NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The likes of Gary Cooper, Bob Hope and Houdini have graced the stage at the State Theatre over its 99-year history.

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, however, has forced officials to close the theater temporarily.

State Theatre President and CEO Sarah Chaplin announced that all shows through the end of March have been canceled.

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According to a statement released by the theater, "As you may know, in response to the increased cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, Governor (Phil) Murphy has recommended that gatherings of 250 or more people be canceled or postponed. We are taking his recommendation seriously and out of concern for the health and safety of our guests and staff, we are either postponing or canceling our March shows."

The State Theatre will "take a closer look" at shows in April and beyond.

For now, the theater is concentrating on reaching out to ticket holders for the shows affected by the closing. The State Theatre was scheduled to host a golden oldies concert headlined by Jay Black and The Americans, a piano concert honoring Beethoven and a contemporary ballet performance.

The State Theatre said it will contact ticket holders by email and phone to discuss their options. Some shows are being moved to a later date.

According to the State Theatre's statement, "These are unprecedented times, and we appreciate your support and patience as we navigate through this together."