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New Jersey Performing Arts Centers

Who doesn’t love the thrill of a live performance every now and again?


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Who doesn’t love the thrill of a live performance every now and again? Here are our readers’ picks for their favorite venues that have family-friendly shows this summer.

Bergen County

Bergen Performing Arts Center (Englewood)

This not-for-profit theater strives to make the live performing arts accessible to everyone. Choose from a wide selection of shows this summer, including a fully staged production of the musical CATS (Aug. 1–3).

IZOD Center (East Rutherford)

Located in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, the IZOD Center is one of the Garden State’s leading concert and family show venues. Be sure to check out its summer schedule, which features productions like Marvel Universe Live! (July 31–Aug. 10).

Essex County

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Newark)

Not only is NJPAC one of the Garden State’s most spectacular live venues, but it is one of the nation’s largest, as well. Head on over all summer long for great family performances like Nickelodeon’s The Fresh Beat Band (Aug. 29).

Prudential Center (Newark)

Home to the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, this multi-purpose indoor arena hosts about 200 events annually. Don’t miss out on its 2014 summer line-up, which includes shows like Walking With Dinosaurs (July 23–27) and Cirque du Soleil Varekai (Aug. 27–31).

South Orange Performing Arts Center (South Orange)

SOPAC’s intimate performance hall showcases singer-songwriters, blues, jazz, comedy, theatre, dance, and much more. This summer, the center will host a variety of free concerts and movies in Meadowland Park, featuring artists like John Lee and Friends (July 23) and films like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Aug. 13).

Mercer County 

Kelsey Theater at Mercer County Community College, West Windsor

Home to a student company, modern dance ensemble, symphonic band, and 12 community and semi-professional theater companies, the Kelsey Theatre is housed on MCCC’s campus. Catch shows like Meet Me in St. Louis (July 18–27) throughout the summer.

Middlesex County

State Theatre New Jersey (New Brunswick)

This regional performing arts center is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Be a part of this landmark year by getting tickets for one of many concerts, dance performances, or film screenings of favorite flicks, like Frozen (July 15) and The LEGO Movie (July 22).

Monmouth County

Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank)

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Count Basie was first opened in 1926, and later renamed for jazz musician and Red Bank native William “Count” Basie. Catch shows like Grease (July 11–20) this summer.

The Strand Theater (Lakewood)

Since its founding in 1922, The Strand has been a staple of the Jersey Shore, offering live theater, comedy, dance, and concerts. Be sure to catch this summer’s production of Willy Wonka (Aug. 8–10).

Morris County

Bickford Theatre at Morris Museum (Morristown)

Operating as an extension of the Morris Museum, the Bickford Theatre is dedicated to providing adults and children with performing and visual arts. Check out Lasermania (July 9), Aladdin (July 23), and Annie Sing-Along (Aug. 13).

MAYO Performing Arts Center (Morristown)

In its over 75 years, MAYO PAC has transformed from a modest movie house into Morristown’s cultural center. Get your tickets now for summer shows like Rock of the 80s (Aug. 7), or stop by for the center’s free concert series, the 5th Annual Music Beyond Borders (July 8, 22, and Aug. 5).

Ocean County

Surflight Theater, Beach Haven

Ocean County’s oldest professional theater company is home to many show biz professionals and students. Head down the shore for Beauty and the Beast, Jr. (July 10–Aug. 31), Fiddler on the Roof (July 9–27), and the Surflight Theatre’s Show Place Ice Cream Parlour, featuring a cast of musical servers.

Warren County

Centenary Stage Company (Hackettstown)

This not-for-profit theater features two facilities in Hackettstown, the Lackland Center and the Centenary Theater. Don’t miss out on Summer Jamfest (July 12–Aug. 9), a concert series featuring different artists weekly.

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