Despite all the shutterings and demolishings of vintage Off Broadway theatres these days, one would think the old Provincetown Playhouse on MacDougal would be safe.
It was, after all, the incubator of our official Great American Playwright Eugene O'Neill. Also, as the currently property of New York University it is not on commercial real estate.
Well...all that doesn't seem to matter to said landlord:
The Provincetown Playhouse, the Greenwich Village theatre built in 1918, may be subjected to a wrecking ball.
AMNY [see page 4] reports that New York University has announced plans to demolish the 170-seat theatre, which is not landmarked and once featured the early works of Edward Albee, Eugene O'Neill and Edna St. Vincent Millay, among others.
NYU plans to demolish a block of buildings on MacDougal Street, including the famed theatre. A new five-story building that would be utilized by NYU's law school would take its place.Wait, you say, surely it's landmarked? Alas, no.
If there's no chance of stopping at this, I wonder if the Provincetown is actually small enough to crane-lift out of there and transplant to a cheaper--and more appreciative--location.
If NYU has no interest, I know some small theatre companies that could really use it!
UPDATE: More info from the community paper, The Villager. Turns out it's not technically the original NYC location of the Provincetown. Ok, fine. But still, close:
The Provincetown Playhouse, which started on a wharf at the end of Cape Cod, opened at 139 MacDougal St. in 1916 and moved to No. 133 after two seasons, according to a Web site by Jeff Kennedy.Also of historical note...
The “new” theater at 133 MacDougal St. opened in 1918 with one-act plays by O’Neill, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Florence Kiper Frank. The 1920-’21 season featured O’Neill’s “The Emperor Jones,” a hit that moved to Broadway, according to the Kennedy Web site.Yes, that would be the Zoo Story premiere. (US premiere, of course.)
In 1960, the theater hosted the long-running double bill of Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape” and Edward Albee’s “A Zoo Story,” and the last hit play there was the Charles Busch camp comedy “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.”