Middletown’s own local guy made good, musician-actor-producer-activist Steven Van Zandt, is pictured outside the Count Basie Theatre in a 2008 file photo. Van Zandt, his wife Maureen and five other area residents were named as the newest members of the Basie’s boards of trustees and directors. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Entertainers Maureen and Steven Van Zandt are among seven area residents who have been elected as the newest members of the boards of trustees and directors for the Count Basie Theatre. The couple, who were previously named recipients of the Basie’s inaugural Vanguard Awards, join a roster of new board members that also includes Kainos Capital partner Sarah Bradley, marketing professional Robert Chandler, Grunin Foundation director Jeremy Grunin, River Capital Group chairman Mario Monello, and Meadowbrook Industries owner-president Peter T. Roselle.
For Steven, it’s the latest manifestation of a long association with the historic venue, where he performed (back in its days as the Carlton Theatre) a now-legendary 1977 concert in which he subbed for an ailing Southside Johnny as frontman of the Asbury Jukes, the Stone Pony house band that he co-founded in the early days of that Shore circuit landmark.
The longtime Springsteen lieutenant, bandleader, songwriter, actor (The Sopranos, Lillyhammer), human rights activist, radio personality and producer — whose latest project is a well-received new album from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love — teamed with the Boss and fellow E Streeters for a 2008 benefit show at the Basie, and joined Maureen in helping coordinate a recent performance by Rockit for Kids, the Basie’s in-house “school of rock program,” in conjunction with the 2014 Vanguard Awards ceremony.
In a press release issued by the nonprofit Count Basie Theatre, Maureen Van Zandt stated, “Steven and I are proud and honored to join the Count Basie Theatre’s Board of Directors and to support the wonderful and important work they do to keep the performing arts alive.”
“This is a very exciting time for the Count Basie Theatre,” remarked Tom Widener, chairman of the theatre’s Board of Trustees and Directors. “We are delighted to welcome this outstanding group of people to the Basie boards, and are confident that they will have a very positive impact on the Basie, and the communities that we work hard to serve.”
“Our Board of Trustees is dedicated to making the Count Basie Theatre a premier regional center for the performing arts,” said Beth Giannotto, chair of the Basie’s Board Cultivation committee. “We’ve assembled an amazing group of community leaders who recognize the critical role the arts play in keeping our community, economy and our educational systems healthy. Our legacy will be the creation of a nucleus for artistic expression for our children and for many generations to come.”