NJ Performing Arts Center Signs Exclusive with Concert Producers Metropolitan Entertainment Group and Barristers Entertainment

Contemporary and Urban Music Programming will be Integrated into the NJPAC

Year-Round Repertoire to Reflect the Region's Diversity of Culture, Taste, and


Jun 10, 1997, 01:00 ET from New Jersey Performing Arts Center

    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
     "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
     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