Press Releases

State Theatre New Jersey Honors Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios and the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders


State Theatre Benefit Gala 2017
Sat, May 13, 2017
Ticket Office: 732-246-SHOW (7469)

New Brunswick, NJ (April 17, 2017) — State Theatre New Jersey will honor Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios and the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders at the 2017 State Theatre Benefit Gala on Saturday, May 13, 2017 featuring six-time Tony Award®-winner Audra McDonald.

The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders is committed to making the County a better place for our residents and businesses. The Board creates, improves and invests in 18 County parks; more than 8,000 acres of protected Open Space; 324 miles of County roads; economic, employment, training; public health and emergency management; services to care for children, seniors, veterans and those in need; and education for residents through Middlesex County College and the County Vocational-Technical Schools and career academies.

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In 2015, the Freeholder Board established the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund, the goal of which is to integrate the arts more fully into County life. A ballot question placed on the 2014 General Election Ballot to establish the Trust Fund was overwhelmingly passed by Middlesex County voters.

“Freeholder Director Ron Rios and The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders have made a tremendous contribution to the growth of the arts by establishing the Cultural and Arts Trust Fund,” said Tom Carto, State Theatre President & CEO. “They are committed to supporting cultural initiatives as fundamental to the quality of life for residents of all backgrounds, and for that they truly deserve this year’s Leadership in the Arts award.”

The Freeholder Board allocates $10 million from the Trust Fund annually to be used exclusively to develop new cultural and arts facilities, as well as restore, improve and maintain the facilities already treasured by Middlesex County.

The funds also are used to encourage and support arts education for County residents through support of quality arts education programs, including those sponsored and conducted through qualified nonprofit arts organizations. The fund also provides general support to projects and programs whose purpose is to recognize and preserve the history and heritage of Middlesex County, including recognizing and honoring veterans.
Freeholder Director Rios said: “We encourage awareness of and enjoyment of the arts and we support cultural initiatives designed to preserve and promote the history of the County. Why? Because in doing so, we are celebrating this County’s diversity and preserving our heritage. We are also creating a shared experience and appreciation for the arts and showcasing our talented residents. On behalf of the entire Freeholder Board, I thank the State Theatre for this incredible honor.”

Gala Information
The Gala festivities begin at 5pm at The Heldrich Hotel and the performance will begin at 6pm at State Theatre New Jersey. In addition to the show, Gala guests will enjoy a pre-performance cocktail reception, post-performance dinner dance with an open bar, fabulous auctions, and live entertainment from the Gerard Carelli Orchestra. The Benefit Gala, State Theatre New Jersey’s biggest annual event, underwrites the State Theatre’s artistically-acclaimed programming and nationally-recognized education programs. A portion of each ticket price represents a tax-deductible contribution to the State Theatre. Benefit Gala tickets are $700. For Benefit Gala tickets please call 732-247-7200, ext. 543.
The 2017 Benefit Gala Co-Chairs are Scott (RBC Wealth Management) and Barbra Fergang with support from Vice-Chairs Linda Piscadlo (Johnson & Johnson), and Matt (Moody’s Investors Service) and Tracy Taylor (Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey). The 2017 Benefit Gala Corporate Co-Chairs are Shideh Sedgh Bina, Founding Partner, Insigniam, and Bradd M. Chignoli, Senior Vice President – National Accounts, MetLife.

2017 Gala Emerald Partners are American Benefits Consulting, Ernst & Young, Insigniam, and MetLife. 2017 Gala Diamond Partners are Aetna, Joan and Bob Campbell, and Alma Scott. The State Theatre’s other honorees include Corporate Honoree, American Benefits Consulting; and Patron Honorees Susan and Brent Podlogar. About the Gala Artist Audra McDonald—now featured in Disney's Beauty and The Beast—is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actress. She is the recipient of a record-breaking six Tony Awards®, two Grammy Awards®, and an Emmy Award®. Her Tony®-winning performances include roles in Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Now, see her live in concert as she performs hits from Broadway and the great American songbook.

For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre New Jersey Ticket Office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at The State Theatre New Jersey Ticket Office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm; Saturday from 1pm to 5pm; and at least three hours prior to curtain on performance dates unless otherwise specified. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 536. Some additional ticket and transaction fees may apply.

State Theatre New Jersey—creating extraordinary experiences through the power of live performance. The theater exists to enrich people’s lives, contribute to a vital urban environment, and build future audiences by presenting the finest performing artists and entertainers and fostering lifetime appreciation for the performing arts through education. State Theatre New Jersey’s programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Heldrich is the official hotel of State Theatre New Jersey. Magic 98.3 is the official radio station of State Theatre New Jersey. The Star-Ledger is the official newspaper of State Theatre New Jersey. United is the official airline of State Theatre New Jersey.

15 Livingston Ave
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Ticket Office - 732-246-SHOW (7469)
Online -
Please contact Kelly Blithe at
732-247-7200, ext. 542 or by email at
Information in this release is current as of April 17, 2017.
Up-to-the-minute information on events and State Theatre news,
online at
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