That Is The Question theaters are in the Broadway district and look like all of the others.
The Roundabout Theatre Company is one of the most popular not-for-profit theater companies in New York City. They actually have two Broadway theaters where they put their productions (in addition to several other non-Broadway spaces). The American Airlines Theater is on 42nd Street, right in the middle of the action and is a great theater for musicals and plays alike. It is also one of the most newly renovated theaters and boasts new seating and a beautiful lobby. The Roundabout also owns Studio 54 (on 54th Street…duh). I love the story of how they acquired this theater. Back in the late 90s, when The Roundabout was presenting its wonderful Tony Award-winning production of Cabaret (the first time), it was in a space they called “The Kit Kat Club.” Unfortunately, bricks began falling off of the building and were conking passersby on the head. As a result, the production needed to be closed right in the middle of its heyday. After some quick thinking, The Roundabout Theatre Company acquired Studio 54, fixed it up to hold Cabaret, reopened it there, and the rest is history. Since then, Studio 54 was purchased by The Roundabout and it is the home to some of its productions each season. All of the history that it holds makes it serve as the perfect place for theater pieces new and old, traditional and edgy, musicals and plays. One other not-for-profit theater company that owns a Broadway theater is The Manhattan Theatre Club. The Friedman Theatre on 47th Street (formerly “The Biltmore”) is owned by them and also has been renovated for comfort. One cannot forget that Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre is the Broadway sanctioned theater which has presented such Tony-winning shows as South Pacific, War Horse, and the current The King and I. Fun fact… if you want to be a subscriber of Lincoln Center, there is usually a waiting list backed up for several years. While most other theater companies are spending incredible amounts of money in outreach and development, leave it to Lincoln Center to always present wonderful, top-notch artistic shows and have all of the support they could ever want. If you want to be on their waiting list, just visit their website and you can sign up (www. lincolncenter.org)! What’s really important to take away from this article is that there are many wonderful not-for-profit theaters that do incredible work around the city. Many times shows that begin there end up transferring for a run on Broadway by commercial producers (allowing the not-for-profit to take in royalties from the commercial
run even though the run becomes a traditional commercial one where investors can make profits). The most recent success story is Hamilton, which began at The Public Theatre downtown this past year. We also have amazing theaters in the city like Second Stage, Primary Stages, Playwrights Horizons, and the two theaters of which I’m on the Board of Directors, The York Theatre Company and The New York Theatre Barn. The York is where I presented two shows (Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story and Yank! – A World War II Love Story) and it’s incredibly special to me as they have been around for decades and specialize in only new musicals. They have a wonderful outreach program and educational programs, as well. Check them out at www.yorktheatre.org. And the NYTB (“The Barn,” as we like to call it) gives new writers a place to have their work seen and heard. Please be sure to check them out also at www.nytheatrebarn.org. I hope this article gave you a little bit more insight into some of the workings of theater. I highly suggest that you check in with some of these local theater groups and see how you can help! That can include anything from volunteering your time, making a donation, supporting their fundraising efforts, or buying a subscription to their season! Whatever you do, I think it will be extremely appreciated as they work super hard (sometimes without financial reward at all) in order to bring theater to our communities. Please join me in wishing them, along with yourselves, a hearty “Break a leg!” Jim Kierstead Kierstead Productions, Inc. Producer firstname.lastname@example.org Kinky Boots On Broadway at The Al Hirschfeld Theatre, on tour, in London, and in Toronto Winner of 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical Past projects: Pippin, You Can’t Take It With You, The Visit, Side Show, It Shoulda Been You, Rocky, The Glass Menagerie; Notable investments: Something Rotten, Matilda t JANUARY 2016 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 81