Terrence Mann, a character in WP Kinsella’s novel “Shoeless Joe” (of “Field of Dreams” fame) once said, “Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; But theater will make you good.” I could not help but think Terrence would change that to “outstanding” if he ever toured the Cultural Arts Center that is about to open at Fellowship . “If you build it, they will come” for sure.
Sneak Peek of the Fellowship Cultural Arts Center in Basking Ridge, NJ
Residents were invited to have a sneak peek at the Theater after today’s “Fellowship Cultural Arts Center Info Meeting.” The info meeting was well-attended and gave an overview of the Cultural Arts Center’s schedule and its website, www.fellowshipculturalartscenter.org and how residents could purchase tickets in advance before they are released to the public. Tickets have been available since July 1 upon request; now the site is also available to residents to order tickets. Tickets will be released to the public soon.
One stop on the tour included a visit to the nearly completed dressing rooms. The lighting was impressive and the space included enough room for costume storage and plenty of outlets, among other well-thought out details.
One resident who was on the tour told me that she moved here from Oregon when she heard about the Theater that was about to open here. As she toured, I asked her if this is what she had imagined it would look like when she took the leap to move here. She stopped and said, “this, by far exceeds my expectations. It’s way beyond what I thought it would be.”
Our tour included a stop on the expansive and grand stage. The fly space allows for screens, scenery and the curtains to rise and fall. President and CEO Brian Lawrence demonstrated how the fly space works and how the movie screen lowers from the ceiling with ease. The flooring has a beautiful finish, all new and shiny. Overall, the space has a great feel to it.
The seating is unique. There are three configurations (with a fourth in the works for next year) that are possible including use of an Orchestra pit, a full or partial thrust or the option to not use it all (thereby increasing the number of seats). The back seven rows of seats are retractable and function almost like bleacher system except the are elegant, classy and comfortable theater seats.
There are steps. At first I thought steps might be problematic to navigate for some. However, the steps are more like landings and give ample footing and space to navigate your way to your seat. The seats themselves are a rich, plush velvety red with arms that fold up or down to your liking. They haven’t been installed yet, as you can see from the photo, but are slated for installation in the coming days. There are also floor seats (no steps) for easy access for patrons and who wish to be close to the performance.
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Programming for our residents that will take place in this space will continue to be upscale concerts, educational lectures, shows, presentations, and other fun entertainment that is always on the calendar—one of the many benefits of living at Fellowship Village. Some programming will also take place in the lower level multipurpose room that seats 60 and offers space for rehearsals and other activities.
Ticketed events will be limited to one production per month open to residents and to the outside Community for purchase. Residents will always have first priority with seating and the website allows theater-goers the option to select their seat or have the ticketing system chose the seat.
No other Life Plan Community in New Jersey offers anything even close. Imagine being footsteps from seeing your favorite musical or hearing your favorite classical musician play a solo in a grand theater.
Stay tuned for coming attractions! Until then, please visit the Fellowship Cultural Arts Center website, www.fellowshipculturalartscenter.org, and let me know what you think. I look forward to your feedback and seeing you at an upcoming show!
Patty Yannotta serves as the Director of Hospitality and Lifestyle at Fellowship Village in Basking Ridge, New Jersey and can be reached at 908-580-3853. The Fellowship Cultural Arts Center features a 240 seat state-of-the-art multipurpose theater which is open to the public. Programming will feature theater, opera, symphony, ballet, film and lectures. An upscale bar and lounge with alfresco dining will be completed in 2020. Tickets will soon be available to the public at www.fellowshipculturalartscenter.org.