DRINK DRAMA: Bill to Allow Beverage Alcohol in New Jersey Theatrical Venues Signed into Law
(ABOVE: Matthew Lawler and Aidan Redmond in MST’s 2017 production of BETRAYAL. Directed by Chris O’Connor. Photo by Joe Epstein.)
Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a bill into law that will allow New Jersey theaters that seat 50 patrons or more to serve beverage alcohol at their performances.
The bill was sponsored in part by Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson), hoping to make it easier for theatrical venues to find revenue streams that would support their productions.
“Mile Square Theatre first approached me about this issue on behalf of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance in 2016, so it’s been a long fight to see this bill through,” said Chaparro.
Chris O’Connor, Artistic Director of Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre (MST), tells hMAG, “We brought the issue up to Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, who was willing to be the bill’s sponsor. One of MST’s patrons, Kay LiCausi, is a Trenton lobbyist, and she shepherded MST and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance through the entire process.”
Clearing community obstacles regarding the sale of beverage alcohol can be arduous—particularly in New Jersey.
“We finally got to a point where restaurants and theaters and legislators were all comfortable with the bill, which was evident by the unanimous support it got in the Assembly in November,” said Chaparro. “I’m proud to have sponsored this bill and worked with the wonderful people at MST to help give theaters a fundraising boost so they can focus on providing great entertainment without the stress that comes with keeping the doors open due to financial hardship.”
Says O’Connor, “We couldn’t have done it without Assemblywoman Chapparo’s and Kay LiCausi’s leadership and expertise. The bill is a win for everyone. It enhances the theatre experience, which will in turn, translate to bigger box office numbers for us. And as more people come to the theatre, more people frequent the businesses—such as restaurants—in the neighborhoods theatres reside. We are thrilled that it got such strong support from both houses in Trenton and that Governor Murphy signed it into law.”
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For more information on upcoming performances at Mile Square Theatre, visit their website at milesquaretheatre.org