Circle-in-the-Square

Definition

Theater

  • A name given to three New York theaters, two of which continueto use it. The original circle-in-the-Square was a theater-in-the-roundthat opened in 1951 at 5 Sheridan Square (hence the name) to providea venue for Jose Quintero's Loft Players. The opening play was Richardsonand Berney's Dark of the Moon; subsequent successes includedTennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke (1952) and Truman Capote'sThe Grass Harp (1953). The theater closed in 1954 as a firehazard but reopened in 1956 with a revival of O'Neill's The IcemanCometh, directed by Quintero. Some critics thought it superiorto the original production and the Circle-in-the-Square became a popularoff-off-Broadway venue.

    The theater was demolished in 1960, forcing the company tomove to the second Circle-in-the-Square, a remodelled music hall onBleecker Street. The opening play was Genet's The Balcony. Laterproductions included Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood (1961),Thornton Wilder's Three Plays for Bleecker Street (1962), andAthol Fugard's Boesman and Lena (1970). In 1972 the companymoved to the new Joseph E. Levine Theatre on Broadway and 51st Street,which was renamed the Circle-in-the-Square: the Bleecker Street venueis now known as the Circle-in-the-Square, Downtown. Successes at theBroadway Circle have included the musical I'm Getting My Act Togetherand Taking It on the Road (1978), As Is (1981), one ofthe first dramas to deal with AIDS, and the musical The 25th AnnualPutnam County Spelling Bee, which ran from 2005 until 2008.

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