Count Basie Center for the Arts

Renovation and restoration of the Count Basie Theatre gave back to Red Bank, New Jersey residents a venue that originally opened in 1926. A major anonymous donation in 1973 was the first step in allowing the Monmouth County Arts Council to preserve and reopen the historic theatre for cultural uses. Originally  known as the Carlton when it opened in 1926,  the theatre was renamed the Monmouth Arts Center and then became the Count Basie Theatre, in memory of  Red Bank native William “Count” Basie, a jazz pianist, bandleader and composer.

The work to date was in phases. In 2004, FDA worked with Dahn and Krieger Architects to replace tired 1960s era seats, previously rescued from Carnegie Hall, with comfortable and historically accurate seating.

In 2008, FDA worked with Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects to undertake a total restoration of the audience chamber: repair and repainting of the decorative plaster, new house lighting (including a new chandelier), new mechanical systems, and expansion of support space for the production staff and performers. FDA facilitated the integration of infrastructure for a new stage lighting system and improved the existing accommodations for forestage lighting trusses and speaker clusters.

In 2020, the expansion designed by FDA and NK Architects, including The Vogel (a second performance venue), opened. A 100-year-old style of rigging with rope and sand bags was replaced by state-of-the-art motorized rigging. Other enhancements include new concession stands, larger restrooms, elevators, and updated air conditioning and heating systems. The Stillwell-Larkin Pavilion will house a new members’ lounge and serve as the entranceway to the courtyard and lobby. The theater has been renamed the Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre.

  • Architect: Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects
  • Completion Year: 2004
  • Architect: Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC
    Completion Year: 2008
  • Location: Red Bank, New Jersey
  • Capacity: 1,574 seats

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