In this video from last May, Olivia Mullen, then a junior at Red Bank Catholic, gives a taste of the English Speaking Union’s Shakespeare Competition, which returns to Brookdale Community College Saturday. Below, a Martha Rand portrait from the show opening Friday night at Gallery U. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, March 1 

MIDDLETOWN: Girls in grades 5 to 10 are invited to discuss Cynthia Lord’s Touch Blue with their moms at this free monthly event held at the main library hosts at 2 p.m. for the mother-daughter book club. 55 New Monmouth Road.

RED BANK: An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at GalleryU for SWART (Social Work Works), a special exhibition of artwork by New Jersey social workers and art therapists. Joann Lense and Martha Rand are among the 17 contributing artists represented in the exhibit, which will remain on display until March 23. 80 Broad Street.

RED BANK: An opening reception will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. at McKay Imaging Gallery for “The Silence After,” a new exhibit showcasing local scenes of “Sandy’s new landscape” by photographer Mike McLaughlin. The exhibit continues through March 14. 12 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: The Basie welcomes Ashly Delgrosso Costa and Jonathan Roberts of Dancing with the Stars as they join American Idol finalists Von Smith and Gina Glocksen at 8 p.m. for a ballroom tour that combines swing, samba, and hip hop. Tickets are $25 to $95. 99 Monmouth Street.

Saturday, March 2

LINCROFT: Local high school students come together at the Performing Arts Center at Brookdale Community College for a Shakespeare Competition, hosted by the Monmouth County Branch of the English Speaking Union. From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., students will present performances of Shakespearean monologues and sonnets, with the winner going on to compete in the 30th annual edition of the ESU’s National Shakespeare Competition in NYC. Newman Springs Road / Route 520.

LINCROFT: The Christian Brothers Academy will host a one-day craft show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Over 100 vendors are expected to display and sell their creations. $4 entrance fee. Newman Springs Road / Route 520.

RED BANK: Riverview Medical Center will host its first Jazz Brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature live jazz and swing music, brunch, and dance instruction from Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Red Bank. This is a free event, with registration required by calling 1-800-560-9990. East Front Street.

MIDDLETOWN: The main library with students and faculty from Brookdale’s chemistry department will host a hands-on carnival at 2 p.m. for kids ages 5 through 13. Participants in this free event will learn how to create a ‘superball,’ write with invisible ink, watch raisins dance, and more. 55 New Monmouth Road.

SHREWSBURY: The library will host the Festive Flutes at 2 p.m. for a free program of ‘Suites for the Sweet’ featuring selections ranging from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker’ and Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ to Henry Mancini’s ‘Pink Panther’ theme. 1001 Route 35 North.

RED BANK: The Art Alliance of Monmouth County will host a free opening reception for the 27th Annual Jean Townsend Award Exhibition, featuring “In the Distance” and “Close-Ups” from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit continues through March during regular gallery hours. 33 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: Jay Black and the Americans return to Red Bank for an 8 p.m. performance at the Basie. For tickets ranging from $25 to $125, audience members can enjoy all the oldies action, featuring such classics such as ‘This Magic Moment,’ ‘Only in America,’ ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’ and the game winning hit ‘Cara Mia.’ 99 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: The Middletown Lions Club and the Bridge of Books Foundation join together for “Read Across America Day,” a local drive to promote children’s literacy, as part of the Read Across America effort from 1 to 3 p.m. at Lunch Break. 121 Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

Sunday, March 3

LINCROFT: The E. Murray Todd Half Marathon, a 13.1 mile run through the rural and residential areas of Lincroft, Holmdel and Colts Neck, will begin and end at the Brookdale campus. Registration will begin at 7:15 a.m., while the run kicks off at 9. Newman Springs Road / Route 520.

LINCROFT: Brookdale hosts author and local historian Randall Gabrielan at 11:45 a.m. as part of the Monmouth Moments Lecture Series. A free speaking and book signing engagement will be held at the Warner Student Life Center. Newman Springs Road / Route 520.

LINCROFT: The Concordia Youth Chorale and OperaLab perform in a 5 p.m. concert at the United Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County. $10 entrance fee ($5 for students). 1475 West Front Street.

LINCROFT: The faculty of Brookdale Community College‘s Music Department presents a free 7 p.m. concert, in the Performing Arts Center on the Lincroft campus. Newman Springs Road / Route 520.