American Place Theatre

Definition

Theater

  • A New York theater company now based at 111 West 46th Streetin the rear of the Stevens Building facing Sixth Avenue. In 1971 thisunderground complex was presented to the company for an annual leaseof $5, because zoning laws allow the builder of a skyscraper to addstoreys if a theater is included.

    The company mounted its first productions in 1964 at St Clement'sChurch on West 46th Street. Its founders, Wynn Handman, who remainedthe artistic director for many years, and the Reverend Sidney Lanier,pastor of the church, dedicated the company to the presentation ofworks by living US playwrights. When the company moved to its presentlocation in 1971, the experimental theater group, Sub-Plotwas also formed. In 1978 the Women's Project was created by JuliaMiles.

    The company's 10-month season includes both full productionsand works-in-progress. Among its acclaimed productions have been Killer'sHead by Sam Shepherd in 1975 and John Leguizamo's Mambo Mouthin 1991. In recent years it has been increasingly involved in educationand literacy programmes.

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