The Wrong Man
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Not only is more and more theatre happening off Broadway,  more new theaters also have opened.   Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews The Wrong Man, a musical about a man wrongly convicted, and (A)loft Modulation, a play with jazz.

Click above to hear both reviews.

Antonio Banderas
Sony Classics

Pain and Glory is writer-director Pedro Almodóvar’s 21st film in a career spanning nearly 40 years.  I caught it at this year’s resplendent Toronto film Festival, but it touched down briefly at the ongoing 57th NY Film Festival, which ends this weekend after 17 days with a reprise of some of the festival’s 40 films.

Cybelle Codish

If you type “Andrew Kortyna” into Google, the top results reveal he was fired from a tenured professorship in Pennsylvania after he retaliated against two female students who accused him of sexual harassment.

But officials at Stockton University say they weren’t aware of that part of Kortyna’s record when they hired him in August to a $64,000-a-year post as a visiting assistant professor of physics.

Students say they raised concerns with administrators about the professor the day before the university’s board formally approved his hiring on Sept. 18.

New Jersey has announced an ambitious plan to replace all of its aging lead-lined water pipes in the next ten years.

The state also wants to help residents rid their homes of lead-based paint, which is the leading cause of lead poisoning.

“It’s a problem that’s been handed to us by years — and in some cases, by generations — of inaction. Well, this is our time for action,” said Gov. Phil Murphy during a Thursday press conference.

Ask Governor Murphy

Last night's Ask Governor Murphy call-in show on WBGO covered a range of topics including lead in the drinking water, vaping, the Meadowlands power plant and NJ Transit.

WBGO News Director Doug Doyle filled in for regular host Nancy Solomon of WNYC.

Ask Governor Murphy is a WBGO News production in collaboration with WNYC  in New York and WHYY in Philadelphia.

Newark’s Black Media Story Summit follows a similar event at Google’s New York headquarters last year.  

“This is our second regional summit,” said Gregory Warren, Black Media Story Summit regional program director.  “Some of the challenges are the same, funding, distribution, there’s a need for platforms specifically dealing with that black content.  But we need to start the conversation somewhere and these Summits are meant to do just that.”

It may come as a surprise to some Garden Staters that there is an election this year.

In the General Assembly, all 80 seats are up for grabs, and there is one special state Senate election in South Jersey on Nov. 5.

New Jersey is one of just five states that hold elections for statewide office in odd-numbered years. To understand why you have to go back to 1947.

In that year, John Kolesar was just starting out as an undergraduate at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. One day, he went to pick up some books at the gym and noticed something across the room.

The New Jersey Supreme Court is deciding whether to take a closer look at a methodology long used by police officers to charge people with driving under the influence of drugs.

Law enforcement officials say the protocol is crucial to securing drugged driving convictions since toxicology tests for drugs are unreliable. But defense attorneys and civil rights advocates argue the method is not based on science and should be banned as expert testimony in court.

Goldin Auctions
Goldin Auctions

NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is probably the most decorated athlete in history, dominating during his high school days, his amazing 3-time championship career at UCLA and his 20-year, six championship NBA career.

Now Goldin Auctions is offering 48 items from Kareem Abdul Jabbar's personal collection.  Kareem and Frank Dinote, controller with Goldin Auctions, joined SportsJam host Doug Doyle to share memories and talk about the items up for auction through October 19.

Ask Governor Murphy

WBGO, in collaboration with WNYC and WHYY, presents tonight at 8 o'clock the next edition of Ask Governor Murphy, a live call-in broadcast with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The number to call is 844-677-9283, or on social media with #askgovmurphy.

Filling in tonight for host (WNYC's) Nancy Solomon is WBGO News Director Doug Doyle.

Governor Murphy and Doyle will discuss such issues as vaping, lead in drinking water, NJ Transit and much more on the one-hour monthly show.  Submit your questions in advance at

Ken Downey Jr. / For WBGO

Billy Dee Williams is no stranger to New York City, he was born and raised near Central Park North.  His birth name is William December Williams, explaining that Billy Dee was a showbiz name. 

“It’s my father’s name actually,” he said.  “He was born in December; I was born in April.  My father had a great sense of humor.  William December Williams.  That’s kind of interesting, I think.”

Williams, now 82-years old, got his start in acting at the age of six.  He auditioned for a part as a pageboy to the duchess in a Broadway production of The Firebrand of Florence.

New Jersey will begin borrowing $100 million to pay for lead remediation projects in schools across the state and require educational facilities to test for lead contamination more often.

The efforts are Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest attempts to deal with growing public concern about lead contamination in homes and schools across the state.

“Lead contamination is not a Newark problem or an urban problem,” Murphy said at a Monday press conference in Bergenfield. “It’s a problem that has been building in communities up and down our state and, indeed, across the country.”

Courtesy of Artist

George Garzone, stalwart tenorman and hero of Boston's thriving jazz scene, performs with The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors.

A pair of New Jersey lawmakers are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to make $100 million available so schools can update their water system infrastructure.

“In my mind, this is an emergency. It can’t continue to delay,” said state Sen. President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

Last year, voters approved a ballot initiative that would allow the state to borrow $500 million for schools, with $100 million meant to be doled out to protect students and faculty from lead contamination in the water.

Jean-Marc Lubrano

And a classic throwback from the late pianist Johnny Costa.


Sunday, a play off-Broadway by Jack Thorne, is running at the Atlantic Theater Company.  Theater critic Michael Bourn says while Broadway shows are already opening for the holidays, he's been spending several week mostly OFF-Broadway.

Click above to hear Michael's review of Sunday.

Kehinde Wiley
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Late last month, a new sculpture was unveiled in Times Square. Entitled ”Rumors of War,” the latest work by the African-American artist Kehinde Wiley. is a response to the many monuments honoring Confederate war heroes in Richmond, Virginia.

WBGO's Jon Kalish was on hand for the unveiling and filed this report.

Click above to hear the feature.

Chris Thorn
T. Charles Erickson

Cyrano,  written by Jason O’Connell and Brenda Withers, is an adaptation from the famous play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand.  Cyrano is directed by Meredith McDonough and is a co-production with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

One of the stars of Cyrano, Chris Thorn, has been a part of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in the past. Thorn recently sat down at Two River Theater with WBGO's Doug Doyle to talk about this production, his career and Two River Theater.

New Jersey may become the latest state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, as officials look for ways to curb youth vaping and combat the national outbreak of a mysterious illness related to e-cigarette use.

The ban was one of several recommendations made by a task force Gov. Phil Murphy created three weeks ago to investigate e-cigarette use in the state.

“I want New Jersey to not just react to current events but to use these events to craft thoughtful and solid policies that will protect our residents for years to come,” Murphy said at a press conference Thursday.

Stella K

We know Justin Stanton as one of the original members of Snarky Puppy, a band that thrives in a state of constant collaboration. But this trumpeter and keyboardist considers it important to find moments for himself, looking inward as a composer — as on his debut album, Secret Place.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The city of Newark has taken several major steps in recent weeks towards replacing lead service lines in homes.  Essex County issued a 120-million-dollar bond for the city to speed up the process.  And Mayor Ras Baraka recently announced a lease deal made with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for 155 million dollars to help pay for it.

Baraka says Newark is the only city in New Jersey with a plan to fix every lead service line.

Courtesy of the artist

Over the last decade, Oran Etkin has garnered sizeable acclaim as a clarinetist and composer, for music that few would characterize as child’s play.

Ian Showell / Getty Images

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the North Carolina Arts Council, the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced this week that more than $60,000 has been raised during the North Carolina Year of Music to benefit the rehabilitation and preservation of Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon, N.C.

Look out, Hollywood. Here comes … New Jersey?

Gov. Phil Murphy wants to attract more big-name directors and production companies to shoot films and TV shows in the Garden State.

To do it, Murphy has called on the legislature to expand the state’s film and TV tax credit, which he said is already paying dividends for residents.

Richard Wyands, a pianist whose articulate touch and sensitive phrasing made him a first-tier accompanist over a career spanning 75 years, died on Sept. 25 in New York. He was 91.

A new poll finds that New Jersey residents support cutting down on single-use plastic bags, but they get squeamish at the idea of a complete ban.

The Monmouth University survey found that about two in three residents said they supported a plastic bag ban, but many backed away from that zeal when presented with specifics about how it would impact their shopping habits.