Three Off Broadway Theaters Scheduled for Opening in 2014 in Midtown West
- Oct 28, 2013
By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
In an ever-crowded place like Manhattan, where business and art go hand in hand, finding available space to open a new entertainment venue seems like a quest to find the Holy Grail.
But nothing’s impossible in The City. A commercial building located at the corner of 8th Avenue and 39th Street in Midtown West is set to become Manhattan’s newest multi-theater complex. Two industry veterans have teamed up to open an Off Broadway performance venue that will include three first-class theaters totaling almost 600 new seats, a much-needed addition considering the growing number of shows that are released by Off and Off-Off Broadway theater companies.
Tentatively named The Theatre Center and scheduled to open in early 2014, the project is a joint venture between Tony Award winner and Broadway producer and actor Hugh Hysell and actress Catherine Russell, who owns and manages the Snapple Theatre Center in the northern Times Square Area and several other Off Broadway venues. The partners have signed a 10-year lease with 601 8TH Ave Mue LLC, the property owner.
According to an official statement, the two-story facility at 601 8th Avenue will house a 249-seat theater and a 199-seat theater on the second floor. Both theaters will be licensed to commercial plays and musicals, while a third, 99-seat space will be licensed to Off and Off-Off Broadway productions. The building will also have a box office, a bar and a restaurant on the ground floor. Once fully operational, the theaters will be rented out at standard market prices—or for $5,000 to $10,000 a week plus a percentage of the show’s box office sales, The New York Times reports.
The Off Broadway movement (and its subsequent Off-Off Broadway) began in the 1950s as a reaction to Broadway’s commercialism and grandeur—a typical Broadway theater has 500 or more seats and charges up to $300 for a ticket. An Off Broadway venue has a seating capacity between 100 and 499, while an Off-Off Broadway space (or indie theater) provides only up to 99 seats. By being smaller in size and more intimate than the standard Broadway theaters, both venue types can offer more experimental and challenging performances.
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