WPA Theatre to Rent Temporary Space; Open Season in Feb. with Blood

News   WPA Theatre to Rent Temporary Space; Open Season in Feb. with Blood After losing its theatre space and closing last July, WPA artistic director Kyle Rennick says he is negotiating for temporary stage space and plans to reopen WPA in February.

After losing its theatre space and closing last July, WPA artistic director Kyle Rennick says he is negotiating for temporary stage space and plans to reopen WPA in February.

Rennick told Playbill On-Line that he plans to operate WPA in a rented swing space until the company secures its own building and a permanent home.

WPA's opening production this season will be Jonathan Sheffer's Blood on the Dining Room Floor, which is based on a story by Gertrude Stein. The play was originally meant to be last season's WPA season closer but "many factors conspired to postpone it," Rennick said.

Although he cannot release specifics about his plans until negotiations for the new space are completed, Rennick told Playbill On-Line he was proceeding with renting the temporary space while finding a permanent home for WPA.

"I'm proceeding on both fronts" Rennick said. "We plan to rent for a couple of months, which is what Second Stage did a couple of years ago before they settled on the Upper West Side." Rennick said he was hopeful that within a couple of years, "we would have our own space." As reported earlier, Little Dragon 23, which now owns the former WPA space, located at 519 W. 23 St. in Manhattan, is said to have broad plans to remodel the space and open a new theatre there. This report is still unconfirmed. While recent WPA seasons were less spectacular than those of years past, the nonprofit theatre company has built a solid reputation.

Formed 22 years ago, WPA has produced more than 90 plays, with 13 of them receiving commercial transfers, including Gorey Stories, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Nuts, Album, The Freak, the Key Exchange, Little Shop of Horrors, Steel Magnolias, The Night Hank Williams Died, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset, Jeffrey, and the Boys in the Band.

In addition, nine WPA plays have gone on to become feature films including Key Exchange, Little Shop of Horrors, The Whales of August, Nuts, Fresh Horses, Steel Magnolias, Jeffrey, North Shore Fish, and The Trading Post.

WPA is frequently associated with the initial success of two projects by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, Little Shop of Horrors and Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.

-- By Murdoch McBride