Following are the top 5 performing arts venues in New Jersey:
New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Prudential Hall
Location: 1 Center St., Newark; Capacity: 2,868; Tickets sold in 2017: 124,097*; President and CEO: John Schreiber
Located in downtown Newark, the “NJ Pac” is one of “the best-sounding rooms in the state,” says UMT Presents promoter Tony Pallagrosi. Home to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Pac also hosts a cross section of events and concerts by headliners including Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello, as well as live TV broadcasts (“America’s Got Talent”), benefits, galas and dance troupes.
Count Basie Theatre
Location: 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank; Capacity: 1,568; Tickets sold in 2017: 122,303; President and CEO: Adam Philipson
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The storied nonprofit venue has played host to shows by Springsteen, Tony Bennett, Bon Jovi, Brian Wilson, James Brown, Louis C.K. and more. Having celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, the Basie is in the midst of a $20 million expansion, doubling its performance, educational and cultural programming. E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt has a soft spot for the theater, where he first saw the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night.” He and his wife, Maureen, serve as members of the board of trustees and honorary campaign chairs, supporting youth initiatives via their Rock and Roll Forever Foundation at the venue’s Performing Arts Academy. “Their impact on our students and the visibility they’ve afforded our campaign has been priceless,” says Jonathan Vena, the Basie’s VP of marketing.
Mayo Performing Arts Center (pictured top)
Location: 100 South St., Morristown; Capacity: 1,302; Tickets sold in 2017: 100,860; President and CEO: Allison Larena
The Mayo Performing Arts Center completed a $7 million Setting the Stage campaign in 2008 that outfitted the building with a new orchestra pit, dressing rooms and air conditioning. The renovation also opened the doors to year-round programming, with headliners including Diana Ross, Harry Connick Jr., Martina McBride, Randy Newman and the forthcoming “So You Think You Can Dance” tour. Broadway is also well-represented at the theater, with Bernadette Peters and Kristin Chenoweth making appearances.
State Theatre New Jersey
Location: 15 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick; Capacity: 1,800; Tickets sold in 2017: 56,105; Acting president and CEO: Anna Marie Gerwitz
Students at nearby Rutgers University regularly frequent the State Theatre, where national acts like Adam Lambert and Meatloaf pass through, along with Postmodern Jukebox and touring productions of shows like “Jersey Boys.” In 2011, the theater added a 46-inch high-definition film screen, enabling performances of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Royal Opera House in London to be piped in. Screenings such as the Oct. 6 presentation of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” appeal to an older crowd, while live showings of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are family affairs.
Bergen Performing Arts Center
Location: 30 N. Van Brunt St., Englewood; Capacity: 1,367; Tickets sold in 2017: 53,509; President and CEO: Dominic Roncace
Since the hall’s reopening in 2004, the venue has emphasized educational programs affiliated with the BergenPac’s Performing Arts School, including classes in theater, voice, dance and art. Also taking place on the venue’s stage are cultural programs and family entertainment, such as a “Frozen” sing-along. Programming executives Cory Ness and Aly Adamopoulos take pride in having a mix of entertainment options, which this season has included performances by Olivia Newton John, Paul Anka, Robbie Krieger of the Doors, the B-52’s, Blondie, Stephen Stills, Judy Collins, Denis Leary and Tracy Morgan, among others.