The New Jersey Performing Arts Center announces its 20th anniversary 2017-2018 season with the initial launch of more than 150 performances and special events, all wrapped into a festive new reimagining of the NJPAC brand identity.

The refreshed brand lends a festival-like ambiance to an ambitious season announced today, highlighted by the sixth annual TD James Moody Jazz Festival; an appearance by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble; a four-day engagement of the hit Broadway musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’”; spark-igniting duets from classical violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, sharing the Prudential Hall stage; and a conversation with former President Bill Clinton.

The Arts Center’s launch of a dramatic and celebratory visual identity commemorates two decades of live performance and heralds an exciting anniversary season of internationally renowned artists. Through bold design reflected in every aspect of the Arts Center’s communications, led by a distinctive new logo, NJPAC’s rebranding is emblematic of artistic excellence, authentic community engagement, best-in-class arts education, and just plain fun.

“The country’s most vibrant urban performing arts center now has a custom-designed, institutional identity, unveiled as part of the 20th anniversary season,” says NJPAC President and CEO John Schreiber. “The new brand will seamlessly unite all of NJPAC’s performances and activities, whether they occur in our theaters or off-campus. Audiences will instantly recognize NJPAC as a place of celebration, where everyone goes home feeling enriched, energetic and ready for more.”

Paula Scher, partner at Pentagram, the international design consultancy that directed NJPAC’s rebranding, believes the Arts Center “deserves to be seen and recognized” for the scope of its programming.

“I was impressed that such a powerhouse of programming came from just one institution,” she says. “This new identity will remind everyone where they saw that performer they loved, and they will begin to recognize that NJPAC offers a multitude of great performances in many genres, in addition to the headliners. The identity makes it easier for everyone to find what they like and be inspired to come see it all.”

20 Years of Programming Excellence
On Oct. 18, 1997, the attention of arts world was drawn to downtown Newark, where a rare occurrence – the opening of a major performing arts center – was heralded with riverside fireworks and a black-tie gala held under an enormous tent. Among the performers in Prudential Hall that night were tap virtuoso Savion Glover, who returns this season to stage a new production, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, NJPAC’s principal resident dance company, whose annual Mother’s Day weekend engagement continues to be welcomed enthusiastically by audiences.

“We’re honoring the founding of NJPAC and its continuing trendline of excellence as the Arts Center grows consistently in diversity, audience size and activity,” says David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President and Executive Producer. “Yo-Yo Ma performed in our inaugural season and we’re celebrating his return, this time with the Silk Road Ensemble. Since the beginning, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman have individually been favorites here, but now their fans can see them together in one unbelievable concert.”

Family audiences will discover modern twists and old favorites, Rodriguez adds. As an example, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” (Dec. 15), commissioned by NJPAC and featuring special guest MC Kurtis Blow, is back at its original NJPAC home this winter, following a second successful nationwide tour. For those who prefer pointe shoes and the stylized elegance of classical Russian ballet, “The Nutcracker” presented by the State Ballet Theatre of Russia (Dec. 16) shimmers with snowflakes and sugarplums, as it was originally produced at Moscow’s Mariinsky Theatre. Tchaikovsky’s beloved score serves these works in very diverse and entertaining ways – and both presentations take place on the same weekend.