Regional Theater of the Week: Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY
By: Josh Austin
BroadwayWorld.com, the largest theatre site on the Internet, is excited to announce a new feature to its comprehensive regional coverage - the Featured Regional Theater of the Week! Each week, BWW will introduce its readers to a regional theater located in one of our (over 130!) coverage cities. By exploring these different venues, their history and showcasing the production seasons, BWW continues its commitment to expand our presence in communities and cities across the United States.
This Week's Featured Regional Theater: Hangar Theatre, Ithaca, NY!
Formed out of a municipal airport hangar, the Hangar Theatre raised its curtain in 1975 in Ithaca, New York. Through the support of Nelson Rockefeller, Ithaca Repertory Theatre, Ithaca College, Cornell University and the City of Ithaca, the transformation from a hangar to a theatre was made a reality. In 1986, the theatre received a grant from the New York State Natural Heritage Trust to build an additional costume and set shop.
The young theatre quickly boosted its way to have a national presence as a regional theatre under the artistic direction of Robert Moss. Through new leadership, the theatre kept growing. Introducing new education outreach elements and fresh ways to grasp emerging artists, the theatre has become a hub for new and established artists.
In 2001, the theatre appointed Lisa Bushlow as the first Executive Director of the theatre. With Bushlow, came new artistic director Kevin Moriarty. The two introduced a New Play Festival in 2001. More recently, artistic director Peter Flynn announced that he is stepping down and Stephanie Yankwitt will serve as acting artistic director through the fall of 2013.
“I am proud to be carrying on the estimable traditions laid down by Peter and the artistic directors who have preceded him,” said Yankwitt in a press release.
Yankwitt, with Bushlow, are determined to continue providing varied entertainment and educational outlets for Ithaca and Central New York.
Although the theatre has yet to announce their new season (the announcement will be in November), the space continues to provide an eclectic season.
Aside from its normal theatre season, the theatre hosts other evenings of entertainment. Hangar Theatre has the Pilot Reading Series, which is meant to offer emerging and
established playwrights a place to work on their new pieces. The series allows for these playwrights to work Hangar alumni directors as well as actors in New York City.
The theatre also hosts ‘The Wedge.’ Started in 1983, The Wedge serves a laboratory for provocative and edgy theatrical works. The Wedge has produced works of exciting playwrights such as Kenny Finkle, Gregory Moss and Lauren Yee.
The Hangar also produces CabarETC, a series of cabaret performances. This year marks the third annual fall CabarETC, featuring vocalists and musicians from September to December.The theatre also prides itself on its educational outreach. In 1995, the company formed the Hangar’s Project 4, which brings artists into local fourth grade classrooms. Students take on projects such as playwriting and songwriting and then produce plays based on selected topics. The plays are then performed at the schools and the Hangar Theatre.
For more information on the Hangar Theatre including upcoming productions and events, visit: http://www.hangartheatre.org/.
Below is a clip of the Hangar’s Theatre production of NEXT TO NORMAL, which was a regional premiere in Central New York. It featured Broadway actors Andrea Burns and Chris Hoch.
Video courtesy of The Hangar Theatre's YouTube channel.
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