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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 #GIVING BACK TO VETS

The domed ceiling of the Count Basie Theatre. Below, Linda and Jay Grunin. 

“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.

Next Tuesday, Nov. 28, the nonprofit Count Basie Theatre will join forces with 94.3 The Point and The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation for a day-long, live broadcast from the Basie to raise funds for the Veterans Tickets Foundation, or Vet Tix.

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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: 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: BIG MOVE FOR BASIE BOARD

basie awards 051816 2Press release from The Count Basie Theatre

Amidst its $20 million dollar expansion and improvement plan, the Count Basie Theatre has announced the merging of its Board of Trustees and Directors and the hiring of a new Vice President of Development to join the newly appointed executive leadership team.

As a recognized 501(c)(3) organization, the Count Basie Theatre once operated under the guidance of two governing boards — one overseeing theater operations, and the other the non-profit’s fundraising efforts. With a single Executive Committee under the leadership of Chairman Tom Widener and Count Basie Theatre president and CEO Adam Philipson, the work to merge the boards into one, diverse and powerful force behind the theatre’s ambitious plans for the future have come to fruition.

“This is an auspicious, exciting moment for us at the Count Basie Theatre, said Board Chairman Tom Widener. “Merging the boards creates cohesion, clarity and focus at an important time in our history.”

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BIG NEA AWARDS TO TWO RED BANK VENUES

Louis Prima JrNext-generation swing-music wildman Louis Prima Jr. and his Witnesses will perform at the Count Basie Theatre in spring 2016, as part of an enhanced Jazz at the Basie slate funded by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Two River Theater also received an NEA grant, toward the development of a new musical. (Photo by Mitchell Glotzer)

From press materials issued by The Count Basie Theatre and Sen. Bob Menendez

Two major nonprofit arts entities in Red Bank have been named as recipients of a National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Art Works award for 2015. The Count Basie Theatre and Two River Theater were among 15 New Jersey-based organizations awarded a total of $290,000 toward the development of original arts programming; part of a 51st annual slate of NEA grants totaling $27.7 million and supporting more than 1,100 projects in 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The NEA’s Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields. Two River Theater Company was recipient of $20,000 to support the development and funding of The Ballad of Little Jo, an original musical featuring lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger and music by Mike Reid (A Wind in the Willows Christmas), as well as supplementary education programming (discussions, student matinees, classroom teachers’ guides) that focuses on the women of Frontier America.

In celebrating its namesake, the Basie will use its $15,000 NEA grant to help produce a series of programs and activities celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month, with jazz-related lectures, films and biopics scheduled to take place throughout April 2016. On May 19 the celebration will continue with a jazz-centric edition of the Count Basie Theatre’s “No Shush!” kid’s concert series, starring Louis Prima Jr and the Witnesses, as well as the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra under the direction of conductor Joe “Mooche” Muccioli, artistic director of the Jazz Arts Project at the Basie’s Performing Arts Academy. Proceeds from that performance — and a donation from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, named for Prima’s late mother — will match the NEA gift.

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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: VAN ZANDTS NEW TO BASIE BOARD

van zandt2Middletown’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.

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THE COUNT ADDS UP TWO GRANTS

basie marquee 3 090213One grant will help the Basie’s outreach to Red Bank’s public schools. (Click to enlarge)

Press release from The Count Basie Theatre

The Count Basie Theatre was the recipient of two recently awarded grants, including $15,000 from the OceanFirst Foundation. The grant, which completes a two year grant cycle for arts and cultural institutions, will be used for theatre operations and necessary renovations. Since 2009, the Foundation has granted $60,000 to the Count Basie Theatre.

The Basie also received an $8,000 grant from the Mary Owen Borden Foundation for its support of mission-driven programming; in particular the Outreach program within Red Bank Borough’s Public Schools. In the past three years, the Borden Foundation has granted the Basie in excess of $36,000.

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