Press release from Count Basie Theatre

The nonprofit Count Basie Theatre announced this week the receipt of a generous grant from the Toms River-based OceanFirst Foundation.

According to Maria Sorensen, the Basie’s Vice President of Development, the grant in the amount of $18,750 “will support our school bus-in program, as well as our Performing Arts Academy’s children’s opera camp.”

The camp, the Basie Academy’s first-ever opera offering, is a two-week intensive headed by Eli Villanueva, the renowned director of the Los Angeles Opera. Under Villanueva’s tutelage, students will learn the history behind Brundibár and Friedl, two dramatic presentations set in Germany’s Theredienstadt concentration camp during World War II.

Students will also offer public performances of Brundibár and Friedl on Saturday, August 19 at the Count Basie Theatre. Students will also take a day trip to New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage and meet Holocaust survivors as part of the program.

Brundibar teaches the importance of tolerance, overcoming tyranny and our duty to question authority,” says Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Theatre. “The Basie is thrilled to be working with The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts to bring such an important and inspiring children’s opera to the Jersey Shore.”

In addition to the 8 p.m. Basie performance on August 19, the students will perform a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, August 20 at the Grunin Center, located on the Toms River campus of Ocean County College. The performance of Brundibár is presented by arrangement with Bote & Block Berlin and Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.

In addition to funds provided by OceanFirst, the summer opera camp and performances of Brundibár and Friedl is made possible by an endowment funded by the Charles Lafitte Foundation, which chose the Basie’s education program as the recipient of its annual Charity Golf Classic in 2015.

Tickets for the Red Bank performance are priced at $20, and can be purchased here. Tickets for the Toms River performance, also $20, can be reserved here.