published on 09/05/2005

Josh Zuckerman Headlines Capital Rainbowfest

When the school year ends, some teachers go home to relax, some paint houses or do other jobs, and some teachers jet set around the world playing guitar in places like Japan and Thailand. That is, if they're a teacher like Josh Zuckerman, who will be headlining the Capital Rainbowfest in Trenton on September 18th.

published on 09/05/2005

Back To School With Ronnie Brandt

Ronnie Brandt has turned his love for storytelling, teaching, and kids into a wonderfully successful new career. Last year, the singer-songwriter created the company Children's Educational Assemblies and began performing a program called "This Land Is Your Land" at schools throughout the area. This year the program is not only back, but is being performed in schools throughout New Jersey, New York, Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania.

published on 09/05/2005

The Orchestra In His Head

Classic rock and roll stations love to say that it doesn't have to be old to be classic. Walt Ribeiro's new CD is certainly proof of that.

published on 02/26/2007

Mike and the Magic Pipe

When a club owner handed Mike Silverman fifty bucks for his band's set, he knew he could do better. Rather than find another place to play he asked the club owner if he could come back the following week by himself and keep the entire $50. The owner agreed and That 1 Guy, Silverman's new stage name was born.

published on 02/26/2007

Causeway Finds A Home

Sometimes bands in New Jersey focus too much on the local scene. They wind up playing the same clubs week after week and seem almost obsessed with the idea of being a big fish in a small pond; so much so, that they forget that the world's largest pond is just under an hour away. Not only do bands in New Jersey have music scenes to play in areas like New Brunswick and Asbury Park and Hoboken, but New York City and Philadelphia are on that list as well. Sometimes it takes a band from somewhere else to make you realize how special this area really is and today that band for me is Causeway.

published on 01/27/2007

The S.O.A.P. Stars Shine Once Again

(ASBURY PARK, DECEMBER 9, 2006) -- They were the pioneers. The first musicians to play rock and roll live in clubs, dance halls and shopping malls around the Jersey Shore area. It was through their blending of rock, blues, R&B, doo-wop and soul that the sound, which would become known as The Sounds Of Asbury Park (S.O.A.P.), was created. On December 9th, many of the creators returned to Asbury Park for a very special performance at the Stone Pony. It was a fitting tribute to a lot of artists whose place in history was somewhat overshadowed and overlooked due to the success of Bruce Springsteen.

published on 12/13/2006

Patience Pays Off For Woodfish

Woodfish had been knocking around the local scene for a bit when they realized that they were missing a crucial piece to the puzzle. They began auditioning people for lead singer but one after another just didn't seem right until a guy from Oklahoma emailed them and said he wanted to give it a shot. Two thousand miles later, the singer found himself involved with a new musical family and the band thought they had become complete, but the journey was just beginning.

published on 11/29/2006

FIRST LOOK: Postmark Twain

When they were going to high school in Hamilton, Jim Gaven and Dave Sanchez never really talked to each other. Well, maybe once or twice, but they certainly weren't friends. So what are they doing together in the band Postmark Twain? Making extremely smart pop music that's what.

published on 10/25/2006

Divine Sign Knows How To Support The Local Scene

Every now and then a band comes along that becomes one of the favorites of the local scene; a band that other musicians want to hang out with, a band that forces people to change their schedule so they can catch their show; and one that attracts an audience full of everyone from music industry folks to original music fans. Divine Sign is one of those bands.

published on 10/25/2006

Remember When M Stood For Music?

A long time ago, MTV used to play videos. A lot of them. They played videos 24 hours a day in fact. This won't shock anyone over 30, but to anyone younger than that I figured I'd let you in on the little secret because apparently, MTV doesn't want you to know. They recently celebrated their 25th anniversary without even the slightest bit of a party. And MTV really likes to party. So, I knew something was going on and I decided to go to the source to find out...

published on 09/25/2006

The New King Of The Blues

Throughout the last six months, Guitar Center went looking across the country for the next great blues player. When all was said and done and the smoke cleared, they found the next "King of the Blues" in Holmdel, New Jersey. That's not a surprise to us. In fact, we could have saved them a lot of time...

published on 08/28/2006

Songwriting Is In Her Blood

You've probably heard Maia Sharp's music even if the name doesn't sound familiar. That's because in just a few years, the songwriter from Los Angeles has seen her songs released by artists like Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Art Gartfunkel, Edwin McCain, The Dixie Chicks, Paul Carrack, Cher, Mindy Smith and many more. And while she's been busy making a name for herself as a songwriter, her solo career has been taking off as well.

published on 08/28/2006

...Water... Releases New Free CD

New Brunswick's music scene has seen its share of turnovers through the past decade with bands breaking up, clubs closing, and people moving away; one constant through the last five years though has been ...Water... - one of the Hub City's most popular acts. Mike Montrey from the band contacted us to spread the word about a new live CD the band will be releasing on their website as a free download.

published on 07/23/2006

Joe D'Urso Believes In The Cause...

Sometimes you find people in the entertainment business who like to support good causes because they're the hip thing to do and sometimes you find people who do it simply because they truly believe in the cause. Joe D'Urso is definitely of the latter. He's one of the good guys.

published on 05/15/2006

This Time Steven Baggs Is Going To Do It Right

As the snow kept falling during the blizzard, which hit the tri-state area in February, Steven Baggs took to the stage at the Wonderbar in Asbury Park. An artist from New York City who was debuting his newly formed band, Baggs was playing in area for the first time and a little unsure of the reception he was going to get.

published on 05/15/2006

Escape With Temporary Grace

"We're all addicted to something," exclaimed Rob Eelman. "Music is one of the few substances you can't abuse. We want to provide people an escape from the mundane reality many are forced to accept... some Temporary Grace if you will."

published on 05/15/2006

The Color Of Green... Status Green

The crowd was huddled next to each other staring at the giant curtain covering the stage waiting for the band to appear. Anticipation mounted as shadowy figures appeared from behind the screen. As if on cue, a video started and girls started screaming as if this was a Beatles show in 1964. It was definitely the craziest night I had ever seen at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park for a night of unsigned bands. Led by headliner, Status Green, the club drew nearly a thousand people who went home seeing not just a night of great music, but a band on the verge of something special.

published on 05/14/2006

Nicole Atkins Will Own Neptune City

Things are moving a bit quickly for Nicole Atkins these days and they're about to move even quicker. It's not often you find a photograph of yourself in the pages of Rolling Stone within a feature on the Top 10 Artists To Watch in 2006. And when that happens, the phone starts ringing... a lot.

published on 04/16/2006

Some Soul Searching for Souls' Release

(APRIL 10, 2006) -- A few days ago I received an email that really came as a surprise. It was the announcement that Souls' Release would be breaking up after a series of final shows ending in June.

published on 04/10/2006

Steve Conte Of The Dolls Undercover...

When the guitarist of the New York Dolls wants to break in a brand new band without much hype you would think that wouldn't be much trouble. Except, in this case, that band is making their debut on the first Upstage Nite @ the Saint on Wednesday, March 22nd.

published on 03/20/2006

The Alarm Continues To Attack

Twenty-five years after first performing as The Alarm, Mike Peters and his band are back with a new release called "Under Attack". They're climbing the UK charts once again with a sound that rocks as hard as the band's first records. We had a chance to talk to Mike Peters about everything from being part of the early days of punk rock to his battles with cancer and the band's brand new album.

published on 03/20/2006

Concerts In The Studio

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.

published on 02/03/2006

Jason Mather Is On Fire With The Release Of The Hottness

Jason Mather seems to be on a quest to bring back the scorching guitar riffs that dominated FM radio in the seventies. He's releasing his second solo record, The Hottness, on January 17th and will be hitting the rock clubs throughout the tri-state area in support of it. The official CD release party is schedule for the 18th at Grape Street in Philadelphia.

published on 01/15/2006

Full Out Freak Opens For Bon Jovi

The members of the North Jersey band Full Out Freak were finishing off a very good year when bassist Eric Berk asked his bandmates the big question.

published on 01/15/2006

Remembering John Lennon

"I just shot John Lennon," said Mark Chapman when the doorman at the Dakota asked him if he knew what he had just done. And just like that the sixties had ended. With one bullet, the world lost its greatest dreamer - a man that still inspires great debate to the day.

published on 12/05/2005

Death Threat Radio

The news took most fans by surprise when they checked their email and learned that New Blood Revival was breaking up. NBR was one of the most popular bands in the Central Jersey area for several years. They had signed a deal with Atlantic Records and appeared to be poised for bigger and better things. Unfortunately, the record pretty much got shelved by the record company and as NBR played out their last few farewell shows, another chapter in New Jersey music history came to a close.

published on 12/04/2005

Vini Lopez & Steel Mill Bring Back Lost Springsteen Classics

Back in the late sixties and early seventies, Bruce Springsteen wrote a lot of great songs that only exist today on poorly recorded bootlegs. For whatever reason, Bruce decided to abandon these tunes when he moved towards the creation of the E Street Band. Thankfully an original member of the E Street Band has decided not only to save the older material but to bring them back to life.

published on 12/04/2005

Some Suggestions for the Asbury Music Awards

Another year's Asbury Music Awards have come and gone and we've heard another round of artists and fans complaining - sometimes with good reason, sometimes as sore losers. But the fact remains... things can be done to improve the awards and to give them a little more credibility.

published on 11/10/2005

Too Hip To Be A Rock Star

He's played John Lennon in Beatlemania and Buddy Holly in "La Bamba", but Marshall Crenshaw has never seemed comfortable playing the part of a rock and roll star. His music has always been a little too hip for the masses, and playing a cult-hero seems just fine with him.

published on 11/05/2005

Post Vertigo DJ To Spin Again At City Gardens Reunion

Trenton's very own punk rock landmark City Gardens may be gone, but it is far from forgotten. And the people who made the club famous,Aeisome might say infamous,Aeiare going to do it all over again.

published on 11/05/2005

Too Good To Die

Dramarama was one of those bands that never got the radio attention they deserved, but developed a true hard-core fan base that never died. Thanks to the support of those fans and VH-1's "Bands Reunited," the band is back and better than ever with the release of "Everybody Dies" - the first Dramarama record in over a decade.

published on 11/05/2005

So a Punk, a Hippie and an Irishman walk into a bar...

Just think... if Patrick's Head didn't have so many problems holding on to drummers and bass players, the band would sound completely... normal. Thankfully, the three musicians from Philadelphia decided to forge ahead as a trio. The band will be celebrating their latest CD release at the World Cafe (upstairs) in Philadelphia on October 22nd.

published on 10/06/2005

Interview with Gordon Brown

An interview with Gordon Brown, formerly of the bands Mister Reality and Highway 9, as he embarks on the next step of his career.

published on 11/27/2004

Every Day's A Miracle

It's been nine years since William Hart Strecker's Toyota Land Cruiser ran off the road and smashed into a tree. The accident left him in a coma for twenty days and when he awoke he discovered he had broken several bones, a collapsed lung and other internal injuries. It took him about six months before he could walk and talk again and even longer to be healthy once more. But instead of looking back in anger, Strecker looks back and remembers how the accident brought him back to music.

published on 11/01/2007

Joe Colledge Is Old School

It's kind of hard to believe but mainstream rock and rollers haven't been mainstream for quite some time - at least, not in New Jersey. The last few artists to break from the state are closer to eclectic than classic rock, something that represents the change on the radio dial as well. And in a state where cover bands still dominate the landscape, it's hard for artists like Joe Colledge to play the kind of rock and roll they grew up with, but that's not stopping him from trying.

published on 10/31/2007

One Song At A Time...

Eryn Shewell not only believes that music can change the world one song at a time, but she's making others believe as well. She's one of the hardest working musicians in New Jersey and has been attracting the attention of music fans and club owners across the state as well. Recently nominated for several Asbury Music Awards, we finally had a chance to talk to Eryn about her career, her belief in music, and her little girl who might follow in her footsteps if she doesn't become a drummer first.

published on 10/31/2007

Canadians To Invade Area

Sound the alarms - the Canadians are coming! Cherry Suede, a cool rock and roll band based in Ottawa will be doing a pair of shows in the tri-state area and bringing a bus load of their biggest fans along for the ride. You can catch the group at Arlene's Grocery in New York City on November 1st and at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey on November 2nd.

published on 09/27/2007

Winning Over Fans One At A Time

Sometimes it's refreshing when a band simply works their tail off week in and week out and you can see them trying to improve with each show and build their fanbase one person at a time. Lexington Down is that kind of band. They've been plugging away up and down the East Coast for several years now and will be celebrating the release of their first full-length CD, "Partial Possession Claim", at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Saturday, September 15th.

published on 08/30/2007

Travis Tooke Resurfaces As Indigo Planet Records Returns

Imagine your band is just about to release their first album on a major record label. You're driving back home to Florida after a successful showcase at New York's legendary C.B.G.B. club when your van has a tire blow out on Inter-state 95 somewhere in Georgia. The next thing you know the van has overturned and you're looking at two of your best friends and your tour manager now dead. It may seem like the script for a movie of the week, but that's what happened to the mid-90s band For Squirrels.

published on 08/30/2007

International Anti-Folk Superstar

New York City has clearly gotten into the soul of Ben Godwin, a musician born and bred in London who moved across the pond a few years ago. Godwin's latest album, "Skin and Bone", is filled with tales inspired by the city. The record is currently being added to college stations across the country. You can see Godwin live on September 5th at the Goldhawk in Hoboken, NJ.

published on 08/30/2007

Jim Murphy Enters The Country Music Hall of Fame

On August 28th, Jim Murphy will receive an honor that no other New Jersey artist has ever received. After nearly 45 years of being involved with traditional country music, Murphy will become the the first inductee from New Jersey into "America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame." The ceremony will take place during the National Traditional Country Music Association's (NTCMA) annual old time music festival held in Missouri Valley, Iowa.

published on 07/28/2007

The Smithereens Perform Meet The Beatles; Glen Burtnik Performs Sgt. Pepper

Sometimes life can be funny. Back in 1978, Glen Burtnik had his first big break when he was cast in the West Coast production of Beatlemania. Since that time, music has taken him all over the world - through a promising solo career, stints in classic rock bands like Styx, gold records, hit singles - and back to New Jersey where he is once again playing Paul McCartney.

published on 07/28/2007

The Commons' Last Ride

Some bands never make it out of the garage while others last a lifetime. Thanks to recordings, fans never really have to say goodbye but the musicians almost always are faced with the difficult decision of moving on or becoming stagnant. For The Commons, they decided they'd rather make the decision to move on rather than wait a year too long.

published on 08/08/2007

The Dream is Finally Realized For Anton

It's not easy being a musician when your favorite music is not the type generally heard in the local clubs. For years, Anton Roolaart has dreamt of the type of record he wanted to make even though he knew his style of progressive rock might fall on deaf ears in New Jersey. Thankfully, he stayed with that dream and not only has created a wonderful record but one that attracted the attention of Umbrello Records, a new label in the UK started by Steve Nardelli, the frontman for The Syn.

published on 07/11/2007

Red Molly: As Americana As They Come

Just as with Pink Floyd, there really isn't a Molly in the band Red Molly. But there are three incredibly talented artists who discovered that together they have something truly special.

published on 06/29/2007

Ben Carroll: soul singing is back in style

Growing up in the shadows of music history, it was probably destiny that Ben Carroll would follow his parents' lead and become a musician. And it was only a matter of time before Carroll would utilize his father's talents on one of his records, which he does extensively on his upcoming release.

published on 06/29/2007

Astronaut Jones Touches Down In Africa

Tony Costa is a singer-songwriter from New Jersey who performs under the name Astronaut Jones. He also teaches music for a living. This past June, he spent two days teaching kids who just might have been seeing a guitar for the first time.

published on 06/29/2007

Phanphest Takes A Leap Of FAITH

Every music scene has them. They're the people who basically make the engine run; they're the talent scouts, the marketing gurus, and the music fans who love music so much that they make it their jobs. It's their passion that makes them successful and it's great to see them get bigger and bigger. Drew Wajnert and Phanphest Entertainment are the perfect example.

published on 05/25/2007

Will This Be The Next King Of The Blues?

Last year, Guitar Center's "King of the Blues" was Matt O'Ree who hailed from Monmouth County, New Jersey. The Garden State hopes to hold on to its crown for a second straight year thanks to Rob Baumiester, a 24-year-old guitarist from Deptford who will be competing in the finals after beating out thousands of guitarists from around the country.

published on 05/25/2007

The Chilling Details Own The Stage

The crowd at the Baronet Theatre in Asbury Park was there for another artist, but it was The Chilling Details who owned the stage from the minute they ripped through their first chords. Even though the show took place in January, it's a fair bet that their set will rank among the year's best. As I was watching these three musicians on stage, I realized this must be why brides dress up their bridesmaids in such ugly outfits. After all, why risk being upstaged when it's your party?

published on 05/02/2007

Dublin Rockers Stand United

What does a band from Ireland do when they suddenly find themselves a bit too big for Dublin? Move to New York, of course, where's there's probably enough Irish on the streets so they'd never get homesick. And that's exactly what the rock band Stand did several years ago. Currently based in Queens, the band recently returned from a brief tour of their homeland and will be playing at the Saint in Asbury Park on May 18th as part of the Wave Gathering festival. We had a chance to speak to lead singer Neil Eurelle while the band was "enjoying" media day in Dublin.

published on 05/02/2007

Andrew Holtz Has Something To Say

Andrew Holtz has been running all of his life. The former Christian Brothers Academy track star earned a scholarship at Fordham University. After graduation, he ran through a series of accounting jobs until he finally was at a top New York city firm. And once he got there, he decide to run one more time - back to his dream of being a musician. His debut CD, "Leaving New York", will be released this month with release parties at the Sidehatch Bar in Asbury Park on May 18th and the Bitter End in New York City on May 22nd.

published on 05/08/2007

A Long Time Comin'

Janey Todd is proof that you should never give up on your dreams. The singer-songwriter, who is a veteran of Jersey Shore clubs and coffeehouses, recently released her long-awaited debut CD entitled "Rusty Water." The disc is a mesmerizing blend of hauntingly beautiful folk rock tunes that showcase Todd's witty and often acerbic lyrics. The end result is a piece of art reminiscent of the best work by Michelle Shocked in the late 1980s.

published on 03/25/2007

Scarecrow Collection: Takin' The Groove Nationwide

Scarecrow Collection is the latest band from New Jersey to sign with a major label. The North Jersey based band will release their first CD ("Radio Frequency Disaster") on Harmonized Records in March and will celebrate with a CD release party at Mexicali Blues in Teaneck on Friday, April 20th.

published on 02/26/2007

Review of Whatever Planet by the Dipsomaniacs

A look at the latest disc by the Dipsomaniacs.

published on 09/05/2005

Review of Dirt Waffle by The Commons

A look at the latest disc by The Commons.

published on 09/05/2005

Review of Glen Burtnick at the Saint

"It's good to be at the CBGBs of Asbury Park," exclaimed Glen Burtnick as he kicked off his first ever performance at the legendary Saint rock club. Performing solo because most of the members of his regular backing band (members of Spiraling) had a gig elsewhere that night, Glen ran through an hour-long set that featured highlights from throughout his career.

published on 09/14/2005

Review of Friends of Muther Poetry & Acoustic Music Show

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) December 13, 2005 -- It was the annual Christmas poetry and music show hosted by Kris Oehme at the Saint, but it was far from jolly. The host was dressed up in a very interested Santa Klaus suit and handed out candy - perhaps as a reminder not to take candy from strangers. After all, the words spoken last night in the various songs and poems gave the impression that it will be one dark, dark Christmas season.

published on 12/14/2005

90.5 Brings Christmas Spirit To The Wonder Bar

(ASBURY PARK, NJ -- December 17, 2005) -- Not only were there over a dozen people dressed as Santa Claus, but the Wonder Bar was filled with toys as 90.5 The Night's Benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County brought people out in droves. In fact, it was literally a who's who of the local music scene.

published on 12/19/2005

Review: Maybe Pete / Jason Mather @ Saint - December 29, 2005

(ASBURY PARK, NJ -- December 29, 2005) -- Ok, I've gotta admit that I wasn't really planning on reviewing this show but two things changed my mind. The first was hearing an interesting version of "Dancing In The Dark" come out of Jason Mather's guitar and the second was when Scott Stamper delivered the bad news.

published on 12/30/2005

Review of Rick Barry's Hangover Bash 2006

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- New Year's Day for those among the Jersey Shore means three things: waking up with a hangover, watching football all day, and going to the Saint at night for Rick Barry's Annual Hangover Bash. The annual show kicked off 2006 with its 4th straight year of rock and roll shows with one of its strongest lineups to date. The cast included The Jigmakers, Arlan Feiles, April Smith, and, of course, our host for the night, Rick Barry.

published on 01/18/2006

Recap of the Upstage Radio Benefit

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- February 11, 2006 - As the season's first major snowstorm barreled through the tri-state area, the benefit for Upstage Radio took place at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park in front of a crowd of die-hard music fans who were treated to an exceptional night of music.

published on 02/15/2006

Interview with Christopher Vidal about Jam Tree

Christopher Vidal is Executive Assistant Director for AERIA Entertainment L.L.C. - we spoke with him about Jam Tree, a weekly show AERIA is putting on Tuesday nights at the Saint in Asbury Park, NJ.

published on 02/25/2006

REVIEW: Stone Pony 2/18/06 with April Smith, Soozie Tyrell, Lance Larson

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Few rock and roll clubs have ever stayed around as long as the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park has and so it's fitting that the club celebrates its anniversary with a block of shows each year. The show on Saturday, February 18th was comprised of an interesting look at Asbury Park's past glory and a look at one of the scene's rising stars.

published on 02/25/2006

REVIEW: Brookdale Guitar Show

(LINCROFT, NJ) -- Where else can you find pre-teen kids wearing Pink Floyd shirts, middle-aged men drooling over hand-made strings, and musicians shelling out two thousand dollars for the vintage guitar they've always wanted?

published on 02/25/2006

Having A Party with Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers

(MARCH 31, 2006 - Asbury Park, NJ) -- The Stone Pony had one of those special nights on March 31st as Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers rolled into town and showed why they are truly one of the greatest live acts in music today.

published on 04/08/2006

Interview With Tony Levin

It will be another one of those special nights at the Saint in Asbury Park when Tony Levin, one of the world's greatest bass players, brings his band to town on Thursday, April 20th. Mike Black will open the show which will be a progressive rock fans dream bill.

published on 04/10/2006

Recap of The Wave Gathering Festival

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- There was a mixture of pride, elation, celebration and exhaustion as people strolled into the Wonder Bar after midnight on Sunday, May 21st. It was a crowd of musicians, Wave Gathering crew, and serious music fans who were closing out the remaining hours of the festival. Joe Harvard provided a toast to the festival crew and the look on everyone's faces told the story.

published on 05/25/2006

REVIEW: Red Wanting Blue Live at The Saint

(JUNE 15, 2006 -- ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- It was one of those nights where you wished the club was full; one of those magical kind of nights that happen at the Saint from time to time - the kind of night you pull out your cellphone halfway through the set and try to drag your friend out because you just know they'd fall in love with the band. And, it appears by taking a look at the crowd, that Asbury Park is slowly but surely becoming a decent stop for Red Wanting Blue, an incredible band out of Columbus Ohio that comes around two or three times a year.

published on 06/16/2006

Interview with Kasim Sulton

Kasim Sulton will be performing at the Saint in Asbury Park on Saturday, July 29th. He took some time out of his touring schedule to do an e-interview with us.

published on 07/22/2006

Review of Writers In The Raw - July 2006

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) - Writers In The Raw made its debut at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park on July 16th with a show fitting for long-time fans of the series. The national act portion of the show featured three of the original members of 4 Way Street - the popular band from Philadelphia that became favorites of the Jersey Shore largely due to their appearances in the first few Writers In The Raw shows. Rounding out the group was Tom Gillam, the newest member of the band who is replacing Jim Boggia. It was the band's first appearance in Asbury Park under the new look and provided a nice sense of deja vu as well as a reminder of just how far the Writers series has come.

published on 08/05/2006

REVIEW: King of the Blues Returns To The Saint

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) - On July 27th, the Saint in Asbury Park welcomed back the newly crowned "King of the Blues" - Matt O'Ree - with a great night of blues and power rock performances.

published on 08/05/2006

REVIEW: The Commons at the Wonder Bar

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) - It's tough for a band to build an audience outside of their area, but it's something that has to be done. The Commons have a great following in their hometown of Trenton, but have struggled to draw along the Jersey Shore. They returned to Asbury Park on August 4th with a show at the Wonder Bar before a Beach Boys Tribute Band. It was a Jersey Shore "Spinal Tap" kind of night for the band.

published on 08/05/2006

REVIEW: Jen Chapin at the Saint with Divine Sign and Kasey Sheik

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) - On July 20th, the Saint welcomed back Jen Chapin to Asbury Park. She not only brought her husband Stephen Crump with her but her new baby was in the house as well! Supporting her on the bill was All Things New, Kasey Sheik and Divine Sign. It was one of the most anticipated shows of the summer at the Saint and it was worth the wait.

published on 08/05/2006

REVIEW: Will Hoge at the Saint

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) - On Saturday, August 5th Will Hoge returned to the Saint on a bill that also featured Rick Barry & The Mourning After and Almost There. People have been raving about Will Hoge's shows for years and after seeing him live it's easy to see why. It was an enormously fun night with great sets from all three acts, but Hoge's set might have been one of the best I've seen this year.

published on 08/06/2006

A True Troubadour Of The Highway

There are people who think they have lived interesting lives and those who wish they had, but only a few have ever lived the kind of life of Peter Case. The singer-songwriter best known for his days as the lead singer of The Plimsouls ("A Million Miles Away") will be releasing a new record in the next few months to go along with his first book - "As Far As You Can Get Without A Passport". The book shares stories from Case's life as a musician living on the streets of San Francisco.

published on 09/25/2006

Interview with Stephen Butler of Smash Palace

Smash Palace will be coming to the Saint in Asbury Park on Saturday, October 21st. The bill also includes Luzer, South Of The Bridge and Porter Block. Upstage Magazine recently interviewed Stephen Butler of Smash Palace via email about the band.

published on 10/16/2006

Val Emmich is Free At Last

It was roughly three years ago to the day that Val Emmich was the cover of the first issue of Upstage Magazine. Since that time he struggled as he watched his record label seemingly put his career on hold. After working his way out of his contract, he's back as an independent artist and actually enjoying life again. He's releasing his new CD "Sunlight Searchparty" this month. Upstage recently talked to Val about the new record and the last few years in limbo...

published on 10/25/2006

The Creators of S.O.A.P. Return To Asbury

This December, Asbury Park will pay a long overdue tribute to the creators of the Asbury musical sound. Many of the creators will take part in a once in a lifetime concert on December 9th at the Stone Pony and a permanent monument will be placed on the boardwalk containing the names of the musicians and performers that took the music to its limit by pushing the envelope and digging deeper to change the sound of Rock & Roll forever. We recently emailed Doc Holiday to talk about the show and monument.

published on 10/25/2006

REVIEW: An Asbury Park Rock & Roll Xmas Show

(ASBURY PARK, NJ - December 21, 2007) -- 90.5 The Night & Notpop Record presented "An Asbury Park Rock 'N Roll Xmas" at the Saint with a great lineup of local stars highlighted by an appearance by Jeffrey Gaines. Each artist did a pair of songs - one of their originals and one Christmas tune. The mixture worked very well and with Arlan Feiles & The Lone Howdies Orchestra as the "house band" for the night things ran smoothly and sounded incredible.

published on 12/29/2006

The American Beauty Project

The Jersey Shore is literally filled with people deeply involved in the music industry that largely go unnoticed when they walk down the street or order a pint at the local bar. For every Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi that attracts attention wherever they go, there is a David Spelman, a man known across the world for his work with the guitar. Spelman's the Artistic Director for the New York Guitar Festival, oversees the Wall-To-Wall Guitar Festival at the University of Illinois' Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and is now adding to his resume the title of Artistic Advisor of the Adelaide International Guitar Festival, an Australian festival launching in November 2007.

published on 12/28/2006

Inside Zelda Pinwheel

Do you think Zelda Pinwheel has been ignored by local media? If so, why do you think that might be so? Are you guys just too unique?

published on 12/28/2006

The Gay Blades Set The Story Straight

The Gay Blades, based in Jersey City, released Ghosts last month. Upstage Magazine takes you inside one of the state's best indie music bands. The band consists of Puppy Mills (aka The Snitch) and Clark Westfield (aka The Aristocrat of Crime). Last year they were nominated for 4 Asbury Park Music Awards including Top Male Vocalist, Top Live Performance, Top Indie Band, and Top Drummer. We were able to interview them via email shortly before the record officially was released.

published on 08/30/2007

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals are a band from Vermont that's as close to breaking big-time as you'll ever find. You've most likely heard their song "Ah Mary" blaring on the radio over the summer or read about their debut record, "This Is Somewhere", that critics everywhere are raving about. The band returns to New Jersey for a date at The Stanhope House on Wednesday, September 5th. Upstage had a chance to talk to Grace Potter during a brief break in the band's touring schedule.

published on 08/30/2007

Should The Monkees Be In the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame?

Ok, so I'm a child of the eighties and a Monkees fan. I'll admit it. I still remember watching every one of their episodes that MTV re-ran for what seemed like several years and fell in love with their music. I even saw them live in the mid-80s at the Garden State Arts Center. It's not called that anymore, but this was before corporate sponsorships. About a month ago, I heard a DJ ask why The Monkees weren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and it got me thinking. Why aren't they? Since Davy Jones of The Monkees is coming to New Jersey for a pair of shows (the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove on July 7th and BergenPAC on October 26th) I decided to ask him directly.

published on 06/30/2007

Wave Gathering Recap: Sunday, May 20th, 2007

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- I had a late start to Sunday thanks to a sleeping pill that actually worked, but I managed to get to America's Cup in time to see The Hesh. Cookman Avenue on Sunday really showed a sense of community as tons of musicians were all hanging out and checking out the venues whether they were scheduled to play that day or not. It was truly a great day for the Wave Gathering Festival as the weather was incredible - the best of the weekend.

published on 05/31/2007

Readymade Breakup Sticks Together

Readymade Breakup has been part of the New Jersey music scene for several years, but finally released their debut record, "isn't that what it's for". It's a brilliant disc that shows just how far the band has come from their early days when they were just a bit too eager to show how much they were fans of Ben Folds Five and were trying to create songs that they thought the record labels wanted to hear. Basically the band had to break up and take some time off before realizing what was needed to become something truly special. These days their live show is as good as its ever been, the songwriting is incredible, and their focus is exactly where it should be. We caught up with Paul Rosevear and Gay Elvis from the band to talk about the group's evolution.

published on 05/25/2007

Wave Gathering Recap: Saturday, May 19th, 2007

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- With one day in the books it was time for the longest day of the festival to begin. Of course, Gordon Brown roped me into doing a panel at 11:30am, so the long day would have to be a little longer for some of us. Personally, I hate doing panels. I don't even like attending panels - reminds me too much of going to school I think.

published on 05/25/2007

The Death Of Internet Radio? (An interview with Lazlo of Blowupradio.com)

If video killed the radio star then the Copyright Royalty Board is about to kill the online radio star. Essentially, the CRB is about to shake up the music industry with a ruling that will almost certainly force thousands of online stations to close.

published on 05/02/2007

SHOW REVIEW: James Dalton at Borders

(APRIL 16, 2007 - EATONTOWN, NJ) -- WBJB (90.5 FM) presented the second in its "Emerging Artists" series at the Borders in Eatontown on April 16th. James Dalton, aka JPAT, was on hand for the CD release of Butterflies and Passerbyes" his latest CD and first on the AERIA label.

published on 04/21/2007

SHOW REVIEW: Sean Lennon

(APRIL 9, 2007 -- ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If there were any doubts that Asbury Park was still a rock and roll town they may have been erased on April 9th when Sean Lennon came to town. Rock and roll royalty came to town for a special Monday night show and a large crowd came out in support. The amount of people at the club was more like the crowd for a weekend than a Monday and added to the special night by providing more energy throughout the club.

published on 04/21/2007

SHOW REVIEW: Arlan Feiles' CD Release

(MARCH 15, ASBURY PARK) -- Arlan Feiles taught me a lesson once that I will never forget.

His CD "Razing A Nation" originally came out on an indie label a few years ago with a cover that looked slightly worse than your average cheap bootleg. The cover turned me off so much that the cd stayed in our pile of new cds for about 4-5 months. When I finally got around to giving it a listen it was like hearing Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" for the first time.

published on 03/17/2007

SHOW RECAP: Save The Wonder Bar Rally

(MARCH 10, 2007 - ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- It was a concert designed to show that Asbury Park has a true music community; an all-day event to show that people truly do care about keeping music and entertainment alive in the new Asbury Park; and a musical lineup put together to hopefully save the Wonder Bar. In the end, it may have failed on all three accounts but it was a tremendous day of the music that left those at the club in awe of the talent throughout the state.

published on 03/17/2007

Surviving The Rock Star Myth

Richard Barone, former lead singer of the legendary band The Bongos, recently released his first book, FRONTMAN: Surviving the Rock Star Myth, a book based on his own experience and those of other rock and roll frontmen. His old band actually reunited at the Hoboken Fall Arts & Music Festival to help promote the release of Drums Along The Hudson - Special Edition finally released the way it was always intended to sound. While the band was back in Hoboken, the city took the chance to honor the band with a proclamation calling September 30th "Bongos Day" - a fitting tribute to the band which pretty much led to the creation of Maxwell's as an original music venue. In doing so, Richard Barone and his bandmates put Hoboken back on the forefront of New Jersey's musical map for the first time since maybe the days when a young Frank Sinatra still walked the streets.

published on 10/31/2007

Eryn Shewell Band Comes Into Their Own

(ASBURY PARK, NJ March 3, 2009) I wasn't originally planning on writing a review of this show, but figured I'd do a write-up since people have emailed me saying I hadn't done much with the blog lately. Although I've been going to shows regularly, I just don't feel the need to do show reviews unless something really clicks for me. Tonight was one of those nights. Even though the lineup featured three artists I've seen quite often, the show itself was worth writing about.

published on 03/11/2009

Rick Barry's "This Antediluvian World"

Several years ago, I said that Rick Barry was the next Billy Bragg. I can still remember Steven Bumbera joking that I must have meant Rick would have a career filled with incredible songs that nobody would ever hear. Well, with the release of his latest EP, "This Antediluvian World", it's clear that he no longer wants to be just a big fish in the Asbury Park scene - he's ready for the world to hear him. And, he's ready to shed the Billy Bragg title once and for all.

published on 02/07/2009

Dear John: You're The Problem
Why Live Nation and Madison Marquette Need To Run John D'Esposito Out Of Town To Prevent A Bloodbath Among The Local Music Community



published on 11/30/2008

AMA's Graduation Policy: Good or Bad?

(OCTOBER 21, 2008) -- It's to be expected that there will be grumblings each time the Asbury Music Awards are announced. Some very deserving artists are bound to get left out while some artists nominated leave you scratching your head. One topic that seems to have been on many people's minds is the idea of the "Beyond Asbury" category given to those who are deemed to have graduated from the nominations.



published on 10/21/2008

Three Local Shows Worth Checking Out

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The local scene has got three very different regular shows worth checking out each month for the music fan. Rick Barry's "Works in Progress", Bobby Strange & Friends, and Twisted Covers.

published on 10/20/2008

Works in Progress - October 2008

(OCTOBER 8, 2008 -- ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Rick Barry's "Works in Progress" series has been a favorite of mine since it first launched several months ago, but I think recent shows have taken the series to a new level. This latest show continued that trend. The lineup included Keith Monacchio (formerly of The Commons), Justin Hillman, Glen Burtnick, Brett Mosely, Tommy Strazza, Kelly Carvin, and, of course, Rick Barry.

published on 10/20/2008

Billy Bragg Preaches to the Choir

(OCTOBER 19, 2008 -- WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- Man, did I need this! Part folk-rock show, part storyteller show, and part Barrack Obama rally - it was my first time catching Billy Bragg live and it was definitely worth the wait!

published on 10/20/2008

Asbury Musicians Get Organized

(OCTOBER 15, 2008) -- It isn't always easy to get people involved in causes, but the reason for a meeting held at the Hot Dog House on October 15th struck a chord with many local musicians. The gathering was the result of an email thread started by Dr. Geena regarding a noise complaint filed by a neighbor that led to several hours in court mediation. It was there that she realized she wasn't the only target and this was a problem that affects all of the local musicians.

published on 10/17/2008

What is Beyond Asbury? Here's the scoop...

Beyond Asbury is a new segment of the Asbury Music Awards where we pay respect to artists that find themselves beyond the local area; they may be artists who have already achieved great success in the Asbury Music Awards and are no longer nominees or artists who find themselves playing more shows out of state or around the world rather than in local clubs.

published on 10/16/2008

CD Review --"Straight to Red" by Maybe Pete

There's really no better way to review a new CD by Maybe Pete than by popping open a bottle of cheap Merlot, so here goes...

published on 08/20/2008

The Commons' Last Show

(AUGUST 16, 2008 -- LAWRENCE, NJ) -- Just outside of Trenton, at McGuinn's Place, a bar that the band had played often throughout their career, The Commons played their final show on Saturday night in front of many of their long-time fans.



published on 08/16/2008

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been...

(FRIDAY, JULY 25 - NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- In 1978, two young musicians named Glen Burtnick and Marshall Crenshaw played the roles of Paul McCartney and John Lennon in Beatlemania. Thirty years later - after dozens of albums, world tours, films, and various bands - they found themselves on the State Theatre stage in New Brunswick, NJ playing Beatles songs once again in the 2nd Annual Beatles Bash.

published on 07/31/2008

Wave Gathering Festival 2008 Recap

Each of the three years that the Wave Gathering Festival has taken place has been better than the one before. I think it's become an institution of sorts. People are starting to know that the festival is the place to see great bands they've never seen before, a place to see all of the great bands in the area, and a place to hang out in a city where the line between the music scene and music fans completely disapears.



published on 07/15/2007

SOAP STARS RETURN IN AUGUST!

Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend one of the most interesting shows I've ever seen at the Stone Pony. It was billed as a once in a lifetime show - the Creators of the Sound of Asbury Park returning home. Thankfully, they're coming back for one final go around.



published on 07/29/2007

2007 Asbury Music Awards - recap

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The 15th annual Asbury Music Awards was held on Saturday, November 17, 2007 at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The event once again brought the majority of musicians in the area together for a night of great music, networking, story-telling, and a lot of drinking.



published on 11/19/2007

Recap of Anthony Walker's CD Release

(ASBURY PARK, NJ -- JUNE 27, 2010) -- Three of New Jersey's finest singer-songwriters were on bill for the release of Anthony Walker's new EP, The Sun Goes On Forever, which took place Sunday night at Rosie's Cafe. Preceding Walker was an all-too-rare performance by Janey Todd and a homecoming show of sorts for Allie Moss.

published on 06/29/2010

Recap of 2010 Southern Shore Music Festival

(JUNE 19, 2010 -- MILLVILLE, NJ) -- I was asked to run a live blog from the Southern Shore Music Festival for Jersey Arts this year. This was the 4th year of this particular festival, which took over from the old Bridgeton Folk Festival that ran for 23 straight years until its last in 2006. The following is a somewhat edited version of my live coverage of the festival - some of which ran on the Jersey Arts Twitter page.

published on 06/19/2010

Interview with Jody Joseph about her Janis Joplin / Stevie Nicks Show

On Saturday, May 30 Jody Joseph will perform a special theatrical tribute to Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park. We had a chance to catch up with Jody to ask her a few questions about the show...

published on 05/27/2009

An Interview With Sarah Litzsinger

Broadway veteran returns to George Street In The Last Five Years running until May 15th

published on 00/00/0000

An Interview with Ruth Wolff

An interview with Ruth Wolff, the author of "Beyond Gravity."

published on 00/00/0000

From The West Wing To George Street

A conversation with Emmy Award winning actor, Richard Schiff, who will be returning to the stage in George Street Playhouse's production of "Underneath The Lintel". Schiff is best known for his work as Toby Ziegler on NBC's acclaimed drama "The West Wing". We caught up with Schiff as he was rehearsing shortly before the Christmas holiday.

published on 00/00/0000

Paul Benedict As Scrooge... Brilliant!

You probably know him best as Bentley on "The Jeffersons" but Paul Benedict has had a truly remarkable acting career. His body of work includes films like "The Freshman", "The Addams Family", and "Waiting For Guffman". His stage credits include runs on Broadway in Eugene O'Neill's Hughie (opposite Al Pacino), Meredith Willson's The Music Man, Terrence McNally's Bad Habits, and William Shakespeare's Richard III. This December, Benedict tackles a role from one of his favorite novels of all-time, "A Christmas Carol" when he becomes this year's Scrooge in McCarter Theatre's annual production of the holiday classic.

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The Rites Of Passage

Yes Virginia, there is a professional theatre company in Trenton, New Jersey. Passage Theatre may not be a household name yet, but it's working on it and the company is proud to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this season.

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Pandora Talks About Samuraization

An interview with the author of Samuraization.

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A One Woman, One Barbie Play

The Playwrights Theatre in Madison, New Jersey will present the New Jersey premiere of "When Something Wonderful Ends" by Sherry Kramer in April. The play is affectionately referred to as a 'one-woman, one Barbie play'. That one-woman is Bonnie Black.

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Mary Jane Is A True Original

Mary Jane Ajodah's New York debut is about a singer named Sally Clanton who has a dream of making something out of her life. After talking with Mary Jane, I have no doubts that she's not Sally. She may be still in high school, but she's already hitting it big.

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An Interview with Playwright Mary Fengar Gail

An interview with the author of Touch of Rapture.

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Mark Nelson Plays Charlotte & Many More

When you first start out as a writer, people sometimes give you a bit of advice based on their own experiences - don't get too close to your idols because you might not like what you see. Those words came to mind as I read about the journey playwright Doug Wright embarked on while creating I Am My Own Wife.

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An Interview with Director, Kemati Porter

An interview with Kemati Porter, director, of The Deacons.

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Katharine Houghtonon BOOKENDS

NJ Repertory Theatre in Long Branch presents another world premiere play this month. This time around it's a musical called BOOKENDS written by the playwright/actress Katharine Houghton.

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John Lloyd Young Becomes Talk Of The Town

A year ago, John Lloyd Young was an usher handing out programs at a Broadway theatre. As Frankie Valli sang, "close and yet so far." One year later, Young portrays Valli in one of the hottest hits of the Broadway season, "Jersey Boys." What a difference a year makes. Instead of being frustrated at seeing others on stage where he wanted to be, Young is now one of Broadway's rising stars and a hero to ushers everywhere!

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Jim Walton Talks About Souvenir

George Street Playhouse is bringing a pair of Broadway veterans to New Brunswick for Souvenir, their latest production that will run from February 27th through March 25th. The play features Liz McCartney (Mamma Mia, Thoroughly Modern Millie) and Jim Walton (Merrily We Roll Along, And The World Goes Round) as the society doyenne and aspiring singer Florence Foster Jenkins and her accompanist Cosme. The kicker is that Florence sings really, really badly. We're talking American Idol first week bad, but she's convinced she can do it.

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Spotlight On Janine Squillari

Have you ever been set up on a really bad blind date? Janine Squillari almost was, but a pre-date phone call spared her an awful night out. Little did she know just how much that phone call would change her life.

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Jack Klugman & Paul Dooley: Legendary actors join up in The Sunshine Boys at George Street Playhouse

I'm sitting at a table with actors Jack Klugman and Paul Dooley totally lost in the stories of Broadway's past that they're throwing around. The two men have worked with just about every actor and director under the sun and are currently in rehearsals for Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, which will run at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick from October 16 through November 11, 2007.

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Jack & Tony: A Not So Odd Couple After all

Actors generally have to do a little research for their roles to really understand their characters. Jack Klugman, on the other hand, didn't need to look any further than his own life to play Benny Silverman in The Value Of Names. Silverman is a retired actor whose career was derailed when Leo Gershen named him in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Years later, Silverman is faced with the prospect of his daughter performing in a play directed by Gershen. While Klugman never had to go in front of the Committee and was never blacklisted, he worked with and knew many who were.

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An Interview With The Stars of Tour de Farce

An interview with Prentiss Benjamin and Ames Adamson, who star in "Tour de Farce" at New Jersey Repertory Company, after their final show of the first weekend.

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Interview with Playwright Gino Dilorio

Gino Dilorio is quickly making a name for himself in the playwriting world. The Clark University Professor has his latest work, Apostacy, currently running at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch. His play, The Hard Way, won 1st place in the BBC's 2005 International Playwriting Competition and was one of just 3 plays chosen in the Utah Shakespeare Festival's New Plays in Progress Series. Other highlights include winning a Berilla Kerr Award for Playwriting and having his "Winterizing the Summer House" chosen as one of the top 10 plays in the 2002 Writer's Digest's national play competition.

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10 Years On The Banks

An Interview With David Saint, The Artistic Director of George Street Playhouse Who Is Starting His 10th Year In New Brunswick

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Dan Lauria Wants To Bring Theatre Back To Its Wonder Years

The theatre needs more people like Dan Lauria. He's best known for his role as the father on TV's "The Wonder Years", but, in addition to his work in television and movies, he's a true champion of the theatre. More importantly, he's a true champion of new theatre.

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Interview with Charles Evered

Charles Evered is a playwright and journalist who took his degrees from Rutgers and Yale University. Presently, he is an Assistant Professor at Emerson College in Boston. The world premiere of his play Celadine recently took place at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. The show is scheduled to run until December 12th. I spoke to Evered about the play and his wonderfully detailed female characters - a place few male writers dare to go yet a place where Evered seems to be succeeding greatly.

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A Look Inside The Set With Carrie Mossman

Every now and then when people leave the theatre the design of the stage is on their mind. That was the case after the opening night of New Jersey Rep's production of Touch of Rapture. As the groups gathered to talk about the play, the production's sparse yet effective set design came up often in conversation. Set design is something that often gets overlooked, but set design is a very important part of each production.

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The Men In Blue

The Blue Man Group is truly one of the most remarkable entertainment stories in a long time. The men draped in blue paint perform their brand of performance art / musical theater in cities around the world (New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Berlin, Oberhausen - Tokyo will open in December) and present special shows that tour the planet as well. Their latest show, "How To Be A Megastar Tour 2.1" will roll into the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ on November 9, 2007. I recently spoke with Jeff Turlick, a long-time member, about the organization, the current show, and the phenomenon that is Blue Man Group.

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Arthur Giron on Love and Murder

Arthur Giron is one of the top contemporary playwrights in the country. His plays are performed continuously throughout America. He was awarded the Los Angeles Critics Drama-League Prize for "Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting" for his play, "Becoming Memories". A former Head of the Graduate Playwriting Program at Carnegie Mellon University, he has taught workshops across the land. His latest play is called "Love and Murder" and it will be premiering in April at NJ Rep.

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Andrew McCarthy's Second Act

The voice on the other side of the phone sounded so familiar, yet we had never met. It was then that I realized that one of the interviews we sought for this issue was about to begin. An interview I wasn't sure was going to happen. Thankfully it was an interview with someone who most of my generation grew up with, so what to ask wasn't very difficult.

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An interview with Playwright Mike Folie

Mike Folie is a playwright currently living in New York. He is the Playwright-In-Residence for the New Jersey Repertory Theatre Company in Long Branch. Some of his recent productions there have included Naked by the River, Panama, An Unhappy Woman, Slave Shack and The Adjustment. I spoke with Folie about Lemonade, his current production being run at NJ?Rep now through June 6th.

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Theatre Review of Tick...Tick...BOOM!

NEW BRUNSWICK, MARCH 20 -- Turning thirty was clearly the theme last night as the George Street Playhouse closed out its thirtieth anniversary season with the premiere of tick, tick... BOOM!. The musical by the late Jonathan Larson (creator of Rent) runs until April 11th and is another can't miss production from George Street. Unlike many musicals, tick, tick... BOOM! was created for the rock and roll crowd and whether you're in your twenties or have long passed the 30 mark - the show's message will hit close to home.

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Ethan McSweeney

Ethan McSweeney is one of the fastest rising directors in theatre. Only in his early thirties, he has already directed both on and Off-Broadway as well as regional productions around the country. His affiliation with George Street Playhouse began during the 2000-2001 season and since 2001 he has been GSP's Associate Director.

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