(APRIL 19, 2017 – RED BANK) The nonprofit Count Basie Theatre today announced its participation in the OceanFirst Charity Challenge, a crowdsourcing fundraiser which will assist the Basie in raising money for its “Curtains Up For Kids” educational performance program for schools.

Curtains Up For KidsIndividuals are encouraged to visit and click the “Curtains Up For Kids” icon, which will take them to a page where donations can be taken, and individuals and schools can spin off their own fundraisers to assist the cause.

“The ‘Curtains Up for Kids’ program is a wonderful way to connect children of all ages to the performing arts,” said Maria Sorensen, Vice President of Development, Count Basie Theatre. “It’s also a great way for those who love the arts to share them with students in some of our most disadvantaged local communities. All kids deserve the chance to consider the world through different points of view. Live performances provide that opportunity and so much more.”

To encourage schools to get involved, the historic Basie has teamed with iPlay America in Freehold, NJ to award the Monmouth or Ocean County school with the highest tally with an end of year party at the theme park for all students and faculty. Individual fundraisers can get in the fun, too – the Basie is awarding the individual who raises the most through their own spinoff fundraiser with $1,000 in Basie tickets through its “Distinguished Guest” membership program. (Individuals will be required to raise at least $2,000 to qualify). 

It’s not the first time iPlay America is getting involved with area schools. On Sunday, June 11, the theme park will hold its first-ever iPlay America Science Fair, which boasts more than $5,000 in cash and park prizes for winning participants. Students can visit for information on entering their projects.

“The Basie is a living, breathing part of New Jersey’s arts history and iPlay America is honored to collaborate with the Basie to support Curtains Up For Kids,” said Jessica Schwartz, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for iPlay America. “We are two companies that share a deep commitment to children, education, and the performing arts and we’re pleased to reward these dedicated students by inviting them to celebrate at the best place to celebrate in New Jersey.”


Each year, the Basie welcomes thousands of students to experience live art — and for many, it’s their first or only opportunity to do so. From classical music with modern twists, to the diversity of Asian and African artistry or historical plays like I Have a Dream, the Basie allows students to dream forward through the experience of culture and artistic expression. With the Curtains Up For Kids campaign, the public can help fund this life-altering and enriching program.

For example, a $10 donation sends a student to one of the Basie’s culturally enriching educational school performances. $50 provide study guides for an entire class, while $100 covers the cost of pre- and post-show lessons from a Basie teaching artist. $1,000 sponsors an entire school grade’s performing arts experience at the Basie, including tickets, a pre- and post-show lesson from a Basie teaching artist and study guides for all. $5,000 funds an entire elementary school’s visit to the Basie.

“We hear time and again how crucial the arts are to helping students develop a strong sense of community and an emotional understanding of other cultures, people, and perspectives,” Sorensen added. “By supporting this program—either through a generous donation or by creating your own fundraiser—you will give a child the gift of the arts.”