Above: Champian Fulton, Bob Tuzzo and Tony Corrao take the bandstand when the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra presents “An Enchanted Evening of Song” at Two River Theater. Below, twentysomething European conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali makes his NJ Symphony debut at the Basie.
Friday, February 28:
RED BANK: While it admittedly ain’t Shakespeare, the interactive “environmental” phenomenon known as Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding can be said to be one of the most influential theatrical offerings in a generation — even indirectly spawning a stroll-through spin on Macbeth at a seedy Manhattan hotel.
Beginning tonight, and continuing for four more performances this weekend, lovebirds Tony Nunzio and Tina Vitale repeatedly renew their vows in a production presented by the Count Basie Theatre — hosted NOT at the venerable Monmouth Street venue, but practically next door, at the nearby Buona Sera Ristorante. It’s there that guests can “eat, drink, dance, converse and get caught up in the festivities” as they stand in for Tony n’ Tina’s various extended family members and frenemies. The comedy and the comedic “drama” unfold with seatings at 7:30 pm Friday, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturday, and 12 and 6 pm. Sunday. Tickets ($100) include the ceremony, reception, baked ziti dinner, champagne toast, wedding cake, music and dancing. A $150 VIP option includes a “classic Italian meal and seat up close to the action.” Check here for reservations, close to selling out as we post this — and toss that bouquet for some more great catches and matches, as we Mach it into March.
RED BANK: Meanwhile, back at the Basie, the fort is being held down in style with the return of Bobby Collins, as the veteran funnyman favorite (and former vice president of Calvin Klein, before he wised up and became a standup Jedi master) works the room in inimitable fashion, during his umpteenth encore appearance in Red Bank. Tickets ($29.50 – $69.50) can be reserved right here.
RUMSON: Over at First Presbyterian Church of Rumson, Friday is prime time for food, music and “An Evening of Gratitude, Story and Song.” It’s a 25th Anniversary celebration for the Red Bank-based NJ Center for the Healing Arts, with straight-out-of-Nashville songbirds Queen of Hearts bringing the bluegrass/ folk/ pop/ blues sounds, and a suggested donation of $30 benefitting the programs of the mental health counseling and therapy nonprofit. Call (732)747-2944 to reserve for the 7 pm event.
RED BANK: The “Reckless Steamy Nights” series of house party concerts resumes at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank on Broad Street, where the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation welcomes back The Incinerators to the old Anthony Reckless estate. It all happens between the hours of 8:30 and 11 pm, and it’s BYOB, with a $10 donation requested at the door (proceeds benefit the JSJBF scholarship programs); call (732)933-1984 for more info.
Saturday, March 1:
RUMSON: The coming of March — and that slow but inexorable march toward longer days and languid twilights — heralds the arrival of the Twilight Concert Benefit at St. George’s by the River in Rumson, the 18th annual edition of which pays tribute to a bunch of lads who’ve been a hot topic of late, the Beatles. An all star Lonely Hearts Band of favorite Shore musicians — including Pat Guadagno, Maureen McCrink, Jeff MacPherson, Layonne Holmes and Pam McCoy — come together, with a little help from their friends it kind of goes without saying, for a fundraiser evening of MopTops music (and cool cocktail reception afterward) dedicated once again to the AIDS Research Foundation for Children. Reserve tickets ($50 advance, $55 door) for the 5 pm event here.
RED BANK: An appearance by the magnificent music machine known as the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra isn’t something you see every day — but whenever there’s a job to be done, the organization under the direction of globetrotting conductor-arranger and jazz scholar Joe “Mooche” Muccioli steps up in style. It’s a slightly scaled-down version of the RBJO that heads up the street from its usual Basie digs on Saturday night, commandeering the mainstage of Two River Theater for a 7:30 pm presentation entitled “An Enchanting Evening of Song;” a set of Great American Songbook standards (presented by the borough-based Jazz Arts Project) highlighted by the presence of three world-class vocalists — Mooche’s frequent guests Champian Fulton and Tony Corrao, plus moonlighting serenader (and Jazz Arts board member) Bob Tuzzo. It’s a benefit for a special Head Start music program for kids from at risk and challenged communities; tickets ($45) are diggable right here.
RED BANK: It’s the debut New Jersey Symphony Orchestra appearance for one of the most exciting and buzzed-about talents on the international orchestral scene — 26-year-old Finnish conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali — and the Count‘s got him, as the NJSO returns to Red Bank (with solo pianist Xiaohui Yang) for a program that features Grieg’s Piano Concerto, as well as Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony. As with all NJSO events, tickets for the 8 pm program ($20 – $85) are available NOT from the Count Basie Theatre box office, but by calling 1.800.ALLEGRO.
Sunday, March 2:
NAVESINK: Over the course of numerous in-person appearances at libraries, bookstores, community centers and retail establishments, local historian Karen L. Schnitzspahn has developed a following among those who appreciate her flair for illuminating hitherto little-known corners of Shore life and lore. On Sunday at 3 pm, the author of Jersey Shore Food History visits All Saints’ Memorial Church (the historic “Old Stone Church” at the crossroads of Navesink and Monmouth Avenues) for a Victorian Tea & Talk that combines an informative presentation with a serving of teas and period foods to follow. Purchases of signed books benefit community outreach programs; space is limited so call (732)291-0214 to reserve.
RED BANK: It’s opening weekend for the Two River Theater Company production of Pinkolandia, Andrea Thome’s tale of two Chilean sisters — living with their family in 1980s Wisconsin — who find their place within a private country of their own devising, even as the past and the outside world threaten to intrude upon their personal American Dreamscape. The playwright herself is among the guests joining TRTC Artistic Director John Dias for a special panel discussion on “Launching a New Play into the Repertoire of Great American Theater,” immediately following the 3 pm Sunday matinee. Take it here for tickets to the show that continues through March 23 — and look here for an interview with Andrea Thome, right here on redbankgreen.
This might be as good a place as any to mention that this Monday evening, March 3, Two River Theater will host a special “NYU Cabaret of New Songs,” showcasing all-new songs from work-in-progress musicals being developed (and perhaps, even being fast-tracked to the Two River mainstage) by current students from the New York University Musical Theatre Graduate Writing Program. It’s an event that’s previously drawn the participation of Broadway vets like B.D. Wong of Law & Order: SVU, and it’s offering FREE general admission tickets to the public — to reserve, take it to the TRTC website or call the box office at (732)345-1400.