NJPAC bounds into spring with new programming

April is the month associated with foolery, rainstorms, taxes and Paris. It’s also linked frequently to the word “enchanted.”

At NJPAC, the 30 days of April are filled with a kind of arts sampler – classical music, jazz, dance, family shows and more – to entertain and captivate audiences.

It’s a breathless schedule that jumpstarts the warm-weather season. Throughout April on the Prudential Hall stage, enchantments are found in the magical metamorphoses of Swan Lake or the muddy-puddle explorations of Peppa Pig come to life. Concert-goers are bound to get swept up in the grandeur of Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony, unleashed by the players of the Munich Philharmonic.

“Artistic excellence and diversity continue to be hallmarks of our Spring season,” says David Rodriguez, NJPAC’s Executive Vice President and Executive Producer. “As always, our hope is to make all programs accessible and entertaining to the diverse audiences we serve.”

Here’s a look at NJPAC’s spellbinding April, followed by a preview of other enchantments found in Prudential Hall before summertime:

Taking it from the top, on the first of the month, trailblazing country-folk artist John Prine (“Angel from Montgomery,” “Paradise”) makes his NJPAC debut, in the company of singing-songwriting duo Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams. A repertoire created over four decades is Prine’s calling card, and the double GRAMMY® winner has written poetic songs for the likes of Johnny Cash and Bette Midler. As Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters put it, “John Prine lives on that plane with Neil Young and Lennon.”

The aforementioned Munich Philharmonic arrives with conductor Valery Gergiev and guest pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard on April 2 as part of the Bank of America Classical Series. In addition to Beethoven’s Third and Richard Strauss’ Don Juan, the program showcases Aimard in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in D (for the Left Hand).

Prine’s fans may very well return on April 6 to hear the Somewhat Acoustic Tour of Jackson Browne. This Southern California rocker and hitmaker of “Running on Empty” and “Stay/The Load Out,” recognized for his work in social justice issues, also is joined by multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz in this NJPAC debut.

The tale of a tragic curse, broken by true love, is danced devotedly to Tchaikovsky’s famous score when Moscow Festival Ballet brings Swan Lake to Prudential Hall on April 15. The Russians, who are fearless in setting the barre for sublime interpretations of the Romantic ballets, feature a cast of 50 for this production.

April is also “Jazz Appreciation Month.” Wayne Shorter Weekend, co-presented with Rutgers-Newark and its Institute of Jazz Studies, is a new, springtime spin-off of the annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival held at NJPAC in the Fall. The event gathers noteworthy jazz masters in a salute to the Newark-born saxophonist (April 20-22).

At the midpoint of this music-making, on April 21, is the return of six-time GRAMMY winner Gilberto Santa Rosa, known to his fans as El Caballero de la Salsa (“The Gentleman of Salsa”) and crowned “Tropical Music Artist of the Decade” by Billboard.

The British pig known as Peppa, star of her own animated TV series, brings her family members and the entire gang to the stage for the all-singing, all-dancing, all-snorting Peppa Pig’s Big Splash on April 27.  The show is designed to tickle preschoolers and their grown-ups through puppetry and the engaging antics of its costumed characters.

The month closes out on the 28th with the nostalgic, summery sounds of the Sixties as Beach Boy Brian Wilson marks 50 years of the iconic album Pet Sounds by performing it cover to cover. The lead singer-songwriter, who scripted classics like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows” and “I Get Around,” is appearing at NJPAC in what’s being billed as the final shows of the recently extended Pet Sounds tour. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is joined by Beach Boys Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin in an evening that can only be described as fun, fun, fun.

Fast-forwarding into May and June, theater-goers will have an abundance of choices in music and dance, all leading up to the always hotly anticipated Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City free concert series to be announced. The vivid pageantry of Shen Yun – an all-new version of the music and dance spectacular from China – returns to Prudential Hall for a five-day, six-performance engagement (May 3-7). “Superb! Every performance was stunning,” raved WNYC, while The Chicago Tribune praised the troupe’s “nimble mastery.”

The annual homecoming of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a Mother’s Day Weekend tradition at NJPAC, unfolds from May 12-14 with bold and beautiful performances orbited by special events, dance workshops, boutique shopping in the lobby – and brunch with Mom at NICO Kitchen + Bar. NJPAC’s Principal Resident Dance Company performs its signature masterpiece – Revelations – and three New Jersey premieres. Opening night has a jazz-flavored theme.

“Certainly there is a tradition of mothers and Ailey – bringing your mother to see a performance and mother bringing you – and it seemed to fit into the whole performance,” says Robert Battle, the company’s Artistic Director. “Revelations has the feeling of a celebration. It amplifies all the things people are feeling about Mother’s Day already.”

A GRAMMY Award darling, jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall appears on June 16 as part of her World Tour. On June 25, Emmy-winning Jersey guy Bill Maher promises political needling and lots of belly-clutching laughs during his stand-up comedy tour. The former host of Comedy Central’s Politically Incorrect, currently at the helm of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, is back at NJPAC to provoke the intellect with his hilarious takes on the world we inhabit.

Tonnino Baliardo and Nicolas Reyes, patriarchs of The Gipsy Kings, return to NJPAC on June 29 with their GRAMMY-winning band and the party song “Bamboléo,” which is back on the charts – thanks to its renewed popularity in the hit movie Sing. (The group is also heard on the soundtracks of The Big Lebowski and Toy Story 3.) Raising the roof with infectious dance rhythms – fiery flamenco, salsa and pop – is their business, and has been for more than 30 years.

“We are very excited to be back at NJPAC – last time we had an incredible experience,” enthuses Baliardo, who is the band’s lead guitarist, co-writer and co-producer. “Looking forward to a fantastic evening of Gipsy fiesta! Bring your dancing shoes!”

For tickets to these performances, visit njpac.org, call 1-888-GO-NJPAC (466-5722), or drop by the Box Office at One Center St. in downtown Newark.

Women in Media-Newark honor notable women at this year’s Women’s History Month Film Festival

This year’s Women in Media-Newark (WIM-N) eighth annual international Women’s History Month Film Festival, will be held March 28 through April 6, 2017. It is titled “Women in the World” and will honor six significant women in the community.

Among the honorees this year are: long-time Newark City Council member, and current City Council chair the Honorable Mildred Crump; Chancellor Nancy Cantor of Rutgers University—Newark; actress and arts educator Marie Thomas; cultural activist Celeste Bateman; advocate for arts education Sanaz Hojreh and author & RU-N Professor Tayari Jones.  Jones’ critically acclaimed novel Silver Sparrow is the focus of the Women In the World Symposium being held March 31-April 1, 2017 at Rutgers University- Newark as part of the Women’s History Month Film Festival.

Honoree Celeste Bateman described the Women’s History Month Film Festival saying, “The response to our festival over the years has been tremendous. People of all genders, ethnic and cultural backgrounds want to hear good stories by and about women. This is the mission of this organization, to tell those stories – some inspiring, some heartwarming, some heartbreaking and some empowering – and to support the works of these extraordinary storytellers, women filmmakers from around the world.”

The film festival is free and open to the public, although donations are welcome. More information can be found by visiting www.WIM-N.com, calling 973-996-8342 or emailing info@wim-n.com.


Local organizations; how undocumented immigrants can designate guardianship of minor children if detained

In response to an increase in inquiries about changes to immigration policies under the Trump Administration, the Rutgers Law School Child Advocacy Clinic, in conjunction with other attorneys and immigrant rights organizations in New Jersey has created a “Power of Attorney” document to help parents who are at risk of deportation.

The document is designed to assist parents who are at risk for deportation to plan for the care of their children should they be left behind. It allows parents to designate who will care for their children in the event they are separated from their children through detention or deportation.

“The purpose of the Power of Attorney document is to help parents plan for an emergency so that it is clear what the parent or parents wanted to happen with their children should they suddenly be detained or deported.  We also created a memo of Commonly Asked Questions to try to answer as many questions about the document and what it means to create a Power of Attorney,” said Professor Randi Mandelbaum, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Child Advocacy Clinic. Mandelbaum drafted these documents along with attorneys from Lowenstein Sandler, Rutgers Law School, Seton Hall Law School, and American Friends Service Committee.

This document allows the parent to legally prepare for the care of their child without the need to hire an attorney or appear before a judge. It should be notarized, witnessed by two people, renewed every six months, and signed by both parents if possible.

The documents can be found on the Rutgers Law School website at:


under the Child Advocacy Clinic tab.

For more information about the Child Advocacy Clinic at Rutgers Law School, call 973-353-3196. For information about the Immigrant Rights Clinic, call 973-353-5292

Catch Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey at Newark ShopRite the weekend of its curtain call


The Newark ShopRite has a reputation for being a highly social supermarket where reunions are just a quick left turn down the produce aisle.

On Saturday, March 11th, it will up the ante by temporarily turning into a performance venue for both the young and the more mature–and in particular those who love the circus.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, which recently announced that the current tour of its “Greatest Show on Earth” will be the last in its 146-year history, will be making a personal curtain call to the community by bringing some of its performers into the supermarket itself.  On Saturday, March 11th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the supermarket will host some of the circus’s clown performers. They will meet and greet with customers, and perform juggling and other routines in the store.

Tickets are still on sale for Ringling Bros.’ “Final Farewell: Out of this Word”, which has seven remaining shows from Friday, March 10th through Sunday the 12th. Tickets are still available; prices start at $33.

ShopRite Springfield Avenue Marketplace is located at 206 Springfield Avenue.

“In Full Color” theatrical event Saturday celebrates the lives of women of color


As part of Women’s History Month, the Newark Public Library will host the 3rd Annual “In Full Color” Theatrical Event. Founded by Award Winning writer, actress, director, and production manager, Summer Dawn Hortillosa it was first performed in 2015 and features writing of and performances by women of color. The idea was to foster conversations about diversity, prejudice, and cultural exchange, encouraging audience members to reexamine their assumptions and attitudes.

One of the featured artists this year is the Newark native, Yvonne Hernandez writer and director of “Queer Monologues,” which made its debut at the Alchemical Studio in New York City last year. Her works have also been performed at Manhattan Repertory Theater, the Elektra Theater at Times Square, and at historic Newark Symphony Hall.

“In Full Color” is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact the Library at 973-733-7793. The performance celebrates Women’s History Month, and is part of a series of public programs organized by guest producer Celeste Bateman. PNC Foundation is proud to support the Newark Public Library’s Women’s History Celebration.

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Fourteenth Avenue School will soon enjoy a new playground made from student-recycled products

A new playground will soon come to Fourteenth Avenue School in Newark, and it will be made entirely of recycled products, some of which were sourced from the students’ own recycling efforts.

In an announcement event earlier this week, Neil Greenstein, owner and operator of ShopRite of Newark, joined representatives from Colgate and Trenton-based recycling and waste management company Terracycle, Fourteenth Avenue School teachers and the school’s principal, Alyson Barillari, to celebrate both the program and the new playground it will yield.

Neil Greenstein, owner and operator of the ShopRite of Newark, talks about the playground ShopRite and Colgate will donate to the Fourteenth Avenue School in Newark. Image courtesy BML Public Relations

Neil Greenstein, owner and operator of the ShopRite of Newark, talks about the playground ShopRite and Colgate will donate to the Fourteenth Avenue School in Newark. Image courtesy BML Public Relations

Shoprite and Colgate are joining forces to donate the playground. Via Colgate’s Oral Care Recycling Program, a collaboration between Colgate and Terracycle, students are being encouraged to learn sustainable habits by recycling old toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss containers. The playground, expected to be unveiled in April, will not only be a facilities upgrade for the students to enjoy, but will also demonstrate how recycling can manifest in large-scale products they can actually use.

Terracycle, a private company founded in 2001, works with brands to create recycling and education programs and curricula around the country, and has executed the playground program with Colgate for other schools through its Recycled Playground Challenge.


Vote for one Newark “Cornerstone” to receive a full year of tickets to Prudential Center events

Voting is now open for the grand prize winner for Newark’s Cornerstones, the community recognition program launched by Prudential, Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils in the fall.

Prudential Center has selected eight peer-nominated individuals who have contributed meaningfully to the city through their jobs or volunteer work. Those eight individuals have been recognized during two New Jersey Devils games each month.

With the finalists selected, Newark’s Cornerstones now begins its public voting round, the results of which will determine the one person who will receive a grand prize: one year of complimentary tickets to Prudential Center events, including Devils games, beginning July 1st.

Newarks Cornerstones finalists

The winner will be announced during the last Devils home game of the season, which will take place April 8th.

The eight finalists are Girls; Live, Love, Laugh founder Allison James Frison, educator Sister June Favata, chef and entrepreneur Vonda McPherson, Covenant House Executive Director Jim White, West Side High School Vice Principal Akbar Cook, Brick Avon Academy principal Charity Haygood, economic development advocate and communications professional Kimberlee Williams and She Wins! founder A’Dorian Murry-Thomas.

Voting is open through March 31st. See all nominees, finalist bios and videos, and vote at prucenter.com/newarkscornerstones/finalists.