Count Basie Theatre

Red Bank, NJ
Opened 1927
Seats 1,600

The Carlton Theatre was designed by architect William E. Lehman and originally featured both movies and vaudeville. It remained an active movie house until closing in 1970. In 1973 it was purchased in 1973 by the Monmouth County Arts Council and renamed the Monmouth Arts Center. In 1984 it was renamed for big band leader Count Basie, who was born in Red Bank and died that year.

I was there in 2002 and my strongest recollection is how plain the interior was. The sparse ornamentation seemed to have been painted over in white - perhaps for lack of funds to do a serious restoration. I also had issues with the house people who, due to fire codes, would not allow me to set up my audio equipment in an aisle and forced me deep into one of the exit alcoves - which was almost as bad as trying to mix from backstage. (detailed history)

Madison Square Garden is three lies in one. It's round, it's 10 blocks north of Madison Square, and you don't want to eat anything that grows there.