MCC Theater Officially Opens The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space
The Event Marks the First Permanent Home for the Off-Broadway Theater in its Over Three-Decade History
MCC Theater (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) officially opened The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space today with a special ceremony celebrating the first, permanent home for one of New York City’s premiere Off-Broadway theaters. For the first time in over three decades, MCC will bring the company’s mainstage productions, programs to develop new theater works, and its public engagement and education programming under one roof. With 27,000 square feet dedicated to two state-of-the-art theaters, rehearsal spaces, and administrative offices, the new facility will deepen MCC’s commitment to provoking conversations and the exchange of ideas between artists, audiences, and young people.
MCC’s Executive Director Blake West kicked off the celebratory event that included artists, government officials, longtime friends of the company, and supporters. MCC’s Artistic Directors Bernard Telsey, Robert LuPone, and William Cantler, discussed the trajectory of the storied theater from inception to its new home, with additional remarks from MCC’s Board Chair Susan Raanan, MCC Board Member and Honorary co-chair of the Campaign for MCC Theater, Julianna Margulies (MCC’s Intrigue with Faye, 2003), MCC Board Member Peter Hedges (MCC’s Good as New, 1997), and playwright Jocelyn Bioh (MCC’s School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, 2017/18). Both Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl and Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction Lorraine Grillo spoke on behalf of New York City, the lead supporter of the project. As attendees took tours around the building, artist Francesco Simeti unveiled two commissions that were installed as part of New York City’s Percent for Art program.
In celebration of the opening of The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space, MCC announced two new development programs and an expansion of its access initiatives. SongLabsisa program that supports the development of new musical works by providing writers with dramaturgical assistance and the opportunity to participate in a public reading series. WorkLabs is a program that brings four early-career playwrights together who will receive resources, artist feedback, and professional support while developing a script. The program culminates in a rigorous workshop process and public reading series. As an expansion of its public engagement programs, MCC will offer front-row, $30 seats for all performances in the Newman Mills Theater as well as limited $30 accessible seating. These tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis online and will also be made available by phone or in-person beginning January 20 at the box office. Patrons needing accessible seats may purchase online using code 30NMT.
“On behalf of Bernie, Bob, Will, myself, and the entire MCC family, I am honored to officially welcome you all to the opening of MCC’s first permanent home,” said MCC Executive Director Blake West. “It is a dream fulfilled to have a space that will unite and expand our unique education and public engagement programs and benefit our growing community of writers, directors, actors, students, audience members, as well as the community in which we will now be working and producing—Hell’s Kitchen—and all New York City residents. MCC is marking its 32nd season this year, and it is wonderful to feel both the continuity of what we do and the excitement of change this moment represents.”
“Since Bobby, Will, and I started together, making theater and finding new voices has never felt more urgent. Now we can bring together our expansive MCC Theater family in our new home after operating in multiple locations over the last 30 years. Offering new opportunities for collaboration; allowing the MCC community to grow and engage with one another in conversation, debate, and discovery; and expanding the American theater canon is our mission. This moment is humbling, thrilling, and a challenge we relish.” said Bernard Telsey, Co-Artistic Director of MCC Theater, speaking on behalf of the company’s artistic leadership.
MCC’s Board Chair Susan Raanan said, “It is incredible to celebrate the opening of the beautiful new Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space. I want to extend deep gratitude to everyone who had a hand in this project including the unyielding support of the City of New York, our partners at the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, our Board of Directors, Campaign Co-Chairs Marianne and Steve Mills and Ruth and Harold Newman; Honorary Co-Chairs Judith Light and Julianna Margulies and all the generous donors who have helped to make this great space a reality.”
The Campaign has been supported by the City of New York, which contributed $28.9 million, and by a $2.5 million challenge grant from The Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust—which MCC Theater met this spring—as well as additional individual and foundation support.
DCLA Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl noted that, “MCC Theater is a cornerstone of NYC’s vibrant Off-Broadway theater scene. They provide a platform for new voices, develop work by emerging and mid-career artists, and their well-regarded education programs help high school students tap into their own creative energies. MCC’s permanent new home is a long-awaited and much anticipated addition to the 52nd Street Project and the Alliance of Resident Theaters/New York, which they join as the third and final occupant of a key theater hub on Tenth Avenue.”
“This beautiful new space with two theaters will give MCC the ability to expand its programming, feature even more artists and touch even more people,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “We’re very proud to help bring this addition to the community, and to complete it in time for MCC’s scheduled January programming as well as within budget.”
“I know I speak on behalf of everyone at the Trust when I say it is truly an honor to be a part of the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space,” said Richard G. Schneidman, a trustee of the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust. “We know the space that bears Bob’s name will be a tremendous asset to this community and a generator to some of the most important art of our time. We couldn’t ask for a more fitting institution to help drive home Bob’s commitment to supporting education and culture.”
“I became a Board Member of MCC Theater because I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of the courageous, creative, and hard-working young people who are such an important part of the MCC family,” said Judith Light, MCC Board member and Honorary Co-Chair of The Campaign for MCC Theater. “When you introduce young people to the theater, you positively influence their lives and the lives of future generations. Now, in our new home, all under one roof, we have an opportunity to give young people an even richer experience, as they interact with actors, playwrights, creative teams, and theater professionals every time they enter the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space.”
The 2018/19 Season at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space includes: the world premiere of Alice By Heart, a new musical with a book by Steven Sater with Jessie Nelson, music by Duncan Sheik, lyrics by Steven Sater, and choreographed by Rick and Jeff Kuperman; The Light by Loy A. Webb, directed by Logan Vaughn; Halley Feiffer’s Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, directed by Trip Cullman; BLKS by Aziza Barnes, directed by Robert O’Hara. For more information, please visit www.mcctheater.org/2018-19-season. Subscriber and single tickets are currently on sale but must be made over the phone or online; an official box office opening for in-person sale walk-ups will be announced at a later date.