Best NJ Performing Arts Programs

Good performing arts training makes all the difference. Whether your teen is interested in acting, musical theater or comedy, these New Jersey-based programs will help them step confidently into the spotlight.

Hoboken Children’s Theater

55 Sterling Ave., Weehawken

When it comes to theater, there’s only so much you can learn in a classroom—which is why (in addition to offering plenty of acting workshops) the Hoboken Children’s Theater gives teens serious about performing the chance to join one of their two audition-only theater companies: The Junior Company (ages 11 to 15) and the Senior Company (ages 14 and up). Weeks of classes and rehearsals all culminate in one to two weeks of performances (with real scripts, costumes and choreography) at the Monroe TheatreSpace in Hoboken. Past productions include Legally Blonde the Musical, Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College

1200 Old Trenton Rd., West Windsor

For more than 40 years, the Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College’s Tomato Patch Visual and Performing Arts Workshops have taught over 6,500 teens everything they need to know to land their next role. Tomato Patch is central Jersey’s longest running arts program with training in theater, dance, vocals, comedy, video, musical theater and more —and no where is proof of the program’s excellence more evident than in its list of star-studded alum. Nationally touring productions and TV shows past and present are full of former Tomato Patchers, including Broadways’ Chicago and Legally Blonde The Musical, and HBO’s The Sopranos.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

3 Vreeland Rd., Florham Park

For an actor, there's arguably no better foundation than a background in Shakespeare. Luckily for Garden State teens, there’s The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey—the state’s largest professional theater company dedicated solely to the bard and home to The Shakespeare Theatre Academy. In classes like “Teen Actors Workshop,” students use games, scene work and (of course) Shakespearean texts to learn about movement, speech and character creation. Actors-in-training are invited to join the Junior Shakespeare Corps (ages 11 to 14) and the Senior Shakespeare Corps (ages 14 to 18) to showcase their skills on stage in Madison's 400-seat Dorothy Young Center for the Arts. Past performances include Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth.

More Drama Programs In Your Area

Bergen County

Bergen Performing Arts Center
30 North Van Brunt St. Englewood

Cresskill Performing Arts
300 Knickerbocker Rd. Cresskill

Porch Light Theatre & Performance Studio
555 Broad St., Glen Rock

Essex County

Broadway Performing Arts
357 Broad St., Bloomfield

New Jersey Performing Arts Center
1 Center St., Newark

New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts
593 Bloomfield Ave. Bloomfield

Newark School of the Arts
89 Lincoln Park, Newark

Paper Mill Playhouse
22 Brookside Dr., Millburn

Performers Theatre Workshop
1 Pierson Rd., Maplewood

Hudson County

Hoboken Comedy Festival
1039 Washington St.

Mercer County

McCarter Theatre Center
91 University Pl., Princeton

Middlesex County

George Street Playhouse
9 Livingston Ave.
New Brunswick

Rutgers High School Musical Theater Academy
33 Livingston Ave.
New Brunswick

Morris County

Brightest Star School of Performing Arts
16 Ridgedale Ave.
Cedar Knolls

Brundage Park Playhouse
2 Bungalow Ln., Randolph

Mayo Performing Arts Center
100 South St., Morristown

Passaic County

Action Theatre
68 Union Ave., Clifton

Sussex County

Tri-State Actors Theater
1 College Hill Rd., Newton

Union County

Contagious Drama Workshop
140 Mountain Ave., Westfield

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre
120 Morris Ave., Summit

New Jersey Youth Theatre
172 Westfield Ave. W
Roselle Park

PeachCraft Studios of Drama, Voice & Filmmaking
371 Springfield Ave., Summit

Pineda Conservatory For The Performing Arts
1171 Terrill Rd., Scotch Plains

Warren County

Centenary Stage
715 Grand Ave., Hackettstown

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