RED BANK, NJ - On the 112th anniversary of the birth of its legendary namesake, Red Bank’s historic Count Basie Theatre and the William J. Basie Trust have announced an agreement to continue honoring the musician through use of his name to identify the 90 year-old landmark.
The agreement allows the theatre to continue using Count Basie’s name for the next half century. Just months before his death in 1984, Mr. Basie gave permission to the Monmouth Arts Council – operators of what was then known as the Monmouth Arts Center – to name the venue in his honor. Mr. Basie himself performed at the venue just once – a much heralded homecoming performance on May 11, 1979.
“We admire the strong work the Count Basie Theatre continues to present and produce,” said Joy S. Rosenthal, Esq. Trustee of the William J. Basie Trust. “We look forward to working with the Theatre to fulfill our mutual missions of keeping Count Basie's music and his groundbreaking contributions to American music etched forever in the mind of the public.”
In addition to permission to continue using the name, the agreement calls for the theatre to continue honoring the jazz great by sharing information on him through its official Web site (http://www.countbasietheatre.org/about/williambio.asp), historic information in its Showtime playbill, the placement of a bust and photo of Mr. Basie in the venue’s lobby, and the development of an annual educational program as part of the theatre’s outreach, designed to teach students throughout the region about Mr. Basie’s place in the history of American jazz.
Additional information on Mr. Basie can be found at http://www.countbasie.com.
Opened 90 years ago this November, the 99 Monmouth Street address has operated under several names over the years – the Carlton Theatre and the Monmouth Arts Center, to name the most prominent. As the Count Basie Theatre, the venue has grown from a local vaudeville house to one of the most successful performance venues and providers of arts education in the nation. In a recent tally by concert industry magazine Pollstar, the Basie was listed as the 28th-best ticket-selling venue in the world for the first half of 2016.
Last October, Count Basie Theatre officials announced a $20 million dollar expansion plan, including additional space for Performing Arts Academy classrooms, space for partner arts nonprofits, and a second venue to support smaller, up-and-coming artists. The Count Basie name will continue to identify the facility’s main Theatre, which itself went through a $12 million restoration in 2007.
“As we expand into a full city block Arts and Education Campus,” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Theatre. “We wanted to be sure that ‘The Count’ would remain part of the brand of our facility to recognize his significance to Jazz and to Red Bank. This historic agreement allows us to fulfill that vision.”