Michael Feinstein, James Monroe Iglehart, Savion Glover, Alvin Ailey and More Set for NJPAC@20: FRIENDS IN CONCERT!
Symphonic music, tap, R&B, modern dance, American Song and all that jazz, performed by an array of artists beloved by audiences around the world, will be experienced for one night only in "NJPAC@20: Friends in Concert!" on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). This special occasion at 7 p.m. in Prudential Hall celebrates the Arts Center's 20th anniversary season (2017-18).
Beginning Friday, Aug. 11, tickets ($50) may be purchased through njpac.org, by phone at 1-(888)-GO-NJPAC (466-5722) or at the NJPAC Box Office, One Center Street in downtown Newark.
"NJPAC@20: Friends in Concert!" is the centerpiece of the annual Spotlight Gala, presented by the Women's Association of NJPAC as the Arts Center's single largest fundraiser. A roster of extraordinary musicians and dancers was selected from among the Arts Center's many friends who have appeared with acclaim on its stages over the past two decades:
- Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. NJPAC's longtime Resident Dance Company is under the artistic direction of Robert Battle. Founded by Alvin Ailey in 1958, AAADT celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage. The company has performed for 20 seasons at NJPAC. Judith Jamison, the company's Artistic Director Emerita, is a Director Emerita of NJPAC's Board of Directors.
- Paquito D'Rivera. The winner of 14 Grammy Awards, Paquito D'Rivera is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. A clarinetist and saxophonist, he has recorded more than 30 solo albums and is the recipient of the NEA Jazz Masters Award and the National Medal of the Arts, as well as the Living Jazz Legend from the Kennedy Center. D'Rivera has performed on NJPAC's mainstage and has participated in NJPAC's arts education programs.
- Michael Feinstein. The host of public television's "American Songbook at NJPAC" has built a dazzling career over the last three decades, bringing the music of the Great American Songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to his Emmy-nominated PBS specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe - his work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.
- Lisa Fischer. The Grammy-winning, longtime vocalist with The Rolling Stones, called "enriching," "exciting" and "transcendent" by The Minneapolis Star Tribune, showcased her virtuosity in the 2013 documentary "Twenty Feet from Stardom." On tour with her band Grand Baton, "she brought down the house in the single best show I've seen in the many years I've visited Birdland," raved a writer for The New York Times. Fischer recently performed as part of a tribute to Sarah Vaughan and the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, both at NJPAC.
- Savion Glover. A Tony-winning choreographer and legendary tap dancer, Savion Glover began his Broadway stage career as "The Tap Dance Kid" and most recently created the dances for "Shuffle Along." A Newark native, he has enjoyed starring roles in "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk," "Black and Blue" and "Jelly's Last Jam," among many other shows. He is NJPAC's Dance Advisor and member of the Board of Directors.
- James Monroe Iglehart. Currently on Broadway in "Hamilton" (as Thomas Jefferson and Marquis De Lafayette), James Monroe Iglehart is best known for his show-stopping portrayal of Genie in Disney's hit Broadway musical "Aladdin," for which he won the Tony and Drama Desk awards. He originated the role of Bobby Dupree in Broadway's "Memphis" and has been seen in "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "Gotham" and "The Good Wife." Iglehart has performed both on NJPAC's mainstage and at benefit events for the Arts Center.
- India. India is a Puerto Rican singer of salsa and house music. "The Princess of Salsa" began her career in the freestyle genre when her talent sparked the interest of Latin musician Eddie Palmieri, who produced her first salsa album. She has been nominated for both Grammy and Latin Grammy awards and won a Latin Grammy for Best Salsa Album. India has appeared in the past at NJPAC Galas.
- Christian McBride. A five-time Grammy winner, bassist and composer Christian McBride is Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival and NJPAC's Jazz Advisor. He has logged more than 300 dates as a sideman and released albums as a leader since 1995. Sting, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny and Roy Haynes are just some of the many jazz superstars he has worked with on stage and in the studio.
- The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Led by Music Director Xian Zhang, the NJSO embodies vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the orchestra's superb musicians. The NJSO, which is the Arts Center's Resident Orchestra, was a highlight of NJPAC's opening night festivities in 1997.
In another first, a new Founders Award will be presented as part of the performance ceremonies. The inaugural recipient is Don Katz, Founder and CEO of Audible and founder of Newark Venture Partners. The award is conferred on an individual or institution whose accomplishments reflect NJPAC's goals and mission.
Founded in 1995 and based in Newark since 2007, Audible is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment. Prior to founding Audible, Katz was an award-winning journalist and author for 20 years. Among his works are "The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears" (1987), "Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America" (1992), and "Just Do It: The Nike Spirit in the Corporate World" (1994).
"Remarkable people who change the world are invariably about the work and not the acclaim, and Don Katz is no exception," said NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber.
"NJPAC, Audible and Newark are each on an exciting, upward trajectory. Don and Audible are key drivers of Newark's renaissance as a major employer and business leader. Audible works with more actors than anyplace east of Los Angeles, and operates community outreach and internship programs for Newark high schoolers and college students that impact the lives of a growing number of Newark-born scholars each year."
"The response of all these artists and friends to join in celebrating the Arts Center's 20th anniversary season has been nothing short of amazing," said David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President and Executive Producer. "Some were even part of our opening night gala back in 1997 or our inaugural season, such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Savion Glover, Christian McBride, and the NJSO. We're proud and excited to welcome them back."
Also appearing in the program will be students of NJPAC Arts Education's music and theater departments, "giving the audience a glimpse of young talents who may someday return to our stages as professional artists," Rodriguez added.
The Women's Association of NJPAC's 22nd annual Spotlight Gala on Sept. 23 at NJPAC begins at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by the performance and award ceremony, a gourmet dinner, dancing and a dessert extravaganza. Mary Kay and John R. Strangfeld serve as this year's Gala Co-Chairs. Mary Kay Strangfeld is Vice President of the Women's Association of NJPC and John R. Strangfeld is NJPAC Board Chair and Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial.
For full Gala tickets and sponsorship information, contact Sarah Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (973) 297-5806.
Since its inception in 1994, the Women's Association of NJPAC has raised more than $49 million in support of general operations and arts education programs at NJPAC. The Gala is the Arts Center's largest annual benefit. The WA is a self-supporting, volunteer organization composed of more than 2,000 diverse members from across New Jersey and The New York metro area who are actively engaged in regional and national business endeavors, politics, and cultural and philanthropic causes. As NJPAC ambassadors, WA members seek to increase awareness and educate the public about NJPAC, and provide financial support to programs and educational activities through its annual Spring Luncheon and Auction, Spotlight Gala in the fall, and strategic programming.
The Founders Award - named in honor of Raymond and Patricia Chambers, Arthur and Patricia Ryan, and P. Roy and Diana Vagelos, champions of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since its earliest days - annually honors an individual or institution whose achievements and service advance NJPAC's most treasured goals: revitalizing our home city of Newark and improving the lives of its citizens; sustaining New Jersey's thriving cultural community with diverse programming that engages audiences from all across the state; and providing an education, in the arts and in citizenship, to children in Greater Newark and beyond. Those recognized with this, NJPAC's highest honor, display a profound generosity of spirit, a thoughtful approach to philanthropy, and, of course, a love of the arts.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, N.J., is America's most diverse performing arts center, and the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey - where Great Performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted nearly 10 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.