NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The curtain will soon rise on the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) and the community is invited to attend the welcome party for the city's new epicenter of arts and culture.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m., followed by tours of the new building's two state-of-the-art theater spaces, three rehearsal spaces, elegant lobby and bar area and two floors of office space to accommodate the Middlesex County Arts Institute.

The $172 million project broke ground in 2017. The 450,000 square-foot building also includes 207 residential units, 20% of which are designated as low- and moderate-income housing.

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Refreshments will be available and live music will be performed by the New Brunswick District Jazz Band. Admission is free and open to all.

“After careful planning, preparation and building, we’re thrilled to be able to cut the ribbon and welcome our community into their New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, the newest act in the story of arts and culture in our city,” Mayor Jim Cahill said. “This spectacular venue will house live music, dramatic theater, film screenings, community discussions and theater workshops, offering something for everyone. We’re thrilled to be able to open the doors and welcome in the public to see it for the first time.”

The first performance at the NBPAC will be held Saturday, Sept. 7 when the Crossroads Theatre Company presents "Paul Robeson," a play based on the life and times of one of New Brunswick's favorite native sons.

NBPAC features two theaters for live performances, named in honor of benefactors of the arts in New Brunswick.

The Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater is a 463-seat theater space meant to house larger productions, such as musical theater or opera.

The Arthur Laurents Theater is an intimate space that seats up to  252 patrons and was designed to showcase dramatic theater and dance productions.

Both theater spaces are outfitted with state-of-the-art lighting and production systems to best showcase the works of our local performing arts entities, including American Repertory Ballet, Crossroads Theatre Company, George Street Playhouse and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

NBPAC will also house musical performances, lectures and community events throughout the season.

“The arts play a crucial role in the culture, economy and livelihood of New Brunswick and this state-of-the-art facility is on par with some of the finest performing arts houses in the country,” said New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) President Chris Paladino.

NBPAC is located at 11 Livingston Avenue. For more information about the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, including a schedule of performances for the coming months, log on to www.nbpac.org.