The Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) in Englewood, N.J. reopened with renowned television host and comedian Jay Leno on site to cut the ribbon and head the opening show.
Saturday, April 8 marked the official re-opening of the theater following a 7-month hiatus following $10 million of renovations, which were part of a multi-year, $15 million capital campaign.
Leno has supported the center throughout its history. He also supported the arts center during its virtual gala fundraiser in March 2021 amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “The Tonight Show” host, stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, and host of Jay Leno’s Garage, is a noted area performer.
Improvements to the theater include carpeting and lighting, upgraded seats, a restored proscenium, rebuilt lobby equipped with an expanded concession stand and bar, a Spotlight Lounge, a VIP Legends Lounge and hand-painted gold highlights along columns and arches.
“From the depths of the pandemic, when our nation was shuttered and this theater was closed, it was Jay Leno with his passionate support for Bergen PAC during our virtual 2021 Gala,” Frank Huttle, the founder and member of the board of trustees said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“He stood high and strong from his garage in California to save our stage. And guess what, Jay, we did it,” Huttle added.
Sixty percent of the funding for the the center comes from Bergen County, with the other 40% coming from private donors, corporations and foundations.
The remaining $5 million from the $15 million capital campaign is set to be spent in three to five years. Some of the money will go towards restoring the historic building that houses the Performing Arts School at bergenPAC.