NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center's announcement Thursday that it would be shutting down came only hours after Gov. Phil Murphy’s office asked that gatherings of 250 people or more to be canceled.
Merissa Buczny, the executive director at NBPAC and vice president at DEVCO, has told TAPinto New Brunswick that the center will suspend performances immediately after the Murphy Administration moved to limit crowds as health care experts continued to work on a way to halt coronavirus COVID-19.
Buczny said the situation will be reassessed closer to April 1, but for now, none of the NBPAC’s four tenants will be performing.
That means no shows from Crossroads Theatre Company, the American Reparatory Ballet, Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts or George Street Playhouse.
George Street Playhouse’s production of “Conscience,” a new play by Tony winner Joe DiPietro that explores one woman’s bravery in the face of a relentless tide of McCarthyism, will stop immediately. It had been scheduled to run through March 29.
Others performances that were scheduled to grace the stages at NBPAC will be rescheduled at a later date, Buczny said.
The $172 million theater opened in September. NBPAC features two state-of-the-art theaters -- The Arthur Laurents Theater with 253 seats and The Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater which seats 465 — as well as myriad amenities.
The Crossroads Theatre Company’s world premiere of “Freedom Rider” is scheduled to run April 9-19.
Buczny said in recent weeks that NBPAC had been diligent about cleaning and disinfecting the theaters. Even still, some theater-goers were uneasy about attending shows.
“We’re just taking every precaution possible,” Buczny said. “We’ve obviously seen some attrition in the theaters – people who bought tickets wanting to exchange them for other dates. This just makes sense.”