foreignerSilver-haired Mick Jones leads the 2016 edition of classic rock institution Foreigner back to the Basie for a Monday date-night dose of acoustically arranged chart-toppers. 

From the Department of Everything Old is New Again, the Count Basie Theatre reports that Foreigner, the classic rock institution that regularly ruled both FM and AM waves in the late 70s and 80s, is “on a major roll right now” — owing to the download and streaming activity that accompanied their onetime Number One “I Want to Know What Love Is” when that 1984 ballad was featured prominently on the season finale of Orange is the New Black.

A summer 2015 tour with Kid Rock also served to introduce scads of new fans to the band/brand co-founded by guitarist Mick Jones back in the heyday of the corporate rock cash machine that gave us Journey, Boston, Toto and more. And when Jones and company return to the Basie Monday night for the latest in what’s working out to be an annual stand in Red Bank, they’ll be following up last winter’s sold-out electrified session with a special set that delivers “The Hits: Unplugged.”

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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.

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Beach Boys 2016Charter-member Mike Love leads the 2016 edition of the Beach Boys back to the Basie for a winter’s night of summer vibrations.

“The Count Basie‘s a great place to play,” pedigreed Beach Boy Mike Love told redbankgreen prior to one of the band’s frequent-flyer appearances in Red Bank a few years back. “We play new venues, and we play old places… we do 125 to 150 shows a year. Beats working!”

It’s been about 50 years since the American institution known for keeping the summer alive effectively split into two hemispheres during the landmark Pet Sounds sessions: the studio-sandbox residency of Brian Wilson (who’s scheduled to bring his golden-anniversary Pet Sounds salute to the Basie in September) and the hard-touring, crowd-pleasing roadshow skippered by Love. A polarizing figure, energizing frontman, and boosterizing flagwaver for a spectrum of environmental, political and spiritual causes, Love leads the Beach Boys back to Monmouth Street this Thursday night.

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latino_commiteeofficialWorking to plan the annual Andrew Kroon Memorial Fashion Show are (left to right) Rita Banfield, SOURCE intern Quinn Batcho, SOURCE Youth Development Specialist Regina Cochrane, Michelle Lane, SOURCE intern Salcia DeJesus, and SOURCE Director Suzanne Keller.  Not pictured are committee members Anita Caamano, Linda Ensor, Beatriz Oesterheld, Rose Powers and Dede Rumph.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Founded as a School-Based Youth Services Program whose mission is to remove all obstacles that impede students’ academic success, The SOURCE at Red Bank Regional High School has done much to make dreams come true for the young people of the community. Ten years ago, the foundation inaugurated another successful stepping-stone to connect qualifying Latino students with access to a college education, through the establishment of the Andrew Kroon Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Named in memory of the son of Mary Jane and Rick Kroon of Rumson (a noted environmentalist and global traveler who passed away in 2005 at age 24), and operating under the auspices of The SOURCE at Red Bank Regional (RBR), the Andrew Kroon scholarship is funded in part each year through a fashion show and gift auction event that presents its 2016 edition on the afternoon of Sunday, February 21.

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Daniel_Blumenkrantz_(Ranney_School),_Joseph_Romanowski_(Owner,_Goldtinker®),_and_Christopher_Weiland_(Ranney_School)Since its inception in 1970, Goldtinker Jewelers has made it a policy to be involved in community-based charities — and on February 4, owner Joe Romanowski (pictured at center, between Ranney School students Daniel Blumenkrantz and Christopher Weilan) hosted the first Diamond Heart Gala event in the 47 year history of the business. Romanowski and co-owner son Peter welcomed numerous customers, clients, fellow merchants and professionals from the Red Bank business community to the Valentine’s-themed event, a successful fundraiser for K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital of Neptune City.  Attendees who purchased and/or donated to the cause entered to win an exclusive Goldtinker Diamond Heart necklace, while enjoying specialty cocktails and Greek and Mediterranean hors d’oeuvres catered by Anemos Greek Cuisine of Manalapan. “We are so fortunate to have high quality care so close to home,” said Romanowski of the beneficiary for the first in what will be planned as an annual event. “I am so proud and honored that our Gala can leave a tangible impression on such a trusted organization that really treats each child as their own.” 


evelyn-leavensThe late Red Bank artist Evelyn Leavens (above) is among the creative people showcased in ‘New Jersey Artists Through Time,’ a new book by Middletown-based author and artist Tova Navarra that inaugurates a series of events at Red Bank Public Library.

NJ Artists Thru TimeA quick flip through the newly published New Jersey Artists Through Time reveals a number of creative people whose lives and work were well known here on the Greater Red Bank Green. There’s the late lifelong Red Banker Evelyn Leavens, profiled here a few years back; Jim Gary, legendary maker of dinosaurs from repurposed auto parts; Mike Quon, painter of stylized local landmarks; plus Riccardo Berlingeri, Grace Graupe-Pillard, Judy Martin, Bob Mataranglo, and George Tice.

They’re all there, sharing space with the likes of superstar sculptor George Segal, celebrated printmaker Jabob Landau, and Emmy-winning courtroom artist Ida Libby Dengrove, in the first such study to come along in over 50 years. The books is just the latest of more than 30 published titles for its Middletown-based author — artist, photographer, educator, journalist, former Asbury Park Press art critic and registered nurse Tova Navarra — and the subject of the first in a new series of free ‘Author Talks’ events at Red Bank Public Library, this Wednesday.

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Press release from English Speaking Union of Monmouth County

On March 1, some 35 high school English and Drama teachers from Monmouth, Ocean, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset counties will congregate at Two River Theater, for a full-day workshop in Teaching Shakespeare. The 9 am to 5 pm session, a partnership between The English-Speaking Union and the world-renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC,  gives teachers the tools they need to bring Shakespeare to life in their classrooms.

Sponsored jointly by The Monmouth County and the Princeton branches of The English-Speaking Union, with generous support from Two River Theater Company, this workshop is just one of many educational activities being held worldwide in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.

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Shatners_World-770-525x306Pop-cultural icon comes to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre this Friday night. 

Unlike the planet-dominating Skynet of the Terminator movies, it’s unclear as to exactly when William Shatner became self-aware. But from the moment it happened, this world has not been the same. And for about 90 minutes Friday night, the Red Bank area audience will be offered an opportunity to plug into the old-soul consciousness and galaxy-spanning ego that lords over Shatner’s World.

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leighton lib 110915 2leighton lib 110915 1Kate Triggiano, who had a custom-built “little library” built and installed outside her Red Bank home for neighborhood kids last October, plans a book labeling party Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.

The aim of the event, to be held at Kitch Organic restaurant at 75 Leighton Avenue, is to apply labels to dozens of books donated to the library’s wish list on Amazon, Triggiano said. Participants are asked to bring scissors; kids are welcome if  they’re old enough to help.

Why label? “Because we respect the kids and trust them,” said Triggiano. “Because they cost nice people money. And because we don’t want someone taking them and selling them.”

Dubbed the Little Library on Leighton, the mahogany receptacle, built by custom woodworker David Halbout of Middletown, is in front of Triggiano’s home at 22 Leighton, and features children’s and young-adult literature.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


Lives of Reason TRTC 1-16 063 Lives of Reason, by Robert Rechnitz and Kenneth Stunkel, directed by Jonathan Fox at Two River Theatre Company 1/7/16 Costume Design: Karen Perry Lighting Design: Gina Scherr Set Design: Charlie Corcoran © T Charles Erickson Photography

Ilona (Mairin Lee) is the center of attention, as the Two River Theater original LIVES OF REASON (above) enters its final round of performances…while Monmouth U’s Frank P. Fury (below) inaugurates a new series of Conversation + Play events at Two River. (Top photo by T. Charles Erickson)

FuryAlthough its authors — longtime Monmouth University English professor Robert Rechnitz, and veteran Dean/ History prof Kenneth Stunkel — have waved away any direct connection to their former place of employment or co-workers, the unmistakable flavor of a life spent in academia permeates Lives of Reason, the original ensemble drama that represents the maiden collaboration for its two octogenarian playwrights.

Even as Lives enters into the final eight performances (today through Sunday, February 7) of its limited engagement at Two River Theater, the venue re-establishes that Monmouth U connection with the help of the organization known as The Navesink, whose TEDxNavesink events used the Bridge Avenue arts center for its sold-out 2014 session (and who since relocated to, you guessed it, the Monmouth campus). Thursday, February 4 marks the first in a three-part series of Conversation + Play “salons” that pair an 8 pm performance of Two River’s current mainstage production with a special pre-show lecture — in this case the young MU faculty member and literature specialist Frank P. Fury, Ph.D.

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Press release from The Community YMCA

ed zebrowski rhonda andersonLast Thursday, January 28, The Community YMCA Family Health and Wellness Center in Red Bank was the scene as the CYMCA kicked off its Annual Campaign with a little help from the good citizens of “Oz.” Dressed as characters from the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, employees and volunteers stressed the importance of working together to help others on their path, and encouraged the community to support the nonprofit charity so it can provide programs and services to families in need.

Annual Campaign Chairman Ed Zebrowski (pictured, dressed as The Cowardly Lion, with President and CEO Rhonda Anderson) said the nonprofit’s goal is to raise $512,200 during the seven-week campaign period, by reaching out to Y members, friends and the community. Zebrowski was pleased to report that volunteers and employees have already secured $272,591 in pledges, achieving 53% of the campaign goal.

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Shatner Khan“KHAAANNNN!” The coming of the mighty Shatner is heralded at the Count Basie Theatre with a three night Kirk-out of films in the classic STAR TREK franchise. Below,Middletown’s own Billy Van Zandt as the “Alien Boy.” 

Billy Van Zandt Alien Boy Star TrekThe famous boards of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre have hosted a veritable Who’s Who of larger-than-life luminaries, from the crowned heads of Hollywood (Cary Grant, Mickey Rooney, Myrna Loy, Al Pacino) to the brightest lights of the performing arts stage (Idina Menzel, Martha Graham, Marcel Marceau); from comedy kingpins (George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Stephen Colbert) to reality-TV sensations; from music monuments (James Brown, B.B. King, Tony Bennett, Ringo Starr) to homegrown heroes Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.

That said, not even borough-born Count Basie himself commanded the kind of build-up being granted the showbiz legend who arrives at station stop Red Bank on February 5: actor, author, director, spokesman and ultimate song stylist William Shatner.

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Mike_Barris_Performs_at_Art_Alliance_Red_Bank_NJ_December_2010Noted music scholar, journalist and guitar ace Mike Barris is scheduled to play as Reckless Steamy Nights return this Friday to the Woman’s Club of Red Bank.

It’s a time of year when any perceived steaminess is probably just one’s breath fighting its way into the arctic air. But over at the old Anthony Reckless estate (home of the Woman’s Club of Red Bank), things are heating up with the first in a new season of Reckless Steamy Nights music events.

The intimate, house-party style concerts — a long-running monthly series that takes a holiday hiatus each November and December — remains a genuine “best kept secret” within a fast-changing nightscape of borough life, a presentation of the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation that raises spirits even as it raises funds for a scholarship program of the JSJBF.

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zack forest michael maier jrRed Bank Regional students and Red Bank Troop 67 scouts Zackary Forest and Michael Maier Jr., were recently conferred with the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement in Boys Scouts.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Michael Maier, Jr., and Zackary Forest, both of Red Bank and both seniors at Red Bank Regional High Schoo, have grown up together in Boy Scouts. So it is fitting that the two recently earned scouting’s highest achievement of Eagle Scout in their Troop 67. Both young men are enrolled in RBR Academy of Pre-Engineering and are active in their school and community.

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Press release from Count Basie Theatre

When the red carpet is rolled out for the 11th annual Basie Awards on May 18, the Count Basie Theatre will do more than issue its customary honors for excellence in area high school theater and performing arts. The ceremony will also be the setting for the awarding of four arts impact scholarships — the Moser-Taboada Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth Medical Center – Barnabas Health Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth County Freeholders’ Basie Scholarship for Continuing Education and the new Siciliano Landscape Company Arts Impact Scholarship. 

The Monmouth County Freeholders’ scholarship will be awarded to a student attending a New Jersey-based college in the fall — and Basie board members are urging all interested students to prepare their applications now.

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