New Brunswick has always had a flourishing arts and culture scene and with the addition of a new, state-of-the-art mixed-use performing arts center on Livingston Avenue, the scene is about to be taken to a whole new level.
With its first show, Paul Robeson, scheduled to open on Sept. 5, this vast performing arts center – almost 12 years in the making – will be making its debut in a mere few weeks.
Paul Robeson, a show by Phillip Hayes Dean, highlights the glorious and complicated life of scholar, athlete and activist Paul Robeson, in honor of the 100th Anniversary of his graduation from Rutgers University.
According to Christopher Paladino, President of New Brunswick Development Corporation, one of the Managing owners of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, the center is predicted to add $20 million to the local economy each year.
“New Brunswick has been the right place for a venue like this for decades but now we’re infusing new ideas and energy with this project,” he said. “There are over a million people in the New Brunswick area that are thirsty for a diverse arts and culture environment.”
The NBPAC will feature more than 200 apartment units, two theaters, six rehearsal spaces, a lobby/bar area, office space and a 344-car parking garage.
Paladino pointed out that the NBPAC creates a collaborative environment for not only the resident companies but for the viewers that will watch them as well.
“We’ve created a collaborative space here where even the audiences will share the vast lobby and bar space to have a cross fertilization of attendees that may have never interacted if it weren’t for the center,” he said.
The center will feature four resident companies – American Repertory Ballet, George Street Playhouse, Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Arts and Crossroads Theater Company- but Paladino mentioned that there will be other shows on the stage from jazz concerts to poetry and even pre-Broadway shows.
“I have a feeling that show goers may see sneak previews of performances that will be winning Tony Awards,” he added.
Paladino is also looking forward to seeing as many shows as he can, he added, but in particular, he cannot wait to see an opera show by Rutgers University, which he deemed “one of the best opera productions in the country.”
“I’m excited to see the finished product after such a long journey, and if I do say so myself, it is spectacular,” said Paladino. “This will truly serve as a state-of-the-art home for our resident companies.”