The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) celebrates all things Halloween, holiday, and fun this Fall and Winter. The next few months of programming are packed with new community events, world premieres of immersive artistic experiences, the return of some of SOPAC’s favorite bands and series, and artists’ SOPAC debuts!
“Every show at SOPAC this Fall and Winter is filled with great promise,” lauds SOPAC Executive Director Stephen Beaudoin. “The promise of experiencing emotions and connections; the promise of hearing emotionally right sounds and stories; the promise of live music, Comedy, Kids + Family shows, and unique artistic experiences that can only happen in our intimate and personal venue in beautiful downtown South Orange.”
SOPAC premieres its What Matters Now? series on Wednesday, October 25 at 7:30PM in the Loft. At this Community Townhall with the South Orange and Maplewood Police Chiefs Ernesto Morillo and Albert F. Sally, and moderated by attorney and SOPAC Board Member James Davis, III, audience members will be encouraged to ask questions about community policing in SOMA and in New Jersey.
The next weekend in October, SOPAC embraces all things Halloween with its Haunted SOPAC on Saturday, October 28. The day begins with the world premiere of Spooky SOPAC Tours, developed by Creative Community Brain Trust Member Adam Rei Siegel. These immersive guided walking tours of the SOPAC grounds will take visitors on a journey through New Jersey folklore and mythology including encounters with the Jersey Devil and more! Visitors can keep the Halloween spirit going into the night with The Ordinary Kids’ Rocky Horror Picture Show LIVE Movie Experience at 8PM on SOPAC’s Mainstage!
“Take a chance on an artist you’ve never heard of or an experience that seems foreign,” urges Beaudoin. “Step away from your laptop or phone to be washed into a new universe of sounds and emotions. Give yourself a night off to connect with yourself—and with friends old and new this Fall.”
Guitarist and composer Kaki King celebrates her two-decade long career with her SOPAC debut on Saturday, October 7 at 8PM. Called “a genre unto herself” (Rolling Stone), King is considered one of the world’s greatest living guitarists for her technical mastery and her constant quest to push the boundaries of the instrument.
Part of SOPAC’s New Voices, New Visions series, Tap Dance phenom Michela Lerman invites audiences to experience her groundbreaking fusion of Jazz music and hoofing in her show Love Movement on Saturday, November 11 at 8PM. This “hurricane of rhythm” (Huffington Post) has had the honor of working with Jazz masters including Winton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Jon Batiste, and Steve McQueen to name just a few.
SOPAC is celebrating renowned powerhouse artists making their South Orange debuts including Broadway belter and “the best of all” Elphabas (The New York Times) Jessica Vosk on Friday, October 27 at 8PM; John Oates—one half of the renowned Rock duo Hall and Oates—on Friday, November 3 at 8PM; and Honorary Tony Award-winning Gospel choir Broadway Inspirational Voices on Thursday, December 21 at 8PM.
The Fall and Winter seasons round out with the return of SOPAC classics including the beloved Last Waltz Celebration on Friday, November 17 at 8PM; the annual Giants of Jazz celebration (this year honoring pianist Kenny Barron) on Saturday, November 25 at 8PM; Nefesh Mountain on Friday, December 15 at 8PM and more!
There is something for everyone at SOPAC! So, bring your friends and family together for an evening you won’t forget!
Explore SOPAC’s Fall & Winter Performances
Damn The Torpedoes
Tom Petty Concert Experience
FRI, OCT 6 at 8PM
Join Damn The Torpedoes as the band celebrates the life and death of Rock legend Tom Petty at SOPAC! Led by guitarist Rich Kubicz, Damn The Torpedoes honors Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers by presenting the band’s signature riffs and harmonies while adding their own fresh and often spontaneous twists to the music.
An Evening with Kaki King
SAT, OCT 7 at 8PM
With a star-studded, two-decade-long career, Kaki King continues to live at the forefront of guitarists and performance makers. Rolling Stone Magazine has called her “a genre unto herself,” and The New York Times praised her, saying she makes music as “ornate as a healing crystal.” Don’t miss her at SOPAC, as she celebrates and reflects on her two-decade-long career!
The Music of The Beatles & More!
FRI, OCT 13 at 8PM
The Weeklings are a unique celebration of the music, inspiration, and legacy of The Beatles. While performing and recording explosive renditions of The Beatles’ discography and Top 40 classics, The Weeklings often add new, churning rhythms and the occasional “howling harmonica” (NJ Arts). Don’t miss your chance to experience these uniquely electrifying renditions of The Beatles’ classics and more at SOPAC!
John Pizzarelli Trio
Stage & Screen
SAT, OCT 14 at 8PM
Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli has been hailed by the Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing Jazz.” You don’t want to miss him as he brings his latest album Stage & Screen, featuring repertoire spanning nine decades of American theatre and film music, to SOPAC!
A Night of Comedy with Drew Lynch
SUN, OCT 15 at 7:30PM
Drew Lynch became a household name following his Golden Buzzer performance on Season 10 of America’s Got Talent (NBC). Now, with millions of followers on social media and his special And These Are Jokes, Lynch loves sharing his unique take on everything from pop culture to news headlines to the life of a traveling comic. Don’t miss him on the SOPAC Mainstage!
Ladies of Laughter
Funny & Fabulous Tour
THU, OCT 19 at 7:30PM
Don’t miss the second night of all-female comedy at SOPAC! This night of hilarity will feature 2014 Ladies of Laughter Professional winner Alycia Cooper, 2004 Ladies of Laughter Professional winner Jane Condon, and Showtime’s 2008 ALMA-nominated Sara Contreras. Get ready to laugh the night away!
Soultown to Motown
Featuring The Sensational Soul Cruisers
FRI, OCT 20 at 8PM
Under the tutelage of the legendary Jersey Shore saxophonist Screamin’ Steve Barlotta, The Sensational Soul Cruisers bring you their Soultown to Motown show! The show touches on the crème de la crème of this vast catalogue from the Doo-Wop sounds of the Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes for You” to tunes that will make you jump up and dance, including “Ladies Night” by Kool and the Gang. Don’t miss chance to throw it back to Motown at SOPAC!
The Machine Performs Pink Floyd
Dark Side 50
SAT, OCT 21 at 8PM
Join The Machine as they return to SOPAC to perform Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon album in its entirety, complete with special guests Jon Thompson on sax and Abby Ahmad on vocals.
Blues, Roots & BBQ in the Loft
David Keyes & Blues People
With Celebrity Chef Jesse Jones
SUN, OCT 22 at 7PM
Bring your friends and family together in The Loft at SOPAC for an intimate evening of world-class Blues and Roots music. With the doors opening an hour before showtime for a BBQ dinner in The Loft, each performance in this series will take audiences on a journey through the evolution of Blues music. The first evening in this brand new series features the “King of the Keys” and three-time Blues Music Award nominee David Keyes, and North Jersey’s 2023 International Blues Challenge winner Blues People.
What Matters Now?
Community Townhall with the Chiefs
WED, OCT 25 at 7:30PM
SOPAC is proud to sponsor this townhall discussion with the SOMA Police Chiefs and to give the community the opportunity to learn about and engage with their leaders of law enforcement. Led by moderator and attorney, James H. Davis III, this will be a robust discussion about how the South Orange Police Chief Morillo and Maplewood Police Chief Sally view modern community policing in SOMA and New Jersey. Following the moderated discussion, the audience and community members can engage in their own Q&A session with chiefs.
An Evening with Jessica Vosk
FRI, OCT 27 at 8PM
The New York Times praises Jessica Vosk as “the best of all” Elphabas from Wicked. Don’t miss your chance to hear this Broadway mega-star’s solo show on SOPAC’s mainstage! Get your tickets today!
Spooky SOPAC Tours
SAT, OCT 28 at 2PM, 3PM & 4PM
Get ready for Halloween with this immersive haunted walking tour inside and outdoors on the SOPAC campus, featuring live performances from costumed characters right out of Jersey folklore and mythology (the Jersey Devil anyone?)
On Sale Soon
The Rocky Horror Picture Show LIVE Movie Experience
SAT, OCT 28 at 8PM
Get your crew together to Time Warp the night away with The Ordinary Kids as they bring you The Rocky Horror Picture Show LIVE Movie Experience!
On Sale Soon
An Evening of Stories & Songs
FRI, NOV 3at 8PM
John Oates is known as one half of the best-selling duo of all time, Hall & Oates, as well as an accomplished solo artist. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The American Songwriters Hall of Fame, recipient of the prestigious BMI Icon Award, Oates brings his intimate solo acoustic show “An Evening of Stories and Songs” to SOPAC!
New Voices, New Visions
Michela’s Love Movement
SAT, NOV 11 at 8PM
Don’t miss tap dancing phenom Michela Marino Lerman’s Love Movement at SOPAC! This groundbreaking immersive experience fuses the highest levels of Jazz musicianship with hoofing and tap dancing.
The Last Waltz Celebration
Featuring The THE BAND Band with the TTBB Horns & Special Guests
FRI, NOV 17 at 8PM
The THE BAND Band is back at SOPAC! The THE BAND Band is the only nationally touring group dedicated exclusively to bringing the music of Rock & Roll’s legendary The Band to life. With authentic, true-to-form renditions of their extraordinary repertoire, The THE BAND Band delivers everything from The Band’s hit songs to cuts from their classic albums and collaborations with Bob Dylan.
Giants of Jazz
Honoring Kenny Barron
SAT, NOV 25 at 8PM
Join us for what has become a legendary event in South Orange, featuring the convergence of countless Jazz greats in an unforgettable evening of music. Curated by Jazz legend and South Orange resident John Lee, this year SOPAC celebrates a titan of Jazz piano who The Los Angeles Times lauds as “one of the top Jazz pianists in the world,” Kenny Barron!
A Chanticleer Christmas
THU, NOV 30 at 7:30PM
Hailed by The New Yorker as “the world’s reigning male chorus,” the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer brings its annual holiday concert “A Chanticleer Christmas” to SOPAC. With roots in Renaissance music, Chanticleer has expanded its repertoire to include Classical, Gospel, Jazz, popular music, and many new works. Don’t miss this legendary group this holiday season!
Yellow Brick Road
An Elton John Tribute
SAT, DEC 2 at 8PM
Gerald Brann not only bears an uncanny resemblance to Elton John—complete with his charming gap-toothed smile—but recreates the Rock superstar’s vocals and piano playing to a tee, including wearing replica costumes and Elton’s trademark outrageous glasses. Don’t miss your chance to sing and dance along to classics such as “Rocket Man” and “Your Song,” sway to “Candle in the Wind,” or hop and bop to “Crocodile Rock.”
Christmas with The Celts
SUN, DEC 10 at 7:30PM
Christmas with The Celts performs a wonderful combination of timeless ancient Irish Christmas carols and lively Irish dance with modern contemporary songs but with Irish instrumentation. Celebrate a truly Irish Christmas with unpredictable jokes (craic) and banter from a troupe of fiery Irish dancers!
On Sale Soon
FRI, DEC 15 at 8PM
Celebrate the holidays with Nefesh Mountain! This New York-based progressive Bluegrass band has been hailed as one of today’s formative boundary-pushing groups in American Roots music, combining elements of everything from Americana and Appalachian Bluegrass to Celtic Folk and Eastern European melodies, with messages of inclusivity, diversity, and hope for our ever-changing world.
Kids + Family
Frosty: A Musical Adventure
SAT, DEC 16 at 1PM
A young orphan named Billy discovers magic in a stolen hat, and when he places the hat on a snowman’s head, that snowman comes to life! Don’t miss The Barter Players’ musical adaptation of this timeless tale at SOPAC this holiday season!
SO Jewish Comedy Night
A Night with Judy Gold & Liz Glazer
SAT, DEC 16 at 8PM
This light-hearted celebration of the holiday season is your chance to experience an irreverent Jewish-themed comedy night. It will be terrifically funny, it will be in South Orange, and, indeed, it will be SO Jewish. Liz Glazer and Judy Gold join forces in this SO Jewish night of comedy and holiday fun!
Jammin’ in the Loft
WED, DEC 20 at 7PM
Experience your favorite bands up close and personal in SOPAC’s new Jammin’ in the Loft series. Curated by Gregory Burrus Productions, this series brings talented local bands taking the local music scene by force to the next level with an intimate and energetic experience in The Loft at SOPAC!
On Sale Soon
A Holiday Gospel Concert
Featuring Broadway Inspirational Voices
THU, DEC 21 at 8PM
Broadway Inspirational Voices’ mission is to provide hope and inspirational to help transform communities in need through the power of music and service. They are bringing their Grammy-nominated and Honorary Tony Award-winning sound to SOPAC this holiday season!