The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank plans to expand and update the historic venue with help from local heavy hitters such as honorary campaign chairs Maureen and Steven Van Zandt.
Plans include a second, smaller venue with a 550-person capacity and standing-room capabilities, and four additional classrooms for the theater’s neighboring Performing Arts Academy. Additional proposals include a glass-walled lobby, outdoor plaza and rooftop terrace, and updates to the facility’s restrooms, plumbing system, air conditioning and ventilation.
The Van Zandts, a power couple in New Jersey pop culture and entertainment, have performed at the Red Bank performing arts center (once called the Carlton Theater) in various stages of their careers. Maureen danced onstage in the venue’s Nutcracker performances. Steven bought his first guitar nearby at Jack’s Music, and helped define the Jersey Shore sound as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and co-founder of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes (who will be performing at the theater on December 31 to ring in 2016). Springsteen was the best man at Steven and Maureen’s wedding. The couple appeared in TV’s Sopranos as Silvio and Gabriella Dante.
Jacquie Lee, Colts Neck teen and contestant from The Voice, also spoke at the press conference.
The project is not scheduled to commence until nearly $20 million has been raised for the nonprofit theater. “We’re optimistic that we can raise the money and have shovels in the ground within three to four years,” said Count Basie Theatre president and CEO Adam Philipson at the announcement.
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