Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey arts’


ONE SINGULAR SENSATION — Come see A Chorus Line!

February 24, 2011

By: Katie Stoppiello, Marketing and PR Intern

Desperate for a job, wondering if you’ll make the cut, hoping for a chance, dreaming for a future… We’ve all been there. It’s the reason why A Chorus Line is a timeless classic. Winner of 9 Tony ® Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and the fourth longest running Broadway show, A Chorus Line tells the stories of 17 dancers hoping to be cast in the newest Broadway production. They open up about their dreams, their life, and the decisions they made to get where they are. A Chorus Line is not your typical musical. It is more than just song and dance or smoke and mirrors; it’s based on the true stories of real dancers.

The musical was formed from several taped workshop sessions with Broadway dancers, known as “gypsies,” including eight who eventually appeared in the original cast. The two dancers running the sessions hoped that they would form a professional dance company to make workshops for Broadway dancers. Instead, their workshops quickly developed into one of the most well known musicals of all time. With book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and music by Marvin Hamlisch, A Chorus Line has been playing around the world for the last three decades.
A Chorus Line, will be presented ONE NIGHT ONLY, on Thursday, March 10th at the State Theatre. Visit for more information.


July 26, 2010

We recently announced a new Executive Committee, two new Trustees, as well as the appointment of an Interim Chief Operating Officer.

The new Executive Committee elected at the June annual meeting of the Board of Trustees includes Warren R. Zimmerman, Chairman; Efrem B. Dlugacz, Vice Chairman; Douglas M. Garback, Secretary; and Frederick P. Pierce, Treasurer.

We are also happy to announce the addition of two new Trustees, Susan Podlogar, Worldwide VP Compensation Resources & Productivity at Johnson & Johnson, and a resident of New Brunswick; and Raj Singh, Managing Director and Head of the Recapitalization & Restructuring Investment Banking Group for Raymond James and Associates from New York City.

“It is truly my pleasure to serve as the new Chairman of this great historic State Theatre,” recently stated Zimmerman. “I am committed to the patrons, staff, and the Board of Trustees in providing the leadership and support to continue to build the best theatre we can. With our strong capable staff and committed Board of Trustees, I have no doubt we will continue to maintain and improve the level of quality and service our patrons deserve. I am excited about the future of the State Theatre and I look forward to seeing everyone there!”

As our search for a new State Theatre President & CEO continues, following the June retirement of former President & CEO Wes Brustad, we have announced that Marion Combs, Senior Vice President for Development, will assume responsibility as Interim Chief Operating Officer. Combs will act as Interim COO until a successor for Brustad is hired later in the fall.

“The State Theatre staff is really excited about our upcoming 2010-2011 lineup of performances and festivals! We’ve got something for everybody, including great performing arts experiences for school children. Working with the Board of Trustees and its dynamic leadership team, we will continue to focus on artistic excellence and financial stability,” commented Marion Combs.

Chairman Warren R. Zimmerman, a resident of Piscataway, is an AVP in Information Technology at Chubb & Son. Vice Chairman Efrem B. Dlugacz of Princeton is Vice President of Worldwide Benefits for Johnson & Johnson; Secretary Douglas M. Garback, a resident of North Brunswick, is the owner/premiere agent of The Garback Agency; and Treasurer Frederick P. Pierce, a resident of Basking Ridge, is a Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

The continuing Board members are Ann H. Asbaty of Randolph; Sam Boraie of New Brunswick; Elizabeth Hance of New Brunswick; Bill Herman of Clifton; Patricia Howard of Manalapan; Joe Light of Somerset; Andrew J. Markey of Basking Ridge; Sherard Murphy of Piscataway; and Robin Suydam of Somerset.


Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet – The Group to Watch

March 24, 2010

In the entertainment business, you see this tag line very enough: “A don’t-miss event” or “an event not to be missed,” etc. And since we see it so often, we become numb to it. Now, I’ll admit, we still use the line from time to time but only when WE (as in the staff) feel strongly about it. For example, in the case of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. We have had Cedar Lake here every year for 5 years and WE (the staff) just can’t seem to get enough of them (and neither can many of our patrons). Each year, they come with a new piece or program that just wows us. The dancers for Cedar Lake are amazing. They can handle both the choreographed pieces and the pieces that involve some improv with the same ease. And there is something about these dancers that sticks into your brain. I have seen hundreds of dancers come through this theater and yet, I could spot a Cedar Lake dancer out of a crowd if you asked me to. I don’t know what it is, I guess they have that “Je ne sais quoi” thing going for them. But, really, if you love dance, you HAVE to them. And if you have never seen a dance performance, this is the group to see. Check them out online at:

—Kelly Skinner, Director of Public Relations


Follow the Bee!

April 23, 2009

Inspired by the Peeps contests from and the Washington Post we decided here at the State Theatre to do our own twist of a Peeps scene, using The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as our inspiration. State Theatre Marketing/PR interns worked hard on the model, only using Peeps (88 cents per box at Rite Aid!) and supplies found in the office. Now, the Spelling Bee Peeps are set up for 14 days of mischief. They have already started to hit the road, encountering various people and places like Best Buy (with the Geek Squad), the Philadelphia Orchestra (well, sort of, the orchestra was actually out to lunch while they enjoyed a seat on the podium), Officer Dave (yes a real police officer), and all around downtown New Brunswick. And just a few days after being created, the Peeps have already met their first celebrity, comedian Brian Regan!

The Peeps are looking forward to their next exciting journey, wherever it may be. They will be showing up unannounced at random locations in NJ, so keep your eye out and Follow the Bee in order for your chance to win free tickets to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on May 1-2, 2009 here at the State Theatre!

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit

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Rutgers to break Guinness World Record of most Waldos in one place!

March 24, 2009

In any other case, seeing over 1500 people dressed up as Waldo from the book series “Where’s Waldo?” would probably frighten you. If you are a child of the 90’s you probably remember Waldo as the tall, lanky, guy that always seemed to be lost amidst a crowd of people/objects that looked like his red and white striped shirt at first glance. On April 2, 2009 Rutgers University is attempting to break the Guinness World Record of the largest gathering of people dressed up as Waldo. I know what you’re thinking, “THAT’S a world record?” You would be surprised to find out what other bizzarre world records there are out there (actually, last April, Rutgers students broke the world record for the most people dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

This year’s record breaking attempt will take place at the State Theatre, with an entry fee of $5 or a new children’s book. All books and proceeds will benefit literacy efforts for the students of the New Brunswick School District. So, not only will you be able to be a part of breaking a really unique world record, you will also be helping out the kids that live in the local community. We are living in a time where books are becoming a more and more obsolete source of entertainment for children. It is nice to know that there are still events like this that are fighting for books to remain a part of childhood. So, if you grew up in the 90’s looking for Waldo, want to break a world record, or just want to benefit a good cause, put on your Waldo gear and stop by the theater.

–Teisia Park, Marketing/PR Intern

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit

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Mom and Dad, please put down that video camera!

March 18, 2009

Live performances — theater, music, whatever, there is nothing like it. Sharing the experience with your family, priceless. You buy the tickets, refreshments, some quirky show merchandise, and sit to enjoy the show. But there’s one problem, there is a square box of brightness distracting you (and blinding you) from a few rows up. Someone in front of you is filming every second of the show …Argh! You sit and bear it, but a few minutes later a few more bright little screens pop up…cameras, phones, etc.

This is exactly what happened at our recent performances of Dora the Explorer Live. One parent would see another parent filming the show and so THEY would start filming the show. Our ushers would politely ask them to stop filming, but some people would intially refuse stating “Well that person is taping, why don’t you stop them.” Yikes! What to do, what to do…

Well, the filming of live performances at a performaning arts center like ourselves, is not allowed anywhere, at any time. However, saying that to patrons, is a difficult task. So, I just want to say think before you try to sneak a few pictures or video footage because it ruins it for everyone, plus you know you are never going to watch the footage more than once. Why spoil the moment by trying to recapture it for later? You are at the performance right now, so sit back and take it all in. You might just miss the most amazing moment because you are trying too hard to hide the fact that you are taking pictures or taping.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit

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What will you be spending money on three months from now?

March 9, 2009

What will you be spending money on three months from now? How about six months, or even a year down the road? Will you pop for those $75 tickets to see one of your favorite performances in concert, or dinner and a Broadway show? Will I? Chances are neither one of us know answers to these questions. We are currently in the thick of programming our schedule for the 2009-2010 season, which entails booking shows, setting ticket prices etc. for events as far away as May 2010. Normally we can predict with a fair degree of accuracy of what the market will bear, but “normally” has gone out the window. The good news is, that in spite of the uncertainty, we forge ahead. Will we make concessions and adjustments based on the economy, of course, but compare next season to this one, and all that have come before, and you will see the same broad variety of quality shows that the Theatre is known for. We all know what predictions are worth these days, but here’s one thing for certain, three months, six months or a year from now, we’ll be here. Hope you will be too.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit

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State Theatre’s Third Annual Family Day

February 20, 2009

Every year the State Theatre hosts Family Day on Presidents’ Day, a nonstop schedule of both free and paid activites at the State Theatre , George Street Playhouse, Crossroads Theatre, Uniter Methodist Church, and the Hub City Big Top. Each time Family Day gets bigger and bigger and this year was no exception. There were ten workshops, five performances at the State Theatre and Crossroads Theatre, and free sing-a-longs and story telling all day long at United Methodist Church. The size was not limited to just the events, but also to the size of the Hub City Big Top, a 30×75 foot heated tent that shuts down Livingston Avenue from George Street to New Street, when last year’s was only 20×50 feet.

Live characters from popular children shows filled the street, while volunteers from the community, like Rutgers University, ran a variety of free activity stations. Our most popular station was face painting where kids could get colorful penguins, flowers, Hello Kitties, and Elmos on their cheeks. A close second was balloon animals where kids could choose from a dog, elephant, mouse, horse, monkey, snail, sword, hat, or bunny.

The bunny was clearly the most popular balloon animal of the day. Once the children saw Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny they all wanted one of their own. These two performances were the main attraction of Family Day.

So after all was said and done, and the last cheek was painted and the last balloon was handed out, kids and parents alike went home with lifted spirits and smiling faces. It is those faces that make us want to continue this tradition for years to come.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit

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A New Guild to Bring Together the Community

February 13, 2009

This past Monday, the State Theatre held the first official event for its brand new gild, The Rising Stars. The sold-out event brought together 80 women for a special dinner before a lecture by one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, Goldie Hawn.  

The Rising Star is a new program that was started up to bring together people who can help us to educate and enlighten the community about the State Theatre and its programs and encourage involvement in all age groups. It was a wonderful kick-off event (even if Goldie didn’t stop by), as this was the first of five special dinners between now and June 1.  

And this is just the beginning, as plans for the future Rising Stars community events are in the works.  

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit

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Report from the Children’s Theatre Showcase: Cleveland Rocks (But Sometimes It Doesn’t)

January 30, 2009

Last week in Cleveland I attended the IPAY Showcase of theater for young audiences. I got to see full-length performances of music, dance, drama, and physical theater from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Scotland, Denmark, and Israel. In all, I saw 14 shows in 4 days. Seeing the full-length performances was extremely valuable in helping to decide which shows we want to book for the State Theatre and (just as important) which ones NOT to book. As I’ve indicated in a previous post, you have to sit through a lot of mediocre/bad children’s theater in order to discover the real treasures. This year’s IPAY Showcase was no exception. 

Unfortunately, there were two productions—one from Australia and the other from the Republic of Congo—that were not allowed to perform at Showcase due to the U.S. Immigration Department’s refusal to grant them a work visa. I’ve seen the Australian show on DVD and it was so fantastic we will probably book it anyway if it ever tours to the U.S. 

My favorite performance at Showcase was The Man Who Planted Trees, from Scotland. The two actor/puppeteers have created a brilliant adaptation of Jean Giono’s short story about a French shepherd who devotes his life to transforming a barren wasteland into a fertile paradise by planting thousands and thousands of trees. The production is exactly what I look for in a show for young audiences. First and foremost, it’s an imaginative piece of theater, expertly performed. Yes, there’s an important message about caring for the environment, but it’s seamlessly integrated into the storytelling; the audience is never made to feel as if we’re sitting in a classroom instead of a theater. The star of the show is a dog puppet who was perhaps the funniest, cutest, and most talented performer in the entire showcase. 

The Man Who Planted Trees ended up winning the Showcase Audience Choice Award. This is a pretty big honor since the voters are all theater professionals. We’ve been trying to bring the show to New Brunswick ever since my boss, Wes Brustad, saw it at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland a couple of years ago. I’m thrilled to report that it will be on our 2009-10 season! 

Besides seeing lots and lots of showcases, I also attended sessions addressing important issues in the field of performing arts for young people. Particularly relevant to me was a conversation about the changing role of education directors at performing arts centers; many of us are seeing our jobs evolve beyond programming performances for schools to becoming an instrument for community outreach and engagement. We didn’t arrive at any earth-shaking solutions, but it was helpful to hear that many of my colleagues are grappling with the same concerns as I am. 

 —Lian Farrer, Vice President for Education

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.