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ON THE GREEN: BIG THEATER ON SMALL STAGES

gyp_35_retKate Pentek is the child vaudevillian who grows up to become burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee as the classic backstage musical ‘Gypsy’ comes to the Count Basie stage for two weekends. (Photo courtesy Phoenix Productions)

basie-gypsy-091416The waning weekends of summer are traditionally a prime time to dust off your first-night finery and head back to the “theatah.” And even as Red Bank’s resident professional stage company, the Two River Theater, opens its new season with “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Greater Green’s three community troupes (that’s Phoenix Productions, Stone Church Players, and Monmouth Players) also are ready to raise the curtains on a variety of entertainments.

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RED BANK: SIGN UP NOW FOR BASIE ACADEMY

Press release from Count Basie Theatre 

count-basie-performing-arts-academyA wide variety of instructional programs and workshop — including classes aimed at pre-school children, members of the Latino community, and students with Autism Spectrum Disorder — are available now, as the Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy announces the opening of registrations for its fall 2016 semester, which begins on September 26 and concludes in December.

Private, one-on-one lessons, adult classes in public speaking, acting and voiceovers will also be held during the fall semester, in addition to classes in musical theatre, acting for the stage, TV and film. Young musicians can explore Rock and Jazz through courses offered with Basie partner programs Rockit! and Jazz Arts Project. In addition to the popular returning programs, several new Academy offerings will be on the schedule:

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RED BANK: BASIE OFFERS BOY, ROY AND MORE

culture-clubBoy George (above, second from right) reunites with Culture Club for a Tuesday night concert at the Count Basie…while Bob Bandiera (below) presents a long-awaited tribute to Roy Orbison on Friday.

BandieraThe highly anticipated reunion of one of the most attention-compelling hit machines of the Reagan years…a delayed tribute to a musical guardian angel…a decades-spanning retrospective of radio hits, from the cats who were there…and the return of a platinum-plated band from the aughties that refuses to be regarded as oldies; all coming to the famous stage of the Count Basie Theatre in the nights ahead.

It all begins tomorrow night, September 6, with the long-overdue return to our shores of a group that scored multiple smash hits, netted even more magazine covers, and turned mainstream pop culture topsy-turvy back in the golden age of MTV. Reconvening with the original lineup of Culture Club (Jon Moss, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay) for the American leg of a well-received international tour, Boy George has managed to remind back-in-the-day fans (and next-generation converts) that he and his mates were pretty much the top pop group of their mid-1980s moment; topping the US charts with “Karma Chameleon” and scaling the Billboards with a string of hits that included “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “Time,” “Church of the Poison Mind,” and “The War Song” to name but a few. Take it here for tickets to the 8 p.m. show ($69 – $149) and here to purchase the $350 “VIP Experience” — then flip the record over for more vibrations on the Basie boards.

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RED BANK: BASIE ROLLS (WITH) THE DICE

Andrew Dice ClayThe old greaser’s pompadour has thinned; the paunch squeaks and strains against the trademark leathers, and the glasses could have come straight off the face of your great-aunt Totsie — but let no one say that the biggest/baddest of standup comedy’s many self-proclaimed Bad Boys has lost any modicum of his mojo at the mic.

Besides, even the most outrageously offensive rants, rhymes and roast-ready insults of Andrew Dice Clay read anymore like Tuesday morning’s tweets from the 2016 Presidential campaign playbook. And when “the only performer ever banned for life from MTV” (or first contestant ever thrown off Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” or SNL host who inspired the most cast member walk-outs) takes the stage of the Count Basie Theatre this Thursday night, August 25, he’ll be once more ascending a career rollercoaster that’s taken him from multi-night sellouts of Madison Square Garden, to a humbling stint beneath the low ceilings of basement comedy clubs — and a return to form in front of theater-sized crowds.

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RED BANK: MCAC EXEC STEPS DOWN, MOVES UP

Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council

Mary Eileen FourattAfter 19 years at the Monmouth County Arts Council — 17 of them as Executive Director —Mary Eileen Fouratt (pictured right) will be stepping down to take a position with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Fouratt, who first served as Community Arts Director in 1997, became Executive Director in 1999 when the Monmouth County Arts Council and Count Basie Theatre separated into two nonprofit entities.

Fouratt’s tenure has seen unprecedented growth for Monmouth Arts, including the development of the award-winning Monmouth County Arts Plan “Envision, Imagine, Create,” and the MoCo Arts Corridor, a creative placemaking and marketing initiative. She led the MCAC’s response to Hurricane Sandy, ArtHelps, and under her leadership Monmouth Arts has received a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council every year since 2006.

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RED BANK: VAN ZANDTS STAR AT ROCKIT GALA

Van Zandts RockitCount Basie Theatre board members Maureen and Steven Van Zandt (center) are pictured with performers from the Rockit Live music program at a 2014 concert event. The Van Zandts will be guest of honor at Rockit’s inaugural fundraising gala on September 25. (Photo courtesy Rockit Live Foundation)

Press release from Rockit Live Foundation

The Rockit Live Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural gala, honoring Maureen and Steven Van Zandt for their lifetime devotion and contribution to young artists and music education.

A benefit dinner will be held at Buona Sera Palazzo Banquet Hall in Ocean Township on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25, and will feature livemusical performances from the young Rockit musicians, along with Steven Van Zandt and special guests.

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RED BANK: FREE SUMMER FILMS AT THE BASIE

Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.The 2015 Disney/Pixar hit “Inside Out” screens Saturday morning at the Count Basie Theatre, part of a free Summer Film Series that resumes on August 10 with the Mel Brooks monster-mash “Young Frankenstein.”

Young_Frankenstein_movie_posterThe doldrums of summer are prime time for free outdoor movie series like the long-running Tuesday attractions at Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park and Sea Bright’s Movies on the Beach. Still, there’s no time like the sweltering present to enjoy the cooling comforts of climate control, and no better place to enjoy a classic moviegoing experience than at Monmouth County’s longest-running picture show, the historic Count Basie Theatre.

Ninety years after its 1926 debut as a venue for the latest in silent films, the former Carlton Theater keeps the big screen a-flicker in the weeks ahead with a special four-part Summer Film Series that’s free of charge.

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RED BANK: BASIE REELS IN FRESH HOT TUNA

Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen bring their Electric Hot Tuna set back to the Basie stage after Vince Herman (below) and Leftover Salmon serve up the openers.

Leftover-Salmon-3-2While “finely aged” is an asset for commodities like wine and cheese, it’s traditionally not much of a selling point when it comes to seafood. But if the notion of Leftover Salmon and Hot Tuna comes across as less than fresh here in the doggie-bag baking days of summer, be assured that the hard-touring, veteran roots music acts retain an appeal that’s anchored in a certain timeless quality, one that transcends a given flavor of the month, or even catch of the day.

When the long-playing duo of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady takes to the Count Basie Theatre this Thursday, the guitar/bass partnership will be returning to town with the electric configuration of Hot Tuna, the blues-rock institution they’ve maintained off-and-on since their days as bandmates in the best-remembered lineup of Jefferson Airplane.

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RED BANK: BIG MOVE FOR BASIE BOARD

basie awards 051816 2Press release from The Count Basie Theatre

Amidst its $20 million dollar expansion and improvement plan, the Count Basie Theatre has announced the merging of its Board of Trustees and Directors and the hiring of a new Vice President of Development to join the newly appointed executive leadership team.

As a recognized 501(c)(3) organization, the Count Basie Theatre once operated under the guidance of two governing boards — one overseeing theater operations, and the other the non-profit’s fundraising efforts. With a single Executive Committee under the leadership of Chairman Tom Widener and Count Basie Theatre president and CEO Adam Philipson, the work to merge the boards into one, diverse and powerful force behind the theatre’s ambitious plans for the future have come to fruition.

“This is an auspicious, exciting moment for us at the Count Basie Theatre, said Board Chairman Tom Widener. “Merging the boards creates cohesion, clarity and focus at an important time in our history.”

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RED BANK: KEVIN SMITH FILM TO DEBUT HERE

yoga-hosers-johnny-deppHarley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp and Lily-Rose Depp co-star in “Yoga Hosers,” the new feature film by Kevin Smith. Below, the cake that Cake Boss Buddy Valastro made for Smith’s birthday appearance at the the Count Basie Theatre in 2010.

ksmithcakebossThe last time filmmaker/ actor/ Smodcaster/ writer/ King of Most Media Kevin Smith commandeered the Count Basie Theatre for a public birthday celebration, it was with an August 2010 Q&A session that saw his milestone 40th and magnificent head immortalized in buttercream by a fellow Jersey celeb soon to establish Red Bank cred: “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro.

The multi-platform cult figure (and self-described “fat guy who got thrown off the plane”) may have left Leonardo for Los Angeles years ago — but as he approaches his 46th birthday, he returns to the borough of his birth; the town he gae its big-screen close-up in features like “Chasing Amy” and “Dogma;” a burb that sits at the nexus of the comix multiverse courtesy of the Smith-owned Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash and the AMC TV series Comic Book Men.

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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: MOVIE SATURDAY ON INDIE STREET

The trailer for “65 Percent,” a documentary by Mike and Jon Altino of Middletown, screens at the Red Bank Middle School at 1 p.m.

indie street logo 2Saturday-morning cartoons, a locally made documentary and shorts-in-a-bunch enliven Saturday’s schedule of the Indie Street Film Festival, which got underway in Red Bank Wednesday night and continues through Sunday afternoon.

Click the “read more” for the full schedule and a sampling of delightful and outrageous movie trailers. Read More »

RED BANK: FRIDAY’S INDIE STREET LINEUP

isff 070616 1Sand artist Joe Mangrum creating a temporary painting at the festival opening-night cocktail party on the Count Basie patio Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

indie street logo 2

Screenings at four Red Bank venues fill Friday’s schedule of the Indie Street Film Festival, which got underway Wednesday night and continues through Sunday afternoon.

Click the “read more” for the full schedule and a sampling of delightful and outrageous movie trailers.

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RED BANK: A MOVIE FEAST ON INDIE STREET

A documentary about people who eat white dirt adds some grit to the first full day of the Indie Street Film Festival. 

indie street logo 2Scandalously long, beautiful legs. A guy with a compulsion for commandeering buses and trains. Geophagy, or dirt-eating.

These and other delightfully strange and wondrous topics fill the schedule of Red Bank’s Indie Street Film Festival as it enters its first full day of screenings and other events Thursday.

Click the “read more” for the full sked and a whole dirtload of delightful and outrageous movie trailers.

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