Whoever said January is a slow month for great entertainment should drop by Union County Performing Arts Center and Hamilton Stage in Rahway.
* Wed. Jan. 8, 7:00 pm: Snarky Puppy in Concert at Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway NJ. Tickets: $15 adults, $10 Seniors and Students with ID. www.ucpac.org. Newly Grammy-nominated Snarky Puppy is a 7-piece ensemble that presents a vibrant panoply of World Music through a jazz perspective: permutations of funk, rock, blues, gospel, even some bossa nova. Earlier this month, the ensemble received a coveted Grammy Award nomination in the “Best R&B Performance” category, with their cover of Somethin’ by legendary soul songstress Lalah Hathaway.
* Sat. Jan. 11, 8:00 pm: Texas Music Artist of the Year Amanda Shires in Concert at UCPAC Loft, 1601 Irving Street, Rahway NJ. Tickets: $22. www.ucpac.org
This singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, fiddle, ukelele) performed at age 13 with the contemporary lineup of the legendary Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. You've already seen her in the Country Strong movie backing Gwyneth Paltrow ... check this clip of Amanda with husband Jason Isbell — pretty much what you'll see at UCPAC Loft ... except it will be you who's sitting right in the middle of a magical evening.
* Sun. Jan. 12, 2:00 pm: Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders presents a Sensory Friendly Theatre presentation featuring The Little Orchestra Society's THINGS THAT GO BANG! at UCPAC Main Stage, 1601 Irving Street, Rahway NJ. Tickets: $8. www.ucpac.org. The Sensory Friendly Theatre series presents 60-minute performances designed for children with autism and related disabilities.
The Little Orchestra Society has been presenting top-quality music and educational programs for children since 1947, encouraging a lifetime of participation in the arts. Enter a musical kitchen where Bang the Lion and Buzz the Bee cook up a rhythmic feast and teach kids that everyday household objects can make anyone a percussionist. The concert features music by Bizet, Britten, Gershwin, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and other world-class composers.
* Jan. 17-26: Assassins: A Musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman presented by Bullet Theatre Collaborative at Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway NJ. Tickets: $15 adults, $10 Seniors and Students with ID.
* Fri. Jan. 24, 8:00 pm & Sat. Jan. 25, 8:00 pm: Jah Jah Yute: Roots Rock Reggae presented by Enel Productions at UCPAC Loft, 1601 Irving Street, Rahway NJ. Tickets: $35.
* Thursday Jan. 30, 8:00 pm: Gary Bartz Tribute to Sax Master Jackie McLean presented by RSI Bank Masters-on-Masters Jazz Series at Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway NJ. Tickets: $25; $19 before Jan. 15.
For tickets to all UCPAC, Loft and Hamilton Stage shows, call the Union County Performing Arts Center box office at (732) 499-8226 or www.ucpac.org