A Night on the Town at SOPAC
Philly soul, a sold-out crowd, hit high notes for performing arts center at benefit concert. This weekend, the stage goes modern with free performance by Lydia Johnson Dance.
With this weekend featuring modern dance at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, last weekend it was all about the synchroized dancing of some golden oldies.
The hits kept coming at SOPAC when Russell Thompkins Jr. and the New Stylistics performed a benefit concert last weekend for the South Orange theater.
With his distinctive falsetto, Thompkins led a sold-out crowd in a sing-along of the R&B classics that made the Stylists synonymous with the Sound of Philadelphia. During the early ’70s, the band had 12 straight Top 10 hits, including “You Are Everything,” “Betcha by Golly, Wow,” “I’m Stone in Love With You,” “Break Up to Make Up,” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New.”
Decked out in vintage suits, the New Stylists provided stylized dancing and tight harmonies to the golden oldies. And a distinguished backup band brought the soul to South Orange. Thompkins’ smooth, romantic ballads still have the power to make the ladies swoon. “I can’t believe that guy can sing like that all these years later,” a fan said.
This weekend, SOPAC hosts Arts for All, a free festival including live music and a craft fair. Arts for All begins on Friday with a free performance for the community by Lydia Johnson Dance, part of Celebrate South Orange.
Lydia Johnson Dance is the resident dance company at SOPAC. The troupe will present a free performance at 7:30 p.m. featuring guest dancers Attila Joey Csiki and Reed Luplau of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and Max van der Sterre, formerly of New York City Ballet. The show will include a Q&A, and audience members will be invited onto the stage to learn a dance phrase with LJD Company members.