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Harvey Fierstein Donates $2.5 Million to New York Public Library for New Theatre Lab

The Harvey Fierstein Theatre Lab will be a part of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

Harvey Fierstein is funding a new educational program at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
(© David Gordon)

Tony-winning playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy) has donated $2.5 million to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to create the Harvey Fierstein Theatre Lab. The lab will occupy what is currently a 770-square-foot meeting room and office on the Amsterdam level of the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. It will be designed and outfitted as a flexible space for students and teachers from middle school through graduate school, and free programming will provide a variety of educational opportunities for formal class visits, afterschool and weekend teen programs, professional teacher development, research seminars, workshops, panel discussions, interviews, and demonstrations by theater professionals.

"As the son of a librarian it's only natural that I'd be drawn to this project," says Harvey Fierstein. "The recent pandemic proved that there is no substitute for live theater but what we do onstage exists only in that moment and then is gone. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts' collections of photos, recordings, scripts and live video capture offers a unique way to preserve a glimmer of theater's magic. My hope is that this new Theatre Lab will provide a space to not only revel in the past but inspire artists to create the theater of tomorrow."

Fierstein has also named the Library for the Performing Arts as a beneficiary of the Harvey Fierstein Trust, securing his legacy as a major supporter of the library's ongoing efforts in documenting, collecting, and preserving the performing arts, and inspiring the next generation of artists.

On June 23, Fierstein will participate in the streaming event I'm Still Here: A Virtual Benefit for the Billy Rose Theatre Division, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the library's collection. Click here for more details and tickets to the event.

(© James McMullan)