BEACH HAVEN, N.J. Two years ago, one of the Jersey Shore’s most celebrated theatre’s was shuttered after a financial battering, the toll of Superstorm Sandy and a fire. The Surflight Theatre, a haven for fledgling actors and countless fans who traveled to the LBI compound for professional theatre, children’s theatre, comedy and concert performances, seemed destined for retirement in spite of being the community’s most vibrant hub since its founding in 1950.
There were numerous unsuccessful bidders who attempted to purchase the theatre during the past two years, the 68-year old theatre was on its deathbed and no one came to its aid. This is when the Beach Haven community began to lose hope in the revival of their beloved theatre. That was until Al Parinello, entertainment industry veteran, entered the scene and successfully purchased the theatre from TD bank for $2 million with the sole intention of reviving the long standing history of the theatre. Since then $125,000 has been put back into the theatre to modernize and renovate the space.
Since reopening for the 2017 season, in June, the theatre has experienced great success in ticket sales and support for the theatre and singing and dancing wait staff in its ice cream shop, The Show Place. “It has been a long process to get the theatre back up and running, but it has been extremely rewarding to see the community’s overwhelming support and joy at the grand opening,” said Al Parinello. “We are selling out shows which never used to happen in the past, then the theatre would just do what it could to stay open, now we are back and everything is going better than anyone expected. So far, all the indicators are that this is a home run. I have no worry that the dollars I have already invested in the Surflight will come back, and I’m definitely open to other investments like it.”
From being the most recent producer of “The Fantasticks”, the world's longest running musical, to the first person to bring alternative rock to Atlantic City casino venues, Parinello’s career history spans all facets of the entertainment industry. In his new role as owner of the Surflight Theatre, he wanted to maintain both its legacy and mission: To provide quality, professional theatre for the residents and visitors of South Jersey, while providing a training ground for the next generation of theatre artists.
About Al Parinello/Al Parinello Entertainment, LLC.
Born in Hoboken and an Old Tappan, New Jersey and Brigantine resident, Al Parinello has over 40-years experience in the media and entertainment industry. Parinello formerly owned 102.7 FM WJSE, an Atlantic City-based alternative rock station. He grew the station to become the leading radio station in terms of ad revenue and top rock station in New Jersey. Parinello is also responsible for bringing Howard Stern to New Jersey listeners through WJSE. He has produced Broadway and Off-Broadway shows such as “The Fantasticks,” the longest running musical in the world and “The People in the Picture.” Parinello has also produced films such as Clear Blue Tuesday and the groundbreaking Love is Strange. Parinellois a graduate of New Jersey City University, where he currently serves on the NJCU Foundation Board.
About Surflight Theatre
Founded by Joseph P. Hayes as a beach-side, outdoor theater in 1950 in Beach Haven, New Jersey, the Surflight Theatre is a venerable institution acclaimed for its excellent quality theatrical productions of Broadway hits. In its sixty-plus years on the Jersey Shore, the non-profit theatre has performed hundreds of musicals productions for adults and children, serving generations of fans from around the world. In addition to its musicals, the Surflight Theatre also offers a series of concerts and comedy programs.
The Surflight Theatre is located at 201 Engleside Avenue, Beach Haven, N.J. 08008. To buy tickets, call 609-492-9477 or visit www.surflight.org.