(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) – New Jersey State Theater will reopen with a ribbon cutting and marquee lighting event on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. This free event will take place after a year of major renovations to the historic State Theater, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in December. The State Theater’s first live performance in the newly renovated theater is the musical Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville Friday October 8. The show will run all weekend.
“We are delighted to welcome clients back to our newly renovated theater, just in time for our 100th anniversary,” said Sarah K. Chaplin, President and CEO of State Theater New Jersey. “These renovations have helped ensure accessibility throughout the theater, preserve our rich history and continue to serve the community as a cutting-edge cultural venue for many years to come. We look forward to bringing the power of the performing arts back to our beautiful historic hall. “
The ribbon cutting and marquee lighting will take place outside, in front of the State Theater, from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Guest speakers for the ribbon cutting event include State Theater President and CEO Sarah K. Chaplin; Middlesex County Commissioners Council Director Ronald G. Rios; the mayor of New Brunswick, James M. Cahill; and Chairman of the State Theater Board of Trustees John S. Fitzgerald.
After marquee lighting, the State Theater will be open to the public for self-guided tours from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Free soft drinks and popcorn will be provided at 6:00 p.m., and commemorative State Theater memorabilia will be distributed. In addition, DJ Larry Sargent will be live outside the theater and provide festive music during the event.
“Since opening its doors as Reade’s State Theater in December 1921, the State Theater New Jersey has continued to evolve and has established itself as an integral part of the arts and culture community of County of New Jersey. Middlesex, ”said Ronald G. Rios, director of the Middlesex County Commissioners Council. “The county is proud to have provided financial support for the much needed renovations to the State Theater. These updates have significantly improved accessibility for all users. On behalf of the entire County Commissioners Council, I offer my congratulations as the theater once again welcomes patrons to enjoy live performances once again. ”
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These major renovations were made possible by Middlesex County, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and hundreds of generous donors who supported the Next Stage Campaign, the State Theater’s largest fundraising campaign in its history, starting in 2017. Major plans for this renovation were guided. through three major initiatives: accessibility and safety; the experience of the audience and the artist; and operational efficiency.
“STNJ is part of an active and dynamic artistic community in New Brunswick. Although the theater underwent a series of additions and renovations during its 100-year lifespan, most recently in 1988, further improvements were needed to bring the theater up to contemporary standards for performance and comfort and customer access, ”said Tom Gallagher, DLR Group Director. , AIA. “Like other cinemas across the country, STNJ was forced to close in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic. STNJ’s management team took advantage of this dark period to implement the DLR Group’s design solution for an enhanced guest and performer experience upon reopening and to ensure its historic significance in central New Jersey for a second century. ”
Renovations include all-new plush theater seats; updated halls with new carpets, paint and lighting; a renovated studio space; accessible toilets with contactless technology as well as three additional family toilets; a larger donor lounge; a new state-of-the-art HVAC system; a 31’x 6’8 ”louvered marquee sign that connects STNJ to its art deco roots; and a motorized stage rigging system, replacing the sandbag system, which increases the capacity of the line set by 450 lbs. to 1200 pounds. One of the most important pieces of this renovation is the increased accessibility of the theater, which includes the installation of an elevator, more accessible seating and accompanying seats, as well as an additional accessible toilet on both floors.
New Jersey State Theater was originally built as a silent film and vaudeville palace, the historic State Theater was featured in the PBS documentary series, Treasures of New Jersey, Fall 2018. “Treasures of New Jersey: State Theater New Jersey” can be streamed on STNJ.org/History. Today, the State Theater is the largest performing arts center in central New Jersey and has welcomed more than six million people since it reopened as a non-profit performing arts center in 1988. The State Theater New Jersey is the cornerstone of Middlesex’s cultural vitality. county and has on average a total economic impact on New Brunswick and its surroundings of more than $ 18 million per year. Main stage programs featured top performers such as Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Kevin Hart, Ringo Starr, Melissa Etheridge, John Leguizamo, Harry Connick, Jr., Diana Krall and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Program offerings include Broadway, Orchestra, Family, Dance, Comedy, Rock / Pop, Jazz, School Performances, and Sensory Performances.
The State Theater New Jersey programs are made possible by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Grant funding was provided by the Middlesex County Council of Commissioners through a grant from the Middlesex County Culture and Arts Trust Fund.