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Ukrainian benefit show at Strand in Lakewood attracting diverse support


The phone hasn’t stopped ringing at the Strand Theater in Lakewood.

It’s because everyone wants to get involved in the Voices for Ukraine benefit event on Sunday, March 27, said Strand Executive Director Gary Schiavone.

“There’s no more room (on stage) – it’s just a wonderful thing,” Schiavone said. “Everyone will be wearing costumes. It’s going to be glorious – it really is.

Schiavone talks about the area’s ethical dance and music groups who will be wearing costumes. We’re sure participating rockers Eddie Testa, JT Bowen, The Wag, The Killer Joe Band and more will be wearing their best stage gear.

Halyna Lojko wraps a tree in the colors of the Ukrainian flag on February 24 at her home in Morganville.

“We have the Podhalanie dance group (from Clifton) – they are going to dance with the Polish children because we don’t have enough space anymore, so the Poles are splitting their time with this group,” Schiavone said. “There should easily be 100 dancers so it’s going to be awesome.”

Things started to roll when Kasia Pawka from Polish Complementary School in Lakewood called Schiavone.

“Every year, Kasia Pawka around Christmas rents the theater and organizes a Polish festival with food and music,” Schiavone said. “She called me three weeks ago and (asked if) the theater was interested in doing a fundraiser for Ukraine.”

Ukraine is at war with Russia after Russian troops invaded the country on February 24.

“It’s important to help others when needed, whenever possible,” Brian Ostering of the Wag said via email. “The Wag is happy to help the people of Ukraine during this dark time by performing for the benefit of Voices for Ukraine.”

Funds raised will go to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in Lviv, Ukraine; the Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund; and Agudath Israel of America.

JT Bowen (right) performing in 2017 with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park.

The Lakewood Police Department will form an honor guard and the Lakewood Fire Department will display the American flag from an aerial fire truck.

Also in attendance will be the Yunist Ukrainian dance group from Tappan, NY; the Maki Dance Troupe from the Polish Complementary School in Lakewood; Christina Yavdoshnyak of Binghamton NY; Portuguese dance from South Amboy; the Piner Elementary Children’s Choir; Rock ‘n’ Roll Choir; the Howell Pal Theater Company; the Irish dance Ballyhaunis; Red House 5; Indigo Sky; Collective troupe of artists; Jersey Shore Pipes and Drums; and Reverend Volodymyr Popyk of St. Stephen’s Ukrainian Church in Toms River.

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There will be food trucks, and the Slava Ukraine, created especially for this event, will be available at the Strand bar.

“It’s a blue and yellow drink with all kinds of goodness,” said Cindy Zwicker of the Strand.

Voices for Ukraine, 12-6 p.m., Sunday, March 27, Strand Theater, 400 Clifton Ave., Lakewood. $20.

Rare scene in Blairstown

Wait a minute, progressive bluegrass band The Seldom Scene is coming.

The band, known for the fan-favorite song “Wait a Minute”, play Saturday March 26 at Roy’s Hall in Blairstown. The Joe Cirotti Trio opens.

Seldom Scene’s roots go back to 1971 and early collaborations with Emmy Lou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Jonathan Edwards.

The lineup has changed several times and some members have passed away, but the picking and singing continues.

Rare scene with the Joe Cirotti Trio, 8 p.m., Saturday, March 26, Roy’s Hall, 30 Main St., Blairstown. $37.50 to $47.50.

A 90s gospel “promenade”

What’s new in gospel music?

Chicago’s Zeke Locke and NuXperience rock their feet with their new single “I’m Walking.” It’s a 90s thing.

“It’s really New Jack Swing and Minneapolis funk,” Locke said in a statement. “Those synths you hear in there? It’s that influence of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Find out on the “Festival of Praise” tour which features Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker and Israel Houghton. Shows include Saturday, March 26 at 8 p.m. at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts at Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, in the Bronx, NY, and at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, at The Met, 858 N. Broad St., Philadelphia.

Visit for more information on Locke and NuExperience.

Deadguy redux

New Brunswick hardcore punk legend Deadguy is back.

The band, which released the influential “Fixation on a Co-Worker” in 1995, reunited at the 2021 Decibel Metal and Beer Fest in Philly after 25 years apart, and have played a handful of shows since then. Now, the group is the subject of the new movie “Deadguy: Killing Time,” with an 8 p.m. screening on Saturday, March 26 at Center Cinemas in Rutherford.

A member of the band will be on hand for a Q&A with filmmaker William Saunders, according to the band’s Instagram page.

Visit for tickets.

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Jersey Shore native Chris Jordan covers entertainment and reporting for USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; [email protected].

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