New Brunswick, N.J. – The Mason Gross Performing Arts Center’s New Theater has been renamed the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater in honor of the school’s longtime benefactor.
Mastrobuono, of Bay Head, N.J., was a 1977 University College graduate who died in 2009. She was a patron of the school’s performances and exhibitions and served on the Mason Gross Advancement Council as well as the Mason Gross Leadership Council.
"Victoria Mastrobuono loved our theater program and took a number of its students under her wing," Mason Gross Dean George B. Stauffer said. "It is fully appropriate to rename the New Theater in her honor. The elegance and grace of the proscenium performances will reflect her unwavering commitment to dramatic excellence."
Mastrobuono established lasting relationships with many Theater Arts students. In 2001, she helped struggling students pay their way to Los Angeles for the school’s annual MFA actor presentation.
Alum Mike Colter, who appeared in the film Million Dollar Baby, says Mastrobuono’s financing allowed him to secure an agent at that presentation.
"I call her the benefactor of our class," Colter said. "Without her we would not [have been] able to get there. She bought us caps and gowns [for the commencement ceremony]. That took a load off us…She was a person who thought art was the be-all, end-all of existence."
The 340-seat theater, built in the 1990s, is part of the Mason Gross Performing Arts complex on the Douglass Campus. The space is used for theater and dance performances.
Shakespeare’s comedic A Midsummer Night’s Dream will serve as the newly named theater’s inaugural production. The show, a workshop production from the Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, runs from Friday, September 3, through Sunday, September 12.
"Victoria’s understanding of the actor as artist and human being is legend in the program," said Barbara Marchant, head of the BFA acting program and co-director of Midsummer. "With the naming, her spirit and ethos will resonate in the very building where the actors practice their craft. It is a great honor to bring the first show to life on the stage of the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater."
Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors and only $15 for students with valid ID. The Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater is in the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. For more information about any Mason Gross event, visit the school's website or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 732-932-7511.
About Mason Gross School of the Arts
Founded in 1976, Mason Gross School of the Arts is the arts conservatory of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and home to the departments of dance, music, theater arts, and visual arts as well as an Extension Division and Arts Online. Its faculty and alumni rosters include arts professionals recognized nationally and internationally, including Kristin Davis, Calista Flockhart, Avery Brooks, Cleo Mack, William Pope.L, Alice Aycock, Sean Jones, and Cristina Pato. The school’s enrollment of 702 undergraduates across four departments and 309 graduate students across four departments, combined with a faculty of 190, assures students the opportunity to work closely with accomplished artists within their fields.
About Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
A comprehensive research institution with more than 50,000 students on three main campuses in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden, Rutgers comprises one of the major state university systems in the nation. Chartered in 1766 in New Brunswick as Queen’s College, Rutgers is the eighth oldest institution of higher learning in the nation.
Media Contact: Laurie Granieri
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