Surflight Theatre Wins Prestigious Award for Being a Driving Economic Force

May 23, 2018
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill The Surflight Theater in Beach Haven.

When Steve Steiner was looking for backers to resurrect the bankrupt Surflight Theatre a couple of years ago, he stressed the theater was a financial boon for Beach Haven, all of Long Beach Island and, indeed, all of Ocean County. He finally found an angel in New York City producer Al Parinello, and Surflight rose from the metaphorical ashes last June and had a successful comeback season. And earlier this month, Surflight was honored for being a driving economic force in the state’s tourism industry.

Steiner accepted a prestigious Silver Gull Award for Surflight at the Monmouth-Ocean Development Council’s 53rd annual awards dinner. MODC selected Surflight for the award due to the theater’s commitment to economic growth through tourism in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

A letter from Gov. Phil Murphy was read at the dinner: “For more than 50 years the Council has provided vital services to sustain and improve economic growth in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, its members demonstrate superior leadership and perseverance in strengthening and developing the bi-county business community. … The honorees … have exhibited an extraordinary level of dedication to the community and economic vitality of our State.”

The New Jersey Senate and General Assembly also praised Surflight by issuing a resolution: “That this Legislature hereby honors Surflight Theatre for its meritorious record of service, leadership, and commitment and extends sincere best wishes for its continued success and vigor in the years to come.”

The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders issued a comment saying, “This award serves as a tribute to your story of dedication to the community in promoting all the great attributes of the Jersey Shore.”

Finally, the Monmouth County freeholders added to the list of congratulators, writing, “For many years the Surflight Theatre has been a major economic driver for the tourism economy on Long Beach Island. In 2016 Executive Director Steve Steiner enlisted Al Parinello, a real estate investor and Broadway producer, to purchase the theatre complex and lease it to the non-profit Ocean Professional Theatre Company which produces everything at Surflight.”

Surflight afterward released its own statement, saying, “Surflight Theatre staff, Steve Steiner, Al Parinello, and the Board of Ocean Professional Theatre Company are honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award for having significantly contributed to improving the economy of the bi-county area through tourism.” —R.M.

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