Contract Grants Performing Arts Nonprofit Presenting Rights of RWJBarnabas Health Arena

Count Basie3

Count Basie's CEO and President Adam Philipson speaks about The Basie Presents' partnership with Toms River Regional Schools during the district's Sept. 18 school board meeting.
The Basie Presents

The Count Basie Center for the Arts is New Jersey’s premier center for the cultural arts, dedicated to fostering powerful, inclusive artistic experiences and creative exchange of ideas.
RWJBarnabas Health Arena

RWJBarnabas Health Arena is a 3,200-seat, 20,000-square-foot facility on the campus of High School North.

Count Basie2

Assistant Superintendent Deb McKenna stands with The Basie CEO and President Adam Philipson.

Sept. 19, 2018-- Toms River Regional Schools has named Count Basie Center for the Arts the presenting partner for RWJBarnabas Health Arena on the campus of High School North. The contract agreement, which is effective immediately, enables the longstanding and venerable performing arts institution to program, manage tickets, and oversee the facility on event dates.

“This is a genuine win-win partnership that is going to increase the efficiency and budget flexibility of our school district while helping to expand the vision of one of this area’s most acclaimed arts centers,” said Superintendent David Healy. “RWJBarnabas Health Arena has so much more to offer our community, and with the Basie’s help and expertise, it is poised to maximize its potential as a popular destination within Toms River and Ocean County. Because of this arrangement, and with the support of the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce, we hope to infuse additional activity and patronage to our downtown and surrounding area restaurants and businesses.

“Teaming with New Jersey’s top-selling performing arts center will provide us the support to continue doing what we do best-- serve our students and prepare them for the real world.”

The Basie will work directly with the district to solidify show bookings and secure venue sponsorships, and will collaborate with Toms River Regional Schools event staff based out of the arena to confirm, schedule, promote, and manage programming. Events will be marketed under the organization’s “The Basie Presents” banner.

“The partnership between the Count Basie Center for the Arts and the Toms River Regional Schools is going to be a game changer for the RWJBarnabas Health Arena and folks living in and around Toms River,” said the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation’s Jeremy Grunin, a stakeholder who helped forge the relationship between the Basie and the district. “Top quality arts, culture and entertainment are vital to any thriving community. Bringing these three giants together creates just one more reason why Ocean County is a great place to visit and an even better place to live.”

“The Basie is very much looking forward to activating the RWJBarnabas Health Arena space with quality and diverse programming, and engaging families, seniors, and the entirety of the greater Toms River market,” said Adam Philipson, CEO and President of Count Basie Center for the Arts. “We are grateful to Jeremy Grunin and the Grunin Foundation for solidifying this relationship.”

The Basie partnership advances the profile of the 3,200-seat, 20,000 square-foot facility, which officially became RWJBarnabas Health Arena last year thanks to a five-year naming rights agreement with the healthcare titan that includes student mentorships and educational initiatives. An increase in shows and events will serve to enhance that preexisting agreement in the short and long term.

“This partnership agreement honors virtually all of our 2018-2019 board-approved goals,” said Board President Russell Corby. “It strengthens our budget, improves the capacity of our facilities, solidifies our bond with the community, and will enable our district to further refine its focus on student achievement. At the same time, the greater Toms River area will be treated to an increase in diverse programming, and more exposure to the arts.”

Added Healy, “It’s been an ongoing, annual goal of our board and this office to maximize the capacity of this underutilized 3,200-seat arena. An arrangement like this has been years in the making, and seeing it come to fruition makes me ecstatic for our students and for Toms River.”

For a calendar of upcoming shows and events, to purchase tickets, or for information of renting the arena, visit

About Count Basie Center for the Arts and The Basie Presents

The Count Basie Center for the Arts is New Jersey’s premier center for the cultural arts, dedicated to fostering powerful, inclusive artistic experiences and creative exchange of ideas.

The Basie mission is to inspire, educate and entertain through its distinct and engaging cultural and artistic offerings that reflect the diversity of the region. As a nonprofit organization, the Basie is committed to enriching the community’s quality of life by generating opportunities for participation in the arts, partnering with schools, collaborating with other mission-based organizations and driving regional economic prosperity.

As part of this mission, “The Basie Presents” was created as a mechanism to bring the type of quality, diverse programming patrons have come to expect at the Basie Center to venues and neighborhoods throughout the nonprofit organization’s Monmouth – Ocean county footprint.

For more information, visit