Michael Weller Theatre To Close 6/30

On June 30, 2008 the Michael Weller Theatre will close its doors for last time, as management of 311 West 43rd  Street looks to offer more office space in Times Square.  Broken Watch Theatre Company took over the rehearsal space and offices of the Shurin Theatre in 2005. Soon after, the theatre was re-christened the Michael Weller Theatre, in honor of the playwright's contributions to the world of dramatic literature, the theatre community as a whole and for his continued support of Broken Watch.

Over the past several years, numerous companies such as Disney, Dodger Theatricals and Working Playground and over 150 theatre companies including Emerging Artists, Rebellion Productions, Flux Theatre Ensemble, Boomerang Theatre Company, Kidz Theatre, Write Club NYC, Milk Can Theatre Company and Sonnet Repertory Theater Company have taken advantage of the beautiful 50-seat theatre in the heart of Times Square.  These theatre companies, along with Broken Watch will now need to look elsewhere to present their work. With the loss of this space (one of the few affordable legit theatres in the area) Off-Off Broadway companies will be forced to move out of Times Square.

The Michael Weller Theatre is the latest in a string of off and off-off theatres forced to close due to "re-development."

"It is tragic that more and more off-off Broadway theatres are being squeezed out of the midtown area to make way for more office space.  It breaks my heart to know that theatre companies looking for a small intimate theater in the heart of the theatre district won't have the Weller to turn to anymore. Unlike many theaters of its size, the Weller is a true THEATER: real theater seats with real theater equipment and real theatre people running it.

Even more so, the Weller has been more than just a theater space to us and our growing theatrical community.  Just like its namesake, the Weller has embraced those companies and artists looking to invigorate the New York theatre scene with new works; and with our personable Broken Watch staff, it has also become an open resource to emerging artists and theatre companies by openly sharing our own experiences to help prospective renters avoid potential producing pitfalls and understand their options so they can ultimately make better decisions when looking for space or producing a show, regardless of whether or not they end up renting the Weller.

 We will sorely miss it.  For years, this very versatile venue has provided the perfect space in the perfect location for companies looking to do readings, classes, auditions, benefits, film shoots, showcases and full productions. There are certainly no other spaces in midtown at our price point like the Weller. Period.  If there is affordable space out there in midtown, we would like to resurrect the Weller and provide another accessible home worthy of being called a THEATER that so many theatre companies crave." said Drew DeCorleto, Artistic Director

The last show to play in the Michael Weller Theatre will be presented by Broken Watch Theatre Company: The Framer by Edward Allan Baker, directed by Kevin Confoy and starring Craig Bockhorn (Broadway: On Golden Pond, Prelude to a Kiss), Suzanne DiDonna (TV: The Sopranos, Law and Order:SVU) and Matt Walton (Off-Broadway: Hair, Beirut, The Sweepers; Film: Burn After Reading Coen Brothers; TV: All My Children). Beginning May 31, Opening June 5 – 22.

Edward Allan Baker returns to Broken Watch to bring you a tragic-comedy set in a picture frame-shop in a New England mill town from which a dying man ceaselessly toils in order to leave his once-abused wife some security while retracting the emotional brutality of his past but he's side-tracked due to a request from his high-strung brother in-law. Question: "If you had two weeks to live, who would YOU kill?"

 Broken Watch Theatre Company (producer) has produced critically acclaimed Off-Broadway shows since 2001. Beginning as a producer of Off-Broadway revivals, Broken Watch found quick success with Howard Korder's Boys' Life and soon followed with Michael Weller's Split, produced at Theatre Row. Having two productions under the belt, Broken Watch now enjoyed an increasing presence in the New York theatre community but was finding it difficult to curate material that was appropriate for its emerging style. Based upon an inherent belief in the value of total collaboration, a decision was made to focus on new work. Broken Watch commissioned its first new play from Edward Allan Baker. By all accounts, Edward Allan Baker's American Storage was an artistic and critical success, but failed to hit its financial mark. Broken Watch was on the right artistic track but needed to curb its production expenses while its reputation continued to grow. Shortly thereafter, an opportunity presented itself. The Sande Shurin Theatre, in the heart of the theatre district, was seeking a resident company to manage their daily operations. It was an opportunity that not only cut production expenses by thousands per show but offered additional income for the company as well. After a successful trial run, Broken Watch took over the Sande Shurin in 2005 and renamed it the Michael Weller Theatre. Using its new home to its artistic benefit, Broken Watch created a series of new play workshops that often developed into subsequent productions including Padric Lillis' Two Thirds Home, James Christy's Never Tell, Hunt Holman's The Kidney, Christopher Kyle's The Safety Net, A Broken Christmas Carol by Jim Christy, J.Holtham and Kendra Levin, and the Broken Workshop readings of Michael Puzzo's She Talks to Rainbows, Edward Allan Baker's The Framer and Robert Lewis Vaughan's The Good Red Road are all examples of this new play development series. Four of these plays went to production and three of them have been published.


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