Count Basie Theatre
Red Bank, NJ
Architect: William E. Lehman
The Carlton Theatre was originally built for both movies and vaudeville and 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.
Living in a clean, efficient, densely populated city is not exactly the end of the world. Where would you rather spend your vacation: Paris or Houston? (Jeff Rubin)