NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Nearly 500 people attended a black-tie benefit for the State Theatre in New Brunswick last weekend, raising $624,604 for the not-for-profit performing arts center’s artistic and educational endeavors.
The May 13 benefit gala included performances by Audra McDonald, a six-time Tony Award winner who has also taken home a Grammy, an Emmy and a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. She performed a number of classics from the Great American Songbook and Broadway, according to a press release about the event.
“It was a great evening of entertainment and philanthropy, all in support of our mission of providing arts education programs to inform and build future audiences,” State Theatre President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Carto said in a statement.
Theater company officials said the fundraising drive broke their goal by more than 10 percent.
The event took place at the Heldrich Hotel in downtown New Brunswick, just across the street from the State Theatre.
Arts, business and civic leaders from the area and across the state attended the gala, officials said. Along with the music, they enjoyed a dinner reception, a silent auction featuring more than 70 gifts, open bars, Viennese dessert buffets, dancing and live music played by the Gerard Carelli Orchestra.
“This year’s gala was truly a night to remember,” said Brent and Susan Podlogar, who were recognized by the State Theatre as patron honorees. “We have long supported the arts and the growth of arts education in our communities, and we thank the State Theatre for this incredible honor.”
The performing arts center also paid tribute to American Benefits Consulting as its 2017 corporate honoree and Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios and the Board of Chosen Freeholders as its “leadership in the arts” honorees, according to the press release.
Rios said in a statement that the county is “committed” to bringing the arts to Middlesex residents.
“We are dedicated to making Middlesex County a destination for people from all over the Northeast region for top-quality arts and cultural programs and performances,” he added. “It is with the help of our artists our cultural and arts centers, our local arts and cultural groups and their patrons that we can achieve this.”