Second Stage Giving Up Its Off-Broadway Space | Playbill

Industry News Second Stage Giving Up Its Off-Broadway Space

The company is still planning to produce Off-Broadway at a new venue to be determined.

Second Stage Theater

NYC non-profit theatre company Second Stage will leave its Off-Broadway venue, according to a report in The New York Times and confirmed by Playbill. The company is citing a lease with unfavorable terms and high rent as reasoning for leaving the building, a former bank in which the company's Tony Kiser Theater has been housed since 1999.

Following the loss of the company's Off-Off-Broadway theatre on the Upper West Side last year, this move will leave Second Stage with just one dedicated venue, Broadway's Hayes Theater. The theatre company is nevertheless still planning to produce work Off-Broadway, at a new venue to be determined.

The move makes Second Stage the latest theatrical non-profit to announce major cutbacks, with many companies still struggling to recover from pandemic losses. In just the past few months, major cuts were revealed at Chicago's Steppenwolf and Lookingglass, Off-Broadway's The Public Theater and Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group.

READ: How Non-Profit Theatres Are Trying to Save Themselves. And the Theatre Industry

And those cuts are only part of a rapidly changing landscape Off-Broadway. Backstage workers at Titaníque, a commercial Off-Broadway production, and Off-Broadway non-profit Atlantic Theater Company have both recently voted to unionize via IATSE, and many industry insiders are expecting similar votes at other companies to follow. While providing increased safety and wages for the workers, the shift has the potential to make a profound effect on the Off-Broadway business model.

The move also intensifies the moment of transition Second Stage was already in as a company. Longtime Artistic Director Carole Rothman revealed last year that she will leave the company this spring, and a search for a successor is currently underway.

The STAGE Act: How It Could Save Non-Profit Theatres, and How You Can Help

The lease is reportedly set to expire at the end of 2024. The Tony Kiser Theater is currently hosting Kate Douglas' The Apiary through March 3, and will present Alexis Scheer's Breaking the Story beginning May 15. On Broadway, the company is currently running Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Appropriate through March 3 at the Hayes. The production has become an audience favorite, and is getting a commercial extension that will begin March 25 at the Belasco, a transfer that could well bolster the company's financial standings. They are also producing Mother Play, a world premiere from Paula Vogel, at the Hayes beginning in April.

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