Though concert performances of the musicals Falsettos and Violet have already been held in the theater, the new Playwrights Horizons venue at 416 West 42nd Street was not officially dedicated until today with a ribbon cutting ceremony in the early afternoon.
In remarks before the ribbon cutting, Tim Sanford -- artistic director of the company -- said that "The opening of this building is obviously a landmark moment for Playwrights Horizons and its history. We were born 32 years ago with the directive to serve playwrights, and we have grown through that time to become not only one of the leading writers' theaters in the nation but one of the leading theaters in the nation. And all of that was done on a stage that you can just imagine perched over in the corner over there, on a little stage half the size that we have now. We literally did this great, great work with one arm tied behind our back -- or, I might say, if you knew our theater, with one wing tied behind our back...We conceived of this building not to change, but to become more of who we are -- to foster the spirit of collegiality and openness, to have theaters that are just as intimate, but better serve great writers."
Other notable speakers included Manhattan borough president C. Virginia Fields and N.Y.C. Councilman Gifford Miller. Prior to the ceremony, Fred Papert -- president of the 42nd Street Development Corporation -- told TheaterMania that "When Theatre Row started, Playwrights Horizons was in a little hole in the wall next to a really terrible burlesque house. Look how far we've come, and look how far they've come. Great ideas have many parents, as you know. We claim to be parents of everything good, and this is a very good thing. This is marvelous."
Coming up this weekend in the new space are concert performances of another musical that, like Falsettos and Violet, was originally fostered by Playwrights Horizons: Adam Guettel's Floyd Collins. Though the mainstage theater itself is up and running, the public spaces are not yet complete, nor is the theater's facade. According to a spokesman, all work on the building -- which was designed by Mitchell Kurtzman -- should be finished by the time of the opening of the company's first full production in the new space, My Life With Albertine, which begins previews on February 18 and will open officially on March 13.
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