NEWARK, N.J., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The traditional programming boundaries of performing arts centers were expanded today, with the announcement of an exclusive long-term concert producing partnership between the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), the Metropolitan Entertainment Group and Barrister Productions, it was jointly announced today by Lawrence P. Goldman, President and CEO of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), John Scher, President and CEO of Metropolitan Entertainment Group (MEG), and Ernest Booker, Founder and President of Barristers Entertainment. This ground-breaking venture will bring contemporary, rock and urban music into the NJPAC repertory fold. "This new partnership reconfirms our mission to create an arts center that is accessible to all people of all ages," said NJPAC's President and CEO, Lawrence P. Goldman. "Like us, both John Scher and Ernest Booker have an abiding commitment to reach all audiences that surround our magnificent new facility." "In collaboration with NJPAC, we hope to blur the line between what has been defined as cultural arts fare and what is expected of contemporary rock, R&B, and popular music concerts," explains John Scher. "Our goal is to help de-mystify the ivory-tower image performing arts centers usually have with hip and responsive music presentations." This latest announcement reflects the inspiration of the NJPAC leadership as the center nears its opening date of October 18, 1997. The Metropolitan/Barristers partnership will join a number of great performers such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Itzhak Perlman, Jessye Norman and many others. "Given the luxury of a fresh start, we can invent ourselves with our programming and with our entertainment partnerships," observed Stephanie Hughley, NJPAC's Vice President for Programming. Hughley will work in unison with the Metropolitan/Barristers team. "John and I have always been committed to promotional excellence in our home state, which is why we choose to live and work here," noted Booker. "The realization of NJPAC is important to us as producers and reconfirms our commitment to New Jersey. We are a first-class state and this is a first- class operation." Details and specifics of the upcoming concert programming will be announced in the near future. Current plans include concerts, cabaret, and spoken word presentations for both the 2,750-seat Prudential Hall and the 514- seat Victoria Theater. John Scher and Metropolitan Entertainment Group have been producing concerts throughout the Northeast region for more than 25 years. As one of the top-grossing producers in the country, MEG, a joint venture between the Ogden Corporation and Metropolitan Entertainment, Inc., includes a Broadway and Television division, artist management, venue ownership and management, and the newly launched HYBRID Recordings, in addition to the concert division. As the founder of Barristers Entertainment Inc., Ernest Booker has produced numerous events, marketing to the African-American community in the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area during the last 10 years. He has produced Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker, Luther Vandross, Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers, Kirk Franklin, Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, and numerous other R&B acts. Conceived for both traditional and popular cultural events, New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) serves as a host to nationally and internationally celebrated performing artists and as a home to New Jersey's arts communities. The Center's programs are created to serve New Jersey's diverse populations, introducing new programs to New Jersey and demonstrating the State's own rich culture. NJPAC is located on the Newark Riverfront near Gateway Center, Newark's Penn Station and the Ironbound District, in downtown Newark, N.J. With two theaters, the 2,750-seat Prudential Hall and the intimate 500-seat Victoria Theater, NJPAC is the largest performing arts center built in the Northeast in 30 years. NJPAC is scheduled to raise the curtain on its inaugural season on Saturday, October 18, 1997. For ticket information call: 1-888-GO-NJPAC.
SOURCE New Jersey Performing Arts Center