As the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center prepares for its soft opening Wednesday night, the benefits it will bring to the arts community in Middlesex County cannot be overstated.
The two theaters — the Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater, which seats 463 and has an 86-foot stage, and the Arthur Laurents Theater, which seats 252 for its 60-foot stage — are as state of the art as they come, including:
- An ability to bring props up onto the stage from any of the 48 traps on the floor (or down from the ceilings, where more than 7 miles of rigging will help support sets above the stage);
- Enough space on the wings to make the transitions of ballet and opera performers seamless;
- A modern sound system and control booths, which not only have the latest technology, but have enough room for those who operate them. (Those operators, in some cases, will be Rutgers students, learning the industry.)
- And, in the larger setting, an orchestra pit that can comfortably sit 65 musicians down below or be elevated up top and used for added seating, depending on the needs of the performance.
All this in a setting that has enough dressing rooms — 70 (including some reserved exclusively for child performers) — and bathrooms to make those attending in any capacity feel comfortable.