Off-Broadway Theatre Opens Costume Shop to Fire Victims

News   Off-Broadway Theatre Opens Costume Shop to Fire Victims
Last Thursday's explosion and fire that destroyed two apartment buildings in the East Village section of Manhattan caused a weekend-long cancellation of performances at the Orpheum Theatre (home of Stomp) across Second Avenue near St. Mark's Place (8th Street).

But it turns out there is a happier theatre angle to the disaster. Theater for the New City, located at 155 First Avenue at 9th Street, is offering free clothing from its costume collection, that is, "costume" plain clothes including coats and jackets, to their neighbors displaced by the explosion. Neighbors are instructed to call (212) 254-1109 to make an appointment.

Artistic Director Crystal Field said, "We are neighbors so we are very embedded in the community." As a public member of the Community Board 3 Subcommittee for Arts and Culture, she said she approached the board and offered her theatre as a shelter in the immediate aftermath of the explosion. When they told her a shelter was being set up on a local public school, "We thought,'What else could we do?'"

The Off-Broadway theatre maintains a big costume collection that it uses for its many productions. "Some of the costumes are really crazy-wild, but we also have everyday types of clothes, though they may be from the '50s or the '80s. Here you have people who are are burned out their building, and they have nothing left. Can you imagine, somebody's whole wardrobe is gone and they have to go to work!"

Field said one woman who already availed herself of the collection walked away with "a Calvin Klein scarf and a leather coat."

Field said that in order to qualify, people need to show some form of identification to prove they lived in one of the destroyed buildings. Visit the Theatre for the New City website.

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