Legendary Texas trio and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top have scratched the boogying itch of fans for more than 40 years with their slippery lyrics and blues-seared, buzz-sawing riffs. Unlike estranged trios such as Three Dog Night and Charlie's Angels, the impenetrable force of ZZ Top is still comprised of the same rigid core of electric mercenaries: Les Paul–wielding guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard, the historically beardless one. ZZ Top's adroit musical powers and Santa-shaming facial hair have made them a household name, boosting back-seat manufacturing revenues with classic rock staples such as "Legs" and "Tush." With a new album in the works and an Eliminator full of rocket fuel, ZZ Top's live show throbs with the thumping energy, guitar gymnastics, and sultry emotion of a motherly tiger tongue-bathing a baby electric fence.
Upon its opening in 1924, the Newton Theatre beamed with a handsome colonial exterior, delicate stonework, and a façade glittering with 180 electric lights. Despite all this, the owners felt it most important to emphasize its steel load-bearing columns, declaring the building "the safest type known to modern engineering science" and “kind of like a castle, but, you know, without all the dungeons.” That sensible, utilitarian attitude has served the venue well ever since. The Newton found success as a movie theater for decades, then briefly closed in 2010, only to reopen in 2011 as a music venue with a sold out performance by Todd Rundgren.
During the past 25 years, Brian and Jenny Nash have taught all sorts of people to dance. They've coached members of the New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra for fundraising balls and helmed the Rutgers University collegiate dance program. At Nash Dancenter, they guide students through the simple sway of foxtrot and the trumpet-backed scintillation of salsa. A team of instructors aids them, drawing upon experience in national competitions and a love of the famous dance scene in Jaws. The studio in which they teach is an airy, 8,000-square-foot ballroom with french doors, sweeping window arches, and glistening chandeliers. During dance socials, guests look into the impressive chamber from a balcony, watching twirls and tango steps below.
Professional Fencing Coach and Master Slava Danilov, as well as his lieutenant, Samir Machmoud, combine to bring more than 60 years of international fencing experience to Morris Fencing Club. Their collective expertise includes a bronze medal in the 1996 World Cup and an Egyptian national championship, plus coaching accolades that include leading their students to multiple World Junior Championship medals. Despite this imposing body of work, the duo also specializes in teaching fencing to beginners through their club programs, such as group lessons, private instruction, and camps. Regardless of prior experience, whether an Olympic-level epee swordsman or a person whose closest activity to fencing is making shish kabobs, students can comfortably enroll at Morris Fencing Club to build character and stamina through participation in the fun and active sport.
Rocking out in front of an ecstatic crowd is every musician's dream. For students of all ages and skill levels at Rockaway Arts Academy, it comes true twice a year, when the academy hosts recitals inside a 400-seat auditorium. To ready pupils for the spotlight, instructors with extensive backgrounds in teaching and performing customize lessons around each student's goals and favorite musical styles. Along with private instruction for instruments such as guitar, piano, and drums, teachers gather their students for group sessions that range from music-theory tutorials to rock-band classes.
One of the nation's most esteemed Shakespeare outfits, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has brought the playwright's work to life for the past half-century. But the troupe takes its name more as an inspiration than a strict limit, also mounting productions of other classics by writers such as Thornton Wilder and Noël Coward. Once a summer, the company takes to the College of Saint Elizabeth's outdoor amphitheater—modeled after Athens' Theater of Dionysius, a favorite venue for Shakespeare performances in Greece—to present the bard's work in the way he intended: alive under the open sky.