Rahway celebrates reopening of Hamilton Stage following post-Ida renovations
Rahway’s community theater reopened Saturday, two and a half years after it was flooded out by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
The building is within steps of the Rahway River.
"We had water all the way up to the stage in our theatre and everything had to be gutted," said Rahway Mayor Raymond A. Giacobbe Jr.
The city’s Redevelopment Agency made the theater's renovations possible.
Hamilton Stage houses a nearly 200-seat theater, public space and dressing rooms.
The day was filled with events for the community who said the theater space was sorely missed.
"Not having this has definitely been a detriment for the last couple of years. But I’m happy to be back here. I’m happy to be open and I’m looking forward to all of the great events that will be here coming up," Giacobbe said.
There were a few live performances at Hamilton Stage for its open house. They included a jazz-poetry mash up, opera, hip-hop dancing and string instruments.
The Rahway High School marching band kicked off the celebration in a space that organizers said is helpful for young creatives to thrive.
"I look at this space and it just feels like a hub for the community of Rahway. So we just want to be able to bring in, especially for children, for seniors, a place where they can kind of meet up with other people, collaborate, have workshops, have different art events," said Kim Farrier, director of programming and development of the Union County Performing Arts Center.
"The city of Rahway, we are a proud arts community. We love cultivating young artists to be able to come here. Whether it’s performing arts or otherwise. And not having this space really hurt because we do a lot of our smaller events here, a lot of our community events here, and young and upcoming artists," Giacobbe said.
The open house will continue Sunday with several children’s events.
Giacobbe said he will deliver his State of the City address from Hamilton Stage.