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RED BANK: A WALK WITH LIFE AND ART

calpulli2The dancers and musicians of Mariachi y Calpulli Mexican Dance Company perform at the Count Basie on Cinco de Mayo, capping Thursday’s MoCo ArtWalk experience in Red Bank.

MoCo-Walking-TourIt’s being billed as the first in a new series of “MoCo Artwalks,” and hosted by the folks at the Monmouth County Arts Council and designed to give arts aficionados a strolling/rolling and altogether unique perspective on some fascinating goings- on in and around the MoCo (Monmouth County) Arts Corridor — a scintillating strip of station stops along the Matawan-to-Manasquan stretch of the North Jersey Coast Line.

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RED BANK: PRINCE FANS RAIN PURPLE @BASIE

rb purple rain 042416 4

rb purple rain 042416 15Hundreds of Prince fans turned out at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for a free screening of his film,”Purple Rain,” Sunday night, and many honored his memory by donning their finest purple garments, jewelry and lipstick. Check out our photos, below.

Though Prince had never performed at the venue, Basie CEO Adam Philipson said theatre staffers wanted to turn the rock star’s sudden death last Thursday into an opportunity for “joy,” and quickly obtained rights to show the film. Attendees asked to bring canned food for donation to Lunch Break, a Red Bank soup kitchen. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: FREE ‘PURPLE RAIN’ SHOW @BASIE

prince purple rainIn honor of the late, great Prince, the Count Basie Theatre will screen his blockbuster film, “Purple Rain,” on Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

just_inPress release from the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank:

The Count Basie Theatre invites the community to a public screening of PURPLE RAIN this Sunday night, April 24th at 8pm.

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RED BANK: IN THE MOOD FOR BIG SOUND

INTHEMOOD_SHOWMAINPICA big band and an energetic troupe of singers and dancers bring that 1940s vibe back to the Count Basie Theatre Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

There’s the Andrews Sisters’ rollicking reveille “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Bing Crosby’s jumped-up “Swingin’ on a Star.” Benny Goodman’s pounding epic “Sing! Sing! Sing!” Glenn Miller’s signature slow-dance “Moonlight Serenade.”

While they might date from your great-grandma’s era of USO shows and network radio, they represent the music of youth — the soundtrack for a country tested by the Great Depression and a Second World War, but ready to seize its moment on the global stage.

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RED BANK: STAR-POWERED STEPPING

DWTS 16A cast of terpsichorean talents takes to the Basie boards for two Wednesday shows, as ‘Dancing With the Stars Live!’ rolls into town.

One can easily make the case that they’re the real stars of ABC TV’s Dancing with the Stars: the dedicated choreographers, instructors and professional performers charged with the task of making the C-list celebrity likes of Rumer Willis and Bindi Irwin (and Bristol Palin, Tom DeLay, Tucker Carlson, Jerry Springer…) dazzle like Ginger and Fred.

With more than 20 seasons and 300-plus episodes in the books, the prime-time phenom has seen its share of drops, drama, and drastic injury-related substitutions. But when the touring production known as Dancing With the Stars Live! takes to the boards of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for two shows this Wednesday, the franchise will reside in the hands and light-fantastic feet of the folks who lend poetry to its motion.

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LITTLE SILVER: RBR DANCERS IN THE LIGHT

RBR DancePress release from Red Bank Regional High School

The “Season of Lights” may have given way to the winter doldrums, but on the evening of Wednesday, January 13, the Visual and Performing Arts Academy dance majors of Red Bank Regional High School will be “Dancing in the Dark” during a special event that shines a spotlight on their multi-faceted talents.

Scheduled for 7 pm inside the RBR theatre, the annual Winter Dance Showcase features 18 pieces performed by the 32 VPA dance majors in a variety of genres, including contemporary, modern, jazz and ballet. Most pieces are choreographed by students — including a special tap number to Rihanna’s “Dancing in the Dark,” organized by sophomore Rachel Kline of Red Bank — with two pieces created by professional dancers and choreographers Kimberly Labriola and Noah Gouldsmith, and several by RBR teacher Cara Scacco.

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RED BANK: ‘NUTCRACKER’ TURNS 30

nutcrackerThe Company of Dance Arts brings its production of Tchaikovsky’s ballet THE NUTCRACKER back to the Basie boards for four performances this weekend, in a 30th anniversary milestone staging.  

As frequenters of our Count Basie Theatre can attest, there are December traditions (like Bobby Bandiera’s Hope Concerts, Dunbar’s Black Nativity, the Holiday Express fundraisers, and Southside Johnny’s New Year’s toast, to name but a handful), and then there are traditions — the kind that families on the greater Green have grown up with; the kind of event without which it “simply wouldn’t be Christmas in Red Bank.”

One such event returns this Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13, when the borough-based Company of Dance Arts returns to the Basie boards with its annual production of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker — a milestone 30th staging of the holiday confection that’s employed the talents of generations of performers, in addition to drawing multi-generational audiences to its performances.

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MIDDLETOWN: GET CRACKIN’ W/ CHRISTMAS

nutcracker1Excerpts from the Performing Arts Ensemble’s production of “The Nutcracker” will be featured this Sunday during a Big Holiday Show at the Middletown Arts Center.

While the upcoming Town Lighting ceremony in downtown Red Bank remains the event that officially keynotes the season’s festivities around the Greater Green, there’s already plenty going on to tantalize the appetites of those who can’t wait until after the Thanksgiving turkey is sawed into — and this Sunday, the Middletown Arts Center is the scene for a soup-to-nuts extravaganza that goes straight to the main course.

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RED BANK: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE CONVERGE

PMJ-PR-shotBandleader-composer (and YouTube-spawned sensation) Scott Bradlee brings his Postmodern Jukebox project to the Count Basie stage this Friday…while soprano Victoria Cannizzo joins Roy Gussman and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra, in a Saturday night inaugural for the new MSO season.

victoria cannizzoIn between offering happy harbor to a veritable Who’s Who of legendary entertainers from all the classic avenues of show business, our Count Basie Theatre has taken its place as a showcase for the newly minted superstars of that most 21st century of spawning grounds — the viral vaudeville that is YouTube and the social media stage.

This Friday, the Red Bank audience gets its first in-person look at an act that expanded its appeal from a literal living-room setting, to an in-demand touring attraction whose homemade videos have been viewed more than 100 million times.

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RED BANK: BASIE PLANS MASSIVE EXPANSION

Basie expansion 1 102615An architect’s rendering of the expanded Count Basie Theatre includes additions on the east and west sides of the existing structure. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Red Bank’s Vaudeville-era Count Basie Theatre is in for a massive, $20 milion expansion that will turn it into a “creative campus” dedicated to the performing arts in coming years, officials said Monday.

Incorporating adjoining properties acquired in recent years, theater officials plan to “move toward our longtime vision of an entire city block dedicated to the performing arts,” Tom Widener, chairman of the theater’s board of trustees, said in an announcement released Monday morning.

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RED BANK: BASIE UNVEILS NEW ARTS SPACE

cbpac 092115 2Guests mingled in the new Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy Monday. Below, Yvonne Lamb Scudiery and Mayor Pasquale Menna spoke at the unveiling. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

cbpac 092115 1Old-timers will recall its days as a WaWa, but its future is as a laboratory for the arts.

So say officials at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy about the onetime convenience store that is now the academy’s home.

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RED BANK: MONMOUTH STREET CHURNS

9 monmouth 072915Moving to Red Bank from Spring Lake, Charleston Shops is taking over 9 Monmouth Street, above, former home of Toad Hollow.

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThis installment of redbankgreen’s Retail Churn finds lots of changes underway at the corner of Broad and Monmouth streets in Red Bank.

And a good deal of it is happening at 80 Broad, the former Red Bank Mini Mall building at the southwest corner of that intersection that recently added Toki as a tenant.

 

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RED BANK: WILL YOU PLEASE NOT BE QUIET??

A new family-friendly series known as ‘No Shush’ debuts at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank this Saturday. Structured  for kids aged 3 to 12, the program combines classical music by the New Jersey Symphony Chamber Players, a performance of ‘Peter and the Wolf’ by the Monmouth Academy of Ballet and a pre-show ‘instrument petting zoo’ – all in an atmosphere designed to encourage chatter, questions, dancing and movement.

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KICK KIDS DANCE FOR DISNEY XMAS TV SHOW

Kick dancePress release from Kick Dance Studios

Dancers from Kick Dance Studios of Rumson and Fair Haven recently had the exciting honor of performing in Disney’s Frozen Christmas Celebration, which was taped on December 4-8 and will air on ABC TV on Christmas Day, December 25 at 10 am EST.

More than 300 dancers from 40 studios from across the U.S. and Canada performed. The event opens with a performance by Ariana Grande, who sings “Santa Tell Me” and “Last Christmas”.

Kick’s students, ages 9-13 from Fair Haven, Rumson, Navesink, Little Silver and Shrewsbury, were selected by Disney Parks to perform in the highly-anticipated annual televised event after reviewing their taped auditions. The students appear, front and center, during two “Frozen” Celebration performances, “Let it Snow” and “In Summer”.

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RED BANK: VOICES & VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS

Vienna Boys CODAThe touring company of the venerable Vienna Boys Choir takes the Count Basie stage on Monday, December 15 — following a weekend of NUTCRACKER performances presented by Company of Dance Arts, and choreographed by Peter Anastos. 

The notion of Red Bank as the area’s unofficial Capital of Christmas Entertainment — and the landmark Count Basie Theatre as a veritable Santa’s Workshop of seasonal diversions that range from the sacred to the silly (and, in one upcoming instance, even the playfully profane) — is reinforced big-time over the course of the next week-and-change. Keep it tuned to redbankgreen for the details as they unfold — and keep it glued to the Basie seats for a ten-day sleighride that begins this very afternoon, December 13.

Like the Monmouth Civic Chorus presentation of Handel’s Messiah that preceded it on the Basie boards, the annual staging of the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker by the borough-based Company of Dance Arts is one of those hometown traditions without which it simply “wouldn’t be Chrismas” —  a staple signifier of the holiday season in Red Bank for 29 years and counting, and an institution that’s employed the talents of generations of performers (in addition to drawing multi-generational audiences to its performances). Choreographed by the nationally renowned Peter Anastos — and mixing guest soloists from New York dance companies with local professionals and the young students of the CoDA company — the colorfully costumed production inaugurated its 2014 schedule with a special Friday morning school show on December 12, and returns for four public performances (1 pm and 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday). Despite ever-changing casts — and the often significant ways in which both the Count Basie Theatre and Red Bank have changed over the past 30 years — the ballet remains a direct link to a simpler “small town” era of community life, and a great generator of memories, regardless of whether you’re seeing it for the first time or the 29th.

Tickets to any of the four performances of The Nutcracker ($20 – $40) can be reserved here.

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