Press release from Count Basie Theatre

Each year, the historic Count Basie Theatre welcomes thousands of students to experience live art — and for many, it’s their first or only opportunity to do so. From classical music with modern twists, to the diversity of Asian and African artistry or historical plays like I Have a Dream, the Basie allows students to dream forward through the experience of culture and artistic expression.

Last week, the theatre announced its participation in the OceanFirst Charity Challenge, a crowdsourcing fundraiser which will assist the Basie in raising money for its “Curtains Up For Kids” educational performance program for schools.

Individuals are encouraged to visit and click the “Curtains Up For Kids” icon, which will take them to a page where donations can be taken, and individuals and schools can spin off their own fundraisers to assist the cause.

“The ‘Curtains Up for Kids’ program is a wonderful way to connect children of all ages to the performing arts,” said Maria Sorensen, Vice President of Development for the theatre. “It’s also a great way for those who love the arts to share them with students in some of our most disadvantaged local communities.”

To encourage schools to get involved, the Basie has teamed with iPlay America in Freehold to award the Monmouth or Ocean County school with the highest tally with an end of year party at the theme park for all students and faculty.

Individual fundraisers can get in the fun, too, as the Basie is awarding the individual who raises the most through their own spinoff fundraiser with $1,000 in Basie tickets through its “Distinguished Guest” membership program (Individuals will be required to raise at least $2,000 to qualify). 

The Curtains Up for Kids program allows the public to help fund this life-altering and enriching program. For example, a $10 donation sends a student to one of the Basie’s culturally enriching educational school performances. $50 provide study guides for an entire class, while $100 covers the cost of pre- and post-show lessons from a Basie teaching artist.

A donation of $1,000 sponsors an entire school grade’s performing arts experience at the Basie, including tickets, a pre- and post-show lesson from a Basie teaching artist and study guides for all. $5,000 funds an entire elementary school’s visit to the Basie.

For more information on the Basie’s “Curtains Up For Kids” OceanFirst Charity Challenge campaign, contact Jonathan Vena at