Edith Piaf, Louisa May Alcott, 2 Restaurant Weeks, and Purimania!

A celebration of Louisa May Alcott and her works, Edith Piaf "live" in concert, back-to-back Restaurant Weeks, a Purim party for adults, Chinese acrobats, a new Rent Party, and lots more this weekend

A huge list of great events and activities awaits us this promising weekend in our area.  Highlights for this last weekend of March include , quickly followed by yet  on Sunday.  

Patch's own Marcia Worth leads  and her classic works, including Little Women, on Sunday at the South Orange Public Library.  , the singing voice of Edith Piaf in the acclaimed film, La Vie En Rose, takes command of the SOPAC stage on Friday, while the next day, Saturday, will see the incredible Chinese Acrobats of Hebei dazzle with their athletic feats in two performances at SOPAC.

And for the partiers out there, the latest  gets into high gear Friday night, a Purim party for adults, , comes to Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills on Saturday, and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey holds its  on Saturday as well, at the Hilton Short Hills.

Here's the weekend's big list, along with more coming attractions for next weekend and beyond:

  • South Orange Restaurant WeekSupport downtown South Orange beginning this Sunday and all through the week until Saturday, April 2, with this year's South Orange Restaurant Week, which is not only limited to eating establishment specials but also includes discounts at many area retailers. Visit a participating restaurant during South Orange Restaurant Week and bring your receipt to a participating merchant and cash in on great local discounts.  Enjoy favorite restaurants, try new ones, get great shopping bargains, and support downtown all at the same time.  For participating restaurants and merchants, and specific specials, visit http://www.mainstreetsouthorange.org.  Starts Sunday and lasts all week, South Orange

  • Get ready to taste even more of what’s delicious in Maplewood! This year, restaurants and food establishments all over town are serving up special Prix Fixe menus and great discounts. It’s your chance to try new restaurants or visit old favorites for less. Offers vary by participant so call beforehand or visit http://www.maplewoodrestaurantweek.com for details.  All Weekend, times vary, Maplewood

  • :  Join Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel for services followed by dinner as Ruth Messenger speaks on "Jews as Global Citizens: Our Responsibility in the World."  Ms. Messenger is a former New York City political leader, known for her advocacy on behalf of public schools, efforts to achieve compromise between developers and neighborhood activists and aggressive media work.  She is currently CEO of American Jewish World Service and was named to the "Forward Fifty" list of most influential American Jews by The Forward.  $25.00 for members, $36.00 for non-members.  Friday, 6:00pm to 9:00pm, South Orange

  • Dinner to go every Friday in Lent.  St. Andrew and Holy Communion is preparing fish dinners every Friday so you can pick up a dinner on your way home from the Church Street side of the NJ Transit parking lot. The cost is $15 for adults and $8 for kids. Dinners can be pre-ordered by phone, 973-763-2355.  The menu includes Fresh Basa Filet Fried, Fresh Cod Filet Baked, Kids meals of Fish, Chicken Nuggets or Hot Dog; Macaroni and Cheese; Potato Salad; Garden Salad; Pound Cake; Beverage.  Friday, 6:30pm to 8:30pm, South Orange

  • Jil Aigrot, the singing voice of Edith Piaf in the movie La Vie En Rose, is as passionate and magnificent in concert with her homage to Piaf as she is on film. She channels Piaf's sound and body language with natural grace, and between each song she talks to the audience in her own natural voice. In her superb program all of the great Piaf songs are not only relived but given a special magic with Aigrot's stunning voice.  Tickets range from $40 to $50.  Friday, 8:00pm, South Orange

  • The latest monthly concert and party to raise money to help fight hunger in our community, featuring some of the best local music around. A minimum $5 donation gains access to see three bands play and every dollar raised will be matched by the HK Community Fund.  Friday, 8:00pm, South Orange

  • Welcome spring by helping to beautify Maplewood Village.  Sponsored by Valley National Bank, volunteers are wanted to help plant spring flowers in flowerpots in Downtown Maplewood Village.  Please bring gardening tools and gloves if you would like to volunteer; flowers and soil will be provided.  A volunteer clean up will also be held that morning. Individuals, Scouts, school and church groups are welcome.  Meet In Ricalton Square.  Saturday, 9:00am to 11:30am, Maplewood

  • The Community Coalition on Race stages Dr. Seuss stories to teach kids about fairness. Green Eggs & Ham features internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Lori Mirabal along with boy soprano Keenan Buckley in the lead roles. They will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra under the musical direction of Jim Buchanan. Award winning actress, Emily Zacharias, will narrate The Sneetches, and these mythical characters will be played by members of Columbia High School Special Dance Company. Saturday, 10:00am, South Orange.  NOTE: Due to the enthusiastic response for these performances, all seats are now filled and reservations are closed

  • SOMbike Family RideSOMbike is adding a regular Saturday ride to its scheduled family rides to accommodate riders who cannot make it out on Sundays. This Saturday's ride will meet-up in the Baird Center Parking lot in South Orange. From SOMBike: "If you haven't experienced the new bike path along the river and seen the amazing native plantings, this is a great time to do that at a leisurely pace. An egret was spotted on the bank of the river last week! Hope you can join us! All ages welcome, of course, free of charge." Saturday, 10:00am, South Orange

  • Chinese Acrobats of Hebei at SOPAC:  As early as the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), the artistry of acrobatics, magicians and jugglers began in the Hebei region of ancient China.  The Chinese Acrobats of Hebei evolved from that legacy of gravity-defying acrobatics combined with the discipline of martial arts. Trained from childhood in acrobatics, this multi-talented troupe ranges in age from 19 to 25. Filled with Chinese tradition, unique props and outstanding acrobatics, the world-class gymnasts from Hebei perform many daring maneuvers of traditional Chinese acrobatics.  Tickets are $35 and $25.  Saturday, 4:00pm and 7:00pm, South Orange

  • The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will hold its renowned fundraiser gala and cabaret performance on Saturday at the Hilton Short Hills.   In addition to kicking off the 2011 Season, The Shakespeare Theatre gala will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Theatre’s acclaimed Outdoor Stage and the partnerships that make this extraordinary event possible each summer.  Artistic director Bonnie J. Monte and the Board of Trustees will recognize the contributions of The College of St. Elizabeth, Bank of America, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Air Group in a special tribute.  The annual gala is the Theatre’s largest fundraiser of the year. Tickets range from $295 to $1,000 per person.  Saturday, 6:30pm, Short Hills

  • Most people think Purim is for their kids.  Children put on costumes, go to a carnival, and have a general good time while their parent watch.  At Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, there’s an additional focus this year — adults.  On Saturday the Purim party to beat all will begin.  Get grogged, get rowdy, get Purim!  It’s Purimania! Plans for the evening include great food and drink, music, games, super prizes and a Purim Shpiel (story).  Members of the community are invited to join in this very adult celebration of Purim.  Tickets are $90 per person.  Saturday, 7:30pm, Short Hills

  • South Mountain Hike Oakdale LoopThis first hike of the season will be a stroll of about 4 miles at a moderate pace with only one up-hill section.  Interested hikers should meet at the Oakdale Picnic Grove off of Cherry Lane, about 0.3 miles south of the light on Northfield Ave., or one mile north of the light on South Orange Ave. Hike Leader:  Lou Nocito. Sunday, 10:00am to 12:00pm, South Mountain

  • :Outspoken tomboy Jo, or free-thinking feminist and dedicated writer? Louisa May Alcott, author of more than 20 books, was both and more. Though she is remembered for Little Women, which borrowed heavily from her childhood and in which she characterized herself as “Jo,” Alcott wrote lurid tales for adults, and stories just this side of nineteenth-century propriety – as well as working as a domestic, laboring as a Civil War nurse, and raising her niece.  The SOPL presents an afternoon of Louisa May Alcott, as part of Women’s History Month celebrations. The film, “The Woman Behind Little Women,” will be shown on Sunday with a lively discussion led by Marcia Worth to follow.  The Children’s Room will celebrate Alcott with crafts and a read-aloud at the same time.  Free!  Sunday, 2:30pm to 5:00pm, South Orange

  • Paper Mill Playhouse presents A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a hilarious, slapstick farce regarded by many as a high point in the history of Broadway musical comedy.  Performances this weekend are Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 1:30pm and  7pm.  Tickets range from $25 to $92.  All weekend, times vary, Millburn

  • The Strollers of Maplewood present the family musical THE GARBAGE CAN-tata, about a garbage dump that comes to hip-hopping life while teaching the three R’s – REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE.  The run includes a GREEN FEST on Saturday, March 12th with eco-friendly workshops for the entire family.  Performances are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, all at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts.  Tickets for the show are $7.  All Weekend, times vary, Maplewood
  • Coming Soon:


    Donald Pun lives in Maplewood and posts the event round-up column here each weekend.   Previously, he was a regular contributor for the NY Times' Maplewood, South Orange, and Millburn Local blog section.


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