Theater News

Joseph Papp Way to Honor Public Theater Founder Joe Papp

Lafayette Street and Astor Place will officially be renamed on December 1.

Joseph Papp and a marquee for the Public Theater.
Joseph Papp and a marquee for the Public Theater.
(photo provided by the Public Theater)

The intersection of Lafayette Street and Astor Place, the longtime home of Public Theater, has been co-named in honor of the Public's founder, Joseph Papp.

The Joseph Papp Way sign will be unveiled on Friday, December 1, at 8:30am. The ceremony will include remarks by Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl, District 2 City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, and Public Theater board member Gail Papp, who will unveil the commemorative sign.

The Public Theater was founded in 1954 (then known as the New York Shakespeare Festival), but its permanent home at 425 Lafayette Street opened its doors for the first time in October 1967 with the groundbreaking musical Hair. In addition to founding the New York Shakespeare Festival and saving the landmark building (the former Astor Library) from planned demolition, Joe Papp also lived in the East Village and was an outstanding member of the community until his death in 1991.