Roxy’s Best Of… Newark, New Jersey

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Feb
17

Looking Ahead: Good Times Planned at NJPAC in Newark, New Jersey

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As my loyal readers know, Rex and I have recently merged our small mergers and acquisitions firm with another Wall Street firm. The transition and my new investment banking role have taken much of my time and energy, and the longer hours and more frequent long commute have had an impact on our whole family.  The change is a positive one, but all change brings with it unexpected side effects, so we’ve been taking time to relax over the long Valentine’s/Presidents’ Day weekend, and looking ahead to the events, big and small, that lie ahead.

I can’t believe it’s been over two weeks since we celebrated London’s birthday with Cirque Eloize at NJPAC.  During the intermission, I remember looking through the program and seeing so many great shows, but knowing there was no way I could, for example, fit “Rent” into our busy schedule.  This coming weekend, we’re headed to Connecticut for a really big and exciting event:  Rex’s son, PostBoy, is marrying MathGirl… and London and Maddie will be first-time flower girls.  The girls adore the beautiful bride and are truly overjoyed to have MathGirl as their new sister-in-law.

While we’re celebrating with the happy couple in Connecticut, we’ll be missing the Golden Dragon Acrobats in action at NJPAC:  From bending into improbable shapes to forming human pyramids on moving bicycles, this internationally acclaimed troupe celebrates Chinese culture with time-honored traditions that date back 25 centuries.  One performance only, on Sunday, February 22nd at 3:00pm.  You’ll find a really cool short video at the NJPAC site (choose Golden Dragon Acrobats under “Show Titles”) so I have a clear view of what we’ll be missing.  Truth be told, after seeing (and imitating) the Cirque Eloize contortionist at her sister’s birthday bash, my mischievous Maddie doesn’t need any more ideas about bending into improbable shapes in her party dress, and it is hard to compete with a wedding…

And speaking of brides…check out The Frog Bride at NJPAC for a “ribbiting” coming-of-age story.  Musician, poet and performer/storyteller David Gonzalez presents a hip adaptation of a classic Russian fairy tale. Prokofiev’s classic work is weaved with an original jazz-funk score, while David performs every role against a backdrop of stunning live video projection and moving images by painter Wassily Kandinsky. Filled with comic sparkle, this FamilyTime performance of The Frog Bride on Saturday, February 28th at 2:00pm is recommended for ages 6 and up.  “Absorbing, funny and suspenseful, it is, in the great tradition of storytelling, enchanting.” — The New York Times.

Also on Saturday, February 28th at 8:00pm, NJPAC presents an award-winning pioneer in the emerging genre of hip-hop theater, electrifying actor, rapper, playwright and educator. Will Power delivers high-octane monologues, songs and spoken word pieces that have taken off-Broadway by storm. The winner of the theater trophy at the 2004 HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, Power’s funky, funny, genre-busting work weaves powerful narratives, dynamic rhythm and rhyme, and live beats into unforgettable contemporary theater. “His work combines the complexity of serious drama with the visual and sonic arsenal of MTV,” says The New York Times. “This is theater with the refreshing aroma of originality.”  For an additional $8 per ticket, parents and children can attend a pre-performance workshop on Self-Expression Through Poetry at 6:30pm. As an accompaniment to Power’s performance, spoken word artist Divad Sanders (of SLAM Global Enterprises, Inc.) will trace the history of rhymed language, from traditional poetry to contemporary hip hop, inviting participants to experiment for themselves with the way that words become powerful tools of creative expression.

“In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines… the smallest one was Madeline.” As we move into March, it’s time to join in the adventures of one of London and Maddie’s favorite heroines in Madeline and the Bad Hat,”  an original musical based upon one of the books in Ludwig Bemelmans’s much-loved series. Here Madeline, the young Parisian girl must learn to overcome first impressions when she starts off on the wrong foot with a mischievous new neighbor. This FamilyTime performance on Saturday, March 14th and Sunday, March 15th at 2:00pm is recommended for ages 4 and up.  There’s an “Acting Out” workshop available before the show at 12:30pm on Saturday, March 14th.  We’ll be celebrating Maddie’s seventh birthday that weekend, and I considered taking Maddie and her BFFs to the show, but Maddie opted for a small “late-over” (7 to 10pm) at home with the Butter Bites, her all-girl basement band.

As much as I might like to spend every weekend there, our next family outing to NJPAC will probably be for another Andrew Lloyd Webber (and Tim Rice) spectacular, Jesus Christ Superstar. “When Jesus Christ Superstar debuted in 1971, the show’s phenomenal success made it clear that musical theater would never be the same again. This revival of the groundbreaking Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, about the last seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, features Ted Neeley—the star of the show’s big-screen adaptation.”  When my hot cousin Gary played Judas in a 1970’s local church production when I was 9 or 10 years old, I thought I would never be the same again… anyway, we’ll be sure to catch one of six shows running from Thursday, April 9th through Easter Sunday, April 12th.

 

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