A host of politicians, arts supporters, writers and performers are expected to attend the groundbreaking at the site of the new Playwrights Horizons complex in Manhattan 10 AM Oct. 30.
The nonprofit devoted to new plays and musicals is presenting its 2001-2002 season in borrowed venues while its two-theatre space is being constructed on the site of its old home on West 42nd Street, in what's called Theatre Row. Tim Sanford, Playwrights Horizons' artistic director, and Judith O. Rubin, chair of the board of trustees, will welcome those who helped the new facility possible: State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, New York State Senator James J. Lack, and City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, among others.
The new five-story building, with a large main lobby, two rehearsal spaces, offices for artistic, production and administrative staff and the Ticket Central box office, will open in fall 2002, at 416 W. 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues.
The new home came about through a $32 million capital campaign: $24 million for the building and all related costs; $7 million for the endowment and $1 million for extraordinary interim producing and rental costs. Principal contributors include the estate of former Board Trustee Edith K. Ehrman ($10 million; the new building will be named in her honor); the current Board of Trustees ($5.5 million collectively); The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation ($2.5 million; the studio theater will be named The Peter Jay Sharp Theater); Ford Motor Company ($2.2 million; the main lobby will be named the Ford Motor Company Lobby); The New York City Council, Speaker Peter Vallone ($2 million); the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, C. Virginia Fields ($1 million); the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ($750,000); the New York State Senate, Senators Roy Goodman and James J. Lack ($750,000); and the New York State Assembly, Speaker Sheldon Silver ($500,000). *
Playwrights Horizons is now in its 31st season. Past productions include Sunday in the Park With George, Driving Miss Daisy, Betty's Summer Vacation, Lobby Hero, James Joyce's The Dead, Violet, Floyd Collins, Marvin's Room, March of the Falsettos, The Heidi Chronicles and more. The company was founded in 1971 at the Clark Center Y by Robert Moss (who now run Syracuse Stage). It later moved to 42nd Street and became part of he revitalization of the west end of that famed street. Andre Bishop (now at Lincoln Center Theatre) was artistic director 1981-1991, followed by Don Scardino, who served to 1995.
— By Kenneth Jones