Roxy’s Best Of… Newark, New Jersey

The Best of Newark, New Jersey, from art and culture to kid stuff to restaurants and shopping


From Roxy’s Mail Bag: NJ Charity Walk for Children in Foster Care in Newark on Saturday, October 23, 2010

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Hi Roxy,

Foster and Adoptive Family Services is having an NJ Charity Walk for Children in Foster Care on Saturday, October 23, 2010 on the NJIT Campus in Newark, NJ. All proceeds go to fund programs that directly impact the lives of children in foster care. If you would see fit to give this event a mention on your Best of… blog, we would greatly appreciate it! Thanks for your consideration!

NJ Walks for Charity – Walk for Children in Foster Care – Newark NJ

Foster and Adoptive Family Services Foundation is hosting their annual Walk for Children in Foster Care in Newark NJ on October 23, 2010 at the NJIT campus. The 3.1 mile (5k) walk-a-thon is the last in a series of three walks held throughout the state to raise funds and awareness for children in foster care and the families that provide that care. Please join us as NJ walks for charity and for a great cause. Registration begins at 12 noon and the walk starts promptly at 1:30pm. All are welcome to participate in this rain or shine event! Please visit for more details.


Broadway Babies London and Maddie Look Forward to A Chorus Line at NJPAC in Newark, NJ in April 2011

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Ever since London and Maddie started their fourth year of Annie’s Playhouse Summer Stars musical theatre camp in Far Hills, NJ, thanks to this year’s Glee theme, my girls have turned into Broadway babies.  We watched the entire first season of Glee over the course of a few weeks leading up to the big show at Annie’s Playhouse on August 6th, and they sing “Defying Gravity” (from Wicked) and “I Dreamed A Dream” (from Les Miserables) while we drive around in the convertible.  Eagerly awaiting the start of the second season of Glee in September (but not those dreaded three words, “back to school,” that go along with it), London and Maddie can’t get enough of Broadway and musical theatre movies.  I went crazy on Amazon with Fame (Old Irene Cara Version), Flashdance, Save the Last Dance, and Phantom of the Opera.

London and Maddie are also in the midst of choosing their audition songs for the upcoming Hexagon Players of Mendham NJ auditions for Annie…Maddie’s hoping to get the part of Sandy, though I’m not sure Annie’s dog has a singing role.

This week, we’ve been getting ready for A Chorus Line at NJPAC in Newark, NJ, by watching A Chorus Line on DVD (Michael Douglas and Terrence Mann).  I have such fond memories of A Chorus Line… it was the first Broadway show I ever attended, and my boyfriend in high school took me to see it in the spring of senior year instead of the prom.

Now, the original, singular sensation is back in a new production of the musical theater masterpiece at NJPAC in Newark, NJ. In an empty theatre, on a bare stage, casting for a new Broadway musical is almost complete. For 17 dancers, this audition is the chance of a lifetime. It’s what they’ve worked for—with every drop of sweat, every hour of training, every day of their lives. It’s the one opportunity to do what they’ve always dreamed—to have the chance to dance on Broadway. A Chorus Line is a musical for everyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line. Winner of nine Tony Awards including “Best Musical” and the Pulitzer Prize for drama, A Chorus Line remains the longest-running American musical ever to hit Broadway. Our family won’t miss this chance to meet the new generation of Broadway’s best.

A Chorus Line at NJPAC runs from Tuesday, April 26, 2011 through Sunday, May 01, 2011. Tickets for this engagement are currently available only as part of an NJPAC 2010-2011 Broadway Series.


Roxy’s Big Night Out in Newark, NJ: Dinner at Adega Grill and Miley Cyrus at the Prudential Center

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I’ve posted my review of the Miley Cyrus show over on my Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blog, but wanted to let all of you know about another great dinner our family (and four friends) enjoyed before the show at the Adega Grill in Newark, New Jersey.  We arrived to find the table set for eight (8), and the four girls sat in their very own throne banquet quite near the two king & queen throne chairs pictured on the left. The grown-ups shared several appetizers, including a cockles special and Chouriço Português Assado, Portuguese chouriço sausage flambé at tableside.  Maddie and her friend tried the Ameijõas Casino, baked clams on the half shell stuffed with crabmeat and bacon, but ended up eating the bacon and turning the rest of the clams over to Rex and me. I had a repeat of the Rabos de Lagosta em Molho Verde — baby lobster tails simmered in green sauce, served with saffron rice, which came with eight (8) baby lobster tails split in half so that there were sixteen little tails — that I had enjoyed on our last visit to Adega Grill before Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out at NJPAC…waaay too much for Roxy…so I shared with Rex, who had luckily ordered a simple salad. London and Maddie shared the Bife da Saia na Brasa — charcoal grilled skirt steak, served with crisp Spanish style potatoes and saffron rice, which was plenty for three girls, with enough left over to provide a treat for lunch today.  My friend Susan enjoyed the paella and had plenty to bring home for Mike; others enjoyed a chicken dish and a huge plate of two veal chops.  The grownups put away two delicious pitchers of red sangria, and we left Adega Grill stuffed and ready for the big event at the Prudential Center.

Adega Grill, 130 Ferry Street, Newark, NJ.  Phone: (973) 589-8830.


I Love It When A Plan Comes Together: Miley Cyrus at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ

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Back in the Spring, Rex and I were lucky enough to score two sets of four tickets to take London and Maddie and friends to see Miley Cyrus on Saturday, November 7th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Today, I’ve wrapped up our plans to include a mother-daughter pair of friends for Maddie and me, and a father-daughter pair of friends for London and Rex.

Now, I know there are those who frown upon Miley and her Hannah Montana alter ego… in fact, at our recent family reunion I heard Grammy whispering about the upcoming concert in a way that suggested that Rex and I had made plans to take our daughters to a strip show in Vegas. However, all four of us really enjoy her music (with Rex and me shedding a few Disney tears during the Hannah Montana Movie), and I believe with sufficient “parental guidance,” our girls are smart enough to understand the difference between a “normal teenage girl” and trashy behavior that points us towards the next Britney Spears.


Take Me Out to the Ballgame… the Newark Bears Are On Fire!

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Checking in from the beach in Bay Head, New Jersey, at the start of a perfect weekend, I found the following note in the Roxy’s Best Of… Mailbag and wanted to share it with all of you:

Hi Roxy, I wanted to send you some info on the Newark Bears, who are currently vying for first place in the AAA division…they are on fire! The team tries to keep their events fun and affordable for the whole family – most nights offer a lot more than “just baseball.”  Tickets are only $8 to begin with, and they often offer Buy-One-Get-One deals (see Two-For Tuesday below for example), $1 dog nights, and free fun activities. The Newark Bears recently held a Firefighters Night where they honored firefighters and had engines on site for the kids to see and learn about. Upcoming the Bears have Artie Lange and Brian McKnight throwing out first pitches. You can also check out an exhibit from the Negro League Museum on site, which chronicles, among other things, Newark’s history in opening doors for minorities in sports. I was hoping that you would want to feature the Bears on your blog and share it with fellow mom and dad bloggers.  Thanks for the consideration.



Shoe In for Mom of the Year… Roxy’s Got Miley Cyrus Concert Tickets, November 7th at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ

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Or should I say, “paperless tickets??!!”  Have all of you heard the buzz about Ticketmaster’s latest attempt to beat the scalpers and get real fans into the seats at face value?  I’m not sure how well it will work out at the concert, when we’re all lining up with our credit cards and government issued photo IDs, but at least the fan club advance ticket purchase worked out well for our family. What does everyone else have to say about it?


Spring Is In the Air at NJPAC in Newark, NJ

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We’re just past a relaxing spring break for London and Maddie, and spring is definitely in the air here in the Roxiticus Valley.  The daffodils are out, the first of the cherry blossoms have popped, and we opened our beach house in Bay Head over the weekend.  Even though Rex has been away in Chicago and Washington DC all week on business, the girls and I have been enjoying the lazy days off together and making our plans for summer camp and upcoming events.  After celebrating Easter Saturday here with Rex’s family and our annual backyard Easter egg hunt on Sunday with Grandmom and Grammy, our next big event will be Mother’s Day.  Last year, our family started an awesome new tradition with Alvin Ailey at NJPAC on Mother’sDay, and we’re making a triumphant return this year.

The Mother’s Day program includes: Hope Boykin’s Go in Grace, performed to a score composed and performed live by special guest Sweet Honey in the Rock; George Faison’s Suite Otis, set to music by Otis Redding; and Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, set to traditional spirituals and gospel. This year, Mother’s Day is also Judith Jamison’s birthday, so you never know what surprises may be in store.  My loyal readers may remember that my younger daughter, Maddie, prefers a little dialogue in her performances… while that’s not likely to be part of the traditional Ailey routine, we’ll see if her tastes have changed/”matured” over the past year.

Last year, Rex and the girls took me out for a spectacular Mother’s Day brunch at the Limestone Cafe in Peapack, NJ.  This year, we may try something a little different and make a day of it at NJPAC.  For all the time our family has spent at NJPAC, we haven’t tried the Theater Square Grill, and they’re having a special Mother’s Day Brunch, with 3 seating times:  noon, 12:30pm, and 1pm.  For $36 all inclusive, here are the details:

  • Bloody Mary, Bellini or Mimosa (one drink per person)… I wonder if naughty Roxy can order a bellini for London, a mimosa for Maddie and keep them all for myself!
  • Soft Drinks and Coffee Service
  • and a grand Sunday buffet, including
  • Muffins and pastries,
  • Four salad choices,
  • A pasta entree,
  • A fish entree,
  • Breakfast sausages and bacon,
  • French toast,
  • An omelette station,
  • A carving station with ham and turkey,
  • and lots of homemade desserts

I also have the new NJPAC season brochure, and will be posting about my faves — including The Color Purple in December – shortly.


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.


London and her BFFs at NJPAC… the Best Birthday Party Ever!

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London described it as “the best birthday party ever.” Maddie just loved having our own private balcony for ten, looking out over the crowd. Rex said, “Weird… but wonderful.” One of the other moms kept looking for Eloise from the Plaza Hotel… she didn’t find that naughty little six-year-old, but enjoyed many other surprises. I loved the trampolines, trapeze and contortionist but worried that London’s sister Maddie would be twisting herself into a pretzel during the after-party at home.

For those of you who are out of the loop, we’re talking about my daughter London’s 8th birthday party last weekend. Rex, Maddie, London and I were joined by three of London’s BFFs (best friends forever) and their moms for the Saturday matinee performance of Nebbia by Cirque Eloize at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) .

I quickly realized that I would have trouble describing the performance, so I was thrilled to find a short video (including the contortionist!) and I’ve posted it over on Roxiticus Desperate Housewives.


Blogging Out Hunger Continues… Inauguration Event at NJPAC to Benefit the Community FoodBank of New Jersey

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On December 15th, 2008, over 100 New Jersey bloggers joined forces in a Blogging Out Hunger campaign, which raised awareness of the current crisis at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, and has also raised over $7,000 in donations.  The opportunity to blog out hunger continues…

In honor of the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center is opening its doors for a big-screen projection telecast of inaugural activities in Prudential Hall on Tuesday, January 20th at 10:30am. This special event is being presented in association with the City of Newark, Mayor Cory A. Booker and The Newark Municipal Council.

Tickets for the inaugural event were distributed to Newark senior citizens and schoolchildren, NJPAC friends and patrons, as well as to a variety of community, social service, educational and religious organizations and leaders in the Greater Newark vicinity with whom NJPAC has longstanding partnerships. Additionally, nearly half of the tickets were distributed on a first- come, first-serve basis to the general public and all tickets were “sold out” in less than two hours.

“This is exactly the kind of event we should be hosting at NJPAC,” said Goldman. “Increasingly, arts centers are becoming the new “town squares” of the 21st century. Historic events should be commemorated communally. We can’t wait to share this moment in history with the people that have made NJPAC a part of their lives in our first decade of operations.”

Goldman noted that admission to the live telecast is not free, “We are asking all attendees to bring canned goods as their ‘ticket price,’” he said. “All items collected will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.”  If you were fortunate enough to receive a ticket to this event or know someone who is attending, please be generous with your donation of canned goods to replenish the supplies at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

“We greatly appreciate the partnership of NJPAC on this momentous occasion,” said Kathleen DiChiara, President and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “President-elect Obama has made dealing with America’s hungry a major initiative for his Administration. We can’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate his inauguration than by asking New Jerseyans to remember their neighbors most in need.”

“We are grateful to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center for offering our residents and citizens who worked so hard to make history in the 2008 presidential election the opportunity to become witness to history as our first African-American President takes his oath of office on January 20th, 2009, said The Honorable Cory A. Booker, Mayor, City of Newark.

“President Barack Obama’s inauguration is not the end of the story, but the beginning of a journey. He will call upon all Americans to join him in repairing our economy, healing our environment, ending divisions, and renewing the covenant our Founding Fathers made more than 200 years ago, to make our nation truly the land of liberty. We will hear his message at NJPAC, and then, in this journey and this year, Newark will lead by effort and example, manifesting excellence to the nation and defining its course.”

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in the heart of a newly emergent downtown Newark, New Jersey, is the sixth largest performing arts center in the United States. Home of the Grammy Award-winning New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, NJPAC has been widely cited as a catalyst in the revitalization of New Jersey’s largest city, attracted over 5.5 million visitors, including one million children, in its first eleven seasons of operations.