A rich and eclectic program of summer concerts returns to the Weehawken waterfront as the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center, Inc. (HRPAC) once again presents Summer Concerts on the Hudson beginning Monday, June 29 at 7 p.m. in Lincoln Harbor Park.
The Hudson River Performing Arts Center’s ultimate goal is to establish a performing arts center on the riverfront that will operate year round.
The series of free evening concerts will feature top artists from diverse genres, including Broadway, soul, R&B, Latin jazz, bluegrass and more. The series will open this year with a very special tribute in recognition of Weehawken’s 150th Anniversary with “An Evening of Broadway Celebrating Jerome Robbins.” Featuring a cast of Broadway veterans and award winners, the evening will honor one of Weehawken’s most famous residents with music and dance from his shows, including West Side Story, On The Town, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy and more.
“We pride ourselves on the uniqueness of the music in our series,” said Bruce Sherman, HRPAC’s executive director. “Three of our concerts are one-night events which you will not see or hear anywhere else. These include ‘An Evening of Broadway,’ ‘Sounds of Brazil,’ and the collaboration between the Revelations and Latimore. Concertgoers who haven’t yet attended an event here should definitely be impressed by the setting. It doesn’t get much better than to see and hear great music framed against a backdrop of the magnificent Manhattan skyline.”
The public is asked to bring a lawn chair or blanket and encouraged to pack a picnic and enjoy the pastoral setting of Lincoln Harbor Park.
“Three of our concerts are one night events, which you will not see or hear anywhere else.” – Bruce Sherman
Honoring a native son
“We’re doing our first concert in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Weehawken because of Jerome Robbins, who grew up in Weehawken and went through the Weehawken school system,” said Sherman. “We wanted to do something that would highlight an artist that had a relationship with the town. Due to his monumental position in the history of Broadway and dance, we thought this would be an opportunity to highlight some beautiful music and dance.”
The Robbins evening is unlike any of the other productions. “Generally we hire bands that are already together, but this is a show we’re producing from scratch,” he said. The show is on Monday, Broadway’s dark night of the week, making it possible for top talent to participate.
“We’re talking about over 20 singers, dancers and musicians,” he said. “To do something in so short a time was especially challenging. We were fortunate to get great people involved.” A late addition to the cast is Sierra Boggess, who until recently was the lead in The Little Mermaid. “We had to bring on a director and musical director, then cast it and bring on all of the talent.” The results, he said, should be “quite wonderful for a one night event.”
Mayor Richard Turner praised the quality of the Broadway concert and the efforts of Sherman and his board.
“This concert celebrates one of the leading members of the arts community,” the mayor said. “Bruce and his board have done a wonderful job in coming up with great entertainment. We put this concert together with Weehawken residents in mind, but of course we hope everybody attends.”
Weehawken resident Nancy Giles, a commentator on the CBS Sunday Morning show, as well as MSNBC and CNN, will be the onstage host for the evening.
The July 22 concert pairing The Revelations with Latimore is a one of a kind event. The legendary soul singer agreed to the matchup after learning The Revelations had recorded one his hit songs, “Let’s Straighten it Out.”
The Aug. 5 Sounds of Brazil concert features a one-of-a-kind lineup of musicians as well.
Free Summer Concerts on the Hudson 2009
• Monday June 29 – AN EVENING OF BROADWAY celebrating Jerome Robbins. Featuring Broadway veterans and award winners. Enjoy an evening with some of the best of Broadway as we pay tribute to Jerome Robbins. Featuring a cast that includes Mary Testa (Guys and Dolls, Xanadu), Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid), Lisa Howard (9 to 5 – The Musical), Graham Rowat (Guys and Dolls), Donna Marie Asbury (Chicago) and tap wiz Kendrick Jones (Broadway by the Year), this show will be highlighted by music and dance from many of the great shows with which Robbins was associated, including West Side Story, On the Town, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, and more. In case of rain “An Evening of Broadway” may be moved to the Weehawken High School auditorium.
• Wednesday July 22 – THE REVELATIONS featuring Tre Williams with special guest Latimore. Get down with the sounds of classic Soul and R&B. This show brings together, for the first time, one of New York’s best young soul groups, The Revelations, with R&B legend, Latimore.
• Wednesday Aug. 5 – SOUNDS OF BRAZIL. Grammy winners Paquito D’Rivera and Cesar Camargo Mariano will team up with Grammy winning Bosso Nova singer, Leny Andrade, for a night of smooth Brazilian sounds. This awesome trio will be joined by Brazilian guitar master Romero Lubambo and jazz harmonicist extraordinaire, Hendrik Meurkens.
• Wednesday Aug. 19 – FOLKLORE URBANO. Led by Columbian band leader Pablo Mayor, this 12 member ensemble features seductive South American rhythms combined with sophisticated jazz harmonies and forms. Including both original and traditional arrangements, this captivating music, song, and dance will entertain listeners of all ages.
• Wednesday Sept. 2 – THE SAM BUSH BAND. One of America’s best Bluegrass bands makes a rare New Jersey appearance. Sam Bush, one of Nashville’s finest and most in-demand musicians, is credited with changing the face of Bluegrass as a founder of the Newgrass movement, which incorporates Rock & Roll. He and his band will give a rollicking show that will have you dancing in your seats.
All performances begin at 7 p.m. Rain dates if necessary will be the following night after each scheduled performance.
For more information, directions, and late breaking concert news and updates, please check the HRPAC website (www.hrpac.org) or call (201) 716-4540.
The season’s sponsors include Bijou Properties, CH2MHill & OMI, Hartz Mountain Industries, the Hudson Reporter newspapers, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, PSE&G, Roseland Property Company, Sheraton Suites on the Hudson, UBS and the Township of Weehawken. The 150th Anniversary Concert, “An Evening of Broadway celebrating Jerome Robbins” is being sponsored by the Township of Weehawken, along with an additional contribution from James Festa and the Weehawken Adult Club.