Black box space on Broadway

ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 11:14am
I would like to suggest to the Shubert Organization, Jujamcyn Theaters, Disney and now the Ambassador Theatre Group to consider finding real estate on, or near Broadway (midtown) that can be converted into black box theater space. I know that the Roseland Ballroom is about to be torn down (too bad), but some large new or renovated building that can be used to regularly house alternative Broadway productions.

I remember Dude and Candide and although neither were financial successes, they were both wonderful fun and offered the promise of a Broadway more experimental than the current offering of theaters allows for.

Would it be wonderful if Broadway could regularly include an offering like HERE LIES LOVE, or even Natasha and Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (without the expense of building and heating a tent)? What if Sleep No More was a Broadway event?

I honor Daryl Roth for renovating the Daryl Roth Theatre into a black box and of course The Public for their flexible spaces. Off Broadway can and should still be a place for experimental productions, but those that can cross the commercial divide should have a potentially bigger home on The Great White Way.

So, I know we don't get new Broadway houses very often, but to those theater owner organizations - and any possible new ones - why not consider creating space(s) that are designed to affordably accommodate unique seating / viewing configurations.

Just a thought. Comments?

ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
Updated On: 12/18/13 at 11:14 AM
Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 11:25am
But then that is the distinction off Broadway has such a great reputation because it is bold and experimental. Why does a off Broadway space need to be upscaled to a Broadway house, what would be the advantage?
2014 Theatre: Billy Elliot***** Meet Me In St Louis*** American Psycho**** Tell Me On A Sunday**** Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense* Stephen Ward**** Charlie and the Chocolate factory*** Dirty Dancing** Stephen Sondheim's Puttin It Together*** Candide*** The Lion King***** The Book of Mormon****** Les Miserable***** Stephen Ward**** The Weir**** Fortune's Fool*** Spamalot*** Superior Doughnuts**** Seven Brides For Seven Brothers**** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Finans Rainbow**** The Commitments** Boeing Boeing*** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) The A-Z of Mrs P** Billy Elliot***** Wicked** Good People***** Urinetown***** Spamalot*** The Full Monty**** Other Desert Cities*** Ghosts*** Dirty Rotten Scoundrels***** It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman*** Stephen Ward**** King Lear**** A Taste Of Honey** Blithe Spirit**** From Here To Eternity**** Spamalot*** Fiddler On The Roof** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Relative Values**** Fatal Attraction*** Matilda***** 39 Steps**** Another Country** handbagged** Two Into One*** The Beautiful Game***** Let The Right One In**** Once**** Privacy*****
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 11:28am

Broadway and Off-Broadway are not places.

They are designations based on a theater's number of seats.

What's a 500-seat black box? The Helen Hayes with smaller performance dimensions, no fly space, and flexible seating?

And what does "experimental" theater have to do with black boxes?
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ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 11:56am
Both comments good ones... I am not suggesting that Broadway encroach on Off-Broadway. I am only suggesting that larger (500+) commercial productions that wish to offer alternative seating have a home within the Broadway offering.

I mentioned Dude and Candide because these shows wanted to fall under the category (contract and perhaps more importantly, brand) of a Broadway production, while offering a very different theater experience than what the traditional proscenium could offer. Great expense went into renovating The Broadway Theatre to accommodate these productions. More recently, Natasha - although not a "Broadway" production - wanted to capture some of the Broadway audience by opening their tent in a parking lot in the theatre district.

I understand that Broadway is a contractual distinction. And, I understand that experimental doesn't necessarily mean Off Broadway, or the seating configuration.

I was only trying to suggest that having one or more spaces that more easily accommodated unique seating configurations in the theatre district would be a great addition to the line up of Broadway theaters. The "Natashas" would have more readily a home on Broadway and they would be legally allowed to advertise as Broadway productions, a brand that holds a lot of weight with the audiences that keep Broadway viable. And, although the expense of building these productions would still be quite formidable, it would eliminate the costs of renovating - removing and replacing seating - of an existing house.

ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
Updated On: 12/18/13 at 11:56 AM
neonlightsxo
Leading Actor
joined:7/29/08
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:00pm
I'm trying to figure out what you're suggesting. Another venue like Circle in the Square? Where would it go?
ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:08pm
actually... a larger Daryl Roth Theatre. A space that is intrinsically flexible - each production loads in their own seating / viewing configuration.

Where? That's a great question. I mentioned the Roseland Ballroom, because that space might have been ideal, but alas, it is not available. However, New York is constantly redefining its spaces. If I'm not mistaken, there is a huge new construction project west of 8 Avenue. I gather they're building a huge food court of upscale eateries. Where did that space come from?

I am not a developer and I didn't write this with a proposal in mind. It is just my hope that Broadway can perhaps expand by adding black box space(s).

As was mentioned, Broadway is a contractual distinction. I do believe being near the theatre district is important for the brand, but it could be a space that perhaps moves a little further west or east in the relative mid-town area. The Vivian Beaumont is a Broadway house and it sits quite a bit north of the other theaters. Even south has potential. The Netherlander sits south of 42 Street and Newsies isn't suffering because of it. How about a new development complex that includes retail, office, housing and even theater space somewhere in the 30s or low 40's? Just a thought.











ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
Updated On: 12/18/13 at 12:08 PM
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:29pm

"The Netherlander"?

Scott, for someone lacking a lot of information, you sure like to hear yourself talk.
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Wee Thomas2
Featured Actor
joined:2/28/12
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:38pm
I'm confused. I don't know if we're talking about Broadway the street or Broadway the legal term or what.

If the point is we need more flexible spaces on or near the street called Broadway, what's wrong with The Duke? Or do we need more of those? Or bigger or smaller or what?
Phantom of London
Broadway Legend
joined:3/26/08
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:39pm
There is a great space for a black box theatre, I think it is on either 44/45 street, there is a Christmas market there now.
2014 Theatre: Billy Elliot***** Meet Me In St Louis*** American Psycho**** Tell Me On A Sunday**** Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense* Stephen Ward**** Charlie and the Chocolate factory*** Dirty Dancing** Stephen Sondheim's Puttin It Together*** Candide*** The Lion King***** The Book of Mormon****** Les Miserable***** Stephen Ward**** The Weir**** Fortune's Fool*** Spamalot*** Superior Doughnuts**** Seven Brides For Seven Brothers**** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Finans Rainbow**** The Commitments** Boeing Boeing*** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) The A-Z of Mrs P** Billy Elliot***** Wicked** Good People***** Urinetown***** Spamalot*** The Full Monty**** Other Desert Cities*** Ghosts*** Dirty Rotten Scoundrels***** It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman*** Stephen Ward**** King Lear**** A Taste Of Honey** Blithe Spirit**** From Here To Eternity**** Spamalot*** Fiddler On The Roof** (Orchard Theatre, Dartford) Relative Values**** Fatal Attraction*** Matilda***** 39 Steps**** Another Country** handbagged** Two Into One*** The Beautiful Game***** Let The Right One In**** Once**** Privacy*****
ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:40pm
spelling error... Nederlander, sorry...

themysteriousgrowl How rude for a spelling error... Besides my spelling error, what in my posts would have you type, "lacking of information"? I may be long winded, but there is no knowledge lacking in my posts. They are just my opinion.

Perhaps, I should have added, Nederlander in my listing of the major Broadway venue holders.
ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:42pm

"There is a great space for a black box theatre, I think it is on either 44/45 street, there is a Christmas market there now."

Are you talking about Bryant Park? Call me crazy, but I don't think that's a "great space for a black box theatre."
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ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:45pm
It seems I am ill informed. Just looked up the Duke, which I have never been in and wasn't aware of. Thank you Wee Thomas2.

Yes, spaces like the Duke.
ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
Wee Thomas2
Featured Actor
joined:2/28/12
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:49pm
Bryant Park is 40th to 42nd.

There are lots of Christmas markets out there. I think the one Phantom is referring to is near 8th Avenue (but I haven't been in NYC since before Thanksgiving, so haven't seen any of this years' markets)
LegallyBroadway2
Broadway Star
joined:8/19/10
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:50pm
themysteriousgrowl, they're not talking about Bryant Park.

The lot between 45th and 46th on 8th.

Where that market is set up.

Updated On: 12/18/13 at 12:50 PM
ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:54pm
Thinking about this, I would love something similar to World Stages. Perhaps a large development complex that included many types of spaces - housing, retail, office, educational, entertainment - with a large component allocated to the performing arts.

It would be best if this was in close proximity to the theatre district and the spaces were able to contractually be deemed "Broadway houses".
ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:54pm

I know where Bryant Park is.

The NATASHA tent is up at 45th and 8th, if that's where he's talking about, though I'm not aware of a market ever having been in that lot. I could well be wrong, though.

And, Scott, if I wanted to block you, I would block you, but I'm sorry to inform you I'm not in the business of taking instructions via PM. What makes you think I don't like reading your posts? Quite the contrary!
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
Updated On: 12/18/13 at 12:54 PM
LegallyBroadway2
Broadway Star
joined:8/19/10
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 12:59pm
The show tent is on 45th.

Market tents are on 46th.

They share the wonky lot.
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:00pm

Oh, I gotcha. I know where you're talking about now. Is that lot big enough to erect a 500-seat theater?
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ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:04pm
Just read The Duke's website... and I was again mistaken. I saw Cock there.

I was thinking larger; a space that could easily accommodate 500+ and be deemed a Broadway venue.

A space that could be configured using a flexible seating plan, or more importantly, the risers could be simply removed or pushed back to create a much larger open space that can be used to build custom seating, or simply no seating similar to HERE LIES LOVE.

In addition, personally, I'd love for it to have an inviting marquee, lobby with box office on street level. What I'm going for here is a space that is both branded and "feels" like Broadway, but offers a more flexible configuration.



ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
Updated On: 12/18/13 at 01:04 PM
mjohnson2
Stand-by
joined:11/2/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:09pm
While I disagree that we need a larger Black Box Theatre, I like the idea of broadway caliber shows in a black box. I think Pippin would work really well, as would Cinderella, Cats, Little Shop, The Secret Garden, etc.
ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:14pm
mjohnson2 excellent suggestions. However, without affordable space to perform these productions, I suspect they will never be conceived or produced. It is for the very reason you mention, that I think a larger black box would be a great addition to the Broadway venues.
ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
madlibrarian
Broadway Star
joined:8/15/06
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:20pm
What a bunch of negativist nit-pickers you have encountered, ARTc3. You have a good idea and the eloquence to express it. Certainly Broadway could use additional and flexible performing spaces--the attempts to find such for NATASHA... and HERE LIES LOVE so indicate. Any art form can ossify without new ideas, and for theater that might include new configurations for production, Circle in the Square-style, perhaps.

Updated On: 12/18/13 at 01:20 PM
E.Davis
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:31pm
It is not being negative, It is being practical. Also theater's in the past have been adapted to accommodate show that are entering the theatre. There is also the idea of what is commercially viable and to be honest most of those "experimental" works are not. Look at Natasha, part of the whole mystique about it is the tent. Things might be lost had it been in an actual theatre. The is the concept of found space, turning places into theaters. No one is trying to be negative they are just being pragmatic.
"I think lying to children is really important, it sets them off on the right track" -Sherie Rene Scott-
HogansHero
Stand-by
joined:2/26/12
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:35pm
There is a lot of unreality attached to this idea. First, the primary landlords have no interest in increasing their holdings. Second, the smaller a Broadway theatre, the less rentable it is. Third, the more unconventional a Broadway theatre, the less rentable it is. Fourth, the cost of building a Broadway theatre eclipses the cost of constructing a tent by a factor of several hundred. Fifth, there are several venues within the Broadway box that could be described as black boxes, but they are not rentable because of the cost that would be charged. Sixth, the economics of operating this sort of venue as a Broadway production would be many times what it would be to proceed as an off-Broadway house. The list, believe it or not, goes on. The bottom line is: ain't gonna happen.
neonlightsxo
Leading Actor
joined:7/29/08
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:36pm
The Duke is adaptable from what I understand- they have the ability to change the layout. However, due to real estate in midtown Manhattan, your dream Broadway theater with the ability to hold 500+ people just isn't practical.
ARTc3
Broadway Star
joined:8/5/13
Black box space on Broadway
Posted: 12/18/13 at 01:40pm
E.Davis... For me, the tent wasn't the draw... it was the atmosphere created by the environment. I think Natasha would be just fine in a space that when you enter opens into the bar that they created. In addition, with the Broadway branding, it might not be overlooked by so many tourists visiting New York who want to see a "Broadway" show.

Also, mjohnson2's ideas for environmental / immersive productions such as Pippin, etc. would be more likely to happen if there was readily available space to accommodate them.

With this in mind, I think the multi-use complex idea with perhaps more than one such space (what happens when the only black box space is booked with a long run?) is a good one. What would The Public be if it was located in mid-town and branded, "Broadway"?

(Please understand that I adore The Public and like it just the way it is. I am not suggesting that it move. I am suggesting that a center for the Broadway performing arts with some flexible spaces would be really exciting and open up the Broadway offering.)

As for practical... There is so much that isn't practical that does get built and succeeds and perhaps even more that doesn't. This wasn't about "practical". This was about a possible direction for the future of Broadway producing.

ARTc3 formerly ARTc. Actually been a poster since 2004. My name isn't Art. Drop the "3" and say the signature and you'll understand.
Updated On: 12/18/13 at 01:40 PM

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