New York Then/New York Now—a collection of essays, memoirs, interviews, commentary, and plays—contemplates New York City’s history and future as a center for groundbreaking theatrical forms and ideas. Featuring the work of theater artists, producers, and critics, this special issue of Theater is concerned with the ideas and practicalities of making theater in and for New York within specific historical, political, and economic contexts. The first section, “New York Then,” reflects on the emergence, innovations, and import of the off-off-Broadway movement of the early 1960s, during the height of Cold War conservatism. The second section, “New York Now,” turns to New York’s recent and rapidly shifting artistic geography from the 1990s to the present.
“New York Then” includes previously unpublished manifestos, plans, and letters from the formation of the legendary Judson Poets Theatre and offers significant insight into the community, artistic impetus, and events that launched the off-off-Broadway movement. Excerpts from award-winning playwright Adrienne Kennedy’s unpublished memoirs provide a first-person account of this moment in New York’s theatrical history. In “New York Now,” contributors examine the significant ramifications for the city’s theater of such critical historical moments as the real estate boom of the 1990s, September 11, 2001, and the recent economic recession that has seen an exodus of arts organizations and artists out of the city. Included in this section are a roundtable discussion with leading New York artistic directors and producers about the imperilment of classical theater in contemporary New York; the young design collective CiNE’s illustrated proposal for a social, aesthetic, and architectural transformation of the Joseph Papp Public Theater; and the full text of Les Freres Corbusier’s play Boozy, a tongue-in-cheek fantasy that targets New York’s ruthless urban planner Robert Moses.
Contributors. CiNE New York Design Collective, Jeffrey Horowitz, Adrienne Kennedy, Richard Kimmel, Brian Kulick, Les Freres Corbusier, Charles McNulty, Tom Sellar, Rachel Shteir
Publisher: Duke University Press Books