Northeast’s premier venue for musical, dance and theatrical performances celebrates opening night.
New Brunswick, NJ – The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) marked the opening of the world-class performing arts center in an event on Wednesday evening. The highly anticipated opening of the $172 million, state-of-the-art performing arts center officially raised its curtain in a star-studded evening with members of New Jersey’s cultural arts, academic and governmental community. The new performing arts center will transform New Brunswick’s downtown cultural arts district, setting a new standard for performing arts excellence throughout the Northeast.
“The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center will bring even more patrons to the city to enjoy our cultural and entertainment offerings, dine at our top-rated restaurants, and enjoy our hospitality and nightlife, all while generating revenue to keep our mission of community revitalization moving forward,” said New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill. “All of our world-class performing arts entities will continue to thrive, reinforcing both the city’s and county’s standing as the premier cultural district in New Jersey.”
Mayor Cahill kicked off the evening festivities with a ceremony in the main lobby where he toasted the performing arts center’s official opening. Over 450 guests filled the Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater where NBPAC Member Companies delivered dazzling performances and revealed highlights about the center’s exciting inaugural season.
“NBPAC is a state-of-the-art performing arts center that is certain to be hailed as the Northeast’s premier venue for musical, dance and theatrical performing arts,” said Christopher J. Paladino, President of Devco. “Tonight’s opening marks the start of a new era for New Brunswick’s Downtown Cultural Arts District, and Devco is thrilled to be a part of it.”
NBPAC features two state-of-the-art, proscenium-style theaters and five rehearsal studios. The Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater, which seats 463, has an 86-foot stage, a 75-foot fly tower and a trap system, and an orchestra pit that accommodates 60 to 70 musicians. The Arthur Laurents Theater, designed primarily for theatrical performances and smaller dancer performances, seats 252 and features a 60-foot stage and contemporary grid system for lighting and sound. The performing arts center offers a spacious lobby, donor lounge, expanded restroom facilities and barrier free access to all levels.
“The opening of NBPAC is the culmination of a phenomenal partnership with the City of New Brunswick and the arts community that provides an outstanding opportunity for our Mason Gross students to perfect and showcase their skills and artistry in a state-of-the-art venue,” said Rutgers University President Robert Barchi.
NBPAC’s inaugural season debuts this evening, Thursday, September 5, 2019, with Crossroads Theatre Company’s Paul Robeson. The performing arts center is offering a critically-acclaimed and diverse program of show-stopping theatrical experiences designed to captivate and entertain audiences. NBPAC’s Member Companies are among the region’s most diverse, award-winning and multi-talented musical, dance and theatrical performing arts groups. Member Companies include the George Street Playhouse, Crossroads Theatre Company, American Repertory Ballet and Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University.
In addition to the new performing arts center, the 450,000-square-foot, 23-story initiative, features 207 residential rental apartments, including both market rate and affordable luxury apartment units. NBPAC partnered with The Actors Fund to market the affordable units to graphic artists, actors, musicians, dancers and theater support personnel. Located above the theater complex is 30,000 feet of office space for arts organizations and potential private sector groups. There is also a 344-space public parking garage to accommodate residents, staff and theater patrons.
“The City of New Brunswick has been the right place for a venue of this caliber for decades. With over 1 million people in the New Brunswick area seeking a diverse arts environment – NBPAC is certain to transform the region’s cultural arts landscape for the next generation,” added Paladino. “This building symbolizes the next step in the revitalization of New Brunswick, further distinguishing it as one of America’s great cities.”
NBPAC is a public-private partnership among Devco, the City of New Brunswick, Rutgers University, Middlesex County, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Brunswick Cultural Center, Pennrose, LLC, and New Brunswick Parking Authority, along with 11 other groups. With an investment of $172 million, the public-private endeavor is one of the most significant urban development initiatives in New Jersey.
NBPAC is available to rent for a variety of events and occasions and features rental space for performances, corporate meetings, social events, weddings, galas and fundraisers. There are three large event spaces available for rental for pre- and post-show receptions and events. NBPAC features fully-compliant ADA facilities, a highly-trained staff that can stage events and productions with ease and the highest level of professionalism.
NBPAC is located at 11 Livingston Avenue adjacent to the elegant Heldrich Hotel and within easy walking distance of New Brunswick’s most popular and highly-reviewed restaurants. It can be easily reached by train or car, with valet parking available at The Heldrich Hotel and self-parking at the Bayard Street Parking Garage.
For a complete lineup of performance, rental information, sign up for NBPAC’s free newsletter or purchase tickets, please call the Box Office at 732.249.2220 or visit NBPAC.org.
NBPAC MEMBER COMPANIES ON WORLD-CLASS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center Member Companies are among the region’s most diverse, critically-acclaimed and multi-talented musical, dance and theatrical performing arts groups.
“This new performing arts center is a long-awaited dream come true! We shall now have a first-class, state-of-the-art facility in which to perform and welcome future generations of Arts patrons to New Brunswick!”
* – David Saint, Artistic Director, George Street Playhouse
“We are excited about the opening of Crossroads Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 season as a Member Company of NBPAC. We are delighted to help usher in a new era of arts, culture and business in our city and we look forward to continuing to be the connection between people, cultures, places, ideas and conversations.”
* – Anthony P. Carter, President of Crossroads Board of Trustees
“Having a home theater at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center enables us to provide dancers and audiences with more performances, while increasing the diversity of the programming and community engagement. We are proud to be a Founding Resident Company alongside our fellow arts organizations that will make this incredible new facility our home.”
* – Julie Diana Hench, Executive Director, American Repertory Ballet
“Rutgers has been rooted in the city for more than 250 years. This partnership is an extension of our commitment to nurturing the arts in New Brunswick. We have nearly 1,200 young artists on campus. NBPAC presents an opportunity for us to bring a slate of enjoyable and thought-provoking performances and films to a wider audience. We expect that this will provoke dynamic creative exchanges between our theater artists, musicians, dancers, and production designers and a range of new collaborators.”
* – Gerry Beegan, Interim Dean of Mason Gross School of the Arts
American Repertory Ballet.jpg: American Repertory Ballet dancers perform Wednesday evening at the opening night celebration of New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.
Crossroads Theatre Company.jpg: Veteran Broadway performer Nathaniel Stampley showcased an excerpt from Crossroads Theatre Company’s Paul Robeson.
George Street Playhouse.jpg: Broadway stars Bobby Conte Thornton (on left) and Julian Lerner (on right) performed an excerpt from the new musical, Last Days of Summer, which opens George Street Playhouse’s inaugural season in October.
Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University.jpg: Artists from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Arts perform in the Elizabeth Ross Johnson theater for the opening night celebration of NBPAC.
NBPAC Management Team.jpg: The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center management team (from left to right) production coordinator Christopher J. Bailey; director of operations Mark Sharp; executive director Merissa Buczny; and house manager Elyse Washington.
About New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco)
New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco) is a private, nonprofit urban real estate development organization created in the mid-1970’s to initiate redevelopment projects and to serve as the vehicle for public and private economic development investment in the City of New Brunswick, the State of New Jersey and other New Jersey communities.
Fostering public-private partnerships and uniting the interests of New Brunswick, the State of New Jersey and corporate and institutional leadership are key to Devco’s success. Leveraging private, public, state, federal and local resources allows Devco to create high impact redevelopment projects.
Devco accomplishes its mission through the development of mixed-use projects seeking critical mass to address significant public policy challenges. With each redevelopment effort conceived, implemented, or even rejected, Devco has achieved extraordinary success in reclaiming a quality urban lifestyle and setting a tempo that is characteristic of many of America’s great cities. To learn more please visit devco.org.