stewart-goodyearPianist Stewart Goodyear helps usher in a new season of New Jersey Symphony concerts at the Count Basie Saturday evening. 

Continuing a decades-long and beautiful relationship with the Count Basie Theatre, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank Saturday night for the first in a new season of concerts — and to sound the keynote in the company of a performer who’s been branded a “phenomenon” by music critics and fans alike.

Read More »


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.

Read More »


Megan HiltyBroadway bombshell Megan Hilty (above) is the special guest Valentine of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for a Friday night Count Basie concert. Carolyn Wong (below) takes the Sunday solo spotlight with the Monmouth Symphony.  

CarolynWong_violinistThey’re Playing Our Song, goes the old cliche governing the next-dance maneuvers of young lovers and senior lovebirds alike. But while the right tune blared from a tinny little speaker still does the job nicely, one can’t help but think that those truly heart-fluttering moments can only really be expressed by a full 40-piece complement of strings, brass, woodwinds, keys and kettledrums.

With that in mind, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre Friday nigh for an event that’s designed to loosen up those starchy, itchy tuxes and gowns.

Read More »


lisa pegherLisa Pegher is the special guest soloist on Saturday night, as the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents the world premiere of a new percussion concerto at the Count Basie. 

Music teachers have long drilled into their students the importance of learning the Three Bs, but when the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents its first area offering of 2016 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, audiences will be forgiven for thinking they stand for Beethoven, more Beethoven, and Bang on a Drum.

Read More »


njso chamberThe Chamber Players of the NJ Symphony Orchestra (above) come to Navesink’s Old Stone Church Sunday. Piano prodigy Michael Davidman (below) tackles keyboard classics at Red Bank’s Monmouth Conservatory.

mike davidAh, to have the ability to be in three places at once. This Sunday offers a trio of riches for Red Bank-area music lovers in the 4 p.m. hour — beginning with one that takes interactivity to the next level.

Back for a 15th edition, the annual “United We Sing” Celebration once again invites people of all faiths to lend their voices and join in an intercultural service of music, word and dance at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County on West Front Street in Lincroft.

Read More »


jacques-lacombe-parcourt-monde-avecJacques Lacombe (above) leads the New Jersey Symphony in a Saturday night salute to George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. Renaissance man David Dubal (below) delivers a special Sunday afternoon concert and presentation at Monmouth Conservatory.

dubalOther burgs may stake their rep as “music towns” through their unassailable credentials in rock, and rhythm ‘n blues. But in addition to its deep roots in jazz, Red Bank finds few competitors as a go-to destination for vocal and instrumental classical sounds.

But leave the gowns and tuxes in storage, and bring your passion and curiosity — because no matter your age or level of concert-going experience, two weekend events are making it very easy for new audiences to explore and enjoy all that our borough’s cultural institutions have to offer.

Read More »


GussmanKovalskyMonmouth Conservatory of Music exec director Vladislav Kovalsky (right) is the special guest, as conductor Roy Gussman and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra celebrate MCM’s golden anniversary with a Sunday afternoon concert at the Count Basie.

A weekend of symphonic sounds heralds the coming of Spring at the Count Basie Theatre, drawing inspiration from the great masters of word and music — and their roots from the Garden State soil — with a pair of original works by NJ composers.

It all happens here in the area’s undisputed capital for classical music, and it all begins at 8 pm on Saturday, March 21, when conductor Jacques Lacombe and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra welcome internationally lauded pianist Serhiy Salov for a program highlighted by Tchaikovsky’s Sixth (or Pathétique) Symphony, “a heart-wrenching meditation on the transforming power of love and the inexorable workings of fate.” Vocalist Mary Fahl also joins the NJSO for an evening that further features Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody — as well as a first local listen to an original work by Orchestra violinist Darryl Kubian.  Commissioned as part of the New Jersey Roots Project, and inspired by William Shakespeare, O for a Muse of Fire closes out the Roots initiative on a program for which tickets ($23 – $88) are available here.

Read More »


Sarah-Chang-bannerThe skilled and glamorous Sarah Chang pays tribute to the star-crossed lovers of WEST SIDE STORY as the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank for a pair of events Saturday.

For their latest in a long-running seasonal series of presentations at the Count Basie Theatre, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra has not-so-quietly introduced something new to the mix: the concept of the “No Shush” concert event.

Designed specifically for energetic and culturally curious young listeners ages 3 to 12, the family-friendly offering makes its Basie bow this Saturday, January 17 at 3 pm with a pre-show “instrument petting zoo” and other activities in the lobby — taking it inside to the auditorium for a performance (including selections from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf) by the New Jersey Symphony Chamber Players. It’s being billed as “classical music with all the chatter, questions, dancing and moving around desired” — so let the fuddy-duddies stew in their boxes; this one’s an expansively entry-level entertainment aimed at the folks for whom much of the world’s loftiest music was created in the first place.

Then at 8 pm, the NJSO sticks around Monmouth Street to complete the second half of Saturday’s twi-nighter — a star-kissed (and conceivably shush-worthy) program that pays tribute to a pair of 20th century American masters.

Read More »



Violinist James Ehnes keynotes a weekend of classical music in Red Bank, when he appears as Saturday night’s guest soloist with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the Count Basie.  

It’s been called the kind of music that “musicians dream to play and audiences thrill to hear” — and this Saturday night at 8 pm, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra brings its season of concerts at the Count Basie Theatre to a close in spectacular fashion, with a performance of A Hero’s Life by Johann Strauss. With Jacques Lacombe at the podium, it’s paired on a program with another special treat — Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, featuring acclaimed guest soloist James Ehnes. 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 — and classical fans should take note that the borough of Red Bank is ringing this weekend with sublime sounds, both down at the Basie and up on Tower Hill.

Read More »


ice-boat-011011-500x375It’s an open house icebreaker when the nation’s longest-established ice boat club welcomes the public in from the cold for a Saturday of tours and presentations. Below, Bobby Bandiera brings the Rock ‘N Soul Revue back to the Basie for a Brill-iant bow to the hitmaking “American Troubadors.” 

Friday, March 21:

BobbyBandieraHallmarkIIok_zpsc164352eRED BANK: Taking the old recruitment slogan, “Join the Jovi and See the World” to heart, Bobby Bandiera has done his share of  globetrotting as touring guitarist with Bon Jovi. But when the veteran of more than 40 years’ worth of local barband gigs puts in to Shore, he tends to “relax” by staying audibly visible everywhere from the barstool in the corner at your favorite hometown watering hole to the Count Basie Theatre, where he intermittently assembles the jukebox Justice League known as the Jersey Shore Rock ‘N Soul Revue for a special salute to the “American Troubadors.”

When the 11-piece “Basie House Band” reconvenes Friday night at 8 pm, Bandiera and bandmates (including star-quality songbird Lisa Sherman, and Joe Jackson’s longtime bassist Graham Maby) will be paying trib to the great songwriter-performers of what’s commonly called the “Brill Building” era of late 50s-early 60s pop – a teenaged Tin Pan Alley that spawned some of the earliest and most immediately exhilarating work of Carole King (“The Loco-Motion”), Neil Diamond (“I’m a Believer”) and Burt Bacharach (“Baby It’s You”). Tickets ($25 – $99) can be reserved right here.

Read More »


ChampianTuzzoAbove: 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:

SantuRED 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.

Read More »


lacombe_jacques2Above: Conductor Jacques Lacombe carries the baton to the Basie for the year’s first visit by the NJ Symphony Orchestra, with the internationally acclaimed cellist Daniel Müller-Schott along for the ride…while below, Judith Krall-Russo brings the Downton-y delights of the Edwardian Manor to the MTPL. 

Friday, January 10:

krallrussoLINCROFT: You say you’re feeling cabin feverish after being housebound throughout much of our recent epic weather wackiness? You say you’re still unsure about how best to re-assimilate into mainstream society? Fortunately there’s a way to “stay home” while venturing beyond the garden gate, as the 24th annual winter edition of the Jersey Shore Home Show commandeers the Robert J. Collins Arena at Brookdale Community College for the Shore area’s premier expo of home improvement contractors, vendors and manufacturers. Kicking off Friday between the hours of 4 and 8 pm, the event offers up a strolling smorgasbord of product showcases and demos — a brick ‘n mortar bazaar of everything from spas to sponges, bath stalls to burglar alarms, flagpoles to floor coverings, stonework to solar panels, windows to water treatments, and every helpful/ healthful thing between. Whether you’re a diehard DIY’er or a domestic dilettante, you can get pleasantly lost in this midway of merch and services, checking out the latest super-absorbent shammy or water-repellant shingle. You could even get a back rub — and for the first time, you can get your tickets ($8 adults, $6 seniors, free for age 17 and under) online. The Home Show continues Saturday (11 am – 8 pm) and Sunday (11 am – 5 pm), with free parking in BCC’s parking lots 6 and 7.

Read More »


mikesuperIllusionist extraordinaire Mike Super materializes for an evening of large-scale prestidigitation at the Basie tonight.

Friday, October 25:

RED BANK: At the Count Basie Theatre — where a “ghost light” is kept burning for passing Lantern Tours and house phantoms — the newly minted tradition of “Harley-ween” is kickstarted with the theater-scale area debut of America’s Favorite Mystifier, illusionist Mike Super. Last seen in an appearance at Brookdale College, the winner of the NBC TV competition Phenomenon materializes on the Basie boards with a spectacular 8 pm show that promises a live murder-mystery round of CLUE, a demonstration of voodoo mind control, and an outright repeal of the law of gravity. Most potentially amazing is the fact that all ticketholders are eligible to ride away with “the vehicle that Mike will make appear on stage” — a little item from Harley-Davidson of Long Branch. Tickets ($39 – $69) right here.

Read More »