Posts Tagged ‘Theater’


State Theatre presents Free Program for College Students

November 7, 2009

Here at the State Theatre we present a variety of free programs for different ages as part of our mission to better serve and enrich the lives of the surrounding community. We do everything we can to make sure people know about these programs. So, with that said, below is some information from our Education department on a FREE program that we offer to college students. If you are a college student or if you know any, please read or pass this on.

Thank you for supporting the arts!

Kelly Skinner
–Director of Public Relations

Are you a college student? Do you like free food, entertainment, and social networking? Then be sure to check out Scientists Exploring the Arts, a unique program inspired by the relationship between performing arts and science. Although you may be wondering what these two seemingly different disciplines could possibly have in common, there are actually several elements that are essential to both: creativity, innovation, problem solving, teamwork, and process. As a way to celebrate and explore these similarities, the State Theatre has partnered with National Starch, LLC. to bring college students Scientists Exploring the Arts. “National Starch is excited to be co-sponsoring this unique event with the State Theatre. The pre-performance lectures and the shows have been outstanding and have provided a memorable evening for all,” commented Joseph Light, Head of Global Development, Customer Solutions & Product Innovation Groups for National Starch and State Theatre Trustee. “I like to think of it as left brain meets right brain…Who says the arts and sciences can’t work together?!” added State Theatre President & CEO Wes Brustad.

The program is totally FREE and open to college students (both graduate and undergraduate) majoring in the one of the following: food science, molecular gastronomy, nutrition, chemistry, chemical engineering, statistics, environmental science, food sensory evaluation, material science, business (finance, sales), marketing, computer science, and communications. The program includes a ticket to the performance at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, a pre-performance “Exploration” with an arts educator, and a pre-performance dinner, where there will be opportunities for networking with National Starch employees and other students. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so apply early to reserve your spot! Contact Jennifer Cunha at 732-246-7469, ext. 545 or check out to guarantee your space in this incredible program.


The History of the State Theatre – Since 1921

October 1, 2009

As an establishment that has been open since 1921, patrons are enough curious of the history of the State Theatre. As someone who has worked here for 5 years I can very easily rattle off a long detailed (sometimes too many details ) history from 1921 until today because I truly do find it quite interesting. But rather than take my word for it, I have posted the story of the State Theatre below. Happy reading!
–Kelly Skinner, Director of Public Relations

Opening on December 26, 1921 and designed by noted theater architect Thomas W. Lamb to offer both movies and live entertainment, “Reade’s State Theatre” was one of the biggest, most lavish and modern theaters in the region. 

The opening matinee audience, who willingly paid the 20-, 30-, and 50-cent admission, was treated to a live orchestra concert and a tenor rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The first feature presentation was the silent film White Oak, a western melodrama starring stone-faced cowboy hero William S. Hart. Also on the bill were five vaudeville acts, a newsreel, and a nature film. The State was the “class act in town,” with its opulent decor, splendid acoustics, and delightful mix of cinematic and live attractions.

A few years into its operation, the theater’s management was transferred to the B.F. Keith theater chain. Benjamin Franklin Keith and his partner, Edward Franklin Albee, operated the largest string of vaudeville theaters and the largest booking agency for vaudeville acts in the east. Eventually, the business merged with the largest western booking agency, Orpheum, to form Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO). The Radio Corporation of America (RCA), which entered the motion picture business after the advent of sound, acquired KAO in 1928. RCA renamed its new subsidiary Radio-Keith-Orpheum, RKO.

The State Theatre continued to thrive well into the 60s; until eventually audiences started flocking to new multiplex cinemas. In the face of this decline, RKO sold the building to a concern that converted the once-proud State Theatre into a road house that occasionally showed adult movies. It persisted in this state until 1979, when it was purchased by the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DevCo) as part of New Brunswick’s revitalization project. By this time, the State Theatre had suffered a sorry decline, both in appearance and reputation.

In 1986, the New Brunswick Cultural Center acquired the State Theatre from DevCo, and by fall 1987 work was underway to reclaim the building from the ravages of time. Miraculously transformed back into a state-of-the-art showplace for live performances, the State Theatre reopened on April 24, 1988 and set the press and public raving about the hall’s visual and acoustical splendors.

In December of 2003, the theater began an extensive, $3 million restoration/renovation to return the theater as closely as possible to its original appearance while updating its sound and lighting systems to state-of-the-art. Experts from the architectural firm of Ford, Farewell, Mills, and Gatch oversaw the cleaning and repair of the handsome terra cotta exterior. On the inside, artists from Conrad Schmitt of Milwaukee, a century-old firm specializing in historic restorations, researched and physically examined several areas of the theater’s interior to determine the original paint colors, decorative trim style, and other signature details of the Thomas W. Lamb theater. The theater underwent ornamental plaster repair, decorative painting, replacement of house and lobby lighting, and installation of high tech sound and lighting systems. 

For more information on the State Theatre visit


Don’t Stop Believin’ on the Great White Way

July 22, 2009

A guest blog by Marketing & PR Intern Jessica Quinlan

On a recent trip to New York City, I saw the new 80s musical, Rock of Ages. It proved to be an enjoyable and unique experience right from the get go. The theater was packed with a young crowd who grew up in the 70s and 80s – some still clad in their favorite leather jackets and vintage band T-shirts. Before and during the show, the wait staff scurried about the theater selling a variety of beverages to give it that real concert feel. From the moment the curtain rose to the tune of Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” to its close with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” the music, vocals, and special effects were quite impressive.

The fist pumping audience gave the show an energy and atmosphere in itself. The musical’s dialogue and plot were creative in the fact that they managed to tie the lyrics of many popular unrelated 80s bands together into a story of its own. Laughter often erupted minutes before the next song, simply because the dialogue easily predicted the plot and set list to such 80s fans. (For example, when dialogue started with “I can’t fight this feeling any longer” and broke out into REO Speedwagon’s power ballad.)

Set in 1987 California the plot did have some historical basis but this was easily overshadowed by the vivacious personalities of the show’s comedic and loveable characters. Many times throughout the show the cast urged the entire audience to their feet by singing and dancing in the aisles. I found that it didn’t take much to compel this crowd to belt out their favorite songs and relive their “glory days.”

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.


The Urban Arts Festival is Here! What Do We Do Now?

May 22, 2009
So, after months and months of planning, it’s here and it’s tomorrow, Sat, May 23…the State Theatre’s first annual Urban Arts Festival. It’s an all-day (12pm-8pm) outdoor festival and we’ve booked so many acts, it’s unbelievable. Very quickly, this venture into new territory, the urban arts, has gone from “what do we do and how do we do it,” to “what do we do with all these big plans now?”

We have booked 20 plus acts, and scheduled 2 open mic times for local spoken word poets, and all of that must fit into 8 hours…that is going to be some crazy turnaround time for our stage hands. And that is not to mention we have all sorts of other stuff going on at the same time including free workshops, a 25 ft mural project and a hanging “art happening” or art installation, both of which are open to the public for participation. Nevertheless, we are confident in our plans and we just hope that people like what we have put together. We just have to remember, this is the “first annual” Urban Arts Festival, which means you never know…stay tuned (or just stop by!).

For more information on the Urban Arts Festival, visit: 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.


The Appeal of Old Movies – Carnegie Hall

April 30, 2009

While channel surfing the other night I stumbled across an amazing 1947 film on TCM entitled Carnegie Hall. . The movie itself, largely forgettable, (clearly forgotten in fact), centers on a contrived love story set in and around the famed concert hall. I was initially drawn in by the obviously authentic location shooting, interiors and many exterior shots of that neighborhood in which I used to work. Most remarkable though were the cameo appearances of many 20th century classical music titans: Jascha Heifetz, Artur Rubinstein, Lily Pons, Leopold Stokowski, and Jan Peerce just to name a few. Some overacted in the roles of themselves as eccentric artists, but most simply performed; long, extended, non-sound bite, montage free performances. How much has changed in 60 years. That a movie like this could get made, that a small constellation of classical music stars familiar to the general public even existed, and that their simple one or two stationary camera performances could be considered visually engaging is touchstone of aesthetics long gone. I won’t lament too much though. No doubt the appeal, for better or worse, of many performers who routinely take the stage here will astound the audiences of 2069.


-Andrew Fishman, Director of Programming

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.


Cedar Lake Touching Performance

April 29, 2009
As a Rutgers student currently enrolled in Modern dance, it was highly recommended that I see Cedar Lake perform their contemporary Ballet pieces this past Friday at the State Theatre. Having been familar with this particular genre in dance, I was the upmost impressed and blown away after this performance. In my opinion, never has a dance company make such connections through real-life emotions and present the uncut truth of it to an audience with such grace. Completely, taken aback by a mind-blowing performance, I am proud to say I was one of the many in the audience who gave the performers a standing ovation.

The show had three seperate pieces that each symbolized human life at its most truthful element. There was the first, that dealt with issues of relationships-displaying a variety of differnent and individual dynamics each relationship had. What also was an apparent theme was the fact there were outsiders watching, passing judgements. To represent the “passing of judgments” they had the onlookers walking across the stage whispering or making gossiping-like sounds, literally “passing” by the couple that was having issues. Also, interesting to note, the only couple on stage to dance as if they were happily “dancing through life” without a care, had their gossipers walk away, because it was no longer something dramatic to talk about; two people just being happy and content with each other.

This type of truthfulness exsisted within the other two pieces, although more abrstract from the first. The second was only two women, one of which was in a trance or sleep-like state, and the other was darkness, and represented the seduction and control it has over one’s sleeping body. The dance itself was one with at times with a nightmarish feel to it, which gave an overall erie feeling. Different, this dance led into the final act with got possibly darker with emotions, and yet a sense of relief of a common feeling among us all that we share.

With the final act, there was also a feeling a eeriness and a dream like state, but what the piece seemed to represent is shared fears among the human population. The dances not only had strong movements with their bodies, but played the parts of the characters and the fears each one was facing.

All represented through movements of the body, and the old rule of Ballet with now less restrictions, Cedar Lake did a fabulous job at crafting the natural human reactions.

–Ashley Petersen, 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

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.


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

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.


Can You Spell R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T and I-N-T-E-R-A-C-T-I-V-E Musical?

April 15, 2009

As an avid fan of musicals I’ve seen my fair share, and I’ve come to one conclusion. Musicals have changed. A lot. The topics have changed, the music has changed, the characters have changed, the relevance of musicals has changed, and even the audience has changed. Think of all the musicals you know that have recently been produced. They don’t all fit into one category.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is by far one example of those mold breaking musicals. For starters, when was the last time you heard of a musical based on a spelling bee? Aside from the quirky topic, this musical is relevant. Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, the youngest and most politically aware of all the spellers, wears an Obama pin on her shirt. I’m sure she was devastated when it was announced at an Illinois show that former Governor Blagojevich would not be able to attend the Spelling Bee due to his impeachment. It’s these little extra touches that make this musical so intriguing, and entertaining to watch, and prevents Spelling Bee from aging. The musical moves forward with time.

Not only is Spelling Bee relevant, but it also interactive. Each performance, a handful of audience members are selected (on a purely voluntary basis) to come up and spell in the Spelling Bee. Audience members who want to sign up are given the chance to do so 30 minutes before the performance, and spellers are selected from that group. As a student speller, you will be on stage for as long as you can spell correctly, just like in a real spelling bee! I’ve never seen a musical where audience members are asked to come on stage and interact with the cast. This concept is so unique and will be a great time, for both audience members and guest spellers.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is definitely a musical I am looking forward to seeing. It’s great to see that this musical continues the tradition of breaking out from the musical stereotype of over the top choreography and singing. Hope to see you all there, and maybe you’ll see me on stage as a guest speller!

–Jennifer Luzes, 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

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.


Twitter and the Arts, perfect together

April 3, 2009

Last minute changes to the program, new discounts, added shows, these are all things that happen on a daily basis in the theater business. So, how do you go about giving people the 411 as soon as possible? Snail mail? Forget it, 2-3 days later is way too long. E-blast? What if you need to tell someone something that they need to know before the end of the day? The answer, Twitter.

Twitter is quickly becoming the best way to communicate with constant updates and instant feedback to questions. Plus it lets people know that you are around and when you are around, which makes the theater an approachable and accessible place. It’s a connection that isn’t made with an email announcement, people can’t ask an email questions, but they can ask the person tweeting. The State Theatre has only had an account for a couple of months, but it’s already proving to be worth the time and effort and it’s only going to get better. Go Twitter.

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.


An Urban Arts Festival for New Brunswick, New Jersey

March 27, 2009
For years now, we at the State Theatre have been trying to put together an Urban Arts Festival, a celebrated community experience of music, dance, poetry, and art. And now with the support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, our dreams have come true and the date is set for Saturday, May 23. Now if we can only figure out what exactly what we want to do….

The city of New Brunswick is a diverse city, so planning for the festival (which will be free of charge) has been harder than we could ever imagine. We are currently in the process of booking local acts for an outside stage that will be open on the street in front of the State Theatre from 12:30pm to about 6pm. As you can imagine, there is a lot of work to be done in just under 2 months (and that’s not to mention the evening performances on the State Theatre stage and the day-time workshops we want to do). There are TOO MANY options (and time is running out) and how often can you say that in times like these?! I guess what it comes down to is that we are very thankful for this opportunity, and we want it to be the best it can be, so our emotions and expectations are running high. And for lack of a better phrase, THE HEAT IS ON!

Performers scheduled for the Urban Arts Festival so far include Mayhem Poets and performance poet Glenis Redmond. If you are a solo performer or part of a group that would like to perform at the Urban Arts Festival, contact Andrew Fishman: No phone calls, please.

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.