Second Stage Theatre Now Aims for 2012 Purchase of Helen Hayes Theatre

News   Second Stage Theatre Now Aims for 2012 Purchase of Helen Hayes Theatre
 
Second Stage Theatre continues fundraising toward the $24 million purchase of Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre following an extension of the closing deadline to May 2012.

The leaders of the Off-Broadway not-for-profit where Next to Normal, Metamorphoses, Becky Shaw and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee had their New York City premieres had hoped to close the deal in August 2010, but got an extension to continue to raise money in a time of national economic crisis. When the plan was first revealed in 2008, Second Stage announced that it would begin producing at the Hayes as early as 2010.

According to a July 28 report on Bloomberg.com, $21 million is due in spring 2012. The trade paper quoted Hayes owner Martin Markinson saying that he "would be inclined to give [Second Stage] more time if they have some money and they’re close. We want to do a deal."

Second Stage now plans to begin producing at the Hayes, on West 44th Street, in 2013.

In 2008, the total price tag for the purchase and subsequent renovation of the 597-seat Hayes was announced to be $35 million.

Bloomberg.com reported that $15 million would secure a donor naming rights to Second Stage's Broadway home. This would remove the American actress' name from the venue, although a spokesman told Playbill.com that Second Stage is committed to honoring Hayes' name and contributions in some way within the venue in the future. Built in 1912, the playhouse was first called The Little Theatre, and was renamed the Hayes after the original Helen Hayes Theatre on West 46th Street was demolished to make way for the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Second Stage's Broadway home will be "dedicated exclusively to the development and presentation of contemporary American theatrical productions."

Second Stage presents productions at its current Off-Broadway homes: the 296-seat building on West 43rd Street and the 108-seat McGinn/Cazale Theatre. The world premiere of Zach Braff's play All New People is currently running at the midtown venue.

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Second Stage Theatre was founded "to give 'second stagings' to contemporary American plays that originally failed to find an audience due to scheduling problems, inappropriate venues or limited performance runs. Since then, Second Stage has evolved from a small theatre into an Off-Broadway institution dedicated to developing plays, artists and audiences."

In the past six years, a number of Second Stage productions have gone on to Broadway runs: Metamorphoses, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Next to Normal and The Little Dog Laughed.

For more information visit www.2st.com.

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