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 »


PMJ-PR-shotBandleader-composer (and YouTube-spawned sensation) Scott Bradlee brings his Postmodern Jukebox project to the Count Basie stage this Friday…while soprano Victoria Cannizzo joins Roy Gussman and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra, in a Saturday night inaugural for the new MSO season.

victoria cannizzoIn between offering happy harbor to a veritable Who’s Who of legendary entertainers from all the classic avenues of show business, our Count Basie Theatre has taken its place as a showcase for the newly minted superstars of that most 21st century of spawning grounds — the viral vaudeville that is YouTube and the social media stage.

This Friday, the Red Bank audience gets its first in-person look at an act that expanded its appeal from a literal living-room setting, to an in-demand touring attraction whose homemade videos have been viewed more than 100 million times.

Read More »


Greg_512Marimba master Greg Giannascoli returns to the Basie stage this Saturday, as the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra mark its 66th anniversary with Fanfare and the Fourth.

Long before Red Bank was looked upon as a center for culture and the arts; decades prior to the rebranding of the venerable Carlton vaudeville house as the Count Basie Theatre, there was the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra — and the organization now under the baton of conductor Roy D. Gussman is still going strong in the new century, celebrating 66 years as a community treasure and getting ready to embark upon an all new season with a Saturday night concert on November 1.

For this momentous occasion, Gussman and the MSO put out the call to an engaging instrumentalist whose 2010 solo spot with the orchestra has become the stuff of legend — classical marimbist Greg Giannascoli. A member of the Juilliard School faculty and a virtuoso of the melodically malleted, harmonically hammered percussion instrument (still something of a novelty on symphony stages), Giannascoli returns to Red Bank for a program that promises to bring the Tchaikovsky, the Copland…and the Ewazen?

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 »



Above: A cast of local high school students brings A LITTLE SHAKESPEARE: AS YOU LIKE IT to young theatergoers at Two River…while below, Ms. Lauryn Hill appears to have cancelled her (already previously rescheduled) Homecoming appearance at the Count Basie. (cast photo by Ozzie Rodriguez)

laurynFriday, February 7:

RED BANK: If we’ve learned anything from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, it’s that springtime comes in turn to even the bleakest of wintry landscapes. So, with that warming thought in mind — well, that and the caveat that all events described herein are subject to change due to “no enemy but winter and rough weather” — we sally forth once more, where no groundhog dare tread.

While Two River Theater Company carries on with its vibrant and tuneful mainstage production of the Bard’s cross-dressing comedy, a talented troupe of high school performers have put together an intriguing bonus feature inside TRTC’s “black box” Marion Huber space. Adapted and directed by Jason McDowell-Green, A Little Shakespeare: As You Like It is a 75-minute version of the play, aimed at audiences age 9 and up, and designed “to fulfill the not-so-secret grand ambition of Artistic Director John Dias: to have some Shakespeare resonating in every corner of our theater, and to get everyone in our community turned on to the thrill of his exquisite language.” Red Bank Regional students Alicia Moeller and Patrick Monaghan are the lovestruck leads Rosalind and Orlando — and they’re joined in the cast by fellow RBR actors Halle Butler, Raquel Diaz and Alyssa Rogers, plus Michaela Farrell of Red Bank Catholic, and student players from several other Monmouth County high schools. Public performances, for which the actors will also be performing a score of original music by Shanna Jones, are Friday at 7 pm, and Saturday at 12 and 4 pm. Take it here for tickets ($15) and bios of the cast members — or here for tickets to the grownup version of the show that continues this weekend through February 16. 

Read More »