The arts are alive and well in Essex County this weekend. The local high schools are each presenting their spring productions, including The Wiz, Seussical, West Side Story and Don’t Drink the Water. SOPAC brings back Jazz in the Loft, and has Agatha Christie. Learn about Maplewood’s connection to Nancy Drew. The younger set may enjoy the Girl Scouts’ Sweetheart Dance, or the West Orange Library’s Disney film. Read on for the details of these events and others, and feel free to add your own suggestions for weekend fun in the Comments section. Enjoy!
Join Dorothy and her friends as they “groove on down the road” to visit the Wiz. An urbanized re-telling of the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wiz brings a Harlem schoolteacher to Oz, where she meets a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion, and learns about the power of home. $15 at the door; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.;West Orange
Thel stage will be alive with Dr. Seuss characters in Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Seussical the Musical, presented by Lancer Theater. Adults will have as much fun as the children, if not more! $15; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Livingston
The Limelight Players will present their spring production Don't Drink the Water, a two-act comedy by Woody Allen. There are no musical numbers in this play, directed by Paul Weinstein and produced by Arvin Arjona. The show will run in under two hours, with one intermission. $10 at the door; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Millburn
The Sharks and the Jets will battle it out on the stage atl in this classic adaption of the Romeo and Juliet story. The musical staff and students will sing and dance through music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (his first musical!) and choreography by Jerome Robbins. $15 at the door; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.; Maplewood
Jazz in the Loft is an informal, casual and fun jazz series at SOPAC. On Sunday, bassist John Lee, a South Orange resident, will lead an all-star lineup of local musicians for an evening of modern jazz. Lee also serves as the executive director of the Dizzy Gillespie™ All-Stars and All-Stars Big Band with whom he performs regularly. $15 admission, no drink minimum; Sunday at 5 p.m.; South Orange
’s resident theatre company, , presents The Unexpected Guest, Agatha Christie’s story of a stranger with car trouble arriving at a house where he finds a woman holding a gun over the dead body of her husband. But did she really do it? A real treat for murder mystery fans. $16 Adults, $13 Student/Senior; Friday and Saturday 8 p.m.; Maplewood
Did you know that Harriet Adams, daughter of Edward Stratemayer, the creator of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys classic book series, lived in Maplewood for more than 60 years? Learn about Harriet’s involvement with the writing and editing of the over 200 Nancy Drew books, and other interesting facts tying Maplewood to these famous works at the Durand-Hedden House. Cover art created in the 1980’s and 1990’s by local artist Tricia Zimic for the updated The Nancy Drew Files will also be on view. Free; Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Maplewood
The Girl Scouts of Millburn and Short Hills are hosting their annual Sweetheart Dance, for girls and their dads (or other adult escort) at the Crystal Plaza. Girls do not need to be involved with Scouting to attend, but they must be in kindergarten through 5th grade. Enjoy an exciting dress-up evening with your sweetheart! $75 per couple; Sunday at 3 p.m.; Livingston
The is offering a free screening of Disney’s Ponyo, a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. Ponyo is a story of a 5-year old boy and a goldfish princess, with humor and adventure appropriate for all ages. The all-star voice cast includes Betty White, Liam Neeson, Tina Fey, Lily Tomlin, Cate Blanchett, and more. Bonus: At 1 p.m. the library is offering a free Origami craft for ages 5 to 10. Registration is not necessary for either event. Free; Saturday at 2 p.m.; West Orange
will honor 2012 Women’s Day with a free screening of a film on the life of the late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, followed by a Q&A led by special guest Nazgul Williams, from Pakistan. The public is invited to attend this evening, and also a special Women's Day Worship Celebration on Sunday morning at 10 a.m., which will feature guest speaker Mrs. Saroj Welch, former Missionary in India. Free; Friday at 7 p.m.; South Orange.