The All Stars Project, Inc., which has been “creating innovative theater since 1981” has announced the signing of a contract for a $7.95 million performance facility at 529 W. 42 St. The non-traditional nonprofit says it awaits New York City approval of a $10 million bond that would secure the group’s plans for the facility.
All Star aims to create “the largest privately financed, multi-use youth development and community performing arts center in New York City.” The center would be located at the site of the former Actors Studio Free Theater and Raw Space. (In the 20s and through the 60s, this was the Armory of the 77th "Statue of Liberty" Division of the Army Reserves.)
According to production notes, All Stars programs include “the All Stars Talent Show Network," a performance program which has involved one million urban youth since its founding; the Development School for Youth, a leadership-training program for teenagers; the Off-Off-Broadway Castillo Theatre and Talented Volunteers, an award-winning volunteer program. Each program is designed to use “performance to promote human growth and development.”
All Stars’ modern, 30,000 sq. ft. center would also feature three Off Broadway theatres.
In a prepared statement, actress and All-Star president Gabrielle Kurlander described the “diverse New York City-based partnership of inner city youth, theater artists and business leaders” comprising the group’s leadership. "Our partners are downtown and Harlem-based theatre artists, hip hoppers from Bed Stuy and the South Bronx and managing directors from Wall Street," Kurlander said. All Stars’ director of development, Christopher Street leads the non profit's six-year $32.5 million fundraising campaign. In the prepared statement, Street said, “The six-year development plan calls for the construction of 10 mixed-use learning, rehearsal and performance spaces along with three professional theatres—two 99-seat theatres for experimental work and a 250-seat Off-Broadway theatre.” Production notes indicate that All Star's capital campaign has raised $4.1 million towards the purchase of the new facility through private donations.
All Star applied to the New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) for a tax-exempt $10 million bond. It hopes to receive a commitment from the agency shortly, close on the property in June and move in sometime by the end of the summer.
—By Murdoch McBride