By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The familiar sight of a man using a long pole to change the names of the acts on the Count Basie Theatre marquee will soon be a memory.
The Red Bank venue, which recently earned historic landmark status, is heading into what CEO Numa Saisselin calls the “Let’s Face It” phase of a multimillion dollar, multiyear renovation project.
It starts with an updated marquee and will finish with a new facade, one that will nod to the building’s past, he says.
An architect’s drawing shows how the new marquee and facade will look. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
The borough zoning board last night gave approval for the theater to bring its classic marquee into the 21st century by replacing it with one that includes two light-emitting-diode (LED) boards to display upcoming shows.
Purists need not be alarmed, Saisselin says. The neon “Count Basie Theatre” portions now positioned along the top edge of the marquee will be part of of the new one, he syas, and the overall design will be unchanged.
“It’s going to look like it does right now, only better,” he says.
Of course, that will cut out the frequent task of manually changing the letters on the marquee. But there will be plenty of work to be done in the coming months.
Edward Mislavsky, a building contractor, said the face of the building is getting a makeover that will include new windows, rehabbed storefronts and more exposed brick, which is now covered over. In addition, awnings above the marquee will get dumped. That project has been approved for a while now, Mislavsky told redbankgreen.
Basie officials anticipate the $2 million project to be completed by September. The theater will remain open throughout, Saisselin says.
Once this phase is done, there will be a more steps taken to get the theater up to the level of glitz officials envision. The air conditioning system, box office, bathrooms, lobby and stage are all slated to get their fair share of work done to them in the years ahead, Saisselin says.