Second Stage Raising Millions for Acquisition and Maintenance of Broadway's Helen Hayes

News   Second Stage Raising Millions for Acquisition and Maintenance of Broadway's Helen Hayes
Second Stage Theatre, the not-for-profit Off-Broadway company founded in 1979 by director Carole Rothman and actress Robyn Goodman, is in the process of raising a total of $58 million to acquire and maintain Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre, according to the New York Times.

It was announced in 2008 that Second Stage acquired the rights to purchase Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre. Over five years ago, the cost to buy and renovate the Broadway house was $35 million.

According to the Times, the sale is on a fast track to close in mid-February, and the cost has increased because of Second Stage's plans (both artistically and architecturally) for the Hayes.

The company could begin producing there as soon as the 2017-18 season.

Rothman, who was in Los Angeles meeting with potential and current donors, told the Times, "I think Broadway needs as many new American plays as possible, and the kinds of writers we do are slightly different than you see at Broadway theaters now."

Second Stage's hope for the 597-seat Broadway residence is to dedicate the home exclusively to the development and presentation of contemporary American theatrical productions. The Pulitzer-winning Next to Normal and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are among the Second Stage works that transferred to Broadway. (Visit their page at the Playbill Vault.) According to Casey Reitz, Second Stage's executive director, the company will create a reserve budget to ensure that they have money to operate the theatre and produce desired works. The total cost has also increased because construction prices are expected to be higher than they would have been in 2008.

The Times reports that the company is working with architect David Rockwell on "fresh and contemporary" ideas for the marquee, lobby and auditorium, dressing rooms and office space. Seventy percent of the $58 million is in place, and Second Stage will accept a donation in return for the right to rename the theatre.

The company will also continue to present productions at its current Off-Broadway homes: the 296-seat Tony Kiser Theatre on West 43rd Street and the 108-seat McGinn/Cazale Theatre.


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