RED BANK: MUSICAL HEROES AND HANDBELLS

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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.

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WEEKEND: RIGHT HERE IN RIVER CITY

MusicManGroup_718x370The cast of THE MUSIC MAN brings the Broadway evergreen to ‘Two River City’ for five concert-style performances this weekend. Below, Jersey music Jedi master Glen Burtnik leads an all-Shore team of guests to the Basie stage on Saturday, for a SUMMER OF LOVE salute to the sounds of the original Woodstock festival. (Above photo courtesy NJPAC)

Friday, March 14:

glenburtnik-4-kurdzukjpg-907ec69606a7eef9RED BANK: “Seventy Six Trombones.” “Marian the Librarian.” “Til There Was You.” “Ya Got Trouble” (right here in River City). If you’ve seen but one golden-age Broadway classic performed by a class of drama-club kids, a community of earnest amateurs or a summer-stock touring troupe, it was probably The Music Man, the 1957 Tony winner in which traveling con man Professor Harold Hill brings an outlandish scheme — and, in the process, a healthy dose of life, love, laughter and music — to the stodgy folk of a circa-1912 Iowa small town. What you probably haven’t seen is a Music Man brought to you by an African American cast and director — and this weekend, Two River Theater Company offers up five chances to catch a talent-packed production that’s being presented in cahoots with Newark’s NJ Performing Arts Center.

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WEEKEND: VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS ABOUND

Danu.ColmHenryjpegAbove: Celtic combo Danú brings “An Nollag in Éirinnis” to Santa Basie’s workshop on Friday…while below, young adult novelist Julie Milillo comes home to Middletown for a Saturday discussion of Immortal Sin.

Friday, December 13:

JulieMililloRED BANK: It’s opening weekend for the annual holiday-season family show at Two River Theater, a newly revamped production of the original musical A Wind in the Willows Christmas that mixes Kenneth Grahame’s classic animal characters with “a lot more holiday spirit,” and redesigned costumes that highlight “ears and tails and fur.” Tonight’s 7 p.m. opening is preceded by a special noontime Scout Day preview that allows scout troops a behind-the-scenes look at the production, with games, snacks, photo ops and more. Performances continue at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday; take it here for tickets (adults $20 – $55; ages 18 and under $25) — and keep it tuned to redbankgreen for more on Mr. Toad and friends.

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