Search Results for: Count Basie Center for the Arts


Band_photo_5The 2008 edition of Blondie celebrates the 30th anniversary of its classic album Parallel Lines Tuesday at the Count Basie.


Blondie, one of the best live acts ever? Come again?

This is a group of people, after all, who share little common ancestry with the great jam bands or the guitar-god gorgonzolas of the monster tour era. Great live bands aren’t supposed to come riding in on a setful of pop-chart singles. They’re not supposed to dole out the ‘tude like they work in some overpriced restaurant, and they’re certainly not supposed to mess with our expectations — not if they plan on being able to play the lucrative corporate-party circuit.

Blondie — these days, the core of Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke, plus a rookie outfield of hungry young contenders — bring all this to the table, and then some. They bring the hits, each of them revved up just a pitch-shift past the way it sounded on CD. They bring Chris and Debbie’s cooler, crueler tweak on the Captain and Tennille dynamic. And they bring their perennial secret weapon in drummer Burke, a professor in controlled chaos who, in songs like “Dreaming,” weds the punk-smash ethic of Keith Moon with the wall-of-sound wonder that students of early-60s radio hits have tried to bottle for eons.


They also bring a surprising bag of tricks that allows them to pepper their hit parade with left-field covers from the likes of Roxy Music, the Ramones and the Rolling Stones — keeping you off balance while they triangulate in for the kill. If they were “artists,” you’d say they were challenging you. If they were Springsteen, you’d be texting the set list to your brother-in-law.

Well they’re not Springsteen, but long before Harry set up house on a relatively quiet spread just seconds beyond the borders of Red Bank, this most successful of CBGB’s fabled Class of ’77 were hardly Shore-shy — by some accounts, the band even visited the Stone Pony as early as late 1975/early 1976. And when they take the stage of the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday night, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will be marking a milestone from their own platinum-plated history, while staking out their own piece of Basie history on the eve of an extended home-improvement hiatus.

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Constantinemaroulis2714015_2Judas Priest! It’s that guy from Idol as Iscariot, with the singer from Almost Queen as Jesus (we kid you not)!


House is in reruns; the Basie‘s about to go dark til autumn; you’ve got no gas to go any farther than the Arts Center, and the talent there just topped the $500 mark for the first time.

Is that what’s botherin’ ya, bunky? A dearth of entertainment options? Well, it’s time to take stock of the situation — community summer stock, that is, the season for which begins to heat up just about this time each year in the greater Red Bank oRBit.


Broadway bus trippers may not bat an eyelash at the prospect of Brooke Shields or Brady Bunch Brothers filling in for two-week runs in their favorite musicals, but when someone tells you that notorious American Idol runner-up Constantine Maroulis will be appearing as Judas in a local community production of Jesus Christ Superstar — with Jesus himself portrayed by the frontman for the tri-state’s pre-eminent Queen tribute act — well, you’ve just gotta spit-take your MiJovi.

It’s all true: veteran producer-director Mark Fleming (fresh off the Van Zandt-Milmore comedy Wrong Window at Brookdale Community College) will open the new summer season of his long-running Premier Theatre Company this Friday, with season-four finalist Maroulis and Freddie Mercury channeler Joe Russo in a new production of the early smash by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

The show, which runs nine performances through June 28, goes up at the Henderson Theatre (on the grounds of Christian Brothers Academy) off Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. As a special treat there will be opening pop/rock sets by such area performers as Rick Barry, Eric Ginsberg and musical director Anthony D’Amato. Tickets ($26 general admission) are sure to be snapped up by curious idolators; they can be reserved at the Henderson website, where you’ll also find info about upcoming Premier revivals of Damn Yankees and The Fantasticks.

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On a weekend in which the Count Basie Theatre is scheduled to host a couple of local-kid dance recitals, the ever-eclectic auditorium also will be sounding a blue note or three, as a trio of standup guys jack the stage for a program that could only be called Comedy on the Edge.


You’re gonna need a 64-ounce bag of V-chips to shield yourself from the vitriolic vibes Friday, when Patrice O’Neal, Robert Kelly and Mike DeStefano appear in this three-headed monster of a bill, presented by AM Productions and featured under the banner of this weekend’s TriCity Arts Tour.

Call it “art” if you must, but those of us who recall Comedy Central’s long-defunct Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn remember O’Neal and Kelly as just two of the opinionated lugs who made that refreshingly loose roundtable into something like the McLaughlin Group, minus the decorum. Collectively, the comics have logged considerable man-hours on the late-late talkfests, premium cable specials and Opie and Anthony shows. To say nothing of quickie cameos in movies that star their bigger, scarier friends — a sore point, one would have to reckon.

Calling from the L.A. home of his pal Dane Cook — with whom he was about to embark on a road trip that would take them (plus Al Del Bene) from Caesars Las Vegas to the sands of Iraq — Boston-bred Bob Kelly filled redbankoRBit in on the pet peeves of the road-warrior wiseass, and life trouping for the troops in a world without (Bob) Hope.

Warning: F-bombs ahead.

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Vladkovalsky2Vladislav Kovalsky


Beethoven? Perhaps you know him as the stony countenance that glowered from atop Schroeder‘s toy piano in a half century’s worth of Peanuts comic strips.

Even the most musically illiterate among us is familiar with the portentous opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. More well-known themes of the German giant come at us daily from cable network newscasts, from TV commercials, Disney cartoons.


Growing up as he did in the former Soviet Union, Vladislav Kovalsky probably didn’t have much access to Charlie Brown and Snoopy. But as the executive director of Red Bank-based Monmouth Conservatory of Music, the concert pianist knows that Beethoven and his brethtren continue to have something to say in the education of our kids. He’s been part of the faculty of the nonprofit music academy for decades, teaching his private students with the same dedication that he’s brought to his role as advocate for music education in our public grade schools.

Kovalsky has also been known to take center stage on occasion, for concert events that range from solo settings and chamber duets, to guest turns with orchestras of all sizes and configurations. This Sunday afternoon at the Count Basie Theatre, he appears in concert with Roy D. Gussman and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra on a bill highlighted by Ludwig van B.’s Piano Concerto No. 4. It’s another all-Beethoven lineup that further features MSO performances of Symphony No. 7 and the Fidelio overture.

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SpringGettin’ the band back together…

Gone are the days when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band would do two shows a night at what was then known as the Carlton Theatre and the Monmouth Arts Center.

But word that the whole E Street Band would be joining Springsteen at what had been planned as a solo show at the renamed Count Basie Theatre on May 7 has stirred up some online chatter among fans.

Many of them see the change in plans as a sign that Springsteen & Co. plan a home-county tribute to the late keyboardist/accordionist Danny Federici, who died last month.

Here’s a sampling of the online chatter, first from a Springsteen thread on Google groups:

The only tix available now are thru Amex Gold Card events. I called
just out of curiousity. 5 grand for Row N center (pair) or 500,000
points. 7 grand for Loge Row C and up to 30 grand for a pair in the

It’s going to be interesting to see what the crowd is like considering
what the tix cost. With the exception of the small allotment of $500
tickets in the balcony, everyone in the audience will have paid $1000
a ticket and in most cases much more.

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Ask the oRBit desk here at redbankgreen and we’ll tell you that jazz — real jazz — has been giving us all the high-hat for far too long.

Once upon a tick in time, the sounds now known as “America’s classical music” were something you’d encounter in some smoky, sub-sidewalk level speakeasy — the kind of place you’d skulk up to with your coat-collar pulled up high and hat-brim pushed down low. Entreé meant laying a secret knock upon the door and telling the eyeball behind the peephole, “Joe sent me.”


Nowadays it’s the stuff of museum fundraisers and PBS pledge drives; of twelve-disc boxsets and Ken Burns freeze-frames; too much Jazz at Lincoln Center and not enough Johnny’s Jazz Market. Strictly for squares — like, dullsville.

So you could color us beat when we came across an e-mail message informing us that, first of all, there is such a thing as a National Jazz Month, and secondly, there will be a series of weekly Jazz Lovers’ Lectures presented every Sunday during that month of April in Red Bank.

When we pinned the word “lecture,” it set off alarms in our head like Coleman Hawkins clamming on a case of 5-Hour Energy Shot. But then imagine our pleasant surprise when we discovered that these free Talkin’ Jazz offerings were being hosted at a location that, for reasons way too stultifyingly baroque to go into here, must remain undisclosed. A location that could only be revealed by reserving seating with a cat by the name of Joe.

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Img_3857A likely stop on the tour: Emily Asher Neiman’s new gallery on Monmouth Street.


Here’s an intriguing idea: link Monmouth County’s three hottest cultural hubs by choo-choo train and see what happens.

Come late spring, the borough of Red Bank will join the cities of Asbury Park and Long Branch for a “weekend-long regional arts tour” that allows tourists and townies alike to “experience a tri-city festival of sights and sounds as they travel by train to enjoy all things artistic, from visual art showcases to theatrical performances, street performers, poetry readings, concerts and more.”


Scheduled for the weekend of June 6 – 9, the Tri-City Arts Tour is not affiliated with the weekly TriCity News — though we’re counting on crusading publisher Dan Jacobson to humbly (of course) claim to have inspired it. Rather, it’s a loose-knit cavalcade of ticketed and free-of-charge events, presented by arts-oriented organizations in all three Monmouth County municipalities and standing as “a celebration of what each town has to offer,” in the words of the Monmouth County Arts Council’s Terri Thomas.

Throw in some rolling wine and cheese, and they may be onto something.

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Lassie_come_homeHEY! That’s our DOG! Roddy McDowall with the original Red Bank-bred ‘Lassie’ in 1943’s ‘Lassie Come Home.’


While redbankgreen applauds the slate of picture shows on display in the Count Basie Theatre’s “Take 9 at the Basie: 9 Decades of Film Classics” series, we couldn’t help but have some fun with our very own list of nine alternate choices — all of them drawn from the 80-year history of the place variously known as the Carlton, the Monmouth Arts Center and the Basie.

Each, as you’ll see, has its own special connection to Red Bank.

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First, if you want to eat—and you probably will—it’ll cost you $35. The food promises to be terrific, and the money goes to a worthy organization.


But if you can’t swing the $35, or have other gustatory plans, don’t let the price of a food-access wristband keep you away. Because the main event is a free jazz concert. And this should be one hell of a show.

In fact, it may prove historic. It’s the kind of event that has real potential to boost Red Bank’s national and even international profile.

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