Jim Nicola, the longtime artistic director of the Tony-winning New York Theatre Workshop, hasn't had much downtime despite the Off-Broadway theatre suspending performances in the wake of the pandemic—between keeping things running behind the scenes and overseeing the launch of new online programming that includes digital masterclasses and virtual fireside chats. Still, he took some time to go through the theatre's rehearsal room photo archives for a look back at shows both new and old, many of which went on (or are heading) to Broadway.
“Scrolling through this collection of photos, most of them taken as the makers were in the process of discovering what these productions were about to become, was an act of commemoration," says Nicola. "A re-enactment of beauty. Also it was and is a reminder that art, specifically the art of theatre, captures who we are now, who we were at one point in time, and therefor hints at, implies, who we might become. One also sees the vibrancy, the richness, the scope of the New York Theatre Workshop tribe of artists.
"Each photo evokes the different experience that each of these plays were for our audience, and, as a collection, it summarizes the journey we have been on together," says Nicola. "Look at those beautiful faces, look into the eyes of these remarkable individuals, and be reminded that we all will meet again, we will all commune once more and breathe together."
For more than three decades, New York Theatre Workshop has distinguished itself as a producer of groundbreaking new works—productions that expanded the boundaries of theatre and addressed the important issues of our time. In the gallery below, look back into the rehearsal rooms of Endlings and Sanctuary City, two shows that were suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Broadway-bound Sing Street, and past productions like Slave Play, Hurricane Diane, Lazarus, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, and Hadestown.