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RED BANK: BURDON OF DREAMS AT THE BASIE

Eric BurdonRock and Roll Hall of Famer Eric Burdon (above) rolls into Red Bank for a Wednesday retrospective of his 50-year classic rock legacy, with Edgar Winter (below) along for the “Free Ride.”

Edgar Winter copyEven as the alt-rock bands of the 1990s become this summer’s headliners on the oldies circuit, many of the most formidable classic rock kingpins of the ’60s and ’70s are scarcely ready to surrender the stage.

On Wednesday night, the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank showcases a couple of silver foxes who successfully bridged the realms of hard-driving R&B and transistor-radio pop over the course of a collective century of touring and recording.

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RED BANK: WHO’S NEXT FOR PHOENIX? YES.

Jonathan Jacob Phoenix TommyJonathan Jacob (top right, above) heads the young cast, and Victoria Keiser (below) is the seductive “acid queen” Gypsy, in Phoenix Productions staging of  “Tommy” this weekend.

Victoria Leigh Phoenix TommyIf it’s July at the Count Basie Theatre, then it must be time for the now-traditional summer musical from Phoenix Productions, the borough-based theatrical company that continues its long and productive residency at the venerable Red Bank venue.

With scores of aspiring actors of high school and college age currently between semesters, the troupe’s midsummer offerings have represented a showcase for young performers, with especially energetic and ever so slightly edgier selections (“Rent,” “Hairspray”) than the family-friendly fare (“Mary Poppins,” “Little Mermaid,”) that’s proven so successful for the Phoenix brand.

When the Count’s curtain goes up this Friday night, it will usher in a two-weekend stand for a Broadway sensation with a psychedelic countercultural pedigree: “The Who’s Tommy.” Read More »

RED BANK: STREETLIFE OF HOOPS AND DREAMS

hula hooper 1Street Life vertStreetLife veteran Eryka Andrex brings her dazzling hula-hooping act, complete with LED-embedded hoops, back to downtown Red Bank Saturday night as part of RiverCenter’s continuing series of sidewalk entertainments.

Take it here for the complete list of performers and locations. (Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: STRAWBERRIES, STARS ‘N STRIPES

hottaters2 copyThe Hot Taters return to First Presbyterian Church on Tower Hill as part of the festivities for the annual Liberty Extravaganza and Strawberry Festival. 

It wasn’t so very long ago that July 3 packed an altogether different vibe than the relatively sleepy pre-holiday interlude we now get in Red Bank. But while the yearly KaBoom fireworks extravaganza last lit things up five years ago, up on Tower Hill, you’ll find another long-running holiday weekend tradition continues to make a glorious noise.

Now in its 28th annual edition,the First Presbyterian Church hosts the yearly Liberty Extravaganza and Strawberry Festival returns Sunday, offering up a selection of delectable homemade desserts and sweet, sweet American music.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL ADVANCES RIVER CRUISES

The Red Bank Primary School Chorus entertained the council audience with two songs, including this variation on a Woody Guthrie tune. (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Red Bank’s Marine Park could once again be the point of departure for commercial cruises on the Navesink River, following council action Wednesday night.

Details on that action, and other news from the council’s semimonthly meeting, are just around the read more corner.

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RED BANK: BON JOVI THANKS BIZ OWNERS

jovi martino fadell 062216donegoodlogoRock star Jon Bon Jovi chats with Red Bank merchants Linda Martino, center, of Lux Beauty Store, and Dorothy Ferlanti, of Pinot’s Palette, at the JBJ Soul Kitchen Wednesday evening.

Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea Bongiovi, part-time Middletown residents, hosted a reception for business owners who donated a portion of their receipts on June 16 to a fundraiser for the nonprofit restaurant, which the couple opened in 2011 to fight food insecurity.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: RIVERSIDE STAND TO OPEN SOON

rb riverside 062016 4WhatsGoingOnHereIt may not appear much is happening at the Riverside Gardens Park concession booth in Red Bank — and for years, almost nothing has, really. But inside, Gracie and the Dudes Organic Ice Cream of Sea Bright has been making progress on a plan to open the stand for regular daily and special-events service under a deal inked with the borough in April, owner Michelle McMullin tells redbankgreen.

McMullin expects to open the stand within two weeks, she said, carrying the company’s full menu of homemade ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and organic Italian ices. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: SUGARUSH ADDING CAFFEINE RUSH

amanda porter sugarush 062016Taking over the business from her brother and brother-in-law, Amanda Porter plans to add a café to Sugarush next week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIt’s not so much that the block on which her business resides is undercaffeinated, by urban standards, that compelled new Sugarush owner Amanda Porter to open a café at the Red Bank desserts shop.

But add to that the fact that she’s got available storefront space; a bakery out back with the capacity to create a whole new, non-dessert treats menu; and is a self-style “coffee snob,” and well, how could she not?

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RED BANK: HERE’S THE BALDWIN- KLINE THING

Alec-Baldwin-Kevin-Kline-333x250The first time Alec Baldwin took to the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater, it was for a 2009 fundraiser, during which the leading man of silver screen (“The Hunt for Red October”) and Broadway stage (“A Streetcar Named Desire”) participated in a Q&A for the benefit of the local Junior League.

By the time Baldwin returned to the Bridge Avenue space two years later, he had netted two Emmys, a couple of Golden Globes and a SAG Award for his work on the sitcom “30 Rock.” That appearance found the actor taking part in an entertaining panel discussion with the Tony-nominated frequent Two River artist Michael Cumpsty — a chat moderated by TRTC artistic director John Dias, who made no secret of his desire to secure Baldwin’s services for a future mainstage production in Red Bank.

When Baldwin makes his scheduled appearance at Two River this coming Monday, he’ll have added to his list of conquered media (movies, TV, live drama, commercials, voice mails) a new one: podcasting. And, he’ll be bringing along a fellow multi-platform performer with a formidable set of skills.

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RED BANK: FAB FAUX TO SPIN FAB FOUR’S 45’S

fab fauxThe Fab Faux makes its 15th annual appearance on the Count Basie stage this Saturday night, fortified by horns, strings and a formidable folio of the Beatles’ greatest hits.

It’s as sure a sign of the summer as the 35-miles-per-hour speed limit on Sea Bright’s Ocean Avenue — the appearance of the Fab Faux, the super-sessionman pet project that makes its 15th annual stand on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre this Saturday night.

Co-fronted by a couple of professed Beatle buffs and virtuosic veterans from famed TV talk-show bands — bassman Will Lee (David Letterman) and guitarist Jimmy Vivino (Conan O’Brien) — the celebrated band has outdone every Wanna-Beatle combo in general circulation, with a show that transcends the wigs-and-costumes Beatlemania approach in favor of a thrillingly detail-intensive homage to the recorded legacy of the Liverpuddlian lads.

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SANDY HOOK CONCERTS RETURN TO THE BEACH

The NerdsPlaid-shirted partystarters the Nerd hit the beach this Wednesday evening for the first in a new season of free outdoor concerts on Sandy Hook, seen below from Highlands.

sandy hook concession 090114Sounding the keynote to the season of free outdoor concerts in and around the Greater Red Bank Green — and showing them all how it’s done — the long-running Sandy Hook Beach Concert Series returns to the peninsula for another slate of events at Beach Area E this week.

Presented by the Sandy Hook Foundation, the 6 p.m. concerts are all-ages, multi-generational celebrations that come equipped with sandy seating, natural A/C and complimentary sunsets. It all begins anew this Wednesday, June 15, with a rare exposure to sunlight by those most pocket-protected of party-starting pop-rock-funk powerhouses, the Nerds.

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LITTLE SILVER: OLD-STYLE BASEBALL RETURNS

Monmouth Furnace Base BallIt’s a contest of old-school sporting skills when the Monmouth Furnace Base Ball Club meets the Chesapeake Nine in a Sunday afternoon game at Sickles Field.

Forget the recent rulebook revisions governing base-running during double play situations. Send the DH to the bench; leave the protective helmets in the equipment locker — and if you’re pitching today, be prepared to hurl a complete game, or even work every game on the team’s schedule.

When the Monmouth Furnace Base Ball Club takes to the diamond at Little Silver’s Sickles Field this Sunday, the team will be playing by a somewhat different set of rules than the ones that currently apply to professional-league competition.

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RED BANK: DOWNTOWN GETS INSTANT MURAL

rb mural 060416 4A team of painters, including 13 students from the visual arts program at Red Bank Regional, worked on the mural throughout the day Saturday and into early Sunday. (Photos by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb mural 060416 3Racing to finish before an expected rain, a team of artists and volunteers painted a two-story mural in downtown Red Bank over the weekend.

Overlooking the parking lot for Buona Sera restaurant at Monmouth Street and Maple Avenue, the mural promotes a film festival scheduled to light up movie screens in town next month.

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RED BANK: REINVENTING MAMA, AT TWO RIVER

IRememberMama0783Barbara Andres (right) returns in the role she performed in the acclaimed Off Broadway production of I REMEMBER MAMA, when the play goes up this Saturday as the season’s closer at Two River Theater. (Photo by Transport Group).

It’s about family, of course — specifically the Hanson family, Norwegian immigrants struggling to carve out a new life for themselves in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century. To the extended Hanson brood — Mama, Papa, their four kids, plus three aunts, an uncle and a boarder named Mr. Hyde — the rock-ribbed principles of hard work, education, sacrifice, love, loyalty and thrift sometimes chafe up against a yearning for something else in this new-world setting. But in John Van Druten’s play I Remember Mama, it’s the title character who ultimately keeps the universe in balance for this collection of dreamers, schemers, no-nonsense traditionalists and sensitive souls.

Adapted from the semi-autobiographical novel Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes — and subsequently transformed into a hit film, a TV series, and Richard Rodgers’ last musical — the 1944 ensemble piece goes up in previews this Friday, June 3 as the final mainstage offering of the 2015-2016 season at Two River Theater. As re-imagined by NYC’s Transport Group and director Jack Cummings III, the comedy-drama is given a compelling twist, with all of the play’s 20-plus roles — men, women, children and teens — performed by a company of actresses aged 60 and over.

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