Historic State Theater undergoing major renovations during pandemic closure
A New Jersey theater is getting a major makeover while it is closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State Theater in New Brunswick is in the midst of renovations.
“To come in and now see no seats, no rigging and now walls and no floors is very strange,” say President and CEO Sarah Chaplin.
Chaplin says that the New Brunswick landmark needed to get upgraded. The planned renovation of the 100-year-old building was moved up since it was temporarily closed due to the shutdown.
“We also though have to look at how do we make it a living, breathing functional professional theater for the next hundred years,” says Chaplin.
The State Theater opened on Livingston Avenue in 1921. It was then a lavish movie theater and vaudeville house. Its heyday was ending in the 1960s and the once-prominent biding became neglected before an effort was made to restore it.
“Even through its ups and downs, people have those memories. It is a cornerstone, if you will, of the city,” says Chaplin.
The nonprofit theater is now known for presenting concerts, comedy and tours of Broadway shows. The building is owned by Middlesex County, which contributed $12 million to the renovation.
The renovation will include new theater seats, remodeled lobbies and modern amenities. The building will have an elevator for the first time. It will also preserve the theater’s historic design.
The renovations are expected to be completed by August, with the hope that live shows can resume by September.