DC's Off-Bway-Style Studio Theatre Plans $9.5 Million Expansion of Complex

News   DC's Off-Bway-Style Studio Theatre Plans $9.5 Million Expansion of Complex The Studio Theatre, the nonprofit Washington, DC, theatre company devoted to a range of works — from Tom Stoppard to William Finn to world premieres to reinterpreted classics — will expand its operation by moving into two adjoining buildings at their Logan Circle location.

The Studio Theatre, the nonprofit Washington, DC, theatre company devoted to a range of works — from Tom Stoppard to William Finn to world premieres to reinterpreted classics — will expand its operation by moving into two adjoining buildings at their Logan Circle location.

The $9.5 million initiative, which includes the creation of a third performance space for the company, was announced in October. The cost includes renovation of the current facility on P Street NW and "further stabilization of the theatre's funds for the future." Already, almost $5 million has been raised, including $1 million from Jaylee and Gilbert Mead, spokesperson Olivia F. Haas told Playbill On-Line.

With the addition of the new property, The Studio is now the owner of two of the six original automobile showrooms built in the 1920s on 14th Street. The theatre has been seeking 1509 and 1507 14th Street for many months and finally reached its goal earlier this year (the property cost the troupe $2.75 million). Resident designer Russell Metheny will adapt the new buildings. The "urban industrial" design quality of the original will be continued in the new buildings. A preliminary plan calls for a dramatic heightened glass ceiling to be added to complex. The additional buildings sit on the corner of P and 14th Streets.

The current design plans call for the creation of a raw, double height theatre space by eliminating the second floor of the four story building at 1509. This would create a third space for The Studio Theatre, giving Secondstage, the non-Equity arm of the theatre, its first permanent home since its creation in 1988 (The Studio Theatre itself was founded in 1977 as an acting conservatory and three year later became a genuine producing troupe). The top two floors of 1509 will be for the Acting Conservatory studios and rehearsal space. The entire third floor of the current building will be converted into scenic and costume shops. Expanded dressing rooms for the existing Milton and Mead theatres will be created in the 1507 building.

* The Studio Theatre's staging of William Finn and James Lapine's A New Brain, starring Michael Rupert, has been extended to Dec. 30 at the Mead Theatre. For information about The Studio Theatre, call (202) 332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.

— By Kenneth Jones