Other NJ News

Summer Break? Not Here. George Street Playhouse Preps Its Temporary Home for Fall Theater

George Street Playhouse at 103 College Farm Rd. Credits: George Street Playhouse

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — You might think life moves slower on College Farm Road, at the edge of the city and the Rutgers University campus.

And if you were talking about the livestock, you'd be right. But for employees of George Street Playhouse, which recently transferred here from the heart of New Brunswick, this summer has moved faster than fire.

The day after the curtains closed on its final spring show, “Curvy Widow,” the theater company left its home of 32 years on Livingston Avenue and headed for College Farm Road, to set up shop in the former Agricultural Museum of New Jersey. Ever since—and, really, even before then—it's been a whirlwind, George Street Playhouse's artistic director, David Saint, told TAPinto New Brunswick.

Sign Up for E-News

“We had to work round the clock,” he said, “but we were prepared and had a game plan. Within a week, we had unpacked all our office supplies and set up the computers and phones.”

George Street Playhouse left its longtime home, a 100-year-old YMCA building, for good reason. It was about to be knocked down, along with the neighboring Crossroads Theatre.

From the rubble of those storied buildings will rise a sort of phoenix: the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.

The 22-story tower is slated to stand above every other high-rise in the city, officials have said. Inside its sweeping glass facade will be two “state-of-the-art” theaters, a posh lobby, several rehearsal spaces, offices for Rutgers and Middlesex County and more than 200 luxury apartments. In its rear, off Bayard Street, a connected 344-space parking garage promises to provide patrons a landing pad.

The arts mecca will house the Playhouse, the Crossroads Theatre, the American Repertory Ballet and any number of other institutions and performances.

City leaders expect that building to open for the fall 2019 theater season. But until then, the country road is home for the George Street Playhouse.

In this photo, almost all that remained of the George Street Playhouse was its front face and marquee. That's since been demolished. Photo: New Brunswick Development Corporation (Devco)

Saint caught wind of the old museum space upon the recommendation of Greg Ritter, who owns George Street Camera.

“The minute I walked into that place, I thought, 'Oh, this is it,'” Saint said. “It really was the perfect solution to us.”

The building's tall cathedral ceilings, abundant parking and room design charmed him. He had spent almost a year searching for a temporary home, preferably in New Brunswick, and he finally found it.

George Street Playhouse moved to its new spot before Memorial Day, in May, he said.

Moving vans trucked over the company's office supplies and theater equipment. Costumes and props left storage for the new building. And the staff got to work.

They began to outfit the theater. The designs for the rest of the space are ready to go, Saint said. Construction of the stage should come to a close in a couple of weeks.

Then, the artistic director said, George Street Playhouse will pull its theater seats out of storage—yes, the same ones from the old joint—and install them.

After a few cosmetic upgrades and a month or so of rehearsals, theatergoers will then reclaim those seats in October, for the fall season.

The first show, “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change,” is scheduled to begin on Oct. 10 and run for about a month, according to the Playhouse.

Joe DiPietro, a theater company “favorite,” has agreed to tweak his acclaimed off-Broadway musical for the upcoming season. The work focuses on dating—from the first meeting to marriage's twilight—and DiPietro intends to update the script for a new, swipe-obsessed generation, Saint said.

“The world has changed so much in 22 years,” Saint, the production's director, said.

And the world of the George Street Playhouse has changed so much in just a few months.

Of course, plans for the coming New Brunswick Performing Arts Center have been in the works for more than 10 years. It's been a steadily moving train, and now that it's pulling into the station, stakeholders like Saint, who's led the Playhouse for 21 years, are more excited than ever to reach their destination.

Big-time theater figures—including Jeffrey Seller, the producer of the bit Broadway show “Hamilton”—have told Saint that designs of the fledgling performing arts center on Livingston Avenue suggest that the facility could put the George Street Playhouse and New Brunswick's arts scene on the map, he said. Its proximity to New York City helps, too.

“I get goosebumps,” he added. “I think it's going to change New Brunswick immensely.”

That's a far cry from his old theater, which was just recently demolished. There, Saint said, mildew haunted the basement and asbestos filled the ceiling. The restrooms were too small, and patrons complained about the ineffective air-conditioning unit, jerry-rigged and bandaged beyond belief. Buckets sometimes collected water that dripped through the roof during shows.

“If you say 'bittersweet,'” he said of this transition, “I'm much more sweet about this than I am bitter.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Important Message for Florham Park Residents Regarding the Fourth of July

Important July 4th Celebration Reminder - Please be advised in the interest of safety and security, the entire parade route will be CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC beginning at 8:30am on July 4, 2018. This will impact residents who live along the parade route and all of the side streets that connect to the parade route. (Please see the map attached to this post)

Please ensure that you plan accordingly ...

DevCo is building a new version of Rutgers "The Yard." You may be surprised to see where.

June 8, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - In 2016, Rutgers University proudly opened “The Yard,” a student housing and retail complex along College Avenue built under the direction of the New Brunswick Development Corp.

Now the corporation, the non-profit development arm for the City of New Brunswick and commonly known as DevCo, is replicating the housing and commercial construction more than two hours ...

Shore Travel Idea - Visit the Debut of Belmar Arts’ Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth - June 2

BELMAR, NJ — Need an excuse to visit Belmar this weekend?  Curious about the eclectic collection of sculpture and other objects that occupies a small corner outside the Belmar Arts Center on River Road?  Why not solve both needs at once?

The public is invited to learn more about the Belmar Arts Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth during its official opening on Saturday, June 2 ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 8:00 PM

Education Center, West Orange

Night Moves: Evening Guided Zoo Tours

Education Other

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Mountain Lakes

Art at the Esplanade

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM


MakerFest 2018

Thirty Days after the Draft

It’s been just about thirty days since the 2018 NFL Draft and the New York Jets have been working hard to build the team fans have been waiting for. Let’s recap the first round draft pick before discussing OTA’s and other Jets info.

Some New York Jets fans were certain earlier in the 2017 season that with the way the win-losses were going, Sam Darnold would be the New York ...

1896 Miles Away But Hanover Park Stands with Sante Fe

June 16, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- After the awful events at Santa Fe High School last month, students at Hanover Park organized support. Under the supervision of Kim Lurz, and staff assistance, the students created a banner and put together giftbags for the victims of the attack. Recently students from Santa Fe High were featured on the  TODAY show and brought along the banner. 

Hornets ...


Beverly Jean (Charlton) Weimar, of Ship Bottom, and Florham Park, New Jersey passed away on March ...
Read more

Students at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA Release Butterflies  

June 15, 2018

Students at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA learned all about the life cycle of butterflies from their start as tiny caterpillars until they emerged from their chrysalises as beautiful butterflies. They watched in awe as the butterflies were released into their natural habitat. 

The F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA ...