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RED BANK: ICE CREAM VENDOR TO RUN STAND

rb rgpark 090513In recent years, the Riverside Gardens concession booth has been open only during borough events in the park, and managed by borough employees and volunteers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A local ice cream business has won the right to run the rarely open concession stand in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park.

Gracie and the Dudes Organic Ice Cream, which has a seasonal store in Sea Bright and one in Long Branch that’s open year-round, won council approval Wednesday night to lease the borough-owned facility for two years.

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RED BANK: A SPLASHY DEBUT FOR PHOENIX

little mermaidsCat Tierney, seen at right with the other Daughters of Triton, stars as Ariel in the staging of “The Little Mermaid that begins a Red Bank run Friday night. (Click to enlarge)

littlemermaid2016After rising to the occasion last year with such gravity-defying entertainments as Mary Poppins and Peter Pan, the folks at Phoenix Productions in Red Bank dive deep for their inaugural production of the 2016 season: the Disney musical The Little Mermaid, which surfaces for a two-weekend run at the Count Basie Theatre.

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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: BANDIERA & CO. HONOR BOWIE

basie bowieBobby Bandiera, below, honors the late David Bowie with a special tribute concert in Red Bank Saturday night. (Click to enlarge.)

Bandiera 2016It was originally supposed to go down as a tribute to the pop music legend with the omnipresent shades and the hi-lonesome voice: Mr. Roy Orbison.

But when word got out that David Bowie had passed away on January 10, Bob Bandiera switched strategies as quickly as the late, great “Thin White Duke” himself explored musical personas in a career lasting some 50 years.

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RED BANK: GRIFFIN AND BEAR IT

kathy-griffin-at-tyler-shieldsKathy Griffin, the flame-haired comic with the celeb-roasting style, returns to Red Bank for a Friday night funny-fight at the Basie. (Photo by Tyler Shields)

She’s got a trophy case full of accolades — including two Emmys and a Grammy — but Kathy Griffin didn’t get where she is by making nice with the targets of her comic flamethrowing.

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RED BANK: JUST BROWN AND SERVE

Food Network star Alton Brown takes the Count Basie stage for a presentation that just might get a bit messy.

morsels smallThe last time the Count Basie Theatre designated a “splatter zone” in the front seats was during the farewell tour of the notorious melon-mauling comedian Gallagher. But when the TV personality and best-selling author Alton Brown visits the venerable venue this Wednesday night, the patrons in row A (and maybe B and C) will sit duly forewarned — while the plastic ponchos, we are assured, will be “larger and more protective.”

The occasion is the Red Bank whistle-stop of Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science, an audience-engaging stage presentation that the Food Network star is in the process of bringing to some 40 U.S. cities.  Read More »

RED BANK: A BARD AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Actor-singer-composer-musician Rinde Eckert talks about creating the music for the Two River Theater production of “Pericles,” which begins previews this weekend. (Video courtesy of the Two River Theater.)

Even as passionate a cheerleader as Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias is forced to admit that Pericles, Prince of Tyre is “one of Shakespeare’s plays that has frustrated his fans” —  the result of its being “most obviously the result of a quirky collaboration with another playwright (or two).”

A sprawling smorgasbord of mythology and melodrama that boasts sensational plot points (incest! pirates! sexual slavery!) and more scenery than can be chewed through in a single sitting, the late-period romance fairly begs, as Dias declares, for “an interpretive team of theater artists who love it for the splendor of its quirks, while working to bring its disparate selves together.”

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RED BANK: PUSCIFER, DION & “EMILY”

James Maynard KeenanMaynard James Keenan (above) brings the rock theatrics \ of Puscifer’s “Money $hot” Tour to Red Bank in a Count Basie debut tonight — while Hall of Famer Dion DiMucci (below) returns for a Thursday night streetcorner serenade. 

The never-ending rock show rolls on at the Count Basie Theatre, as the nights ahead see several generations of chart-toppers and Grammy winners deliver decades-spanning retrospectives, conceptual stage shows and, at least in one case, a smidgen of “bone breaking fun” to the Red Bank stage.

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RED BANK: SYMPHONY OF THE SENSATIONAL

xian zhangThe New Jersey Symphony’s dynamic new conductor Xian Zhang (above) takes the Count Basie stage for a Saturday night Tchaikovsky session. Broadway/TV actor-singer Norm Lewis (below) joins the NJSO for a little “Music of the Night” on April 15.

norm lewisContinuing a long and celebrated association with the Count Basie Theatre — one that’s taken an innovative and eclectic turn here in 2016, with guest performances by avant-garde percussionist Lisa Pegher and Broadway bombshell Megan Hilty — the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank with a stepped-up schedule that presents an unprecedented two distinctly different programs, within the space of one week.

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RUMSON STAR’S CONCERT TO STREAM VIA APP

CHARLIE PUTHLocal fans of 24-year-old Rumson-bred pop star Charlie Puth who can’t make it to his sold-out show tonight in New York or Friday night’s sold concert at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre might want to listen in via an app called go90, which will be streaming tonight’s show live. The app, availble through the App Store and Google Apps, is free, and the show begins at 9 p.m. (Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: VOCALLY SOURCED ‘N ORGANIC

straight-no-chaser_event-640x420The 10-piece a cappella ensemble Straight No Chaser (above) returns to the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday. Wednesday brings a sonic summit between scatmasters Manhattan Transfer (below) and Take 6.

manhattantransfer-sq1Two midweek nights, one famous stage, 20 grand and harmonious human voices.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the sing’s the thing at the Count Basie Theatre, as the venerable Red Bank venue welcomes a veritable convention of lobbyists for the pop vocalist’s art, in all its jazzy, soulful, boundary-busting glory.

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