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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RED BANK: A MOST JAZZY SINATRA BASH

don-most‘Happy Days’ cast member turned crooner Donny Most, above, joins Rat Pack legend Dean Martin’s daughter Deana, below and the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra at the Basie Sunday.

deana-martinJersey guy Francis Albert Sinatra: his birthday is marked every December with merriment and song, and perhaps nowhere more so than here in the heart of downtown Red Bank. And why not, given that we’re home to a hallowed hall christened in memory of one of the Chairman of the Board’s partners in pop perfection: piano player, bandleader and “Kid From Red Bank” Bill “Count” Basie.

Each year our own Joe “Mooche” Muccioli — noted conductor, arranger, scholar and artistic director of the nonprofit Jazz Arts Project — fires up the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra for a grand concert that salutes the signature songs and style of Sinatra with the help of some special guest vocalists.  Read More »

RED BANK: EITHER WAY, WE’RE SCROOGED

a_christmas_carolNebraska Theatre Caravan’s stage spectacle of ‘A Christmas Carol’ makes its annual stand on the Count Basie stage this Friday…even as Middletown’s Stone Church Players offer up an intimate “radio-play” version of the Dickens classic all weekend long. Meantime, the Stone Church Players present an intimate “live radio play” style version of Scrooge’s story.

He creeps in from the shadowy fringes of the Season of Lights this time each year: the bitter old man of worldly business whose quiet Christmas Eve will soon be besieged by chain-rattling spirits and life-altering visions of the Past, Present and Yet To Come.

But even as we celebrate the forced re-entry of Ebenezer Scrooge into the mainstream of humanity, we do tend to take a certain comfort and joy from the knowledge that the miserly man-we-love-to-hate will be back all the earlier at his counting house, refreshed and rebooted, for the next day’s matinee. And so we welcome him once again this Friday night to Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre.

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RED BANK: DETOUR INTO “GRAFFITI GLAM”

killer-queenPaintings by Holly Suzanne Rader are on display beginning Saturday as the latest installation at Detour Gallery, below.

detour-gallery-111816The Greater Red Bank Green’s newest and highly impressive art space detours into an imaginary world of “glittering heroines” when Detour Gallery hosts an opening reception Saturday for The Killer Queen, a one-woman show of eye-popping pop art paintings by Holly Suzanne Rader.

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ON THE GREEN: ART SHOWS THIS WEEKEND

thompson-pk-creative-artsThe annual Student/Instructor show and sale returns to Lincroft’s Thompson Park Saturday and Sunday. Below, one of the “artistically tagged fish” up for auction at Little Silver’s Gallery Jupiter, in a Thursday evening event.

21b9f239-955f-44d9-bc4f-76ee7e31e21cIn visual art news on the Greater Red Bank Green, a couple of openings, and a gift gallery, liven up the coming weekend.

The fish are jumping (and getting a crucial jump on the weekend) in Little Silver this Thursday evening, December 1, when Gallery Jupiter (31 Church Street) invites the public to a silent auction of “a school of artistically tagged fish.” Each one-of-a-kind item is offered as a unique gifting idea, and a portion of the proceeds will be dedicated to the Sandy Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society and its ongoing conservational/ educational programs in defense of our regional coastline. Wine and refreshments will be served during the Thursday evening event, going on between the hours of 5 to 8 p.m. — while art lovers have plenty more opportunities to hook that elusive Perfect Gift, by reading on.

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RED BANK: CRAFTS, CAROLS, COLLECTIONS

two-river-crafting-carolingIn the spirit of Christmas (and in conjunction with the current production of THE LION IN WINTER), Two River Theater held an evening of crafting, caroling and holiday treats this past weekend, led by local event decorating company #TableSettingIsMyLife. Guests of all ages learned how to make their own Christmas cracker crafts (an English tradition), while the Monmouth Civic Chorus delighted the crafters with festive holiday songs throughout the night. Two River also collected canned good donations for The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

RED BANK: A CUPFUL OF $$$ FOR LUNCH BREAK

the_white_road_cupFriendly competitors from Little Silver and Shrewsbury took part in the 15th annual White Road Cup game last Friday, with the flag football contest raising $10,000 for the borough-based nonprofit Lunch Break.

Press release from Culinary Communications

The recent Black Friday marked the 15th Anniversary of the White Road Cup, the annual flag-football fundraiser that pits players from Little Silver against their neighbors from Shrewsbury Borough.

First played in 2002, the event has grown to become a festive, well-attended community tradition, featuring contests for children, men, and women. These hard-fought games are exciting for all (and of course, bragging rights are important), but the true winner is Lunch Break. This year over $10,000 was raised for the organization, which helps to put food on the table for thousands of families in need (the charity flag football event raised $10,000 in 2015 as well).

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RED BANK: BASIE, FRIENDS JOIN FOR BIG GIVE

basie-marquee-111416Press release from Count Basie Theatre

“Giving Tuesday,” founded in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd St. YMCA and the United Nations Foundation, was originally a “response to commercialism and consumerism” during the holiday season. It has since turned into an international day of giving.

Tomorrow, November 29, the nonprofit Count Basie Theatre will join forces with radio station  94.3 The Point and The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, to raise funds for both the theatre’s sensory-friendly programming, and for POAC Autism Services.

“Giving Tuesday” at the Basie will kick-off at 5:30 a.m., with a day-long broadcast from 94.3 The Point / WJLK-FM Radio. Listeners will be invited to drop by and give donations in person, or to make donations via theBASIE.org.

The organizations will also use the day-long effort and radio broadcast to raise funds for POAC Autism Services of Brick. Two dollars from every Count Basie Theatre ticket sold on November 29 will be donated to the group, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and adults with autism achieve their fullest potential by providing quality education, support and recreation at no cost to participants.

“Reaching all audiences with the highest level of the performing arts is part of our not for profit mission,” said Adam Philipson, CEO and President of the historic Count Basie Theatre.  “We strive to be inclusive and create barrier-free experiences and these shows will support our guests and families with special needs including autism spectrum disorder.”

“We are looking forward to partnering with the Count Basie Theatre in bringing the Jersey Shore together to support this important cause,” said Steve Ardolina, Regional Operations Manager for Townsquare Media Group New Jersey, which owns WJLK.

In addition, the Jersey Shore-based Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, which uses philanthropy to increase citizen activity and economic development opportunities through the arts, healthcare and education, has generously agreed to match all donations up to $25,000.

“The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation is proud to be able to work with a great non-profit partner like the Count Basie Theatre,” said executive director and Basie board member Jeremy Grunin. “The ability to support POAC Autism Services in their mission coupled with further showing the power of the arts through the Basie was too powerful an endeavor to ignore.”

Earlier this year, the Basie team worked with POAC to train staff in advance of the theatre’s first-ever sensory-friendly mainstage performance.

“POAC is so thrilled to be involved with Count Basie Theater’s sensory-friendly programming and their fundraising efforts on Giving Tuesday,” said Simone Tellini, Director of Program Development at POAC. “Children and adults on the autism (ASD) spectrum often have sensory issues that make it difficult to participate in and enjoy community-based activities, especially those involving the arts. These activities are essential, especially for children, and vital to their growth in so many ways.

“Last February,” Tellini continued, “the Basie provided a wonderful show that, for many children, was their first experience with live theater. The management and staff went above and beyond to make everyone feel comfortable and accepted.  We applaud the Count Basie’s commitment to our families and look forward to future events and programs.”

The live “Giving Tuesday” broadcast will feature performances from students of the Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy’s Jazz Arts Project, Rockit! and Voices vocal ensemble. In addition, cast members from the Tony Award winning ONCE, playing that evening on the Basie stage, will go on air to perform the musical’s signature hit, “Falling Slowly.”

RED BANK: A 24TH NIGHT OF HOLIDAY DAZZLE

rb-town-lighting-112516-4rb-town-lighting-112516-7For the 24th straight year, the feel-jolly sounds of Holiday Express served as the soundtrack to a Town Lighting ceremony that drew thousands of visitors to downtown Red Bank Friday night. Were you among those who braved the drizzle for the dazzle? Check out our photos to see who you might recognize. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: DOWNTOWN READY TO JINGLE

112914 horseride2The clip-clop of classic horse and wagon rides is just one of the seasonal signifiers making an annual return Saturday. 

Just as the open-air Red Bank Town Lighting ceremony of Black Friday gives an electrified jolt to the turkey-fed torpor of Thanksgiving Thursday, so does Small Business Saturday sound the first real ka-ching of the primetime shopping season.

And when the shop-local showcase returns Saturday, it will herald a day of special holiday-themed features that continue every weekend through Christmas Eve, a slate of Santa sightings, holiday hunts, horse-drawn carriage rides, harmonizing performers, mobile mannequins and more — all designed to enhance the hustle and bustle of the shopping experience here in the the area’s undisputed Capital of Christmastime.

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RED BANK: VEGAS TO BROADWAY VIA BASIE

Donny and Marie Osmond, below, bring the holiday cheer and more to the Count Basie Monday… followed by a twice-as-nice engagement by the touring company of the hit musical ONCE, seen in the promo video above.

donny-and-marieTo paraphrase the signature song of a certain fondly recalled TV variety series, it’s a show that’s a little bit Christmas, a little bit something else.

The entertainment-packed November/December schedule at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre makes for especially interesting sked-fellows this time of year — with the holiday season getting into early jingle via offerings like Phoenix Productions’ A Christmas Story: The Musical and this past Monday’s seasonal spectacular starring Brian Setzer, even as recently featured acts like Joe Bonamassa and The Pretenders have offered up a happy-humbug alternative to any potential reindeer overkill.

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RED BANK: TIME TO REMEMBER IS WRITE NOW

project-write-nowThe educational programs offered by the nonprofit Project Write Now are the beneficiary of a Night to Remember fundraiser Tuesday night at Two River Theater.

From press materials furnished by DNB Events and Project Write Now

If you’ve wondered about those “I remember…” collection boxes that you may have noticed at select businesses throughout Red Bank, they’ve got a story to tell — or rather, they’ve been placed there to collect the stories that you and your neighbors have to tell.

 

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RED BANK HOSTS ‘WHITE ROAD CUP’ ON FRIDAY

the_white_road_cupIt began as a friendly flag-football rivalry between communities based at either end of White Road’s east-west artery — a “symbol of bestowed superiority” in which “one town’s dream is realized while the other’s is pushed to a shattering state of sorrow.”

This Friday, November 25, “The White Road Cup” marks its milestone 15th anniversary with a series of games for children, women and men, hosted on the turf at Red Bank’s Count Basie Field.

Kicking off at 9 a.m. and continuing into the early afternoon, the match-ups between “The Shrewsbury Tigers” and “The Little Silver Warriors” will be generating the expected volume of “playful trash-talking” and passionate partisanship among spectators on the sidelines — as well as a substantial fundraising effort for a worthy community-based cause: the educational/vocational programs and charitable endeavors of Red Bank’s own Lunch Break.

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RED BANK: HOLIDAY EXPRESS TO LIGHT IT UP

112715holidayexp32Tim McLoone, at left above, and the Holiday Express band get some help kicking off another silver-bells season on the sidewalks of Red Bank at Friday night’s annual Town Lighting concert. Jackie Evancho (below) brings a program of holiday songs and hits to the Count Basie stage. (Photo above by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge) 

jackie_evanchoIf it’s accomplished nothing else during its quarter century of continuous service, Red Bank’s annual Town Lighting ceremony has successfully wrested the idea of “Black Friday” from visions of crushing chaos at the mall to one of sing-along harmony in a walkable-wonderland setting of merry commerce and activity.

When the lights are ceremoniously lit in downtown Red Bank for the 24th consecutive year this Friday evening, it will come not a moment too soon for an extended community that really does need a little Christmas, right this very minute. And summoned once more into service like a jinglebell-jukebox Justice League will be Holiday Express, the big traveling winter wall of sound whose founder and skipper Tim McLoone has helped sound the keynote and flip the switch on a generation’s worth of festive occasions in the heart of Red Bank’s downtown diorama.

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RED BANK: SETZER JUMP-STARTS BASIE LINEUP

brian-setzerStray Cat topcat turned big-band ringmaster Brian Setzer, above, tunes up Santa’s souped-up sleigh — and Beat Root Revival (below) lights the way — as the season of nearly non-stop holiday music at the Count Basie Theatre commences Monday.

beat-rootThe official tree has yet to find its base in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park, and the horse-drawn carriages and surrogate Santas have yet to be sighted on the downtown streets.

But the elves at the Count Basie Theatre, the Greater Red Bank Green’s unofficial Capital of Christmas, already have their workshop in overdrive on a packed slate of Christmastime confections that runs right up to the doorstep of the New Year.

 

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RED BANK: SOIRÉE KICKS OFF HOLIDAY SEASON

rbba-111716-20
rbba-111716-4The first-ever Holiday Soirée thrown by the Red Bank Business Alliance at the Molly Pitcher Inn turned out to be quite the affair, as more than 300 attendees packed two ballrooms to sample small plates, dance, bid on artwork and generally kick off the holiday-party season. In the process, the RBBA raised some $19,000 for two nonprofit organizations — Jason’s Dreams for Kids and Clean Ocean Action.

Check out redbankgreen’s photos below to see who you know. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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B&G CLUB CUTS RIBBON ON RED BANK UNIT

bgc-ribbonKids from the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County joined Red Bank Unit Director Christy Davis (above) recently for a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon for the newly renovated facility on Drs. James Parker Boulevard. 

bgc-kids_labPress release from Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County

Recently, some of the more than 300 young members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (BGCM) joined Red Bank Unit Director Christy Davis for a momentous occasion, when the director of the Red Bank Unit officially opened the organization’s newly enhanced and expanded 4,000-square foot facility at 138 Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

The BGCM’s Red Bank Unit underwent a major transformation over the last few months, highlighted by a completely updated computer lab. Thanks to an $18,500 grant by OceanFirst Foundation, BGCM was able to update the lab’s workstations and enhance the computing infrastructure.

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RED BANK: RETURN OF THE GREAT PRETENDER

pretendersChrissie Hynde, seen here with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys in a screen grab from the video for ‘Holy Commotion,” returns to Red Bank with her 2016 edition of the Pretenders for a Thursday night concert.

Last time Chrissie Hynde trod the boards of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, two years ago, the face, voice, heart and soul of the Pretenders offered up a showcase of her debut long-player Stockholm, chased by a lip-to-label spin through the mega-classic 1979 Pretenders LP, its fab 45s and deep-cut classics “Brass in Pocket,” “Kid,” “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Mystery Achievement” and “Precious”).

Bolstered by the accrued good-will generated by the album and road itinerary, the Hall of Fame rocker entered a Nashville studio earlier this year with Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach for some sessions intended to yield her sophomore solo release. But something surprising must have happened inside that soundproofed space, as “those driving guitars, ragged-but-righteous arrangements, tough-yet tender lyrics delivered by the most beautifully distinctive voice of a generation” (according to the press notes) suggested nothing less than that the Pretenders were back.

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RED BANK: BURSTING WITH KINDNESS

rb-dance-for-life-111316-5rb-dance-for-life-111316-6First came the “freezemob,” as hundreds of orange-clad participants stopped in poses of kindness on a stretch of Broad Street in downtown Red Bank. Then came the “flashmob,” as music was cranked up and the mob broke into joyous dance.

The occasion was the fifth annual ‘Dance for Kindness,’ a campaign to support random acts of kindness that involved 100 locations around the globe Sunday. redbankgreen trained its lens on the local edition; please check out the additional photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.) (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge) Read More »

RED BANK: ‘WINTER’ OF OUR DYSFUNCTION

lion_in_winter_advance_press_1Tony nominees Michael Cumpsty (center) and Dee Hoty (third from right) head up the cast of THE LION IN WINTER, going up in previews this weekend at Two River Theater. (photo by Amanda Crommett) 

Granted, it unfolds during a holiday family reunion — but as Michael Cumpsty makes sure to point out, The Lion in Winter “is NOT technically a Christmas play.” Unless, of course, you take into consideration the various head games, back-stabbings, subterfuges, jealousies and favoritism that make the late James Goldman’s script (set during the Yuletide of the year 1183) pretty much exactly like your most agita-inducing seasonal family traditions.

Still, given the timing of the Two River Theater production that begins previews this Saturday, November 12, it could just as easily be regarded as what Cumpsty calls “our election-season play” — one that “began to take on a whole other significance” as “we got into a crazier and crazier space.”

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RED BANK: YOU’LL LAUGH YOUR EYE OUT

christmas-story-phoenixIt’s all present and accounted for, from the Old Man’s leg lamp to Aunt Clara’s bunny suit; from the flagpole double-dog-dare to the Santa Slide at Higbee’s — to say nothing of that official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle. Only this time it’s an all-singing, all-dancing, live action extravaganza that arrives like an early gift package this Friday, November 11.

Based on the beyond-popular 1983 movie of the same name — itself adapted from the writings of humorist Jean Shepherd (who did a memorable turn as the film’s narrator), A Christmas Story: The Musical makes its first-ever appearance on the local stage as the annual holiday-season offering from Phoenix Productions, the resident non-profit stage company at the venerable Count Basie Theatre.

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LINCROFT: CURCHIN CHIPS IN AGAIN

curchin-open-110216-9curchin-open-110216-1Once a year, the Curchin Group in Lincroft, a CPA practice, moves its desks and files aside and transforms its Half Mile Road office into a miniature golf course, where it hosts a fundraiser called the Curchin Open.

This year’s edition, held last Wednesday, generated $18,000 for two charities:  Mary’s Place by the Sea and the Monmouth County SPCA, which brought two rescues (including a pup named Coco, right) to the event.

redbankgreen was there to document the fun, which included a packed clubhouse bar, a buffet and games. Be sure to click the “read more” for additional photos.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK CHARTER DANCES FOR KINDNESS

rbcs-dance-for-kindnessRed Bank Charter School Students are pictured with Terese Rolke (Group Leader), Colleen Shandrey (Teacher) and Kate Bronshteyn (Dance Instructor).

Press release from Red Bank Charter School

Life Vest Inside, a non-profit organization on a mission to empower and unite the world with kindness, is organizing its fifth annual World Wide “Dance for Kindness” event to take place on November 13, when local residents and schools will unite with over 100 locations spanning across 50 countries to promote kindness, compassion and empathy.

One of the schools participating in the Dance for Kindness is the Red Bank Charter School.  Ekaterina (Kate) Bronshteyn, a dance instructor at Little Silver Ballroom has been participating in the Dance for Kindness since 2014, and this year is one of the parents teaching RBCS students the dance during gym class.

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ON THE GREEN: AN ABUNDANCE OF ART SHOWS

scherfen multi, 11/19/10, 3:51 PM, 8C, 8424x11700 (192+300), 150%, Custom, 1/30 s, R86.0, G78.5, B98.2The work of watercolorist Michael Scherfen, whose study of the Sandy Hook Lifesaving Station is seen here, is showcased in a special art event at Middletown’s Old Stone Church. Metalsmith Frederick Marshall, an example of whose work is seen below, keynotes a new series of Visiting Artist presentations at Brookdale Community College. 

domino_set_frederick_marshalSome artsy occurrences, from now through the week’s end, in and around the Greater Red Bank Green in the days and nights ahead…

The new academic year at Brookdale Community College signals the start of another slate of events in the Visiting Artist program, now in its fourth season on the Lincroft campus.

Normally hosted in the evening hours, the series returns Thursday with a unique noontime presentation that spotlights the work of jewelry designer and metalsmith Frederick Marshall. The public is welcome as the Montclair-based artist and educator drops in at the school’s Center for Visual Arts (CVA) Gallery, for a discussion of his artistic process that spotlights examples of his award-winning work in sterling silver, brass and 22-karat gold.

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RED BANK: SEEKING MERRY WIVES, AND MORE

little-shakespeare-windsorPress release from Two River Theater Company

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces an opportunity for student actors, stage managers, designers, and run crew in grades 9-12 to be involved in the theater’s upcoming performances of A Little Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The 75 minute play, adapted from the William Shakespeare comedy by director Nicole A. Watson, runs March 7-12, 2017 on the stage of Two River’s Rechnitz Theater.

Auditions for interested high-school students will be held at Two River Theater on November 16 and 18. In addition, the theater is offering opportunities for high school students who are interested in working as an assistant stage manager, assistant director, assistant designer, or on the production’s run crew.

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