Count Basie Center preserves cinematic landmark; readies new Basie Center Cinemas opening for October
40+ YEAR OLD WHITE STREET COMPLEX IN RED BANK TO REMAIN HAVEN FOR INDEPENDENT FILM;
EXPANDED SLATE TO OFFER DISCUSSIONS, FESTIVALS & MORE
VENUE OFFERS OPTIMAL SOLUTIONS TO SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
(SEPT. 8 2020 | RED BANK) The Count Basie Center for the Arts, the not-for-profit performing arts organization with a mission to “Inspire, Educate and Entertain,” announced today it has assumed operations of the historic White Street cinema in Red Bank, with the intention of opening as the rebranded Basie Center Cinemas in October.
The announcement comes as New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy decreed last week that movie theaters may reopen at the lesser of 150 persons or 25-percent of capacity. At those numbers, Basie Center Cinemas’ auditoriums will hold 51 and 33 people, respectively.
“We were set to announce the Basie Center Cinemas project in April, but we had to put everything on hold,” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “We are grateful that Governor Murphy has allowed movie theaters to operate at a reduced capacity, which will allow us to provide a safe, socially-distanced cinema experience for patrons beginning next month.”
“I am very excited for the Count Basie Center for the Arts and their new opening of Basie Center Cinemas,” said Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth). “People are very eager to once again safely have an entertaining night out. This experience is a step forward in bringing normalcy back to the community, while still proceeding with health and safety as our number one priorities.”
Under the direction of Basie Center Executive Vice President and General Manager Izzy Sackowitz, Basie Center Cinemas will feature independent and major studio releases, film lectures and workshops, film festivals and family programming, and will act as an annex location for the Basie Center’s celebrated arts and education programs, such as the Basie Center Teen + College Film Fest and more. Movie fans can expect all the amenities of the classic moviegoing experience, with additional offerings for film buffs and aficionados of arts education. Late-night showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” a long-standing tradition at the theater, will also continue.
READY FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING
Basie Center Cinemas will debut in strict accordance with state social distancing mandates:
- The facilities’ two theaters will hold 51 or 33 people, respectively.
- Patrons will be required to wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking.
- Seats will be sold in sets of 2 and 4, with at least 6’ of space surrounding seats in all directions. Single seats will be available as well.
- The lobby will be retrofitted to facilitate low-contact ticketing and concessions
- Theaters will be disinfected between showings.
- Restroom occupancy will be limited to one patron at a time.
“Fans of independent film can rest easy knowing that social distancing is very much possible in this complex, and that cinemas typically operate at reduced capacities to begin with” said Sackowitz. “In addition to deep cleanings between each screening and again nightly, usable seats will be properly distanced, foot traffic will be relegated to one direction, and concessions and ticketing will be completely touchless. The audience for independent films is smaller than the summer blockbuster crowd, which means the Basie Center Cinemas experience can be safe and enjoyable for all.”