Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell headlines an inspiring celebration of American song at NJPAC’s annual Spotlight Gala @ Home on October 3. The concert portion of the evening, American Songbook at NJPAC will be broadcast on NJTV and at 7PM EST.
Afterward, the celebration will be capped at 8PM by a live dance party on NJPAC’s Instagram Live account (@njpac). All are invited to tune in to participate in this salute to the life-affirming power of the performing arts, and to help NJPAC continue its work in arts education and community engagement — programming that the Arts Center has provided online throughout the pandemic, even though its physical campus has been shuttered due to the public health crisis.
NJPAC’s Founder, Governor Tom Kean, and New Jersey’s current Governor and First Lady, Phil Murphy and Tammy Snyder Murphy, will be honored with the Arts Center’s Founders Award during the event.
“Even before the Arts Center opened its doors, the Spotlight Gala has been a way for us to celebrate the arts, and gather together the community that has made NJPAC a vital and effective anchor cultural institution,” says John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC.
“This year, for the first time, we can’t bring the family of Arts Center friends and supporters together on our campus. But we were determined that even the pandemic wouldn’t stop us from hosting ‘the party of the year’ and toasting the friends, allies and supporters that have kept NJPAC a vibrant home for performances, community engagement and arts education in New Jersey.”
This annual spectacular is organized by Women@NJPAC, the Arts Center’s longtime advocacy organization. (Previously known as the Women’s Association of NJPAC, the group changed its name at the end of last year.)
In addition to Mitchell, the televised concert will feature a slate of stellar performers including Billy Porter, Christine Ebersole, Jessie Mueller, Valerie Simpson, Jarrod Spector and Joshua Bell, all performing classics compiled from NJTV’s American Songbook at NJPAC.
After the broadcast concert, Arts Center fans are invited to join an Instagram after-party hosted by DJ KISS and DJ M.O.S., deejays to the stars best known for spinning tunes for the Academy Awards’ red carpet and Governor’s Ball. Surprise special guest appearances will keep the party lively.
Since its establishment in June of 1994, Women@NJPAC has raised more than $54 million to support NJPAC and its programs. Originally known as “The Women’s Board of NJPAC” and later “the Women’s Association of NJPAC,” the organization began with only nine members. These “founding mothers” not only helped raise the funding necessary to open the Arts Center in October of 1997, they also grew their small band into a powerhouse of fundraising and “friend-raising” that today numbers more than 2,000 members.

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