It opened in October 1997 as a smashing success on the banks of the Passaic River, and in many aspects paved the way for the Prudential Center, as suburbanites realized it was safe to visit Newark for an event or show. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center traces back to the Thomas Kean administration, when in 1986 a commission he appointed suggested an arts center in Newark because the state was in need of a cultural gem — and Newark was in need of a renaissance. It has since hosted a number of high-profile acts, from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to Jerry Seinfeld.
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