(ENGLEWOOD, NJ) -- The Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) and Bergen County Executive James Tedesco have announced the closure of a $5.6 million sale of revenue bonds, a significant funding source for bergenPAC’s $15 million Invest in the Arts Capital Campaign.
The bonds, issued by the Bergen County Improvement Authority (BCIA) to financial institutions will play a critical role in financing the cherished, historical theater’s renovation and restoration. The BCIA bond sale increases total funding for the initiative to $10 million when added to the $4 million already raised from private donors.
“The closing of the bond sale is a celebration for everyone, from patrons that will enjoy outstanding performances in a world-class venue with new amenities; to the students that will experience the joy of performing on the big stage; to the professional performers themselves, who will marvel at the new state of the art sound system and lighting,” said Robert Cook, founding Trustee and Chairman of the Board of bergenPAC.
Frank Huttle, III, Founder of bergenPAC, explains, “The public-private project will enhance visitors’ dynamic concert and theater experience by boosting bergenPAC’s state-of-the-art sound system, adding acoustic sidewall curtains, and implementing new technology to augment lighting and audio/video systems. In addition, the theater will be graced with new seats, staging and carpeting; additional restrooms; and an expanded lobby and bar. On behalf of bergenPAC, I extend a great thank you to Bergen County Executive James Tedesco for his partnership and steadfast leadership.”
“The County of Bergen is proud to support the arts and partner with the bergenPAC Board of Trustees on this major renovation which will provide needed upgrades to the facility, realize cost-savings, and further the facility’s mission of providing a home for youth to be educated in the arts and to present a wide range of live entertainment for the community,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco.
Students in bergenPACs acclaimed Performing Arts School will benefit from expanded programming and immersion opportunities, including the program created for special needs students and young adults, and funding for public school special assemblies.
The renovations and restorations at bergenPAC are in progress and, as scheduled, the theater is set to reopen in Fall 2022. While contractors are hard at work behind the venue’s doors, bergenPAC will continue its programming and dedication to the community throughout the spring and summer with a Broadway series and several kids’ shows held indoors at Westfield Garden Plaza in Paramus.
Several shows have already been booked at bergenPAC for the fall and winter, including iconic singer Johnny Mathis’ Voice of Romance Tour (Oct. 7); R&B superstar group Dru Hill’s 25th Anniversary Tour (Oct. 8); legendary singer-songwriter Art Garfunkel (Oct. 22); renowned comedians Lewis Black (Nov. 19) and Anthony Rodia (Nov.25.); and Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love’s Annual Love for the Holidays show (Dec.9).
Among the planned upgrades are:
* New LED marquee
* New theater seats, carpeting, and stage
* Refurbishment of the theater's interior ornamental elements
* Enhancement of the theater's state-of-the-art sound system
* Additional mezzanine-level bathrooms
* Expanded lobby and bars
* Redesigned and ADA-compliant box office windows
* Improvements to The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC's dance and recording studios
* Enhanced bergenPAC membership programs, with exclusive amenities, for new and existing patrons
* Premier show lighting system to meet today's industry standards
* Superior audio/video system and upgraded technology throughout the whole theater
Founded in 2003, the 1,367-seat Bergen Performing Arts Center, or bergenPAC, is the area's cultural mecca. The theater’s legacy started in 1926 when it opened as the Englewood Plaza movie theater. United Artists purchased the building in 1967 and kept the doors open until 1973. Through the efforts of a group of local citizens under the leadership of John Harms, the John Harms Center came to life in 1976. In 2003, a small group of dedicated individuals led by Frank Huttle III helped preserve this special theater and rechristened it the Bergen Performing Arts Center. The historic Art Deco-style theater boasts one of the finest acoustic halls in the United States, attracting a stellar roster of world-class entertainment. The jewel in our crown is The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC – the innovative, educational performing arts initiative that, through programs, classes, outreach, school shows, and main theater presented shows, reaches more than 30,000 students and community youth annually. The Performing Arts School provides community youth, age 2 months to 21 years, with unique, "hands-on" training in music, dance, and theater by industry professionals. Through the ongoing generosity of sponsors, donors, members, and patrons, the not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation bergenPAC and The Performing Arts School can thrive and enrich our community.