NJPAC Announces Holiday Performances

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark (Photo credit: Jim Henderson)

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark (Photo credit: Jim Henderson)

NEWARK — The New Jersey Performing Arts Center is celebrating the holiday season with a weekend of festivities including performances by Grammy-winning gospel singer Fred Hammond on Dec. 21, Darlene Love and Friends (Cissy Houston, Steven Van Zandt and Mary Wilson of The Supremes) on Dec. 22, two hip-hop crossed with ballet and tap performances of The Spirit of Kwanzaa by IllStyle & Peace Productions Dec. 22, and a Kwanzaa Children’s Festival on Dec. 22. A Kwanzaa Marketplace, where patrons can pick up last minute gifts, is open in NJPAC’s Prudential Hall lobby Dec. 21 and 22 as well.

The Performances:
Singer-guitarist Fred Hammond brings his jazzy, R&B style of gospel music to NJPAC’s Prudential Hall on Friday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. The Grammy, Dove and Stellar award winner arrives fresh off his recent two-CD release, God, Love and Romance. Debuting at #1 on the Billboard gospel chart, Hammond continues to push the boundaries of contemporary gospel and forge new ground, melding traditional gospel with elements of funk, soul, R&B and urban music. Tickets are $39-$69.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darlene Love brings Love for the Holidays, with special guests Cissy Houston, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, and Steven Van Zandt, famed guitarist of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and star of television’s The Sopranos, to NJPAC’s Prudential Hall on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 8pm. From her first number one recording, “He’s a Rebel,” through her string of hits with legendary producer Phil Spector (including “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “He’s Sure the Boy I’m Gonna Marry”), Love is still blazing a trail of success in the music industry. Tickets are $20-$80.

Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace:
An integral part of NJPAC’s holiday celebrations each year, Kwanzaa, a secular cultural and community celebration, is observed through dance and music performances, a tribute to community elders, a marketplace for holiday shopping and free activities for children and families.

Philadelphia’s high-octane Illstyle & Peace Productions celebrate The Spirit of Kwanzaa in NJPAC’s Victoria Theater on Saturday, Dec. 22 and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Their performance is a blend hip hop dance styles with tap, ballet, DJing and beat boxing. Founded in 2002 by Brandon “Peace” Albright, this multicultural troupe has toured to critical acclaim, both nationally and internationally. “They’re fabulous!” says The New York Times. “Watching these dancers is like watching the greatest ballet virtuosos, each fighting gravity and the appearance of effort, and demanding and getting the impossible from the human body.” Tickets are $22 for adults and $13 for children.

On Dec. 21 from 6 to 10 p.m. and December 22 from noon to 10 p.m., a Kwanzaa Marketplace will transform the Prudential Hall lobby into an exciting shopping village filled with local vendors selling handmade jewelry, art, books, bath and body products, designer clothing, kente cloths, home furnishings and much more.

The fun-filled Kwanzaa Children’s Festival, taking place in NJPAC’s Center for Arts Education, is host to numerous free family activities happening on Saturday, Dec. 22 from noon to 5 p.m. Activities include historical and cultural pride workshops, African dance classes for all ages, a capoeira class and story rooms. A complete schedule can be found at http://bit.ly/YOG2t4

Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious, cultural celebration observed annually from Dec. 26 to Ja. 1. It is based on seven principles called the Nguzo Saba, which may serve as a guide for daily living: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia, (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).

NJPAC’s annual Kwanzaa Festival is made possible through the generosity of Leon and Toby Cooperman and by Verizon, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Merck Company Foundation, Discover Jersey Arts, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

All tickets are available by telephone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722), at the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street in downtown Newark, or at www.njpac.org.

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