A nation united in song, a world in motion, and a magical mystery tour of a musical milestone, all in a new season on the Monmouth campus

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – It’s an adventure shared in music, movement, multi-media, and more than just a touch of magic. A cultural exploration that spans both the greatest legends in popular culture, and the homegrown heroes of our own Shore. An experience that ranges from the thrill of being present at an iconic performance space, to the intimacy of a listening party among friends. With the announcement of the 2018-2019 Performing Arts Series schedule, the Center for the Arts at Monmouth University continues its mission to deliver a world of words, song, dance, images, and ideas to the doorstep of the coastal New Jersey audience.

Tickets are now on sale for the 23rd season of Performing Arts events, hosted inside the Pollak Theatre, the flagship venue on the Monmouth campus — with select events also featured in the historic Lauren K. Woods Theatre and Wilson Auditorium. Produced and presented under the direction of Vaune Peck, it’s a major component of a program that also includes gallery exhibitions, children’s theater, student productions and concerts, High Definition broadcasts from the performing arts world’s most famous stages, live appearances by noted visual artists and writers — as well as a special symposium centered around the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ landmark “White Album.”

The new season gets underway on Friday, September 28 with the area debut of “Magic Shadows,” the acclaimed touring production spotlighting the “shadow dance” talents of Catapult, the innovative troupe that brought its unique mix of dance, storytelling, and sculpture to a national audience on Season 8 of “America’s Got Talent.” This family-friendly show is followed on the Pollak stage by a multi-media piece based on the Antarctic travels of composer, author and artist Paul “DJ Spooky” Miller, “The Book of Ice” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2.

Another AGT-approved example of stage wizardry takes full advantage of the recently enhanced Pollak Theatre on Thursday, October 11, when award winning “mystifier” Mike Super brings his “Magic and Illusion” tour to campus, with the patented blend of spectacular stage magic and all-ages comedy that saw him achieve top honors on NBC-TV’s “Phenomenon.”

Theater is an integral part of the Performing Arts schedule in the new season, beginning with a Friday, October 5 performance of Douglas Taurel’s one-man play “An American Soldier,” an Amnesty International Award winning work that was performed at The Kennedy Center during inauguration weekend at the Library of Congress on Veterans day of 2017. The Pollak is the place for more music, drama and dance this season, with the return of the High Def broadcasts from New York’s Metropolitan Opera (featuring such stars as Anna Netrebko, and the US premiere of the Hitchcock adaptation “Marnie”); the National Theatre of London (including Ian McKellen’s “King Lear”), and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. The talents of Monmouth’s own student performers are on display in productions of “The Drowsy Chaperone” (November 9-18), “Steel Magnolias” (March 6-14, 2019) and Green Day’s “American Idiot” (April 12-15, 2019), as well as seasonal concerts of dance, choral and chamber music.

Young theatergoers can connect with favorite characters from Pete the Cat to The Magic Schoolbus — while classic rock and jazz music fans of all generations can rekindle their romance with classic albums from Bruce, Bowie and The Beatles to Coltrane and The Clash, during a series that begins on September 18 with a voyage to Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

The tributes to the game-changing artists of classic rock continue on Saturday, October 13, when the Pollak hosts the area debut of “Kiss the Sky.” Billed as The World’s Greatest Jimi Hendrix Tribute, the critically acclaimed touring show stars virtuoso guitarist Jimy Bleu and an in-demand band of session musicians, in a spot-on recreation of the signature sound and style that saw the southpaw from Seattle transform blues-infused rock for all time. As frontman of 1980s hitmakers XYZ and Great White, Terry Ilous staked his own claim to arena-rock stardom  — and on Friday, October 19, the vocalist joins with The Vagabonds to offer a unique acoustic take on the music of Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Christopher Cross and many more, with Latin rhythms and Flamenco flavor. The week of The Beatles Symposium brings a special treat for Shore area music fans on Thursday, November 8, when Grammy nominated singer-songwriter and Broadway “Beatlemania” veteran Glen Burtnik leads The Weeklings to campus with their one-of-a-kind perspective on the songs of Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison — both the instantly familiar favorites, and the often-overlooked obscurities cherished by true connoisseurs of Fab Four fandom.

A serial Grammy winner and a platinum-plated recording artist as one half of The Indigo Girls, Emily Saliers comes to the Pollak on Wednesday, October 17 in support of her debut solo album; and intimate “Evening with” that’s a co-presentation of The Grammy Museum. American music in all its transcendent (and unifying) glory takes center stage when the alt-folk, all-family band The Hunts makes a Monmouth debut on Friday, October 26, with a display of heavenly harmony (courtesy of twin vocalists Jessi and Jenni) and multi-instrumental mastery. A quintet of “charismatic, handsome, triple-threat Broadway stars” returns on Thursday, November 29, when The Doo Wop Project Holiday Show brings its supercharged streetcorner-harmony style to the intersection of contemporary pop hits and Christmas classics — and the ever-popular annual holiday concert by Father Alphonse Stephenson and the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea promises to make for a sure sell-out on Friday, December 7.

The musical roots continue to flourish into 2019, with a special concert version of “Lonesome Traveler” that brings the Off Broadway multi-media musical to town with special guest Peter Yarrow. The founding member of Peter, Paul and Mary returns to campus on Saturday, March 9 to help tell the story of Americana music, from Woody Guthrie to Dylan and beyond, including a special tribute to the late Canadian master Leonard Cohen. That uniquely American hybrid known as Rockabilly is celebrated by one of its latter-day legends, when Lee Rocker takes the Pollak stage on Saturday, April 13 with a set of hits by his 1980s band The Stray Cats, as well as tributes to his pioneer influences, stories from the road, and some trademark acrobatics with the upright double bass.

The art of the dance steps into the spotlight on Saturday, November 17 with an appearance by Amit Shah’s AATMA company and its worldwide sensation “Mystic India.” The colorfully costumed, stunningly visual celebration of Indian culture from ancient times to modern Bollywood is followed on April 6, 2019 by “Voyeur and Other Works,” a unique performance that brings choreographers Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer’s innovative “video partnering” fusion of human movement and projected image to a celebration of the paintings of Edward Hopper.

The Jersey Shore area’s emergence as a genuine “music city” in recent decades has inspired Monmouth University’s Performing Arts Series to showcase many of the leading music makers from our own big back yard — and on February 9, 2019, the electrified blues-rock of the Matt O’Ree Band spotlights the Monmouth County-based touring guitarist from Bon Jovi (a national championship blues player) in a sound that’s enhanced by the added vocals of O’Ree’s headline performer wife Eryn and sought-after singer Layonne Holmes. The Woods Theatre is the scene once more on March 30, when hosts Joe D’Urso and Joe Rapolla present another in a series of Songwriters by the Sea sessions that have brought the likes of Joe Grushecky, Marshall Crenshaw, and Willie Nile to an intimate songs-and-stories “round robin” setting.

Singer/songwriter, polyglot poet, translator and activist Daniel Kahn teams with the “Yiddish Punk Cabaret” combo The Painted Bird on November 13, for a set of “furious, tender, electrifying and revolutionary Alienation Klezmer” that promises his virally viewed version of Leonard Cohen’s cross-cultural touchstone “Hallelujah.” The projected image takes precedence on December 13, with a free screening of “On the Map,” a documentary on the breakthrough 1977 championship season of Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv. Israeli-American basketball hero Tal Brody joins director David Menkin for a live Q&A session following the 7:30 p.m. screening. Beginning on October 8 and continuing for a total of five free screening events through April 23, 2019, the theme “30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall” is explored through dramatic studies of Communism’s fall in Eastern Europe, and the recent onset of neo-populist authoritarianism.

For a full listing of Monmouth University Center for the Arts events look for the 2018-2019 Season Brochure appearing soon or visit our website at www.monmouth.edu/MCA. Tickets to all events in the 2018-2019 events are on sale now, with reservations available by calling the Monmouth University Box Office at 732-263-6889.

Select Monmouth University Center For the Arts events at the Pollak Theatre:

CATAPULT • September 28, 2018/ 8 p.m. (adults $40, $50; children $20, $25)

DJ Spooky’s THE BOOK OF ICE • October 2 2018/ 6 p.m. (FREE)

THE AMERICAN SOLDIER • October 5, 2018/ 8 p.m. ($30)

MIKE SUPER: Magic and Illusion • October 10, 2018/ 8 p.m. ($45, $60, $75 Gold Circle)

KISS THE SKY: Ultimate Hendrix Tribute • October 13, 2018/ 8 p.m ($25, $35, $50 Gold Circle)

TERRY ILOUS  and the Vagabonds • October 19, 2018/ 8 p.m. ($25, $35, $50 Gold Circle)

THE HUNTS • October 26, 2018/ 8 p.m. ($25, $35, $50 Gold Circle)

THE WEEKLINGS • November 8, 2018/ 8 p.m. ($25, $35)

DANIEL KAHN and THE PAINTED BIRD • November 13, 2018/ 8 p.m. ($25, $35)

MYSTIC INDIA • November 17, 2018/ 8 p.m ($39, $49, $60 Gold Circle)

DOO WOP PROJECT HOLIDAY • November 29, 2018/ 8 p.m. ($25, $35, $50 Gold Circle)

ON THE MAP screening feat. Tal Brody and David Menkin • December 13, 2018/ 7:30 p.m FATHER ALPHONSE STEPHENSON and the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea • December 7, 2018/ 8 p.m. ($49)

MATT O’REE BAND • February 9, 2019/ 8 p.m. ($25, $35)

LONESOME TRAVELER: THE CONCERT feat. Peter Yarrow • February 9, 2019/ 8 p.m. ($39, $49, $60 Gold Circle)

BRIDGMAN PACKER DANCE: VOYEUR and other works • April 6, 2019/ 7:30 p.m ($25, $35)

STRAY CAT LEE ROCKER • April 13, 2019/ 8 p.m. ($25, $35, $50 Gold Circle)

Select Monmouth University Center For the Arts events at the Lauren K. Woods Theatre:

Dustin B. Goltz in FRED ASTAIRE’S DANCING LESSONS: Queer Mentors and Monsters • March 27, 2019/ 6 p.m. (FREE)

SONGWRITERS BY THE SEA • March 30, 2019/ 8 p.m. ($30)


AHHerald relies on advertising to support our operations.
When you click an affiliate link we may earn a commission.

Avatar photo

Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...