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MCC Theatre Breaks Ground on First Permanent Home

Rendering of the MCC Theater's new home. View of 52nd Street entrance.

"Our diaspora is over," said Will Cantler, co-artistic director MCC Theater. MCC, a long-running Off Broadway company focusing on new writing, broke ground yesterday on its first permanent home on West 52nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, in Manhattan.

Designed by Andrew Berman Architect, the 27,000-sq-.ft. space will offer expanded production facilities and contain its administrative offices. Also involved in the project are Auerbach Pollock Friedlander (theatre consultants), Akustiks (acousticians), Altieri Sebor Wieber (MEP design), Gilsanz Murray Steficek (structural design), and Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design.

The facility, which will principally make use of concrete and reclaimed Douglas Fir wood, occupies the first floor of the Avalon Clinton complex, which also includes residential units. The principal spaces include the 4,200-sq.-ft. Theatre 1, which will feature 243 permanent seats in an end-stage configuration; Theatre 2, a 1,800-sq-.ft. flexible space covering, seating up to 99; a 3,400-sq-ft. lobby and reception area, a 1,060-sq-.ft. ground-floor rehearsal studio, a 670-sq.-ft. mezzanine rehearsal studio, 2,65-sq.-ft. of administrative offices, a 1,060-sq.-ft. backstage area, 330-sq.-ft. wardrobe room, and 430-sq.-ft. of dressing rooms.

The Brooklyn-based artists Francesco Simeti will create two new visual art installations. A collage of historic images of New York City will be found on the 53rd Street fa├žade. An interior public space will feature a tapestry composed of historic images relating to theatre, sets, masks, and props from cultures around the world.

The building, which will have an LEED Silver certificate, is a $35-million project funded by a public-private partnership between MCC and the City of New York, which has contributed $25.5 million. The campaign has raised $29.29 million to date.

The theatre, which is to be open for the 2018-19 season, marks the end of a long road for the theatre, which first started producing in 1986 and has occupied various spaces around the city. It currently presents a season of four plays at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in Greenwich Village. It will expand its season to six plays in the new venue. It also has an extensive array of development and educational programs, working with hundreds of young people in the city's public school system.

The company's artistic directors -- Cantler, Robert LuPone, and Bernard Telsey -- were on hand for the event, along with executive director Blake West; Tom Finkelpearl, New York's Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner; members of the board; the actor Zachary Quinto, who recently appeared in the play Smokefall at MCC; and the playwright Matthew Lopez, whose comedy The Legend of Georgia McBride, was seen at MCC in the fall.


(23 March 2016)

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