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RED BANK: A ‘TASTE’ SENSATION AT TWO RIVER

Taste of BroadwayThe reviews are in — and this past Saturday’s “Little Taste of Broadway” fundraiser at Two River Theater was rated “awesome” by attendees who enjoyed an evening of live music, Broadway-caliber entertainment and samplings of wares from Red Bank’s premier restaurants.  A presentation of the Navesink Business Partnership, the event raised funds for Red Bank’s Saint James Elementary School, through a cocktail reception in the theater lobby (pictured), hors d’oeuvres served up by students from Red Bank Catholic High School, and a high-voltage performance in the main auditorium by the dynamic singing and dancing professionals of The Broadway Dolls

RED BANK: MONKEES SWING BACK TO BASIE

Monkees Micky Dolenz Peter TorkOriginal Monkees Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork — or the 2016 editions of same — celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Pre-Fab Four” with a Sunday night return to the Count Basie stage. 

Along a media superhighway studded with pop-cultural milestones, one boulder-size birthday looms especially large here on the threshold of summer 2016. And this Memorial Day weekend, the Count Basie Theatre does its part to celebrate the golden jubilee of a genuine boomer-era phenomenon when it hosts a 50th-anniversary tour appearance by the Monkees.

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RED BANK: A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO BOB DYLAN

Pat Guadagno John PosadaPat Guadagno (above) celebrates Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday on the Count Basie stage, while Arlan Feiles (below) takes it to the patio, during Thursday night’s 18th annual “Bobfest.” (Top photo by John Posada)

Arlan FeilesDon’t look now, but Tuesday marks the milestone 75th birthday of Bob Dylan, the American original whose distinctive songcraft and famously Neverending Tour have served as voice and inspiration to a generation and then some.

In the case of Pat Guadagno, a lifelong admiration for Dylan’s words and music inspired the Jersey Shore “saloon singer” supreme to forge his own lasting contribution to the legend of the Bard of Hibbing, Minnesota — a highly anticipated annual event called Bobfest, which returns to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre for its 18th edition Thursday.

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RED BANK’S RAMIREZ A MODEL STUDENT

Jose RamirezRed Bank Regional senior Jose Ramirez recently took first place at the State Technology Student Association Competition, for his portfolio and project in Transportation Modeling.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

For students like Jose Ramirez, assembling a “modeling portfolio” means something far different from photo-studio head shots and location couture shoots. Like his fellow entrants in the State Technology Student Association competition, the Red Bank Regional High School senior employs three-dimensional modelmaking to solve engineering design challenges — and during last month’s TSA event at the College of New Jersey, the Red Bank resident’s skills enabled him to achieve First Place for his portfolio and project in the category of Transportation Modeling.

A student in RBR’s Academy of Pre-Engineering, Jose attends TSA events as an extra-curricular club which enters competitions with other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students from around the country. Having taken top honors in the April event, Jose is now eligible to enter his project in the national competition which takes place in June in Nashville, TN.

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RED BANK: ZOMBIES AND RASCALS @BASIE

zombiesRod Argent and the 2016 edition of seminal British band the Zombies, above, will be joined on the Basie stage by Felix Cavaliere and his Rascals for a Tuesday two-fer throwback thriller.

Felix CavaliereIt’s a double bill that brings together a seminal British band that experienced its greatest success after breaking up, and a late-60’s hitmaker whose group has been branded by no less an authority than Steven Van Zandt as “the first rock band in the world.”

While you ponder that, make a pilgrimage to the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday night, when the venerable Red Bank venue hosts a pair of acts who regularly scaled the pop-chart heights in that music-mad decade of the 1960’s and have returned to the touring circuit with an inspired vengeance: the moody British Invasion quintet the Zombies, and the Young Rascals ringmaster Felix Cavaliere.

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RED BANK AREA SCHOOLS BIG BASIE WINNERS

OPENING-NUMBER-BASIE-AWARDS-2016A multi-school ensemble, led by Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama winner Laura Diorio, opened the Basie ceremony. (Photo by Andrew Musser – Count Basie Theatre)

HOT-TOPIC_03Students and faculty from five Red Bank area schools dominated the balloting in the 11th annual Basie Awards, presented  Wednesday night to honor excellence in Monmouth County high school theatrical productions.

Musicals and dramatic presentations from Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank Regional, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, Mater Dei Prep and Middletown High School South combined to take or tie for top honors in 17 of 27 categories.

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RED BANK: A TASTY TAKE FOR HABITAT FUNDER

Habitat for Humanity awardsMore than $50,000 was raised for Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County on May 16, when the Oyster Point Hotel hosted the nonprofit’s first-ever “Taste for Homes” food and wine tasting event.

More than two dozen Red Bank area restaurants and vendors offered samplings of their wares, while attendees enjoyed prize raffles, auctions, and the opportunity to help congratulate special honorees T&M Associates of Middletown (Corporate Citizen Award), radio station WRAT 95.9 (Community partner Award) and Beverly Lawrence of Fair Haven (Outstanding Volunteer Award), in addition to celebrating “the many women volunteers that have what it takes to pound nails, frame walls, raise a roof and create HOPE!” (Photo by Mario Marcal Studios. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: PRIMA BAND COMES TO THE BASIE

Next-generation swing-king Louis Prima Jr. and his Witnesses bring their brand of raucous rhythm and jet-fueled jive to Red Bank Thursday night.

If they know anything at all about the legendary singer, songwriter, jazz trumpeter and popularizer of hepcat slang Louis Prima, most folks might stop at “Just a Gigolo/ I Ain’t Got Nobody,” a rockingly over-the-top medley that was famously revived note-for-note by Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth. Those a bit further in the know could vouch that Prima was the guy who wrote the original version of Benny Goodman’s big-band epic “Sing Sing Sing,” and who provided the voice of King Louie in Disney’s 1960s animated feature The Jungle Book.

While a cerebral hemorrhage silenced the catalyzin’ King of Swing 41 years ago, his spirit is alive and well — and this Thursday night, Louis Prima Jr and the Witnesses testify to that effect, on the Red Bank stage of the Count Basie Theatre.

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RED BANK CHARTER SCHOOL IS ALL ART

RBCS Evening of ArtsThe talents of an array of  budding artists, writers, dancers, theatrical performers and musicians were spotlighted on May 12, when Red Bank Charter School hosted its annual Evening with the Arts celebration. Designed as both a showcase for the creative abilities of RBCS students — and a demonstration of how the various art forms are integrated within the school’s curriculum — the event was made possible by the good work of faculty members that included art teacher Mrs. Stefankiewicz, music teacher Miss Keeling, and rock band leader Mr. Strippoli.

RED BANK: WHO’S UP FOR BASIE AWARDS?

MHSS American Idiot Ayo OladejiThe Middletown South production of Green Day’s “American Idiot” (above) score big in musical nominations — while RBR’s Patrick Monaghan (at right below, with Davis Bush) earned a dramatic acting nomination for “Amadeus.”  (Photo above by Ayo Oladeji)

Amadeus Davis Bush Pat MonaghanIt’s Red Bank’s own homegrown answer to the Tonys, the Obies, and any other major accolade for live stage performance. What else but the BASIES, the awards that honor tomorrow’s talents today — or rather this Wednesday, May 18, when the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank once again celebrates excellence in dramatic and musical productions among Monmouth County high schools, with the presentation of the 11th annual Basie Awards.

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RED BANK: HUNDREDS ENJOY OLDTIMERS GAME

rb v lb 0514 10RB V LB 051416 1A running back for Red Bank Regional looked for daylight against Long Branch High in the first-ever alumni matchup of the longtime grid rivals held at Count Basie Fields in Red Bank Saturday.

The full-contact game, complete with veteran cheerleaders, drew a crowd of about 2,000, according to organizer Jeff Mauro, of OT Football, and resulted in no serious injuries, he said. Long Branch won, 24-0. Some of the proceeds are to go to the two schools’ football programs. (Photos by Trish Russoniello and John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

rb v lb 0514 3

 

RED BANK: DOWN TO THE RIVER IN SHELLS

nrr-oars1Nrr 3 051212The nonprofit Navesink River Rowing in Red Bank will hold an open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, offering site tours, mini-lessons and demonstrations in racing shells and land-based machines.

The club is located at Maple Cove, at the northern terminus of Maple Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: TWO NIGHTS OF CLASSICAL MUSIC

Ron LevyPiano virtuoso Ron Levy (above) guests with the Monmouth Symphony in a season-capping event, Saturday night at the Count Basie. Up on Tower Hill, baritone Gerald Metz (below) is among the vocal artists teaming up in HEAVENLY HARMONY for the Monmouth Civic Chorus.

Gerald Metz

There are surely worse dilemmas to be had in this world; more difficult choices to be made. But for local lovers of the classical repertory, this weekend poses quite the pickle, with two Red Bank venues hosting must-see events presented by a couple of the best-loved borough-based performing arts organizations.

It begins up on Tower Hill this Friday, when the Monmouth Civic Chorus continues its current season at First Presbyterian Church with a display of Heavenly Harmony that draws from the “visionary and triumphant” work of some choral music masters.

Then, on Saturday, down on Monmouth Street, the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra concludes another successful season at the Count Basie Theatre with an eclectic concert highlighted by an audience favorite that’s been called the ultimate musical marital aid and audio aphrodisiac. Read More »

RED BANK: BETTER DEAD, OR LED?

Dark StarDark Star Orchestra brings its jamband brand of symphony and scholarship back to the Basie stage, this Thursday night, followed on Friday the 13th by the act that brands itself “The American Led Zeppelin.”

We’ve said it before, but here in what’s stacking up as some sort of Season of the Dead, the alarming loss of one AM/FM legend after another has only served to reinforce the demand for a newer, bigger breed of hard-touring sonic soundalikes. And whether your favorite band of the baby-boomer era has been claimed by death, artistic differences, litigation, “nervous exhaustion” — or worse, an inability to cede the spotlight despite stiffening fingers, flattening voices and dwindling looks — there’s an act for that; poised to serve and in many cases “even better than the real thing.” It’s a lucrative corner of the live music marketplace that the folks at the Count Basie Theatre have worked to great advantage, as well as a crowd-pleasing, seat-filling brand of fun fantasy that lights up the famous stage in the nights to come.

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RED BANK: CARNIVAL OF DREAMS

rbc carnival 050716 4lauterwasser defazio 050716Hoping to raise $15,000, Red Bank Catholic High School‘s Making Wishes Come True Club held its sixth annual fundraising carnival Saturday for the borough-based Jason’s Dreams for Kids, the not-for-profit organization founded in memory of Jason Douglas Craeger, a young boy who lost a battle with cancer in 1992. 

Overcoming a rainy start, the event drew hundreds of kids and parents with bounce attractions, auctions, and food provided by the local Police Benevolent Association and the volunteer fire department. We’ve got more photos from the event below.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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