Playwrights Horizons Completes Renovation of '440 Studios' Rehearsal Complex
Playwrights Horizons announces completion of a major renovation to 440 Studios, which is Lower Manhattan's largest rehearsal space complex (located at 440 Lafayette Street). The $1.2 million project took 8 months for demolition and renovation.
440 Studios is the third and fourth floors of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School. When not in use by the School for classes, workshops and productions, the rehearsal studios and theaters are rented out to hundreds of New York City cultural groups each year. The School and the studios are an integral part of Playwrights Horizons and perform a vital service for students, the theater community and the surrounding neighborhood. The renovation of the third floor was made possible, in large part, through generous capital funding from New York City and New York State.
Playwrights Horizons took occupancy of the third and fourth floor at 440 Lafayette Street in 1993; the previous tenant had made few changes to the third floor during their 20-year occupancy. The renovations to the third floor, which were overseen by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), included soundproofing, replacing walls and flooring, widening the hallways and improving the floor layout, adding new storage space, creation of a lobby and box office for the theater space, lighting upgrades, electrical work, and installation of a new HVAC system.
These improvements constitute a gut renovation and have vastly improved the facility.
The new space includes eight rehearsal studios and a 68-seat theater. (The fourth floor, which didn't require renovation, features an additional nine rehearsal spaces.) Formerly the Linhart Theater, the theater has been renamed the Robert Moss Theater in honor of the founder of Playwrights Horizons. Bob Moss founded the award-winning theater company in 1971 and was Artistic Director from 1971 to 1980. He was the Director of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School from 1990 to 1996.
Renters at 440 Studios include: BAM, Blue Man Group, Classic Stage Company, Culture Project, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Flea Theatre, Fresh Fruit Festival, fringeNYC, Hartford Stage, HERE Arts Center, Howl Festival, Jean Cocteau Repertory, LAByrinth Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Moises Kaufman/Tectonic Theater Project, Naked Angels, Noche Flamenca, New York Theatre Workshop, Pig Iron, Public Theater, Tribeca Arts Festival, Upright Citizens Brigade and Vineyard Theatre.
"Playwrights Horizons and the Playwrights Horizons Theater School are extremely grateful to the City and State of New York for their support of this important project," said Leslie Marcus, Managing Director of Playwrights Horizons. "We accomplished what seems to be nearly impossible in construction these days - completing a project on time and under budget! We're also thrilled to be able to name the new Robert Moss Theater after the visionary who gave birth to Playwrights Horizons and was such an integral part of the growth of the Theater School."
"The completion of this amazing project obviously means a great deal to the school, as it means a state-of-the-art facility for all our students," said Helen R. Cook, Director of Playwrights Horizons Theater School. "But it's also a boon to the downtown not-for-profit world to have a first-class space to create, rehearse and present work. We're looking forward to having many friends back who were displaced during the 8 months of construction."
"Playwright Horizons has played an integral role in supporting not only hundreds of playwrights but the theatrical community as a whole," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "I am proud that the City played an important role in their ability to improve this facility, and I congratulate them on the completion of this project."
Playwrights Horizons Theater School is a theatrical training and education program that operates in association with New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Undergraduate Drama Program. Since 1983, the School has provided thousands of theater students with intensive conservatory theater education through a unique four-year program that emphasizes professional development and interdisciplinary theater training. The curriculum includes courses in acting, directing, dramaturgy, playwriting, design, musical theater, movement, voice, speech, script analysis, and theater management. Nearly 200 students are enrolled each year; they graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University.
The renovations of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School/440 Studios were made possible through generous funding and assistance from the New York City Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Department of Design and Construction, Office of the Manhattan Borough President, and Office of the Mayor, City of New York, and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Robert Moss founded Playwrights Horizons in 1971 and served as Producing Director for ten years. Under his guidance, Playwrights Horizons produced new plays by more than 150 American writers, including James Lapine, Wendy Wasserstein, Richard Nelson, Albert Innaurato, Larry Kramer, William Finn and Ted Tally. A founding member of the Off-Off-Broadway Alliance (now A.R.T./New York), Mr. Moss served on its board for seven years. He was a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts Theatre Panel, as well as artistic advisor to the Drama League Directors Project. In addition to many New York and Regional directing credits, he directed such Playwrights Horizons productions as Cowboy Pictures, Under MacDougal and the New York, New York series. Mr. Moss served as Director of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School for 6 years, from 1990 to 1996. Overlapping with his role at the Theater School, he was Artistic Director of The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, New York from 1981 through 1996, for which he directed more than 28 productions; he returned to the Hangar in 2007-2008 to serve as Interim Artistic Director. Mr. Moss also served as Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage from 1996 to 2007.
Playwrights Horizons is a writer's theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists and to the production of their new work. Under the leadership of artistic director Tim Sanford and managing director Leslie Marcus, Playwrights Horizons continues to encourage the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. Writers are supported through every stage of their growth with a series of development programs: script and score evaluations, commissions, readings, musical theater workshops, Sharp and Mainstage productions. In its 38 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of over 375 writers and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, most recently being honored with a special 2008 Drama Desk Award for "ongoing support to generations of theater artists and undiminished commitment to producing new work." Notable productions include four Pulitzer Prize winners: Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play), Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George, as well as Craig Lucas' PRAYER FOR MY Enemy and Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play), Adam Rapp's Kindness, Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's Grey Gardens (3 2007 Tony Awards), John Dempsey, Michael Friedman and Rinne Groff's Saved, Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone, Bruce Norris's The Pain and the Itch, Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting), Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero, Kirsten Childs's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey's James Joyce's The Dead, William Finn's March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Richard Nelson's Goodnight Children Everywhere and Franny's Way, Jon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire, Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room, A.R. Gurney's Later Life, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet. Playwrights Horizons was founded in 1971 by Robert Moss, before moving to 42nd Street where it has been instrumental in the revitalization of Theatre Row. André Bishop served as Artistic Director from 1981 to 1991, followed by Don Scardino, who served through 1995. Playwrights' auxiliary programs include the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, which is affiliated with NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Undergraduate Drama Program, and Ticket Central, a central box office that supports the Off-Broadway performing arts community.
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