NJ’s newest indoor venue, The Vogel, is unveiled at Basie Center
RED BANK — New Jersey finally is getting a look at its newest indoor performance space after pandemic delays, as The Count Basie Center for the Arts has unveiled its second on-site venue.
The Vogel, a nearly 20,000-square-foot two-level performance space named for philanthropists Anne and Sheldon Vogel is part of long-term expansion plans for the Monmouth County landmark theater.
The theater will debut in October with performances to be announced shortly, as strict social distancing measures will be in place.
Initial shows will be seated, with tickets by “Table For Two,” “Table For Four” and “Table For Six” configurations only, for a total of 150 seats per performance, based on state pandemic restrictions.
Tables will be setup 6 feet apart, with the front row of tables 12 feet from performers, and mask wearing will be required by patrons at all times, except for when eating or drinking.
Drinks and concessions will be sold tableside, which prevents paying guests from lining up at bars.
Patrons will be required to remain at their purchased seats, unless getting up to leave or use restrooms, which will be limited to two patrons at a time.
Temperatures will be taken at the door, and anyone with a body temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be permitted to enter, while a refund will be issued.
Tables will not be permitted to be split and resold. Patrons holding resold tickets will be denied entry and refunds will not be offered.
For nights with two shows, entry for the second show will begin once the previous crowd is cleared and the venue is cleaned and sanitized.
Events at The Vogel will utilize Ticketmaster’s touch-less, mobile entry system. No paper tickets will be accepted.
Though limited to seated, socially distanced events for the immediate future, The Vogel was built to accommodate both standing and seated audiences for a variety of live entertainment.
Post-COVID, The Vogel can accommodate up to 800 persons standing and also will host performances from Basie Center Academy students and students at the Basie’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music.
Originally set to open in June, the COVID-19 public health emergency instead forced the Basie Center to take its programming outside, with drive-in and outdoor supper club performances at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, while indoor facilities sat closed for seven months amid coronavirus.
The Basie Center will be working with Hackensack Meridian Health’s Reopening America Assist Program, which helps business owners and schools navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and create a safe environment for employees and customers.
“The Vogel represents four years of imagining how a new performance space could complement our historic theater,” Count Basie Center for the Arts President/CEO Adam Philipson said in a written release.
Philipson also said the grand opening of the new performance space is part of the Basie’s need to create revenue as they struggle to reopen, while also helping to make people feel safe to come back to indoor entertainment venues.
“Though our summer events were successful, they represent just a fraction of our financial reality,” Philipson said. “We need to generate income to stay afloat, and we need to fulfill our mission to ‘Inspire, Educate and Entertain.’ Our Academy of the Arts has remained active, and now, it’s time for one of our stages to return to life.”