Count Basie Theatre

99-101 Monmouth Street,
Red Bank, NJ 07701

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Interior of Count Basie Theatre

The 1,783-seat Carlton Theatre opened November 11, 1926, featuring both movies and vaudeville. It was a Walter Reade theatre. After a successful multi-decade run, the theater closed in 1970.

Three years later, it was purchased by the Monmouth County Arts Council and renamed the Monmouth Arts Center. It was later renamed once again, as the Count Basie Theatre, after the famed Red Bank native and now features live dramatic and musical performances.

The Count Basie Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 24, 2009.

In September 2017 ground was broken to constuct a second auditorium adjacent to the theatre.

Contributed by William Dahn

Recent comments (view all 75 comments)

markp on September 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm

New Christie digital projector installed as of early sept. We have kept the 2 35mm projectors also.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on March 18, 2014 at 9:07 am

Looking forward to “2001” tonight at the Count Basie Theatre. It’ll be my first time there. Hope the screen is as big as it looks from the photos of the stage curtains.

walterk on March 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

I found mention of the opening of the Carlton in the November 27, 1926 issue of the Motion Picture News giving the date as November 11, 1926. This was the 30th theatre in the Walter Reade chain, all but one or two of them in New Jersey. According to the mention, Keith-Albee vaudeville, feature films and short subjects formed the house policy for presentations. I hope the Basie has a film presentation the next time I’m visiting relatives in the area, this looks like a great venue to experience. Hopefully it will be a night they fire up the 35mm projectors.

markp on January 13, 2015 at 8:30 pm

The 35mm print of “Interstellar” looked and sounded FANTASTIC tonight. And of course all my changeovers were flawless. I havent lost a step in 35 years.

walterk on August 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

I was a guest of Basie projectionist Mark Pusillo (aka markp) for a double bill while in the area last month. I’ve just uploaded a couple of the photos I took that afternoon. Wonderful well kept venue I’d been waiting years for a chance to visit. Thanks again, Mark.

markp on August 30, 2015 at 12:15 pm

No problem walterk. And thank you for all your doing with the Ritz. Hope to see you soon.

pnelson on August 30, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Handsome ceiling and lighting. Wall details nice too. All first class.

HowardBHaas on December 31, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Are the Star Trek movies in Feb 35mm?

markp on January 1, 2016 at 4:06 am

I highly doubt it HowardBHaas. As the house projectionist I can almost guarentee they with be digital or blu ray. Too much money to ship the film and pay me to inspect them. With the other format all I do is start them. I dont even load them. Yup, welcome to the world of digital.

walterk on September 21, 2017 at 11:14 am

Here’s an article from today’s Asbury Park Press about yesterday’s ground breaking ceremony for a $23 million expansion of the Basie, which will include second performance space located in a new Arts and Education Building adjacent to the theatre. This pretty much doubles the size of the performing arts center. A nice addition to the Basie, which celebrates its 91st anniversary as a theatre in 7 weeks. The article includes a short video and slide show of the ceremony and plans.

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