January 9, 2019
New York, NY - Commissioner Lorraine Grillo of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) joined local elected officials and leaders of the City’s performing arts community to celebrate the completion of two new performance spaces for MCC Theater, a non-profit theater company founded in New York as the Manhattan Class Company in 1986.
The new Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space encompasses the two-story 245-seat Newman Mills Theater and the Susan & Ronald Frankel Theater, a flexible space seating up to 100. The complex occupies approximately 26,000 square feet in the ground floor and mezzanine levels of the Archstone Clinton building at 511 West 52nd Street in Manhattan, between 10th and 11th avenues. On the ground floor are the two theaters plus a lobby, box office, refreshment area and dedicated outside entrance. The mezzanine level includes another lobby, MCC Theater’s administrative offices and a rehearsal studio.
The project was supported by $28.9 million from the City, including $22.1 million from the Mayor’s Office, $6.4 million from the City Council and $425,000 from the Manhattan Borough President’s office. DDC managed design and construction for the project and DCLA administered the City funding.
“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 build this addition to the community, and to complete it in time for MCC’s scheduled January programming as well as within budget.”
“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-regarding education programs help high school students tap into their own creative energies,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “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.”
“The Council has been proud to support MCC for years now and I am so excited that it is finally ready to raise the curtain on these two brand new performance spaces,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “The City's Off-Broadway scene is a vital part of our incomparable arts and culture sector and I have no doubt that MCC's leadership in this area will only grow with these new theaters open for business.”
“It is incredible to celebrate the opening of the beautiful new Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space,” said MCC’s Board Chair Susan Raanan. “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.”
“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, 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 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.
The project features a NYC Percent for Art installation by Francesco Simeti, and Italian artist who resides in Brooklyn. For MCC Theater the artist created two displays related to the history of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood as well as the tradition of the theater from cultures around the world.
Thirty-two feet in length and located on and around the theater’s stage door on W. 53rd Street, A tale of the city is a large-scale art glass collage of historic images of the City with visual traces of the botanic and natural, including illustrations and references to native plants and flowers that are now extinct in New York. The upper portion depicts a sky over the textured "landscape.” Light from within the theater illuminates the work at night, backlighting the piece.
The second piece, Set Perspectives, located on the walls of the mezzanine seating area, is a patterned tapestry designed using historic images relating to theater, stage sets, masks and props from various cultures. Fabricated in Italy from woven textile, Set Perspectives stands 13 feet high and is approximately seven feet wide.
The new performance space was designed by Andrew Berman Architects under DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 program, which pre-selects and pre-qualifies design firms for DDC public buildings projects. The program is designed to decrease the amount of time required for DDC to procure design services, while ensuring the highest levels of quality and professionalism in construction projects managed by the agency. Construction management services were by The LiRo Group and the general contractor was Rockmore Contracting Corp. Subcontractors were AWL Industries, Sajiun Electric Inc. and Easter Plumbing Contracting Corporation.