WEEKEND: FRESH AIR, DEAD AIR, PLEIN AIR

deadonMulti-instrumentalist maestro Marc Muller (above right) leads his Dead On Live ensemble back to the Basie Friday night. Keyboard wiz Matt Wade (below) plays a concert for the Boys and Girls Club Saturday in Fair Haven. (Muller photo by Brian Stratton)

Friday, November 1:

matt-wade-1RED BANK: While the greater Red Bank green doesn’t lack for savvy channelers of the Grateful Dead (see our own Jim Willis and his Dead Bank brethren, appearing Saturday at the Walt St. Pub), there exists an even deeper dimension of obsession, and it’s the bailiwick of Marc Muller —— master multi-instrumentalist, sought-after session ace, adjunct professor at Monmouth University, and scoutmaster of the Count Basie Theatre‘s Rock the Basie band-camp program.

A flexibly floating lineup composed of Muller and a rotating roster of talented friends, the entity known as Dead On Live is “deadicated” to the comprehensive transcription (—and note-for-note reproduction) —of the Grateful Dead’s body of officially released recordings. And on Friday, Muller returns to the Basie boards for a Halloween Double Drumming Dance Party that combines psychedelic 60s’ classics (“St. Stephen,” “The Other One,” “Alligator”) with the epic trilogy from Blues for Allah and dual-drummer hits and set standards (“Shakedown Street,” “Touch of Gray,” “The Music Never Stopped”). Take it here for tickets ($19.50 – $45) — and here for our archived feature on Muller and his Dead On Live project.

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WEEKEND: OLD MASTERS, HISTORIC HAUNTS

mikesuperIllusionist extraordinaire Mike Super materializes for an evening of large-scale prestidigitation at the Basie tonight.

Friday, October 25:

RED BANK: At the Count Basie Theatre — where a “ghost light” is kept burning for passing Lantern Tours and house phantoms — the newly minted tradition of “Harley-ween” is kickstarted with the theater-scale area debut of America’s Favorite Mystifier, illusionist Mike Super. Last seen in an appearance at Brookdale College, the winner of the NBC TV competition Phenomenon materializes on the Basie boards with a spectacular 8 pm show that promises a live murder-mystery round of CLUE, a demonstration of voodoo mind control, and an outright repeal of the law of gravity. Most potentially amazing is the fact that all ticketholders are eligible to ride away with “the vehicle that Mike will make appear on stage” — a little item from Harley-Davidson of Long Branch. Tickets ($39 – $69) right here.

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A TWO RIVER DOUBLE FEATURE FOR THE ‘SOUL’

Martin MoranActor, author and playwright Martin Moran brings his two autobiographical solo shows — ‘The Tricky Part’ and its followup, ‘All the Rage’ — to Two River Theater beginning this weekend in a special engagement entitled ‘A Map of the Soul.’

By TOM CHESEK

When the figurative curtain comes up on the next mainstage offering from Red Bank’s Two River Theater Company, there will be not one but two new productions commandeering the Rechnitz auditorium — both of them one-man showcases, and both of them drawn from the life experiences of their creator and star, Martin Moran.

The actor who’s entertained Broadway crowds in such merry diversions as “Monty Python’s Spamalot” garnered an Obie award and some significant critical acclaim in 2004, when he stepped in front of an Off Broadway audience with a highly personal, frankly confessional piece entitled “The Tricky Part.” Adapted from his own memoir of the same name, it seized upon an emotionally scarring experience from the author’s youth — a years-long sexual relationship with an adult counselor at a Catholic boys’ camp — recasting it as the impetus for a “journey to forgiveness” that would come to define much of Moran’s adult life.

Nearly ten years later, Moran would stand again before Off Broadway audiences (and reunite with his “Tricky Part” director, Seth Barrish) with a new piece called “All the Rage” — a spirited meditation on rage and reaction and compassion that sprang from Q&A sessions with his audiences at the earlier play.

“A Map of the Soul” is the title given to Moran’s current project at Two River, an engagement that combines 19 performances of “Tricky” with seven shows of “Rage.” Kicking off with a round of previews that begin this Saturday night, October 26, it’s a demanding schedule that finds the Denver-born Moran delivering both pieces as a double-feature theatrical experience on November 3, 10 and 17.

The Drama Desk at redbankgreen spoke to Martin Moran about hard work, long journeys, and challenging choices.

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