Bergen Performing Arts Center launched a partnership with the Westfield Garden State Plaza to present free family events a year ago, kicking it off on April 17, 2019 with a special appearance by beloved comedian Vic DiBitetto. The mall may be closed for now, but that hasn’t stopped the show from going on.

Every Saturday at 10 a.m., the Westfield Garden State Plaza Facebook page livestreams programs like princess storytimes and sing-a-longs, magic shows, exotic animals, and everyone’s favorite – Bubble Trouble. After the livestreams run they are archived on the Garden State Plaza Facebook page as videos so families can enjoy them throughout the week. 

“bergenPAC’s nonprofit mission is to make the performing arts accessible to everyone in the community, and our partnership with the Westfield Garden State Plaza helps our programs reach an even wider audience,” bergenPAC President & CEO Dominic Roncace said. “In light of the current situation, this is a great way for us to continue providing families with the joy of entertainment.”

This continues a years-long collaboration between bergenPAC and the Garden State Plaza to engage the community. 

The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC holds auditions for its summer musicals there, widening its pool of talented teens. Rachel Zegler, who played Maria in their production of West Side Story and stars in Steven Spielberg’s film remake later this year, first joined bergenPAC by auditioning for Les Misérables at the Garden State Plaza. 

The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC also presents energetic musical flash mobs to celebrate Halloween and promote the musical.  

Last year brought another exciting chapter to the partnership – GSP’s Got Talent! Musicians of all ages auditioned with the hopes of being crowned champions. Four finalists received their own night to perform on a stage in Garden State Plaza’s restaurant district. Two grand prize winners were then awarded the opportunity to open for a headliner on bergenPAC’s Taub Stage. Gabriel de los Santos,a 16-year-old salsa singer, opened for The Celia Cruz All Stars in January, while Hidden Figures, a rock band from Ridgefield and Paramus, will open for a show later this year.