Close Close


There’s a visit from one of Ireland’s most sublime storytellers. A wildly popular band of cultural ambassadors for the refugee peoples of North Africa. Troupes of travelers who put a Stateside spin on African dance forms and Indian bhangra music — as well as the next-generation bearers of the greatest pedigrees in modern American music.

No other arts entity has brought more of the world to the coastal New Jersey community than Monmouth University — and with the announcement of the 2012-2013 season of live performing arts events, the Center for the Arts at Monmouth continues its commitment to present an award winning, diverse slate of music, dance, drama, film, spoken word, and visual art in one of the region’s most popular destinations.

According to Vaune Peck, coordinator of arts programming for the Center of the Arts at Monmouth, the newly announced schedule boasts “encore engagements by some of the most popular performers ever featured here at Monmouth…people who have really established a special connection with our audience… along with groundbreaking new artists who will expand your sights and senses.”

The “something old, something new” series also offers hip new amalgams “borrowed” from historically authentic ethnic forms — in addition to “something blue” for the burgeoning regional audience of blues fans.

It all takes place on the West Long Branch, New Jersey campus of Monmouth University — a conveniently located complex offering experiences that range from historic Wilson Hall to the Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC). Primary host venue for the Performing Arts Series will be the stage, screen, and gallery of the modern Pollak Theatre arts center, with select events presented at the nearby Lauren K. Woods Theatre — scene of the season-opening event featuring Irish singer and songwriter Seán Tyrrell.

A leading interpreter of traditional Irish words and music, Tyrrell plays an intimate 7:30 p.m. concert on the stage of the recently renovated Woods playhouse on Saturday, September 22, 2012. The Pollak stage gets into the act with the first area concert appearance by Red Baraat (Friday, October 12, 2012 at 8 p.m.), the Brooklyn-based blenders of “Bollywood bhangra beats and funky New Orleans brass” who have made instant converts of audiences from coast to coast.

The eclectically acoustic virtuosos of California Guitar Trio join forces with The Montréal Guitare Trio for a “phenomensemble” summit that could only be called CGT + MG3 (Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 7 p.m.) — and the multi-generational, Grammy winning musical force that is Tinariwen (Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 8 p.m.) brings the sound and culture of the Sahara’s nomadic Tuareg people to the Jersey Shore for the first time.

Nashville born (but NYC based) next-gen alt-country iconoclast Justin Townes Earle crosses the river to New Jersey to wow audiences with a reverent musical wisdom beyond his years and a guitar/vocal technique that’s variously characterized as “bluegrass,” “Americana,” “blues,” “folk,” and “alternative” (Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 7 p.m.); while legendary folk-pop pioneer Peter Yarrow returns to Monmouth University as part of an exciting new trio with daughter Bethany Yarrow and amazing cellist Rufus Cappadocia (Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 7 p.m.).

The inimitable Father Alphonse Stephenson leads the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea in the treasured local institution’s annual holiday concert at Pollak (Friday, December 7, 2012 at 8 p.m.). The 2013 Performing Arts Series at Pollak resumes on Sunday, January 27 with the return of the ever-popular In the Mood, the traveling “1940s Musical Revue” that brings the sounds, steps, and styles of the World War II era back to dynamically energetic life.

Americana aficionados are in for a treat on Saturday, March 23, with a highly anticipated 8 p.m. concert by folk supergroup Red Horse (John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, Eliza Gilkyson). Standard-bearer for one of the most awesome legacies in all of music — and a revered pure-blues performer in his own right — John Hammond brings his acoustic guitar mastery to the Pollak Theatre stage along with opening act local legend Billy Hector (Friday, April 5, 2013 at 8 p.m.).

The young dancers of DC-based Step Afrika! bring their annual tour of US colleges to Monmouth for the first time (Friday, April 12, 2013 at 8 p.m.) in a program that showcases “stepping,” the whole-body dance tradition developed and perfected a century ago by African American college fraternities and sororities. On April 19, 2013 is another in an eagerly awaited series of solo sets by Roger McGuinn, the Byrds founder and American musical folklorist whose concerts and public-welcome workshops at Monmouth have proven to be a perfect fit of performer, venue, and audience.

As Vaune Peck observes, the Center for the Arts has “focuses on deepening the interaction between artist and audience through ‘talkbacks,’ lectures, and workshops for students and the general public. That means a chance to play guitar with a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer; to talk acting with a star of Hollywood and Broadway; learn dance fundamentals from a leading choreographer; and enjoy a performer’s work in a way that other venues simply can’t offer.”

There’s much more in store from the Center for the Arts throughout the 2012-2013 season — the acclaimed Visiting Writers series at Wilson Hall; high-def broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera and National Theatre of London; major concerts at the MAC; showcases for the art and performance talents of our students and faculty; plus exciting new developments at our on-campus art galleries. Look for the 2012-2013 season brochure, and check for schedule details and updated information on upcoming events at Monmouth University — including several surprises that are still to be announced.

Tickets to all events in the 2012-2013 Performing Arts Series are on sale now, with reservations available online or by calling the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889.

Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts Performing Arts Series

Events at the Lauren K. Woods Theatre:


September 22, 2012/ 7:30 p.m. ($15)

Events at the Pollak Theatre:


October 12, 2012/ 8 p.m. ($25, $15)


October 14, 2012/ 7 p.m. ($38, $28)


October 21, 2012/ 7 p.m. ($35, $25)


November 4, 2012/ 7 p.m. ($40, $25)

PETER YARROW w/ special guests Bethany & Rufus

November 11, 2012/ 7 p.m. ($30, $22)

FATHER ALPHONSE STEPHENSON and the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea

December 7, 2012/ 8 p.m. ($39)


January 27, 2013/ 4 p.m. ($45, $35)

RED HORSE (John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, Eliza Gilkyson)

March 23, 2013/ 8 p.m. ($30, $22)


April 5, 2013/ 8 p.m. ($30)


April 12, 2013/ 8 p.m. ($42, $32)


April 19, 2013/ 8 p.m. ($33)

# # #

Media contact: Petra Ludwig at 732-263-5507