The intersection of Lafayette Street and Astor Place in New York City has been co-named Joseph Papp Way, in honor of late Public Theater founder Joseph Papp. The Public, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its landmark home at 425 Lafayette Street, will host a public naming ceremony December 1.
The ceremony will take place at 8:30 AM at the Astor Place Plaza. The event will include remarks by Artistic Director Oskar Eustis, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl, District 2 City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, and Public Theater Board Member Gail Papp, who will unveil the commemorative sign.
“Joe Papp changed the life of New Yorkers forever, creating a beloved institution devoted to making the life of our culture inclusive,” said Eustis in a statement. “It is thrilling that the city of New York will recognize him forever by co-naming this street for him.”
The Public Theater was founded in 1954, then known as the New York Shakespeare Festival. It opened the doors to its permanent home on Lafayette Street in October 1967 with the new musical Hair.
Papp, who founded the institution, was an East Village local and active member of the community. His life and an important period of the Public’s history are currently being brought to life in Richard Nelson’s play Illyria, running through December 10 at the Off-Broadway theatre.
Flip through photos of Illyria’s opening night below: