Ladies’ Night Out event celebrates women in business, arts and more

The lights were low and the music was right, but the nearly 100 dancing queens who attended Ladies’ Night Out at State Theatre New Jersey on Thursday certainly were not looking for — nor in need of — a king.

Four New Jersey-based organizations, including Professional Women in Construction, the Society of Women Engineers, Leading Women Entrepreneurs and the Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce, co-hosted dinner and a show, “ABBA: The Concert,” with the second-largest not-for-profit presenting hall in the state to encourage networking and arts appreciation among top women leaders.

“I’m so excited to be here with such an amazing group of strong women tonight,” Anne Marie Almasi, chapter president of Professional Women in Construction and CEO and president of Almasi Cos., a construction company in Woodbridge, said. “This is what it is all about, ladies: empowerment, women helping other women succeed, breaking through barriers and forging through glass ceilings.

“I challenge you to know the importance of networking because, without a doubt, I stand here today because of the relationships I have made with the many people in this room tonight.”

Jill Vitiello, CEO and president of Vitiello Communications Group in North Brunswick, said that, in order for women and socially responsible companies to continue to be forces for good, they, too, must continue to lift as they rise, as State Theatre New Jersey does.

“We love being here because there is always something fun going on, but the great thing is, State Theatre New Jersey also makes their phenomenal performances and arts education programs accessible to all,” she said.

While State Theatre New Jersey draws more than 200,000 patrons annual to experience its diverse lineup of more than 200 performances in its 1,850-seat theater, it also makes multiple arts education programs accessible to more than 35,000 children and families annually by offering admission at little to no cost.

“Access, diversity and inclusion is a core element of State Theatre New Jersey’s mission and our values, as we believe that the arts are for everyone,” Sarah Chaplin, the first female CEO and president of State Theatre New Jersey, said. “The arts play such an important role in our society that there is so much need for us as an institution, as women entrepreneurs, to continue breaking down those barriers and make access to all things, including the arts, possible.”

Chaplin delivered her remarks from State Theatre New Jersey’s new Studio 15, a space specifically designed to increase community engagement and present smaller, yet more immersive, performances.

“I’m committed to strengthening our partnerships with the businesses surrounding us and am pleased to be able to welcome you all here tonight,” Chaplin said.