The Gramercy Theatre, the Off-Broadway house on East 23rd Street in Manhattan, will become a film house once again after the upcoming revival of Edward Albee's All Over.
For the past 3-1/2 years, the Roundabout Theatre Company leased the Gramercy as its Off-Broadway home.
The 499-seat space will be used by the Museum of Modern Art for its film program. MOMA's midtown home was recently closed for a long-planned architectural renovation. The art collection will be temporarily housed in a building in Long Island City for the next three years. MOMA's film series, however, will find shelter at the Gramercy, which is owned by theatrical producers Chase Mishkin, Steven M. Levy and Leonard Soloway.
The Gramercy was a movie theatre in the mid-90s when the trio of producers converted the address into a legit destination. It opened with the commercial production of Dinah Was. Soon after, the Roundabout leased the theatre.
Over the next four seasons, the nonprofit staged the American premiere of Pinter's Ashes to Ashes with Lindsay Duncan and David Strathairn; Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do! with John Glover and Kate Burton; Richard Greenberg's Hurrah at Last with Peter Frechette; Shaw's Arms and the Man with Katie Finneran; Neil Simon's Hotel Suite; O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock; Charles Randolph Wright's Blue; McDonagh's A Skull in Connemara; Andrew Bovill's Speaking in Tongues; and Richard Greenberg's The Dazzle with Peter Frechette and Reg Rogers. The Roundabout is busy converted the former American Place Theater into its new Off-Broadway berth.
Mishkin told Playbill On-Line that MOMA's lease will last "a couple years," and that the building's theatrical layout—the stage, the dressing rooms, the backstage area—will not be altered. Indeed, following MOMA's stay, the Gramercy could well return to legitimate use. "The truth is I will regret not having a space available when I have something to bring in Off Broadway," she said.
All Over concludes its run on Sept. 1.
—By Robert Simonson