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RED BANK: A STAND-UP GUY, TWICE NIGHTLY

sebastian-maniscalcoStandup comic Sebastian Maniscalco brings it to the Basie stage for an unprecedented six-show engagement this week.

What’s Wrong With People? Aren’t You Embarrassed? Why Would You DO That?!

For stand-up comedy star (and asker of those signature queries) Sebastian Maniscalco, the real question would have to be why wouldn’t he — as in, why wouldn’t a hard-working, dues-paying veteran of the nation’s “tough rooms” continue to surf a still-swelling wave of momentum that’s seen the onetime waiter hailed as no less than Stand Up Comedian of the Year?

While the Chicago native might seem an overnight sensation to some, his was a path that had as much to do with countless open-mic sign-ups and bowling alley gigs as it did his hit cable TV specials, popular podcasts, and high-profile appearances on Fallon, Conan, and Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars. When he comes to Red Bank for the first time this Thursday evening, the restless observer of modern mores will be forced to park it here for a spell, as he fulfills a commitment for six — count ’em — headlining shows on the stage of the Count Basie Theatre.

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RED BANK: ‘HURRICANE’ WATCH AT TWO RIVER

Mia Barron as Sandy in ‘Hurricane Diane’ by Two River Theater playwright-in-residence Madeleine George (below).

madeleine-georgeTo get right to the sell point, it’s a play that’s set in Red Bank — maybe not that real-world Call In the Authorities/ Retail Churn Red Bank we know so well from redbankgreen, but a representation of coastal suburban living that manages to capture a distinctly Monmouth County set of mind.

It’s there in a cozy cul-de-sac neighborhood that a quartet of local women find themselves drawn to a strange visitor who blows into town like a game-changing superstorm — a “lesbian separatist permaculture gardener from Vermont” who stands out from the pack of lesbian separatist permaculture gardeners, in that she is in fact the Greek god Dionysus, come to enact a new agenda “in the dying days of the American empire, as the planet warms and the oceans rise.”

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RED BANK: BASIE FILMFEST EXTENDS DEADLINE

project-fx-2017Press release from Count Basie Theatre

PROJECT FX 2017, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide student film competition presented by Bank of America, is live at www.projectFXbasie.com. Starting now, students enrolled at any New Jersey high school or college can visit the site to learn about entering the competition, with an internship experience with Sony Pictures Classics, a high-end Sony camera and $1,000 cash at stake as the contest’s grand prize.

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, the Count Basie Theatre will proudly host the daylong PROJECT FX Festival, which will include workshops with film industry professionals, plus a showcase of the top vote getters in both the high school and college categories.

PROJECT FX is open to students enrolled in any New Jersey high school or college as of September 1, 2016. Students now have until Sunday, February 5 (extended from the originally announced date of January 15) to enter their films, which will then be judged upon by a panel of regional and industry-wide experts. Last year’s PROJECT FX competition and festival attracted more than 80 high school and college applicants from throughout the state. Go here to view last year’s finalists.

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REGISTER NOW FOR TWO RIVER LITTLE LEAGUE

9u-trll-east-teamThe season of wintry weather may have descended upon the local baseball diamond, but January means thoughts of “Play Ball!”, as the first month of the calendar year represents registration time for Two River Little League.

trll-logoCome spring time, recreation baseball and softball will be in full swing as TRLL begins its fourth season. Founded in 2013, the league welcomes young residents of Red Bank, Little Silver, Shrewsbury, Fair Haven and Rumson.

Participation in the league has grown each year, and in 2016 the league had its first tournament champion when the 9U TRLL East team (above) won the highly competitive NJ District 19 baseball tournament.

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RED BANK: PILGRIM, TEMPLE TEAM UP FOR DR. KING

PILGRIM baptistSpecial guest speakers, music, prayer services, a walk and a talk with local law enforcement professionals are all on the agenda, during an extended Social Awareness Weekend keyed to Martin Luther King Day, and hosted by Pilgrim Baptist Church and Monmouth Reform Temple.

[See UPDATE below]

While the calendar of federal holidays marks just one official day to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — this coming Monday, January 16 — Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Church believes that King’s work is too important, and still very relevant to our time, to be encapsulated within one 24 hour period. That’s why, beginning on Friday evening and following through the next three days, the Shrewsbury Avenue congregation sponsors a “Social Awareness Weekend” that carries forward a special collaboration with another long-established house of worship: Monmouth Reform Temple of Tinton Falls.

It’s a relationship that’s formed the foundation of a local tradition in recent years; one that continues for a third annual edition on January 13 with a Friday evening Shabbat service at MRT — a 7 p.m. all-welcome observance that features special guest speaker Diem Jones, executive director of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Arts Foundation.

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RED BANK: MULHEREN PLEDGES $1M TO RMC

timhogan_nancymulheren_jennifersmith_rmc-board-room_3930master_webPhilanthropist Nancy Mulheren (center) is pictured with Riverview Medical Center president Timothy Hogan and RMC Foundation exec director Jennifer Smith, at the Foundation’s recent board meeting.

The fourth quarter board meeting of the Riverview Medical Center Foundation was a significant occasion for Nancy Mulheren, as it marked the close of the Rumson resident’s two year tenure as the Foundation’s chair. The real estate manager who has served on the RMCF board since 2011 wasn’t quite finished, however,  as she will continue to serve as a trustee of the organization.

She also used the occasion to announce a $1 million dollar pledge to Riverview and Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations’ comprehensive campaign, Giving Heals — a gift, made through the NYC-based JAM Anonymous Foundation, that is dedicated to improving clinical outcomes at the Front Street facility.

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RED BANK: NJSO IN THE TEMPLE OF TUNES

raiders-of-the-lost-ark-chamberTwo globe-trotting adventurers — the legendary Indiana Jones (above), and genuine living legend Pinchas Zukerman (below) — team up with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for a pair of upcoming events at the Count Basie. 

pinchas-zukermanCarrying a decades-long beautiful relationship with the Count Basie Theatre into a new calendar year, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra returns to Red Bank twice in the wintry nights ahead — once as the grand accompanists to a seemingly ageless cinematic spectacle of treasure hunting, and again in the company of an “international treasure” guest artist and conductor.

Even if you’ve seen it anywhere from one to a thousand-and-one times (and the jury’s still out as to which dedicated uber-fan has logged more lifetime hours in its thrall), you’ve probably never experienced Raiders of the Lost Ark like you will on Friday, January 6, when conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos and the NJSO perform a live, full-orchestra accompaniment to the 1981 franchise film as it plays on the big Basie screen.

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RED BANK: OPEN HOUSE AT THE COMMUNITY Y

Press release from The Community YMCA

cymca-open-houseIt seems nearly everyone has a “New Year’s resolution,” but statistics indicate that less than a quarter of these resolutions are kept. To help keep those personal goals real, The Community YMCA will join YMCAs across the state in hosting Open House events on Saturday, January 7.

All are welcome to participate from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Community YMCA’s Family Health & Wellness Center, located at 166 Maple Avenue in Red Bank.

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ON THE GREEN: WHERE TO WELCOME 2017

SouthsideBasieNewYrsThe champagne corks are poppin’ as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes continue a Count Basie New Year’s Eve tradition this Saturday night.

HOT-TOPIC_03Here at the tail end of a year that many people are all too anxious to put in the rear view mirror, there’s still sufficient cause to keep the party percolating right up to the last ball-drop. And in the bars, restaurants and performance spaces of the Greater Red Bank Green, revelers have a choice of options that range from an intimate table at a favorite bistro to a big event that’s become the toast of all New Year’s Eve Extravaganzas in the state of New Jersey.

Here’s a sampling from Red Bank, Fair Haven, Rumson and Sea Bright nightspots.

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RED BANK: PAYOUTS WILL DEPLETE FUND

rb-borough-hall-111316-2Red Bank’s borough hall during a roof replacement job in November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRetirements by three senior employees in coming months won’t put an immediate squeeze on Red Bank taxpayers, two municipal officials said Tuesday.

But the departures will all but deplete a rainy day fund created to cushion the blow of outsized payouts for unused sick and vacation time, said Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who heads the finance committee.

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RED BANK: TWO RIVER KEEPS THE LIGHTS UP

The luminescent artistry of Lightwire Theater is on display from December 27 to 30 as the Two River Theater hosts the New Orleans-based troupe in a music-infused, family friendly show.

very-electric-xmasWhile we’re not recommending leaving the Christmas lights up into the season of Independence Day fireworks, there’s something to be said for staying plugged in past December 25.

Beginning Tuesday, December 27 — the same day Red Bank observes the Festival of Lights with its official town menorah at the train station — the Two River Theater plays host to the family-friendly touring show A Very Electric Christmas, in a multi-day engagement that marks its first-ever exposure to Shore area audiences.

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RED BANK: BANDIERA AND ‘HOPE’ AT BASIE

bobby_bandiera_and_jon_bon_jovi_at_hope_concert_8_2015Bobby Bandiera, joined here by longtime tourmate Jon Bon Jovi at a past Hope Concert, brings the ninth edition of his all-star benefit show back to the Basie Friday.

donegoodlogoIt’s just about the last of the big holiday-themed entertainment events to take the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank each December — a frankly awesome rock and roll extravaganza that plants a glittering star atop the tree at an eleventh hour when various Scrooges, Nutcrackers and vocal choirs have scurried off to their last-minute shopping excursions.

Ask Bobby Bandiera and he’ll probably tell you that a dose of charitable spirit is more important than ever in the final countdown to Christmas and Hanukkah — and that the day-to-day survival of our neediest neighbors doesn’t take a holiday break when the rest of the community settles into its family traditions.

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RED BANK: KENNY ROGERS TO MAKE LAST STOP

kenny-rogersKenny Rogers — now on the Christmas leg of his farewell concert tour — returns to the Basie Wednesday with a “Gambler’s Last Deal” show that features special guest Linda Davis, below.

linda-davis-sara-kaussIt’s branded “The Gambler’s Last Deal” — a special “Christmas & Hits” holiday-concert leg of the final, forever, farewell worldwide tour of one of country-pop’s most celebrated crossover artists.

On Wednesday night, Kenny Rogers takes it to the stage of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for a program of custom-roasted Yuletide chestnuts, platinum-plated signature songs, stories, and a multimedia element that “will include a reflective look back through Rogers’ storied 50-plus-year career.”

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RED BANK: EXPRESSWAY TO OUR HEARTS

tim-mcloone-112516-1Tim McLoone (seen presiding over the annual Town Lighting concert in downtown Red Bank) conducts the Holiday Express band back into station stop Basie for a pair of public-welcome shows on December 19 and 20 — with an all-aboard for volunteer “warehouse elves” at the nonprofit’s Tinton Falls facility.

VIP-level attendees at many Count Basie Theatre events have never been averse to paying as much as several hundred dollars over base ticket price, to enjoy such perks as premium seating, autographed tour souvenirs, and personal meet-and-greet opportunities with the featured attractions. But as far as Tim McLoone and Holiday Express are concerned, there are some ultra-exclusive events that remain off limits at any price.

It isn’t because you’re not cool enough, connected enough, or cash-money enough to score tickets. It’s just that admission to those performances is available to you only if you’re one of the more than 15,000 residents of regional homeless shelters, psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s wards and other places that form the heart of the Holiday Express itinerary — places whose residents are often without any family or friends, and whose sole ray of light is that annual visit by the big jinglebell juggernaut of a band.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the Express regularly detours from its tight timetable at this time each year, to play a double-header of fundraiser shows at station stop Basie; a tradition that continues this coming Monday and Tuesday, December 19 and 20.

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RED BANK, MIDDLETOWN: JOY TO THE EARS

shrews-chorale-christ-episcopalNeil F. Brown conducts the Shrewsbury Chorale, above, and Ryan Brandau, below, leads the Monmouth Civic Chorus, as the local vocal organizations present their annual Christmas concerts this Sunday.

director-brandauBlessed as it is with a well-above-average amount of choral voice talent — and numerous, well-established outlets for those voices to be heard — the Greater Red Bank Green is indisputably the area’s epicenter of classic carols and cantatas of Christmas.

And, with the New Jersey Chamber Singers and Tower Hill Choir having had their glorious say this past weekend, two more long-running organizations are on deck to herald the season in their own inimitable way, at a pair of concurrent concert events taking place this Sunday.

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BUILDING SUPPORT FOR RED BANK LIBRARY

rb library 1 040913Press release from Red Bank Public Library

This week, Red Bank residents will be finding an envelope from their library amongst all the holiday cards in their mailbox. The Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library has recently sent out its third annual appeal in order to build financial support for the Red Bank Public Library’s many programs and collections. During this season of giving, the Foundation hopes to continue the strong tradition of support shown by the Red Bank community.

While the Red Bank Library receives mandated funding, it relies on the generosity of library supporters to strengthen its financial position, allowing the Library to expand its offerings and better serve the community.

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RED BANK: BACH’IN AROUND THE XMAS TREE

vladkovalsky2Monmouth Conservatory director and pianist Vladislav Kovalsky, above, welcomes jazz pianist Sandy Sasso, below, for a holiday concert this Saturday.

sandy-sassoWe already know that the long-running, best-kept-secret Red Bank institution known as the Monmouth Conservatory of Music has been a blessing and a boon to the “classically curious” — those looking for an intimately scaled, no-pressure introduction to great music that’s packed with an impressive roster of guest artists, free of pretension, and often free of charge.

When the MCM’s Chamber Orchestra and executive director Vladislav Kovalsky perform a public-welcome holiday concert this Saturday, they’ll be offering up an “all Bach and Holiday” program of sacred and devotional music, one that should deliver the requisite warm ‘n fuzzies for aficionados of the form. It will also unpack a cool and sassy surprise.

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RED BANK: DECORATING CONTEST RETURNS

holiday-lightsPress release from Red Bank Parks and Recreation

Red Bank borough residents will be rewarded for their holiday decorating efforts through a town-sponsored home decorating contest that offers prizes for the best presentations.

Judging will be for the exterior decoration only, and prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place. Winners will be selected from residents who register for the contest by the deadline of Friday, December 16.  Judging will take place the week of December 18, and awards will be presented at an upcoming council meeting.

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RED BANK: DeFAZIO TO RETURN AS FIRE CHIEF

lauterwasser defazio 050716donegoodlogoRetired Red Bank police captain Pete DeFazio, at right above, is slated to serve as chief of the borough’s volunteer fire department for 2017, following his election by members Tuesday night.

His swearing-in, scheduled for January 1, will begin DeFazio’s third tour as chief, a post he held in 1987 and 1993. A member of the Relief Engine Company on Drummond Place, DeFazio retired from the police department in 2010, after 35 years on the force. He’ll succeed Chris Soden, of the Union Hose Company, in a tradition that rotates the top job among the borough’s six fire companies.

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RED BANK: HOOK & LADDER IS SANTA’S HELPER

nav-hook-ladder-xmasWith The Big Red Guy and his hard-working crew busy as ever over the coming holiday, a group of borough-based volunteer responders is lending a hand (and a big red piece of heavy equipment) on behalf of Red Bank kids.

From now through Friday, December 16, Red Bank residents can register a young family member to receive a personal “Santa Present Drop” visit at their home the following Friday evening — with Santa Claus arriving through the courtesy of the men and women of the Navesink Hook and Ladder company. A fire truck will convey Santa around town, with lights flashing and siren blaring, as he makes a very special pre-Christmas delivery to each address on his list.

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RED BANK: FOUR BIG CHRISTMAS EVENTS

vienna_boys_choirThe Vienna Boys Choir, above, returns to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre on December 12, and the New Jersey Chamber Singers, below make their annual Yuletide stop at Red Bank’s United Methodist Church Friday.

NJCSClassic Christmas carols, cantatas and the most cherished of Yuletide ballets fill up the calendar this time of year. Read on for details on traditional holiday offerings from the Tower Hill Choir, the Company of Dance Arts, and a musical organization that traces its ancestry back more than 600 years.

 

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RED BANK: STEWART CREW COMING TO TOWN

jon-stewart-1-121612-2Whether or not Jon Stewart, seen above at a Basie event in 2012, shows up Thursday, his collaborators, and satirical spirit, will be in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Basie academy 062216Though he’s cultivated a grey beard since backing away from his desk at The Daily Show 16 months ago, Jon Stewart hasn’t exactly adopted a hermit-like existence.

He’s made memorable appearances on the programs of former colleagues Stephen Colbert and Larry Wilmore. He’s been busy with his wife, Tracey, in establishing a new home for rescued farm animals. A new book titled “The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests,” has rekindled interest in his legacy. Oh, and he signed a four-year contract with HBO that had media observers salivating over the possibilities.

While Stewart’s still-untitled HBO project is said to be readying for debut by March, a live audience on the Greater Red Bank Green is slated to get an advance taste Thursday night, when the Count Basie Theatre mounts a special Evening of Comedy spotlighting its writers and performers.

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