The Playgoer: Provincetown Saved!

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Provincetown Saved!

This just in, from Crain's:

The historic Provincetown Playhouse Theater is safe from demolition, New York University has confirmed...

NYU now says it will preserve the size of the theater along with its four walls, entry way and fa├žade. The interior will be upgraded and pieces, like the 1920’s theater seats, will be removed, refurbished and reinstalled. A new building that is “contextual” and complements the architecture of the area, meanwhile, will be build around the Provincetown Playhouse....

Announcements of preliminary plans for the site caused such a flap late last month that playwrights, producers and actors including Blythe Danner, Mercedes Ruehl, Eric Stolz and John Leguizama [sic] signing a petition to protest the proposed changes.
So just goes to show you: pressure helps.

Lord knows the pressures on the other side of these disputes is always formidable. And much more well funded. So sometimes making a stink, as unpleasant as it can seem, is necessary to protect theatre (or in this case, a theatre) from the larger social forces.

Here, I imagine NYU was not looking forward to the announced May 28 public meeting on their proposal, for which protests were already being planned.

My hat off to Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for giving a damn, and blogger Leonard Jacobs forgoing ahead being a maniac about it all.

By the way--no offense to them, but they couldn't rally a more, um, A-list group of actors...? NYU really must be powerful!

4 comments:

The Playgoer said...

On 2nd thought...Am I being unduly celebratory? Is the "compromise" plan really that much of a concession for NYU? Just the "4 walls" and dimensions of the space--which are probably the aspects that have changed the most? At least the facade is safe...

frank said...

I think this was their plan the whole time. Each revision was released awfully quickly. The initial proposal was "we're tearing it down" so every can feel like they've had a victory now that the "compromise" plans have been released.

rdavis said...

I haven't been in the building. Are the seats original? If so, are they just getting trashed?

The Playgoer said...

about the seats...

NY Times clarifies:
"The seats from the 1940s will be reupholstered and restored."
(http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/16/the-plays-the-thing-but-nyu-has-some-revisions/index.html?ref=theater)

Also interesting, in the NYT follow-up:
"“Historians said they care about the volume and size of the theater,” Ms. Hurley said, adding that the plan evolved with input from many sources. “Keeping it at the same site was also important."
(http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/theater/17nyu.html?_r=1&ref=arts&oref=slogin)