RED BANK: BASIE NOW ‘CENTER FOR THE ARTS’

The rollout of the new name will begin immediately, theater officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Marking the start of a new chapter — and the end of that whole ‘theater or theatre?’ conundrum — Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre has been rebranded the Count Basie Center for the Arts, officials said Monday.

The name reflects the 92-year-old venue’s present and future as a “campus,” where performance art is learned, developed and staged, said Basie chief executive officer Adam Philipson. Read More »

RED BANK: BASIE LANDS $100K NEA GRANT


Press release from Count Basie Theatre

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $100,000 to the nonprofit Count Basie Theatre for its mindALIGNED collective impact initiative. Read More »

RED BANK: BASIE STARTS MASSIVE EXPANSION

Dozens of local politicians and players in the arts world turned out for the event. Below, Basie board members Steven Van Zandt and his wife, Maureen Van Zandt. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A $23 million expansion of Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre formally got underway Wednesday, beginning what’s expected to be a 20-month endeavor to turn the Vaudeville-era venue into a powerhouse for live performance and arts education.

The aim, musician and actor Steven Van Zandt told an al fresco gathering, is “to make Red Bank an example to the rest of the county of what it is possible to do” in elevating the arts.

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RED BANK: BASIE TO ABSORB CONSERVATORY

Vladislav Kovalsky, below, plans to fold the Monmouth Conservatory of Music, which he’s headed since 1998, into the Count Basie Theatre.

In a move that further cements its place at the heart of the Greater Red Bank Green’s cultural life, the Count Basie Theatre plans to merge the borough-based Monmouth Conservatory of Music into its existing suite of musical training and performance programs.

In a statement released Wednesday, the theater’s board of directors detailed a plan to assume operations of the 53-year-old MCM as a component of the Basie’s slate of specialized instruction programs in jazz, classic rock and Broadway-style performing arts.

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RED BANK: BURRY NAMED TO BASIE BOARD

Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry, seen in a file photo from January 2016, is the newest member of the Count Basie Theatre’s Board of Directors. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

The nonprofit Count Basie Theatre announced yesterday the appointment of Monmouth County Freeholder and open space / historic preservation advocate Lillian Burry to its Board of Trustees.

Burry was elected to the board as a special meeting to fill a vacancy which expires in June 2018. The board’s annual elections and meeting are held in May.

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RED BANK: BASIE TOUTS ARTS IMPACT OPS

While we normally shy away from “Big Check” photos, this image of Bobby Bandiera (fourth from left) presenting a a $91,000 award to The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties illustrates the fundraising power of Bandiera’s holiday Hope Concerts, the 2016 edition of which brought in over $200,000 for designated beneficiaries at Foodbank, Two River Theater, and the arts education programs at Red Bank Middle School.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

The Count Basie Theatre has announced the availability of five Arts Impact scholarships available to Monmouth County high school seniors graduating in 2017.

This year, the Basie will proudly offer five scholarships: the Moser-Taboada Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth Medical Center – RWJBarnabas Health Arts Impact  Scholarship, the Monmouth County Freeholders’ Basie Scholarship for Continuing Education, the Siciliano Landscape Company Arts Impact Scholarship, and the new Steven and Jaime Schultz Arts Impact Scholarship. 

The Monmouth County Freeholders’ scholarship will be awarded to a student attending a New Jersey-based college in the fall. Each will award a recipient $2500 towards their freshman year of higher education. Deadline for applying for the program is 4 p.m. on Friday, March 17.

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RED BANK: BASIE, FRIENDS JOIN FOR BIG GIVE

basie-marquee-111416Press release from Count Basie Theatre

“Giving Tuesday,” founded in 2012 by New York City’s 92nd St. YMCA and the United Nations Foundation, was originally a “response to commercialism and consumerism” during the holiday season. It has since turned into an international day of giving.

Tomorrow, November 29, the nonprofit Count Basie Theatre will join forces with radio station  94.3 The Point and The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, to raise funds for both the theatre’s sensory-friendly programming, and for POAC Autism Services.

“Giving Tuesday” at the Basie will kick-off at 5:30 a.m., with a day-long broadcast from 94.3 The Point / WJLK-FM Radio. Listeners will be invited to drop by and give donations in person, or to make donations via theBASIE.org.

The organizations will also use the day-long effort and radio broadcast to raise funds for POAC Autism Services of Brick. Two dollars from every Count Basie Theatre ticket sold on November 29 will be donated to the group, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and adults with autism achieve their fullest potential by providing quality education, support and recreation at no cost to participants.

“Reaching all audiences with the highest level of the performing arts is part of our not for profit mission,” said Adam Philipson, CEO and President of the historic Count Basie Theatre.  “We strive to be inclusive and create barrier-free experiences and these shows will support our guests and families with special needs including autism spectrum disorder.”

“We are looking forward to partnering with the Count Basie Theatre in bringing the Jersey Shore together to support this important cause,” said Steve Ardolina, Regional Operations Manager for Townsquare Media Group New Jersey, which owns WJLK.

In addition, the Jersey Shore-based Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, which uses philanthropy to increase citizen activity and economic development opportunities through the arts, healthcare and education, has generously agreed to match all donations up to $25,000.

“The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation is proud to be able to work with a great non-profit partner like the Count Basie Theatre,” said executive director and Basie board member Jeremy Grunin. “The ability to support POAC Autism Services in their mission coupled with further showing the power of the arts through the Basie was too powerful an endeavor to ignore.”

Earlier this year, the Basie team worked with POAC to train staff in advance of the theatre’s first-ever sensory-friendly mainstage performance.

“POAC is so thrilled to be involved with Count Basie Theater’s sensory-friendly programming and their fundraising efforts on Giving Tuesday,” said Simone Tellini, Director of Program Development at POAC. “Children and adults on the autism (ASD) spectrum often have sensory issues that make it difficult to participate in and enjoy community-based activities, especially those involving the arts. These activities are essential, especially for children, and vital to their growth in so many ways.

“Last February,” Tellini continued, “the Basie provided a wonderful show that, for many children, was their first experience with live theater. The management and staff went above and beyond to make everyone feel comfortable and accepted.  We applaud the Count Basie’s commitment to our families and look forward to future events and programs.”

The live “Giving Tuesday” broadcast will feature performances from students of the Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy’s Jazz Arts Project, Rockit! and Voices vocal ensemble. In addition, cast members from the Tony Award winning ONCE, playing that evening on the Basie stage, will go on air to perform the musical’s signature hit, “Falling Slowly.”

RED BANK: VAN ZANDT LINEUP TO ROCK BASIE

van-zandt-guadagno-111416-1Steven Van Zandt and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno on stage at the Basie Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

basie-marquee-111416A four-night campaign of classic rock shows curated by E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt in coming months will help drive a $20 million expansion Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, officials said Monday.

But the names of the acts to be spotlighted in the series remained under wraps at a press conference held on the stage of the Vaudeville-era venue.
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RED BANK: MAYOR’S BALL II DRAWS A CROWD

philipson menna 050616rb mayors ball 050616 12Mayor Pasquale Menna, above right, welcomed Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson, left, and more than 200 other guests to the second annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the borough-based nonprofits Lunch Break and HABcore

Check out the photos from redbankgreen’s drive-thru of the cocktail hour, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: FILM FEST FINALISTS NAMED

Brian O'HalloranPress release from Count Basie Theatre

The Count Basie Theatre has revealed the films that will compete in its second-ever Project FX statewide student film festival and competition, taking place at the Red Bank theatre on Sunday, April 17.

The competing films – ten entries from Garden State high schoolers, and an additional ten entries from students attending New Jersey colleges – are viewable now at projectFXbasie.com and facebook.com/projectFXbasie. The public can have their say by “liking” or “sharing” the films on Facebook, which will figure into each film’s final score.

Films will also be viewed and voted on by a panel of esteemed adjudicators, including Sony Pictures Classics co-founder and Middletown resident Tom Bernard; Oscar winner Timothy Hutton; Oscar nominated screenwriter James Schamus, legendary broadcast journalist Dan Rather, Clerks and Mallrats star Brian O’Halloran (pictured), United Talent Agency Independent Film Group head Rena Ronson, Breaking Bad cinematographer Peter Reniers and others.

The Project FX Festival will also feature a panel discussion featuring industry experts and a discussion / audience Q&A on breaking into Hollywood and the motion picture industry. Entry into the festival is free, though advance tickets must be obtained by visiting www.countbasietheatre.org.

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RED BANK: BASIE ISSUES ARTS SCHOLARSHIPS

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

When the red carpet is rolled out for the 11th annual Basie Awards on May 18, the Count Basie Theatre will do more than issue its customary honors for excellence in area high school theater and performing arts. The ceremony will also be the setting for the awarding of four arts impact scholarships — the Moser-Taboada Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth Medical Center – Barnabas Health Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth County Freeholders’ Basie Scholarship for Continuing Education and the new Siciliano Landscape Company Arts Impact Scholarship. 

The Monmouth County Freeholders’ scholarship will be awarded to a student attending a New Jersey-based college in the fall — and Basie board members are urging all interested students to prepare their applications now.

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RED BANK: LAST CALL FOR ‘ARTS FOR ALL’

Art4AllA seventh grade drum-circle jam, and a hip hop how-to for fifth graders, are just two of the many arts instruction classes brought to Red Bank Middle School by the Count Basie Theatre’s “Arts for All” program, which presents its final session of the year this Tuesday. (Photos by Mary Wyman/ Red Bank Public Schools)

Press release from Red Bank Middle School

As schools across the country are working to integrate arts into their curriculum, Red Bank Middle School has developed an innovative way of bringing a comprehensive arts program to its students—thanks to the Count Basie Theatre.

Called “Arts for All,” the program has brought different arts instruction to each grade at the middle school every Tuesday. Fourth graders are learning cultural dance, while fifth graders are doing hip hop. Sixth grade students are taking theater classes, while the seventh grade is learning percussion. And eighth graders are taking part in a Rwandan Literacy Arts project, in which students create a chapter and illustrations for a book that will be used to teach English to students at the Kampanga and Bisate schools in Rwanda. The drawings that the students create will also be printed onto tiles that will be installed at the schools.

The program is being administered and funded in part by the Count Basie Theatre, which is raising money by donating $10 from every ticket sold for the Bobby Bandiera and Friends Hope Concert 8 events on December 23. In addition, the Basie asked attendees to donate a minimum of $3 for tickets sold to other shows through October 31. So far Count Basie has raised $10,000 toward the costs of the Arts for All program, which presents its final session of 2015 tomorrow, December 15.

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RED BANK: BASIE PLANS MASSIVE EXPANSION

Basie expansion 1 102615An architect’s rendering of the expanded Count Basie Theatre includes additions on the east and west sides of the existing structure. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Red Bank’s Vaudeville-era Count Basie Theatre is in for a massive, $20 milion expansion that will turn it into a “creative campus” dedicated to the performing arts in coming years, officials said Monday.

Incorporating adjoining properties acquired in recent years, theater officials plan to “move toward our longtime vision of an entire city block dedicated to the performing arts,” Tom Widener, chairman of the theater’s board of trustees, said in an announcement released Monday morning.
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RED BANK: A RED-CARPET, NAME-DROP NIGHT

Drummer_Carmine_Appice_(right)_works_with_Basie_Rockit!_students_in_advance_of_their_Vanguard_Awards_performance_on_August_29th.Legendary rock drummer Carmine Appice, above at right works with members of the Rockit! band in preparation for Saturday’s show, which also honors local music legend Bobby Bandiera, below.

bandieraA lieutenant governor, a captain of industry and a rock ‘n roll field marshal are the honorees — with some music royalty in the house — when the Count Basie Theatre presents its 2015 Vanguard awards in Red Bank Saturday night.

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RED BANK: THE BASIE’S A TOP 40 HIT

basie 070915Press release from Count Basie Theatre

Pollstar magazine, the leading concert industry trade publication, has released its list of the top-selling live performance venues in the world – and Red Bank’s historic Count Basie Theatre has come in at number 40.

With sales of nearly 85,000 tickets through June 30, the Basie sold more tickets than some of the biggest theatres in the world; namely Radio City Music Hall, and the Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The first half of 2015 falls in line with the Basie’s current three-year trend of escalating ticket sales, capacity percentage and show totals. In 2014, just over 213,000 people attended a Count Basie Theatre event, more than any previous year. And during its 2014-15 fiscal year, the venue operated at nearly 75 percent paid capacity — meaning that, on average, the theatre was three-quarters full for every event.

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RED BANK: BASIE NAMES 2015 HONOREES

KimBandieraLt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Shore music legend Bobby Bandiera are among the luminaries to be honored by the Count Basie Theatre on August 29, with the second annual Vanguard Awards.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

The Count Basie Theatre has announced honorees for the 2015 Vanguard awards, honoring lifelong devotion to the arts in New Jersey. Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, musician Bobby Bandiera, and Investors Bank’s Richard Spengler will be recognized as Vanguards on Saturday, August 29, with tickets going on sale at noon this Friday, July 24 through TheBASIE.org, phone charge at (732)842-9000, and – at the Count Basie Theatre box office.

Also on August 29, Rockit! At The Basie will present its annual summer concert, The Who’s TOMMY In Its Entirety and Other Sounds of ‘69. The show will feature curation, guidance and performances from Bandiera, 2014 Vanguard winner Maureen Van Zandt and very special guests, and monies raised from the concert will go towards partnership program scholarships and other initiatives that fall within the Basie’s mission of providing arts education and outreach programs.

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RED BANK: PHOENIX LAUNCHES NEW HQ

PhoenixPhoenix Productions exec director Tom Martini (fifth from left) brandishes the scissors as the ribbon is cut for the theater company’s new home on Chestnut Street. Assisting during the May 8 gala party were (left to right) company president Lindsay Wood, plus board members Holly Hankins, Michael Dalberg, Bob Brown, Andrea Zawadzki, and James Marhold. (photos by Rich Kowalski)

It was a gala fundraiser and celebration unlike just about any other — one in which the “springtime casual” dress code abandoned the stodgy formalwear in favor of (in at least one case) full pirate regalia — an affair in which the microphone was commandeered for soaring Broadway-quality voices, rather than snoring speeches.

But then, this was no ordinary occasion for Phoenix Productions, the borough-based community stage company that recently fulfilled an ambitious relocation to (and renovation of) a spacious new rehearsal studio, craft shop, storage space and executive office complex at 59 Chestnut Street. More than a hundred guest well-wishers, community sponsors and alumni from past shows joined the Phoenix board of directors on the night of May 8, to cut the ribbon on the troupe’s new headquarters, to raise funds for ongoing projects, and to celebrate an entertainment legacy of more than a quarter century in song and in style.

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RED BANK: FOUR MAYORS… AND SOME FRIENDS

lee kuo 050115lock menna 050115The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.

Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the Red Bank Public Library and the Parker Family Health Center.

redbankgreen grabbed dozens of photos during the cocktail hour overlooking our beautiful Navesink River. Click the “read more” to see who else was there. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: BASIE ‘FX’ THE FUTURE OF FILM

Lambert-StampThe Sony Pictures Classics rockumentary LAMBERT AND STAMP is screened as part of statewide student film competition Project FX, with finalists in the High School and College categories showcased at the Count Basie this Sunday, April 19.

They hail from places like Middletown High School South, Christian Brothers Academy and Brookdale Community College — and for a few minutes at least, they’re peers on a par with such Jersey-bred filmmakers, movers and shakers as Kevin Smith, John Sayles, Danny De Vito — even Tom Edison and his Black Maria studio.

The revolution that placed pro-grade videography and editing tech into the hands of aspiring filmmakers everywhere — and the social media mechanism that allows neighborhood auteurs to have their work be viewed by mass audiences — is at the heart of Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide film competition for students of New Jersey high schools and colleges.

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RED BANK: A SPECIAL FX FOR BASIE, SONY

The promo video for the film competition.

Press release from Count Basie Theatre

On Monday, Project FX, the Count Basie Theatre’s statewide student film competition, went live at www.projectFXbasie.com.

Under the program, sponsored by Bank of America, students enrolled at any New Jersey high school or college can visit the site to learn about entering the competition, with an internship with Sony Pictures Classics at stake as the contest’s grand prize.

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