bannerThe All Star Tour edition of America’s Got Talent LIVE! (above) takes it to the Count Basie stage Tuesday, and  the Celtic songcraft of Loreena McKennitt (below) makes for an intimate evening’s entertainment this Thursday.  

Loreena-McKennitt-loreena-mckennitt-26282360-393-500As the crowds who snatched up deeply discounted tickets during last week’s annual $10 sale could attest, there’s always a little something for everyone at the year-round talent show that is Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre — and the coming nights are another study in entertaining eclecticism, as crowdpleasing contestants from a hit realiTV series share midweek space with a world-traveling storyteller, and the return of some pioneers in the art of political parody.


Capitol StepsThe Capitol Steps bring their tunefully topical humor and soft-shoe political satire back to the Basie on Friday.

It starts this Tuesday, when the barnstorming troupe from America’s Got Talent Live! brings its roadshow version of the hit NBC variety competition series to Red Bank for the first time, as part of a 42-city All Stars Tour that offers up the opportunity to catch six favorite acts — including Emily West, magician Smoothini and dance duo Blue Journey (Season 9); comic Taylor Williamson and hand balancing duo The KriStef Brothers (Season 8), plus “junk rock” combo Recycled Persuasion (Season 4) — in a venue that’s become a “must” stop for touring television personalities. Reserve tickets to the 75-minute, 8 pm show ($25 – $75) right here — and read on for more.

From splashy 21st century vaudeville, we dial it down to the quiet sensual storm and intimate atmospherics of Canadian singer and storyteller Loreena McKennitt, as she takes the Basie stage this Thursday in a trio setting (accompanied by Brian Hughes and Caroline Lavelle) that garnered her a 2012 Grammy nomination for her Troubadors on the Rhine. The globe-trotting specialist in Celtic music visits Red Bank to report on her findings — in an 8 pm concert that features “music and tales inspired by McKennitt’s exotic travels in pursuit of the history of the Celts—from the Sufis in Istanbul, to the Berbers in Morocco, to Delphi in Greece, to the Irish mystical poems of Yeats and classical writers such as Shakespeare and Tennyson—all of which have informed her passionate and sometimes mystical musical expression.” Take it here for tickets ($35 – $75).

Hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when topical/ political satire wasn’t a thing that you could catch on TV every night of the week — and one of the pioneer names in the field is the Capitol Steps, the long-running musical comedy troupe that traces its origins back to the 1980s, when a bunch of moonlighting Congressional staffers first conjured up a cabaret act that playfully bit the Washington hands that employed them; becoming the talk of the Beltway through skits and song parodies that were ripped screaming (with hilarity!) from the day’s headlines.

Fueled by a bottomless well of potential material; energized anew by the farcical follies (and follicles) of the presidential campaign season, the 2015 touring edition of the Steps returns to Red Bank on Friday for the latest in a now-traditional string of Halloween/ Election Day appearances — every show guaranteed different from the last. Take it here for tickets to the 8 pm event ($19 – $39) — and monitor the Basie’s website for new schedule adds (including a soon-on-sale evening with international screen legend Sophia Loren), plus details on upcoming shows featuring Evil Dead: The Musical (October 27), The Anderson-Ponty Band (October 29), the Jersey Shore’s own Dead On Live (October 30), plus celeb chef demos, live game shows and much more.