Little Silver artist Mike Ciccotello at work creating a mural at Red Bank’s Salon Concrete, where his paintings will be on display with a show opening Saturday night. Diana Krall, below, returns to the Count Basie on her Glad Rag Doll tour, part of the Jazz at the Basie series. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, October 4:

krall-14b742a60245ed7ab16d252ae50f9da000b154ed-s6-c30RED BANK: Fans who recall Natalie Merchant from her gold- and platinum-plated tenure as frontwoman of the rock band 10,000 Maniacs might be pleasantly surprised by the silvery hair she’s sported on her current tour — as well as by her fronting an ever-changing array of symphony orchestras from town to town. When the singer takes to the Count Basie boards at 8 pm, she’ll be joined by the New Jersey Chamber Symphony for a concert that draws from her recent hit release, ‘Leave Your Sleep’ — a lushly arranged set of literary inspirations and expansive musical visions. Take it here for tickets.

NAVESINK: The bumper crop of Broadway shows in 1938 included not only ‘On Borrowed Time — currently onstage in a splendidly designed, handsomely realized production at Two River Theatre —but another folksy fantasy of life, love and devotion in a small town. Traditionally staged without props or scenery, Thornton Wilder’s classic ‘Our Town’ lends an avant-garde edge to its cross-section slice of sentimental Americana. Beginning tonight, the community troupe Stone Church Players presents the first of six performances at All Saints’ Memorial Church (the historic “Old Stone Church” at the crossroads of Navesink and Monmouth Aves). Michael McClellan directs a cast of 17 players in the show that continues weekends through October 13; take it here to reserve.

wagIgnoring the show-business rule “never follow a dog act,” Middletown’s own The Wag return to play their traditional open-air set at the Monmouth SPCA’s 20th annual Dog Walk and Pet Fair.

Saturday, October 5:

LINCROFT: One of the most eagerly anticipated early-autumn events on the greater Red Bank Green returns for its 20th Anniversary edition, when the Monmouth County SPCA Dog Walk and Pet Fair  commandeers the campus of Brookdale Community College for a colorful five-hour festival (10 am – 3 pm) that’s co-sponsored by Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. The fundraising walk is the centerpiece of a slate of activities for adults, kids and canines, highlighted by an “Inner Beauty Contest,” costume contest and Pie-Eating Pooches competition; Doggie Dash Races and agility ring; demos by champion Frisbee aerialist dogs and police K9 dogs; even a “Canine PUPtials” wedding chapel. All this plus onsite adoption center, microchip ID clinic, vendor and info booths, 50/50 drawing, food, kids’ activities and live music by — wait for it — The Wag. Visit the event website for complete schedule, registration and all the doggie details.

RED BANK: Art openings have historically made for some of the best conversation — and with the opening of the exhibit entitled Conversation, an unorthodox venue has made itself heard on the local gallery scene. The always stylish cut-and-color space Salon Concrete is the setting for a display of works by Mike Ciccotello that include paintings on canvas (including scenes of Red Bank, Little Silver and the surrounding area), custom skateboard art (oil-base paint marker on wooden decks), and free-association murals applied directly to the walls of the Broad Street salon. The artist will be on hand to “converse, relate and connect” with the public between 6 and 9 pm.

RED BANK: Don’t look now, boomers, but the 1970s/80s superstars of disco and the oldest-school hip hop are now the stuff of doo-wop style package shows — and DiscoPalooza is the most most glittering disco ball of all, as the fourth edition of the star-studded vaudeville returns to the Count Basie Theatre with a bill toplined by Martha Wash  — the big beautiful voice from Two Tons O’Fun, The Weather Girls (“It’s Raining Men”), C+C Music Factory (“Everybody Dance Now”) and those 90s hits by Black Box. Also appearing are Norma Jean Wright and Luci Martin — a.k.a. The Ladies of CHIC (“Good Times”), as well as France Joli (“Come to Me”), and the current touring lineups of Tavares, Trammps and the Sugar Hill Gang. Dancing in the aisles, generally not practiced in the Basie auditorium, is “not only permitted but encouraged!” Take it here for tix.

Sunday, October 6:

RIVER PLAZA: The season for family-friendly outdoor recreational events ain’t over til it’s over — and at Chris’ River Plaza Marina, the first Sunday in October is prime time for a Paddle and BBQ for Families, Youth, and Adults that starts at 10 am with free canoeing on the peaceful waters of the Swimming River. They’ll provide the canoes, life vests and paddles; you bring the hat, sunscreen, bug spray and drinking water. Then stick around for a barbecue cookout (1 pm to 3 pm) that boasts burgers, brats and (soft drink) beverages at a cost of $15 for adults ($6 kids under 12). Contact Navesink Maritime Heritage Association to reserve (let ’em know how many kids and adults for boating and/or BBQ).

RED BANK: When Diana Krall makes an encore appearance at the Count Basie Theatre, the chart-topping jazz singer and pianist will arrive as an artist who’s spent the past few years unfettering herself from many of the “Songbook stylist” expectations that once served to define her to the mass pop audience. Whether exploring Brazilian sambas, 1920s honkytonk favorites or her collaborations with husband Elvis Costello, the Grammy winner goes her own way and packs a few surprises along with those voluptuous vocals and savory ivories. Here for tickets.