Sure signs that Spring has sprung are all around us this weekend, and we're not just talking about the overgrown grass out front that has to get mowed or all of that seasonal allergy medication that's strewn all over your bathroom vanity top these days.
In South Orange, , a brand new comic musical from a group of local Broadway veterans, lovingly planted and nurtured last fall and winter, is now ready to bloom fully onstage this weekend at SOPAC.
In Millburn and Short Hills, Paper Mill Playhouse's continues its brand new run. The and the will each be having fundraising garage and second-hand item sales this Saturday morning. And the Short Hills Garden Club will be holding at the Short Hills Rail Station once again, with perfect springtime offerings and Mother's Day gifts available.
In Maplewood, two gallery shows will be open to all this weekend. At Gas Gallery, the Beach St. 5 Painting Showcase kicks off Thursday evening with an opening reception and party. At 1978 Art Center on Saturday, the Ageless Creativity Exhibit starts with a run through May 29, and its own opening party scheduled for next weekend. , now in its 65th year, will be performing an eclectic concert mix Saturday night at Prospect Presbyterian Church. And Maplewood's own Garden Club, celebrating its amazing 74th year, will be holding its at the Maplewood Pool Parking Lot from Thursday to Saturday.
Here's our full list of happenings for your personal planning convenience:
- : SOPAC and Midtown Direct Rep present Rated P*...for Parenthood (*Some Material May Not Be Suitable for People Considering Parenthood) with Book and Lyrics by Sandy Rustin, and Music and Lyrics by Dan Lipton & David Rossmer. Rated P is a new musical comedy exploring the wonders and lunacy of raising kids from conception to college drop-off. Starring local Broadway veterans from Midtown Direct Rep, Rated P brings the audience on a hilarious and touching journey of both the joys and the drama of parenthood. Midtown Direct Rep has nurtured this baby from staged reading to full production, and after nearly a year of re-writes, revisions, and rehearsals, Rated P takes the leap from page to stage. Join the cast and creative team for a talk after every performance. $35-45, Thursday to Sunday, Times Vary, South Orange
- Beach St. 5, A Painting Showcase: This exhibit at the Gas Gallery on Ridgewood Road is a five-person group show featuring the work of artists Jeremy Moss, Jeremy Shires, Nigel Freeman, Patrick Ravix and Steven King. United not only by the fact that they all live and work on the highly creative Beach Street in Maplewood, they are also united in their exploration of color, composition, form and texture. Free, Opening Reception and Party, Thursday, 7:00pm–10:00pm, Exhibit runs May 2 through June 2, Maplewood
- : 2011 marks the 74th anniversary of the Maplewood Garden Club’s Annual Plant Sale. All proceeds go back to the community for supporting students and education in environmental studies, beautifying the Township, stimulating interest in gardening and other horticultural pursuits. The plant material is exceptional -- annuals, perennials, woodland plants, herbs, vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, hanging baskets, member-grown plants and houseplants -- with most below market prices. Friendly and knowledgeable Club members are on hand to give help and advice. The sale will be held at the Maplewood Pool Parking Lot. Free, Thursday to Saturday, Times Vary, Maplewood
- : From Paper Mill: "Aspiring actor and detective Lt. Frank Cioffi is investigating the rising body count on the set of a Broadway-bound show -- and starting a romance with one of the actors. Can he solve the case without becoming one of the victims? This musical mystery-comedy was created by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the award-winning composer and lyricist responsible for both Cabaret and Chicago. Curtains will have you on the edge of your seat -- laughing! Prices Vary, All Weekend, Millburn
- : Race To Nowhere takes a close look at the pressures facing today's students (as well as their teachers and parents) in our achievement-obsessed culture. The film explores the hidden world of over-burdened schedules, student suicide, academic cheating, and young people who have checked out. Students feel they are pushed to the brink, educators worry students aren't learning anything substantive, and college professors/employers are concerned that today’s youth lack the skills needed to succeed in the business world. Tickets are $10 in advance online or $15 at the door. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit the Tuscan PTA. $10-15, Friday, 7:30pm, Maplewood
- : The Short Hills Garden Club is ready to help set your gardens ablaze in a full color medley. An annual event, the Short Hills Garden Club Plant Sale takes place this weekend at the Short Hills Railroad Station, just in time for Mother’s Day. Traditional and specialty annuals, well-established perennials from members’ own gardens and wonderful garden accessories will be available. Lush planters and hanging baskets can be purchased for brilliant instant pops of color. The plant sale is the Club’s major fundraiser. Proceeds are used to support a number of community projects. Free, Friday and Saturday, 1:00pm–7:00pm, Short Hills
- : Millburn Middle School is holding their annual Gently Used Sale starting this Saturday morning. This is the school's biggest fundraiser of the year so make sure to get to the sale and buy a lot of great items to help support the school. MMS is located at 25 Old Short Hills Rd. Free, Saturday, 9:00am–2:00pm, Millburn
- : The Community Congregational Church at 200 Hartshorn Drive and Parsonage Hill Road in Short Hills will be holding their "Huge Sale" this Saturday with a wide selection of items, including clothes, toys, housewares and furniture. All proceeds from the sale benefit charity. Free, Saturday, 9:00am–2:00pm, Millburn
- : Theatre IV presents Stuart Little this Saturday morning. From the loving heart of E.B. White, author of Charlotte's Web, comes this merry musical about a noble mouse who jumps headlong into adventures big enough to match any imagination! Stuart Little mixes puppets with live actors to work theatre magic. Recommended for ages 5 and up. $15, Saturday, 10:00am, Millburn
- A Mother's Day Hike at Turtle Back Rock with South Mountain Conservancy: This Mother's Day, the South Mountain Conservancy will take you on a walk at an easy pace to see the unusual turtle back rock formation and hear the Lenape story of how the world was created on the back of a turtle. Note: the Turtle Back Rock picnic area is not at the zoo, but goes east on Northfield Avenue to the second light beyond the zoo, turn right onto Walker Road and drive 0.2 miles to the entrance into the park on the right. Dave Hogenauer will be your hike leader and guide. Free, Saturday, 10:00am–11:30am, West Orange
- : Have fun and celebrate getting fit. Join us for this special class and find out what all the Zumba buzz is about. Did you know that dancing torches 8 calories per minute? You think you can't dance? No worries, here is your chance to learn a few basic steps. Zumba is a fitness dance class, but you do not have to know how to dance. It is fun for athletes, dancers, and everyone in between. Enjoy a one hour (plus) class and a light bite after. Seafood "cupcakes", mini quiche, smoked turkey breast and salami spirals, a few other bites and a special Mother's Day cocktail will be served. RSVP Blue Life Karate & Fitness Centers for your spot on the dance floor. $12, Saturday, 3:00pm–5:00pm, Maplewood
- : The Maplewood Glee Club, now in its sixty-fifth year, has chosen the theme Timeless Trilogies for this concert, featuring classic songs of knighthood, renaissance, remembrance – and even Broadway. Appearing with the club will be the winner of this year’s John A. Plumer Memorial Scholarship, Timothy Laciano of New Providence High School. Tim is an honor student as well as an accomplished pianist, oboist and composer. In addition, the doo-wop group Nostalgia will present classic songs representing the three main genres of the 1960s, Rock & Roll, the British Invasion, and the Protest era. The performance will take place at the Prospect Presbyterian Church, 646 Prospect Street. $15-20, Saturday, 8:00pm–10:00pm, Maplewood
- Ageless Creativity at 1978 Arts Center: This exhibit focuses on four artists, “in a certain age group”, whose continued art output illustrates that their passion to create has not diminished through the years. Instead, they demonstrate continued artistic growth in their pursuit of new modes of expression. The inevitable encounters with a diverse multitude of human interactions are reflected in their portrayal of individuals who have peopled their existence and/ or their responses to the human experience. The artists are: Phyllis Carlin, Ed Hoffner, Mel Holston, Bohuslava Reiss. An Artist’s Reception will take place on May 15. Free, Exhibit opens Saturday through May 29, Times Vary, Maplewood
- The Strollers, Round and Round The Garden: Begins May 13
- Millburn Classic Car Show: May 15
- Springfield Avenue MayFest 2011: May 15
- SOPAC 2011 Spring Gala featuring The Midtown Men: June 04
- Maplewood/South Orange Artists Open Studios for Tour: June 05
- 5th annual Celebrate South Orange: June 11
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.