Although groomed to be a priest by his devout parents, audiences can celebrate the fact that legendary drummer Gene Krupa found a different calling. Kicking off Centenary Stage Company’s (CSC) Summer Jamfest Series is the New Gene Krupa Orchestra led by Michael Berkowitz on Saturday, July 12th at 8 pm at Hackettstown’s Lackland Center. Michael Berkowitz brings the legendary Krupa magic back to life for a whole new generation. With an infectious energy that draws both listeners and dancers alike, this concert is a winner with audiences of all ages.
Berkowitz stays loyal to Gene Krupa’s original arrangements after devoting much of his time to a special project of his own. “There was a fire at Gene's house that destroyed all his music and mementoes,” says Berkowitz. “Over the years I have put together the charts [we use] from various sources.” Berkowitz has in his possession the drum parts from the film The Gene Krupa Story with Gene's pencil marks and name scrawled across—obtained directly from Columbia Pictures—and the score to Leave Us Leap, signed by Gene himself, which will be the band’s opening number. Fans from miles around have been abuzz about this ensemble of musicians including a concert-goer flying in from New Hampshire to hear Krupa’s music the way it was originally meant to be played.
Tickets for The New Gene Krupa Orchestra are $30 for Adults and $20 for youth under 18. Other concerts in the Summer Jamfest include America’s Got Talent Finalist Alice Tan Ridley on July 19th, Night Fever: An Evening of the Bee Gees on July 26th, Good Vibrations: A Celebration of the Beach Boys on August 2nd, and Bobby Caldwell with his Big Band on August 9th. Ticket prices range from $27.50 to $35 for adults. CSC’s Summer Jamfest is sponsored by The House of the Good Shepherd.
With a reputation for being one of the best deals in the state, the Summer Jamfest is available to purchase as a Flex Pass to all five events for $135.00 per person or choose three events for $90.00. Prices for individual concerts increase by $5 on the day of the performance. Tickets are available online at www.centenarystageco.org, or by calling the box office at 908-979-0900. They may also be purchased through the CSC Box office at 715 Grand Ave., open 1-5 PM Monday through Friday, and 2 hours prior to each performance.