In a 6-part series, we’re announcing the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s 2016-17 lineup of programming. Here’s a look at some of the exciting and diverse programming on this year’s calendar.

Talk of the Town

Fairleigh Dickinson University unwraps the third edition of its popular New Jersey Speakers Series at NJPAC in a subscriber package that runs from October through April. Seven Thursday night programs feature some of the world’s most powerful and enlightening thought leaders, who engage the audience in a Q&A following their presentations. Among the conversationalists in this season’s lineup are EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar,Tony) winner Rita Moreno (October 6), former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (October 27), Monty Python original John Cleese (January 26, 2017), and newsman Ted Koppel (March 23, 2017).

Meaningful community dialogues and arts education are integral to NJPAC Stage Exchange: The 2017 Commissions, an ongoing series of new-play readings held in partnership with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. A unique model among performing arts centers nationwide for nurturing relationships with up-and-coming playwrights, the Stage Exchange pairs three dramatists with three mentoring theaters, who guarantee each a full production of his or her play. In exchange, the playwrights establish residencies in classrooms to teach their craft and NJPAC hosts readings of the works, followed by a panel discussion. A nominal admission charge benefits a nonprofit organization whose mission connects with the play’s themes or issues. Readings take place in NJPAC’s Chase Room on April 21, 2017 (playwright Joel Stone and New Jersey Repertory Company); May 19, 2017 (Nicole Pandolfo and Premiere Stages); and June 23, 2017 (playwright TBA and Crossroads Theatre Company).


New Jersey’s rich diversity is reflected in a globe-circling selection of programs, such as a rousing observance of Colombian independence with famed salsa band Grupo Niche and “The Prince of Vallenato” Jorge Celedón (July 22). Musical artists include Portuguese fado singer Mariza with Brazil’s Bebel Gilberto (October 16); an evening with the Italian singing sensation Patrizio Buanne (October 28); and José Feliciano with his Holiday Feliz Navidad (two shows on December 18).

Nai-Ni Chen-01
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company

The arrival of the lunar new year is reason for pageantry by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, an NJPAC audience favorite that ushers in the Year of the Rooster on January 28 and 29, 2017.

Classical Music

NJPAC’s previously announced Bank of America Classical Series gets under way on October 29 with pianist Yuja Wang and the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, in a program of Wagner, Ravel and Shostakovich. Other concerts include:

  • Renée Fleming in recital, November 4
  • Mozart for Thanksgiving, November 27. The Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Halls. Radovan Vlatkovich on horn.
  • Budapest Festival Orchestra, all-Beethoven program with pianist Richard Goode, February 4, 2017. Iván Fischer, conductor.
  • Orchestre National de Lyon, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, February 19, 2017. Guest soloist George Li on piano. Works by Ravel, Slatkin, Liszt and Berlioz.

Munich Philharmonic with Valery Gergiev conducting and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, April 2, 2017. Beethoven’s “Eroica” and works by Strauss and Ravel.