New Theater renamed Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater

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.Victoria J. Mastrobuono

Mastrobuono, of Bay Head, N.J., is 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 early 1990s, is part of the Mason Gross Performing Arts complex on the Douglass Campus. The space is used for theater and dance performances.Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater

Shakespeare’s comedic A Midsummer Night’s Dream served as the newly named theater’s inaugural production. The show, a workshop production from the Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, ran in early September 2010.

“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.”

Watch Dean George B. Stauffer speak about the renamed theater here: