Historic Preservation Helps State Children’s Theater Grow
Growing Stage Announces 42nd Season During Fundraising Event
Morris County Commissioner Director Krickus joined local officials and community leaders at the Growing Stage’s “Party at the Palace” in Netcong on Saturday, where he was presented with the organization’s Founder’s Circle of Friends Award, which recognizes role the county’s Historic Preservation Trust Fund has played in renovating and restoring the historic theater since 2006.
On behalf of the County Commissioners, Director Krickus thanked the Growing Stage, noting how Morris County residents overwhelmingly approved the Historic Preservation fund that has provided nearly $1.2 million to the Palace Theatre over the years. He also presented Growing Stage’s Executive Director Steve Fredericks a framed resolution denoting a 2023 awards grant of $117,085 that will assist with stage and circulation upgrades at the theater, including structural upgrades, a new circular stair, installation of a new stage floor and a stage trap door.
During the event, the theater’s 42nd season was also announced. The evening included a live and silent auction including items from local and statewide businesses who are supporters of the organization. Fredericks opened the evening showcasing the theater’s state of the art lighting system, expressing gratitude to the county for past and continued support in the rehabilitation of the Palace Theatre.
Built in 1919 as the Palace Theatre, the building is an excellent example of a vernacular interpretation of a grand era in theater design, at a time when live productions were "sharing the stage" with the fledgling movie industry. The building is also significant as an early example of the use of concrete construction in theaters and in its rare use of drapery as a decorative ceiling treatment. Currently occupied by Growing Stage the Children's Theatre of New Jersey, it is individually listed in both the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.