In the heart of Times Square overlooking the lights of Broadway, a new rehearsal space awaits the cast and creatives of new shows hoping for a spotlight on the Great White Way.
Open Jar Studios, now New York City’s biggest rehearsal studio space, officially opened June 17 in a ceremony with founder Jeff Whiting and special guests Kate Baldwin, Joshua Henry, and Susan Stroman.
Located at 1601 Broadway in Manhattan and encompassing two floors, the studio’s total 51,346 square feet of space includes two 4,000 square-foot, column-free studios with 22-foot high ceilings, along with smaller dance and music rehearsal rooms, production offices, and costume fitting studios.
To begin the proceedings, two-time Tony nominee Baldwin (Finian’s Rainbow, Hello, Dolly!) sang a rousing rendition of "New York, New York," celebrating Broadway’s newest venue in true NYC fashion. "I think the new space is breathtaking. Performing in it felt like coming home but also like visiting the Broadway I’ve only dreamed about," Baldwin said.
Tony-winning director and choreographer Stroman (The Producers, Young Frankenstein) then gave a speech on the importance of rehearsal spaces in New York, adding that her time in older studios was often disrupted by things like broken staircases, birds, and inconvenient pilings. Now, Stroman is booked to use the space for an undisclosed project later this year.
Henry, most recently seen in Carousel, closed the evening with "Make Them Hear You" from Ragtime, backed by an ensemble of Open Jar Institute alumni. After the standing ovation performance, Henry shared with Playbill that his favorite rehearsal memory was the first time singing In The Heights. "Lin was there, Alex Lacamoire on the piano, and all of us were sobbing because we knew... that it was going to be huge."
Founder Whiting said the appeal of Open Jar Studios is the size and location. "So to be really able to properly rehearse your show, that's the most exciting thing. And we're right here in the heart of Times Square."
He added that the studios nooks are another highlight, perfect for lunches or meditation in between call times, which he noticed while Moulin Rouge! used the space for rehearsals prior to Open Jar Studio’s official opening.
Check out photos from the ribbon-cutting ceremony below.