In New York theater, actors and directors are important, of course—playwrights and designers, too. But in this city, the biggest role in theater is played by real estate—the cost of renting a decent theater can be a killer. So it’s with constant awe that we contemplate 59E59 Theaters, which provides one of the greatest rental deals in town. Take their Theater B, for example—the kind of 99-seater very much in demand for productions operating under Equity’s showcase code. Theater B rents for $3,500 per week—not nothing, but cheaper than most rooms of its size and quality. But that’s just the start. 59E59 Theaters also tosses in—for free!—full front-of-house staff, ticketing and box-offices services, a weekly Time Out ad (and sometimes a Times ABC), program design and printing, and, maybe most remarkably, a press agent. (A good press agent would normally cost your show between $2,000 and $3,500.) All of this with no box-office rake—companies keep 100 percent of their ticket sales. So a collective bravo to artistic director Elysabeth Kleinhans and executive producer Peter Tear for creating such an affordable venue for all our aspiring Belascos.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 21, 2009