February 9, 2022

LIVE FOLK MUSIC: The Murphy Beds duo perform at Christ Congregation Church on February 18. Eamon O’Leary and Jefferson Hamer are known for harmonies and instrumental arrangements on bouzouki, guitar, and mandolin. (Photo by Anna Colliton)

The Princeton Folk Music Society presents The Murphy Beds in an evening of traditional and original folk songs Friday, February 18 at 8 p.m., at Christ Congregational Church, 50 Walnut Lane.

Eamon O’Leary and Jefferson Hamer are known for close harmonies and instrumental arrangements on bouzouki, guitar, and mandolin. They began playing together at traditional music sessions in New York City. They share an interest in collecting, arranging, and performing songs from Irish, American, Scottish, and English traditions.

Whether performing songs of the Irish travelers, Arkansas spirituals, or their own compositions, the duo’s arrangements feature the same carefully wrought interplay of voices and strings. The Murphy Beds have toured extensively throughout Europe and North America, with performances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Alaska Folk Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, Doolin Folk Festival (Ireland), and Unamplifire Festival (London).  more

BACK ON STAGE: The Takács String Quartet, a frequent visitor to Princeton University Concerts, will open the 2022 Spring Season on Thursday, February 17, at Richardson Auditorium. (Photo by Amanda Tipton)

After 23 months, Princeton University Concerts (PUC) returns to the series’ trademark Concert Classics events, presented annually for 129 years, starting February 17 at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by the Takács String Quartet with Julien Labro on bandoneón, in Richardson Auditorium.

The eight-concert spring lineup features many of the artists whose concerts were canceled during the past two seasons due to the pandemic.

Following the Takacs String Quartet, the series continues Thursday, March 10 with tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Mitsuko Uchida. On Wednesday, March 16, violinist Benjamin Beilman and pianist Roman Rabinovich will perform. Uchida returns Thursday, March 24 to perform with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The series continues Thursday, March 31 with the Ébène String Quartet. Next on Thursday, April 7 is the Dover String Quartet, followed by the Tetzlaff String Quartet on April 21, and the sibling duo of cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason on April 27.

“After one of the only sustained Concert Classics Series breaks in PUC’s 129-year history, it is with a tremendous sense of excitement that we resume our programming,” said Marna Seltzer, series director. “I am thrilled that we can fulfill our commitment to artists whose concerts were canceled during the past two seasons — their appearance on our stage will now feel all the more special. More than half of these artists will be making their PUC debuts, including both young, rising stars and established legends. This is just the beginning of a new chapter in PUC’s history — a chapter shaped by all of the lessons that we have learned throughout the pandemic and a chapter focused on the integral role of the arts within our society.”  more

COMEDY AT KELSEY: Maria Keyser and Dan Keyser star in the upcoming production of “Popcorn Falls” at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor Township. The comedy runs on weekends, February 18 through February 27. (Photo courtesy of Maurer Productions OnStage)

Maurer Productions OnStage presents the comedy Popcorn Falls, weekends February 18-27 at Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College (MCCC), 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Written by playwright and actor James Hindman, Popcorn Falls is the story of a small town with a dried-up tourist attraction. Unless the mayor can scrape up some money, the town will be forced into bankruptcy and turned into a sewage treatment plant. One small loophole can unearth a town-saving grant, but the money is tied into producing a play in a town with no actors and no theater.

Popcorn Falls premiered at Theatre Nova in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2017, and opened off-Broadway at the Davenport Theatre in New York City in 2018. Dan Keyser and Maria Keyser play the entire population of Popcorn Falls in this comic race to save the town.

Shows are Friday and Saturday, February 18, 19, 25, and 26 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are$18-$20. Visit KelseyTheatre.org or call (609) 570-3333.

JAZZ AND TAP: Ayodele Casel brings her tap dance talents to a performance by the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra at McCarter Theatre.

Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) comes to McCarter Theatre Saturday, February 19 at 8 p.m., joined by solo tap dance artist Ayodele Casel.

The concert celebrates pianist O’Farrill’s commitment “to a meld of Caribbean musical culture and homegrown jazz, a blend which has become not only his band’s signature, but a blend we don’t get to hear that often,” wrote Bill Lockwood, McCarter’s special programming director, on the McCarter website. “The ALJO carries on the legacy of ambitious and sophisticated Latin jazz immortalized by Arturo’s legendary father Chico, who was a pioneer in fusing Cuban rhythms with jazz techniques.”

Casel is a frequent collaborator with O’Farrill. “Mentored by the legendary Gregory Hines, she has become a one-woman ambassador
representing the history of tap, and especially its forgotten female interpreters who came before her,” wrote Lockwood.

A post-show talk with Casel will follow the performance. For tickets and more information, visit Mccarter.org.

Lily Arbisser
(Photo by Arielle Doneson)

On March 13, at 4 p.m., Princeton Pro Musica (PPM) honors the life and legacy of Anne Frank with Annelies, James Whitbourn’s setting of passages from Anne’s diary for chorus, soprano, and orchestra. PPM was set to perform this work exactly two years ago but was forced to cancel due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitbourn’s choral setting in Annelies offers a different interpretation of the diary by focusing solely on the central figure of Anne, portrayed by the soprano soloist, expressing in a series of vignettes her inner, spiritual life within the context of observations of the world outside. PPM will present the rarely-performed and dramatic version with full orchestra.

“Annelies is a piece of musical portraiture, in which the essence of a young girl is portrayed in the fragile medium of the human breath,” said Whitbourn. “The particular portrait will be constructed in the minds of all who hear those sounds on this day and in this place. Through it, the wisdom and perception of Anne Frank is there to teach us all.”  more

Trineice Robinson

Jazz at Princeton University, led by saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, presents All or Nothing, a concert celebrating the album of the same name by faculty member Trineice Robinson on Saturday, February 12 at 8 p.m., at Richardson Auditorium.

The performance features Princeton’s Jazz Vocal Collective under Robinson’s direction, along with vocalist Robinson and special guests, saxophonist Don Braden, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Mimi Jones, and drummer Vince Ector. 

Student vocalists will perform with quintet members in five musical selections. A collaborative presentation with the Jazz Vocal Collective, Princeton University jazz horns, and the quintet will also be featured.   

The program includes “The Song Is You” with vocalist Sara Miller and Mimi Jones, Wave with vocalist Isabella Checha and Vince Ector, “Darn That Dream” with vocalist Sirfraz Shah and Cyrus Chestnut, “Venus” with vocalist Jimmy Waltman and Don Braden, and “It’s Magic” with vocalists Sara Miller and bassist Aaron Skepasts. The quintet, Jazz Vocal Collective, and horns will perform “What’s Going On,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” “Footprints,” “Come Sunday,” “If This Is Love,” “I Mean You,” “La Costa,” and “Let It Shine.” more

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) has announced the new April ARTS Month, a month-long celebration of art, culture, and the Princeton community held with support from Princeton University. The Arts Council of Princeton conceptualized April ARTS as an opportunity to embrace the creativity of the talented local community.

Decentralized events — including the town’s inaugural PorchFest, a concert model successfully held for years in Asbury Park and most recently Lambertville in 2020 — afford Princeton the joy of celebrating that talent in a format that provides more safety and flexibility than Communiversity, the ACP’s springtime arts festival that halted in 2020 as pandemic concerns continued.

April ARTS kicks off on Sunday, April 1 with the launch of the Princeton Piano Project. Local artists and community groups including Arts Exchange students from HomeFront, Princeton Young Achievers, and art students from the Hun School of Princeton will transform 10 upright pianos to be placed around Princeton for neighbors and visitors to play, listen, and enjoy as part of a public art installation. Performances will be scheduled on select weekends throughout the month — a schedule will be available on artscouncilofprinceton.org.  more

This painting by Carol Sanzalone is part of “Visual Adventures,” an exhibit also featuring works by Alla Podolsky, Gail Bracegirdle, and Joseph DeFay. It will be on view February 10 through March 6 at Artists’ Gallery, 18 Bridge Street, Lambertville. A Meet the Artists reception is scheduled for Sunday, February 13 from 3 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit lambertvillearts.com.

SUMMER ART CAMPS: The Center for Contemporary Arts in Bedminster is offering 10 weekly in-person camps this summer for children ages 5-15. All sessions are led by professional and creative teaching artists.

Registration is underway for Summer Art Camps at The Center for Contemporary Art. Ten weekly in-person Summer Art Camps, from June 20 through August 26, are offered for children ages 5-15. The Center’s Summer Art Camps are designed to stimulate creative expression through projects and fun activities that change each week. All sessions are led by professional and creative teaching artists. Small classes, social distancing, daily sanitizing, and other protocols are in place and enforced to keep children safe.

Each week children ages 5-8 and 9-11 will spend the morning exploring drawing, painting, collage, and other mixed media projects, and pottery in the ceramics studio. In the afternoon, campers ages 9-11 will explore a wide range of subjects in depth such as drawing, painting, pottery, upcycled art, cartooning, manga/anime, and more. more

“ALTON”: This oil painting by Annika Crawford of George School in Newtown, Pa., was named Best in Show at the Ninth Annual Phillips’ Mill Youth Art Exhibition. This year’s online-only show runs through February 27 at phillipsmill.org/art/youth-art-exhibition.

The Ninth Annual Phillips’ Mill Youth Art Exhibition run through February 27. This year’s online-only show features over 150 works by students from 23 area public and private high schools — a record number.

Award-winning filmmaker and painter Bill Jersey, of Lambertville, was this year’s awards juror. Judging took place in four categories: Painting, Works on Paper, Digital Art and Photography, and 3-Dimensional Works. A total of $2,400 in cash prizes was awarded, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and Phillips’ Mill community members.

This year’s Best in Show award went to Annika Crawford of George School. Her oil painting, titled Alton, was described by Jersey as “Exceptional. Extraordinary. Hard to believe a student has done this piece.” He added, “All the entrants deserve praise — and all the art teachers who have taught these kids should get applause.” more

February 2, 2022

By Stuart Mitchner

Documenting the birth of Ulysses in James Joyce (1959), Richard Ellman suggests that the day of publication “was becoming, in Joyce’s superstitious mind, talismanic.” If anything, there was more of the manic than talismanic in Joyce’s insistence that his 40th birthday, February 2, 1922, absolutely had to coincide with the birth of his creation. As the day approached, he fired off letters and telegrams and made frantic phone calls to Sylvia Beach, his publisher (formerly of Library Place in Princeton), and to Maurice Darantière, the printer, who was based some 300 kilometers from Paris in Dijon.

On February 1, Darantière said that the package would “surely arrive by noon of the next day.” Pressed by Joyce, who claimed to be in “a state of energetic prostration,” Miss Beach told the printer that this method “was too uncertain,” and so Darantière made heroic haste, personally bringing the precious package to the conductor on the Dijon-Paris express, who delivered it into the midwife’s hands early on the talismanic morning, whereupon she rushed the newborn by cab to its proud parent.

The Man in the Macintosh

Several decades after Joyce’s death on January 13, 1941, I spent the better part of a rainy summer afternoon in Zurich searching for his grave. Ellman’s transformative biography had only just been published and nobody knew where he was buried. One person said, “You mean the English writer?” Finally, a girl in a bookshop told me to take the tram to Fluntern Kirche and look for the zoo. I found the graveyard but couldn’t find the grave. I was drenched and about to give up when a man in a macintosh appeared out of the dense mist. Complaining in heavily accented English about the “foul weather,” he showed me the way to number 1449 and vanished, leaving me to stare at a flat black tombstone, engraved James Joyce, 1882-1941. That was it. No flowers (they’d have been drowned), no sign of wife Nora and son Giorgio, who in time would be buried nearby. For now, the father of Ulysses was on his own.  more

BIGGER AND BETTER: The creative team behind the newly conceived Princeton Festival includes, from left, Music Director Rossen Milanov, Executive Director Marc Uys, and Festival Director Gregory J. Geehern. (Princeton Symphony Orchestra staff photo)

By Anne Levin

Like most cultural organizations, the Princeton Festival (TPF) has been less visible than usual during the pandemic. But recently announced plans for the 2022 version of the annual event promise a more expansive festival than ever, at a venue that locals know well.

From June 10-25, TPF will bring opera, chamber music, jazz, baroque music, and more to the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden. A large tent — with a gable nearly 30 feet tall, a large stage, and room for 650 audience members — will be built in a section of Morven’s parking lot. The multi-purpose structure is flexible enough for different seating configurations, depending on the event. Jazz and cabaret will be performed in a club setting, with tables and chairs around a smaller, more central stage.

“Nothing is fixed,” said Marc Uys, executive director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO), with which the Princeton Festival merged last August. Musicians from the PSO will perform in two Pops concerts and in the festival’s operas, Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg, Mozart’s The Impresario, and Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring.

“The idea is not just for the tent, but to take advantage of the grounds,” Uys said. “People can go to pre-concert lectures in the Stockton Education Center, and they can picnic on the lawns. There are plans for various catered events and food trucks, and family-oriented activities. We want to encourage people to come and spend time.” more

“SCENERY”: Laurie Hardy of Hamilton and Thom Carroll of Raritan play a spatting married couple in the production of  “Scenery” at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor Township. The fast-paced comedy runs weekends from February 4-13. (Photo courtesy of Maurer Productions OnStage) 

Maurer Productions OnStage will stage the backstage comedy Scenery, weekends February 4-13 at Kelsey Theatre, on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College (MCCC), 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Ed Dixon’s comedy about two famous New York veteran actors explores the definitions of art, marriage and partnership. Marion and Richard Crain, who have been married for 20 years and are facing the dramatic decline of their careers, prepare for opening night at the Belasco Theater. The play offers a glimpse behind the curtain as the pair spar and banter before, during and after the show, revealing a behind-the-scenes backstage drama all of its own.

Tickets are $18-$20. Shows are February 4, 5, 11, and 12 at 8 p.m.; and February 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. Performances are live and streamed online. Visit KelseyTheatre.org or call (609) 570-3333 for tickets.

HIS LIFE AND WORK: Israeli-born violinist Itzhak Perlman will perform, and talk about his life and career, at a special evening at New Brunswick’s State Theatre New Jersey.

New Brunswick’s State Theatre New Jersey presents “An Evening with Itzhak Perlman” on Saturday, February 5, at 8 p.m. Joined by pianist Rohan De Silva, the famed violinist shares the story of his life and career through anecdotes, musical pieces, and personal photos from his archives.  

Perlman is beloved for his charm as well as his talent and joy of music-making and communicating with audiences. Born in Israel in 1945, he completed his initial training at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. An early recipient of an America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship, he was propelled to national recognition on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. The 60th anniversary of this milestone was celebrated with a return to the Ed Sullivan Theater on November 2, 2018, in a special guest appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Following Perlman’s studies at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay, he won the Leventritt Competition in 1964, which led to a worldwide career and performances with every major orchestra and at concert halls around the globe.  more

“SPIDER WOMAN EMBRACE”: This work by Koyoltzintli (formerly Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira) is part of “Native America: In Translation,” on view February 5 through April 24 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art on Hulfish gallery. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, February 5 from 1 to 4 p.m.

A new exhibition debuting February 5 gathers work by Indigenous artists who consider the complex histories of colonialism, identity, and heritage. The exhibition spans a diverse array of intergenerational practitioners, offering new perspectives by artists who reimagine what it means to be a citizen in North America today.

“Native America: In Translation” features works by Rebecca Belmore, Jacqueline Cleveland, Martine Gutierrez, Duane Linklater, Guadalupe Maravilla, Kimowan Metchewais, Alan Michelson, Koyoltzintli, and Marianne Nicolson. It will be on view at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art on Hulfish gallery, located in downtown Princeton, through April 24.

“Native America: In Translation” is curated by Wendy Red Star, a Portland, Oregon–based artist raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation. The exhibition is organized by Aperture Foundation, New York, and extends Red Star’s work as guest editor of the fall 2020 issue of Aperture magazine.

“The Museum’s new photo-focused gallery space, Art on Hulfish, is an ideal venue in which to examine how this cohort of both leading and emerging artists traces the complexities of the past and embraces their future,” said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, director. more

“THE LOVE SHOW”: This work by Mia Yashin is featured in Small World Coffee’s community art exhibition, on view through March 1. The exhibition is back at the 14 Witherspoon Street location after a five-year hiatus.

Small World Coffee at 14 Witherspoon Street is hosting “The Love Show” community art exhibition through March 1.

After a call for entries in the fall, Small World received well over 100 applications, and the show features 39 local artists. A closing reception will be held on Friday, February 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with the artists, music, and a  sing-along to “All You Need Is Love.”

This year, Small World  has decided to combine “The Love Show” with a celebration and call to action around random acts of kindness.  February 17 is national Random Acts of Kindness Day, and Small World will be engaging the community with a bulletin board to share and inspire ways to bring kindness into our lives every single day.

For more information, visit smallworlscoffee.com.

ART AT GOURGAUD: The Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury is hosting a donated art show, both on site and online, in February as a fundraiser for the Cranbury Arts Council. The show will feature works from several different artists, all of whom have exhibited at the gallery before. (Painting by LInda Gilbert.)

From February 1-25, the Gourgaud Gallery, located in Town Hall, 23A North Main Street, Cranbury, will host a donated art show as a fundraiser for the Cranbury Arts Council. The exhibit can be viewed at the gallery or online at cranburyartscouncil.org, and also on the Gourgaud Gallery and Cranbury Arts Council Facebook pages.

The show will feature donations of artwork from several different artists including Louise Palagyi, Linda Gilbert, Lynn Cheng Varga, Deborah Rosen, and Donna Rittner, among other artists. All the artists have exhibited at the Gourgaud Gallery before. The artwork will include different mediums; sizes; framed, unframed, and matted work; all priced from $25-$100. 

The nonprofit Cranbury Arts Council supports the arts in the community, including classes, camp, and excellence in the arts awards. All proceeds will go to the Cranbury Arts Council. 

The Gourgaud Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (hours subject to change).

January 26, 2022

By Stuart Mitchner

They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
All men have aimed at, found and lost;
Black out; Heaven blazing into the head …

—W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)

Imagine writing a novel about the survivors of a plague that kills 99.9 percent of the world’s population. Let’s say things are going well, the end’s almost in sight when a real-life pandemic begins producing an alarmingly high death toll. As the numbers climb into the millions, you’re distracted by the ongoing event, the way it may conflict with or affect your concept, not to mention your own well-being, plus the pressure from a publisher looking to rush a sure bestseller into print.

Now imagine playing the starring role in a television series based on a novel about the survivors of a plague that kills 99.9 percent of the world’s population. You’re just beginning to get to know your character when the real-life pandemic of 2020 halts production, puts you in lockdown isolation for months, after which filming resumes in another, supposedly safer country, where you remain until production wraps in early 2021. And then, even as you’re doing pre-release interviews, new variants like Delta and Omicron are making you wonder if the world might be gravitating toward a virus no less unthinkable, and oh, here’s a new film, a silly but scary dystopian satire called Don’t Look Up coming along just in time to put a funhouse focus on life on earth as the environmental doomsday clock keeps moving toward high noon.

The novelist Emily St. John Mandel avoided the first what-if scenario by finishing her book Station Eleven in 2014. The actress Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) had to deal with, live through, and somehow successfully transcend the real-life challenges of the second scenario. more

“OUR TOWN”: Performances are underway for “Our Town.” Presented by Kelsey Theatre and Shakespeare 70, and directed by Jake Burbage and Frank Falisi, the play runs through January 30 at Kelsey Theatre. Above: the Stage Manager (Curt Foxworth, center) and the cast. On ladders are George (Jake Burbage, left) and Emily (Kate Augustin). (Photo courtesy of Jake Burbage)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

On January 22, 1938, Our Town premiered at McCarter Theatre. Thornton Wilder wrote to a friend that the performance, which was “sold out with standees,” was an “undoubted success.” An unimpressed Variety declared that the play would “probably go down as the season’s most extravagant waste of fine talent” — an ironic assessment since Our Town won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama later that year.

Eighty-four years later (almost to the day), Our Town is being presented by Shakespeare 70 at Kelsey Theatre. Directed by Jake Burbage and Frank Falisi, this smooth, deft production honors Wilder’s intentions, while subtly giving additional focus and insight to a central character.

In terms of the visual aesthetic, this Our Town generally does not stray from what audiences might expect after seeing photos of past productions. In keeping with Wilder’s request for “no scenery,” Judi Parrish (credited with “props”) furnishes the stage with simple wooden chairs, on which cast members gradually sit before the performance begins.

Although the play is set at the beginning of the 20th century, costume designer Brittany Rivera generally eschews period costumes, letting most of the cast wear casual contemporary outfits. Among the notable exceptions is the good-naturedly pedantic Professor Willard (an exuberant Ray Fallon), whose bright yellow suit matches the character’s personality.

As if to blur the lines between stage and audience, the house lights are not dimmed until the performance has been underway for several minutes. The Stage Manager (Curt Foxworth) delivers the customary pre-performance reminders about emergency exits and silencing electronic devices, then seamlessly goes on-script to give a detailed introduction of the play’s setting. more

RISING STAR: Violinist Alexi Kenney is the soloist at the February 5 and 6 concerts by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in Richardson Auditorium. (Photo by Grittani Creative LTD)

Kenneth Bean, the (PSO) Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s recently appointed Georg and Joyce Albers-Schonberg Assistant Conductor, makes his debut on the podium at performances on Saturday, February 5 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 6 at 4 p.m. Violinist Alexi Kenney also makes his PSO debut with his interpretation of Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto.

Also on the program are Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade in A Minor, Op. 33 and Antonín Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World. Both concerts are in Richardson Auditorium, on the campus of Princeton University. All attendees are required to wear masks at all times while inside the building, be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and must have received boosters, if eligible. more

75th ANNIVERSARY TOUR: London’s Royal Philharmonic, led by conductor Vasily Petrenko, comes to the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick on Sunday, January 30 at 3 p.m.

State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick presents London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), led by conductor Vasily Petrenko with cello soloist Kian Soltani, on Sunday, January 30, at 3 p.m. The program includes Britten’s Peter Grimes: Four Sea Interludes; Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35 with cello soloist Kian Soltani; and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances.

Celebrating its 75th year, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra typically performs approximately 200 concerts each to a worldwide audience of more than 500,000 people, reaching the most diverse audience of any British symphony orchestra.     more

“OUR TOWN”: Jim Bloss of Marlton as Doc Gibbs and Monique Beasley of Trenton as Mrs. Gibbs rehearse for the production of “Our Town” at the Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College. The Thornton Wilder classic runs through January 30. (Photo courtesy of Kelsey Theatre)

Shakespeare ’70 is performing Our Town through January 30, at the Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College (MCCC).

Thornton Wilder’s classic drama explores the universal themes of life, death, and everything in between. The play, which takes place in a small New England town at the turn of the 20th century, details the lives of two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs, and asks the question: “Do human beings realize life while they live it? Is there hope for something more?” more

DYNAMIC DUO: State Theatre New Jersey hosts Air Supply’s Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock on February 4. (Photo by Achilles Prinos)

The famed duo Air Supply performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick on Friday, February 4 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$85.

Graham Russell’s lyrics combined with Russell Hitchcock’s voice, and hits including, “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” “Goodbye,” “Lost in Love,” “It’s Never Too Late,” “The One That You Love,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “All Out of Love,” have made Air Supply famous in the world of soft rock and pop music.

The two men met on May 12, 1975, the first day of rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar in Sydney, Australia. They became instant friends and soon began playing late night gigs at pizza parlors, coffee bars, and night clubs with just one guitar and two voices. They quickly gained a reputation for their harmonies and original songs. They made a demo on a cassette of two songs, “Love and Other Bruises” and “If You Knew Me” and took it to every record company in Sydney. Everyone turned it down except CBS Records.

In 2013, the duo was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association’s Hall of Fame. Air Supply celebrated their 45th anniversary in 2020.

Visit STNJ.org for ticket information. State Theatre New Jersey is at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick.

“POSING BEAUTY IN AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE”: A touring exhibition, opening January 29 at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, challenges contemporary understandings of beauty by framing notions of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular culture, and politics.

The New Jersey State Museum in Trenton will present a touring exhibition, “Posing Beauty in African American Culture,” opening January 29. The exhibition explores the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and contemporary contexts. Throughout the Western history of art and image-making, the relationship between beauty and art has become increasingly complex within contemporary art and popular culture. 

Presented in the State Museum’s main first floor gallery through May 22, the exhibition was organized by the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, and curated by Deborah Willis, Ph.D., university professor and chair of the department.

“Posing Beauty in African American Culture” challenges contemporary understandings of beauty by framing notions of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular culture, and politics.  more

“SPRING LAKE”: Submissions are due by April 22 for the Friends of the Abbott Marshlands’ “Voices of the Marsh” 10th juried photography exhibit, which will be on view June 5 through September 18 at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton. (Photo by Ann E. Darlington)

The nonprofit Friends for the Abbott Marshlands has announced a call for art for “Voices for the Marsh,” its 2022 biennial, 10th juried photography exhibit. It is juried by Al Horner of New Jersey Pinelands photographic fame, and Pat Coleman, naturalist and president of the Friends.

Submissions are due by Earth Day, April 22, with the exhibition running June 5 through September 18. The venue is Tulpehaking Nature Center’s galleries at 157 Westcott Avenue, Hamilton. The show provides an opportunity for both fine art photographers and local hobbyists to capture the cultural and ecological richness of the marshlands and participate in the Friends’ efforts to build awareness and support for the protection and stewardship of the marshlands. A prospectus is available at abbottmarshlands.org. more