BEACH HAVEN, NJ - The Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven was forced to cease operations last year after 65 seasons due to bankruptcy. The theatre had been hosting Broadway-style productions since 1950. Joseph P. Hayes was the founder.
In August, an auction was held at the site and there were no purchasers at that event. On Friday, at a sheriff's sale in Toms River, TD Bank was the only bidder of $100. TD Bank is the primary lienholder and they are owed approximately $2.1 million on the property. TD Bank will now see to sell the property in attempt to minimally recoup their $2.1 million debt on the property. TD Bank is responsible for maintaining the property until a new owner is in place.
David Kreines, the former chair of the Surflight Board of Trustees, wrote recently on the Surflight website:
"We sincerely thank you and all in our community who have supported Surflight through the years. This generous support has enabled Surflight to impact the careers of aspiring actors and others involved in live theater – a large part of our theater’s mission. We thank you for supporting Surflight’s youth programs, which have helped children become confident in front of an audience and attain other life skills. Your patronage has filled the theater’s beloved Show Place Ice Cream Parlour with laughter over the antics of our singing waiters. And, of course, your support has allowed Surflight to provide quality live stage performances to our residents and visitors for 65 years. We wish to recognize all the members of the Surflight staff, who have worked extremely hard and with great dedication to bring everyone the best Surflight experience possible. We applaud them and wish them well as they continue their extraordinary careers."
The fate of the prime .6-acre site in downtown Beach Haven is undetermined. What will happen to this plot of land? Will a large builder purchase and build new homes? Is it possible that a combination of homes built while preserving a section of the property for a new community theatre? Time will tell.