Basie Center celebrates Dia de los Muertos with Coco benefit screening and community ofrenda


(RED BANK | OCT 2) The nonprofit Count Basie Center for the Arts has announced a big-screen showing of Disney’s Coco as part of its annual celebration of Dia de los Muertos, sponsored by Basie’s partner program Calpulli Mexican Dance Company.

The screening, which takes place on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 11am, will also serve as a fundraiser for the Red Bank Borough School District, which will receive half of all tickets sold.

Tickets, priced at $5 for the general public, are on sale now through, phone charge at 732.842.9000 and the Basie box office, located onsite at 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank.

Dia de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead” is a multi-day festival celebrated throughout Mexico and by persons of Mexican heritage. From Oct. 31- Nov. 2, families honor the deceased by decorating calaveras (sugar skulls), spreading aztec marigolds, and preparing favorite foods and beverages of the departed to leave at their graves. As part of their rituals, families also build elaborate altars called ofrendas, where they’ll display photographs, possessions and other favorite items of a particular loved one or ancestor.

As part of its annual Dia de los Muertos celebration, the Basie will host a community ofrenda in its outer lobby from Nov. 1-3. In line with Mexican tradition, members of the community are invited to leave offerings on the ofrenda to remember family members and others who have passed.

The premise of Coco revolves around the holiday. The critically-acclaimed film tells the story of a young boy named Miguel, who dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

Disney’s Coco won two Academy Awards™ earlier this year, in both the Best Animated Film and Best Song categories.

The Saturday morning screening will be kicked off with a performance by Alejandra Morales, a Basie Center Performing Arts Academy student who also performs with the Calpulli company with her family. Calpulli Dance Company a Queens-based troupe whose mission celebrates the rich diversity of Mexican and Mexican-American cultural heritage through dance-based programming and live music. As part of its Basie Center partnership, the company offers classes each Saturday afternoon at the facility’s Studio 99 classroom. For more information, call 732-224-8778 x 125.