In Sunday’s (5/10) Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), Ralph R. Ortega writes, “Newark Symphony Hall last month completed $1.5 million in roof repairs and safety upgrades that made the 84-year-old deteriorating building on Broad Street habitable as a rental facility. But the work falls far short of a more significant investment needed to address years of neglect and return the building that once hosted such artistic greats as Marian Anderson and George Gershwin to its former stature. To rebuild Symphony Hall, its nonprofit operators will launch a $40 million capital campaign by next spring to generate public and private philanthropy for the needed renovations, which include new stage lighting; sound, heating and air-conditioning expansions; and other infrastructure improvements. … On Saturday, the public is invited to help the city, which owns the building, and the hall’s operators design the venue’s future at a daylong conference billed as ‘Newark Symphony Hall Reimagined.’ … The building, also known as the Mosque and originally built by the Shriners as a Masonic Temple in 1925, had been the state’s premier venue for a variety of famed entertainers and theater groups. … The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Ballet, New Jersey State Opera and African Globe Theater also have used the building.” The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra currently performs at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, also in Newark, and other venues throughout the state.

Posted May 12, 2009