When most people think about America’s great musical cities, Newark likely isn’t on the list — but that’s about to change now that the Grammy Museum Experience has opened at the Prudential Center.
Just eight months after announcing that the first East Coast outpost of Los Angeles’ Grammy Museum would open in Newark, the interactive, multimedia Experience held its ribbon-cutting today and officially opens to the public Friday.
“Newark gets overshadowed by Philly and New York, but it has an incredible musical legacy,” said Bob Santelli, founding executive director of the Grammy Museum.
Thursday’s festivities kicked off with a rousing performance by the New Hope Baptist Church Choir, which was joined for its last song by Cissy Houston, the Grammy-winning Newark native and mother of Whitney Houston.
The performance was fitting as the younger Houston, who died in 2012, is not only one of the best-selling artists of all-time, she’s also featured alongside Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and many others in an exhibit honoring the Garden State’s homegrown musicians.
“There are so many musical greats in this city, you have to wonder what’s in the water,” joked Margaret El, special assistant for the arts for Newark Public Schools.
The Grammy Museum Experience also offers interactive drum lessons with Newark native Max Weinberg of Springsteen’s E Street Band, an in-the-studio session with Wyclef Jean and other immersive exhibits.
“This opening provides an incredible opportunity to leverage the power of music, to educate and inspire the next generation of performers here and beyond,” said David Blitzer, who, along with Josh Harris, co-owns the Prudential Center and recently co-founded Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.
The Grammy Museum Experience is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until 8:30 p.m. if there is an event at the Prudential Center. Tickets cost $7-$10 via Ticketmaster. Visit GrammyMuseumExp.org for more info.