A Love Letter to the New York Theater Community

Or… how we overcame an almost eviction less than a month before opening with the help of the incredible New York Theater Community….

235 days since Joey and I launched our production of Better Left Unsaid
180 days since we shot our Kickstarter video
127 Days since we launched our Kickstarter campaign
85 Days since the close of our successful Kickstarter campaign
30+ cast and crew members
12 days since rehearsals began
5 days since our tickets went on sale
4 days since our first press release went out…
December 26th, 2010 – the Sunday after Christmas
Only 26 days until opening night…

RING…… (the telephone- you know…)

It’s Joey… “umm Kathryn… i just got a really disturbing call… it seems that our theater has been evicted for non-payment of rent and umm.. it seems that our rental fee is tied up in the proceedings”… (more than 20% of our already too small budget).

I will tell you right off that this story has a happy ending.  10 days later Jill DeArmon of Center Stage NY did what seemed impossible, and raised the $17,000 in back rent that she needed to stay open for at least a few more months.

But oh those ten days….

Not opening on January 21st wasn’t an option. We were already in rehearsals, the creative energy was flowing, on February 7th we lose both our DP and some of our actors, and 161 friends, family and strangers had expressed their belief in us by backing us in our Kickstarter campaign.  Those ten days were spent primarily on the phone to theater companies of all sorts and sizes searching for an alternative venue that we could possibly afford on our now much smaller funds…

This is a love letter to the New York Theater Community.  It is mindboggling how they came out in spades to express their support, to offer solutions and to support a brand new theater company with a brand new mission which they knew nothing about.

The first person I called was Elena Holy of FringeNYC. Elena is a new friend (BLU is producing FringeTALK a live streamed town hall about FringeNYC this weekend) and I knew if anyone had ideas for venues it would be her.  Elena of course got back to me immediately and she referred me to…

FAB– Wow!! I can not say enough about Lauren Parrish and FAB (Fourth Arts Block). Lauren heard my story and immediately jumped in with so many wonderful ideas and referrals…thanks to Lauren we were off and running….

The first people Lauren sent me to was the Horse Trade Theater Group. Erez picked up in the middle of my voice message and immediately had a solution for me.  Had Center Stage not come thru we would very likely have been proud and grateful to call Under St. Marks our home.  Erez and Heidi were both incredibly helpful and accommodating and it is impossible not to admire their 12+ years of providing a home  for independent theater artists.

Lauren also sent me to The Cell Theater Kira called me back immediately.  While The Cell was booked and couldn’t accommodate us Kira was also a font of ideas and I so hope to have the chance to meet her in person.

Erika from the Beckett theater was also incredibly kind and accommodating.  While ultimately we couldn’t afford their rent – it is Theater Row!  – Erika was warm and helpful and hey… it’s free this winter so if have a show that needs a beautiful home, call Erika at the Beckett!!

The wonderful Dixon Place… again they were totally booked, but that didn’t stop them from calling me and offering all sorts of ideas and solutions.

Anita Durst of Chashama called me back within five minutes of receiving my email.  She too had an immediate idea of how Chashama could help and were looking at a venue the next business day… I so  hope to have  the chance to work with Chashama in the future.

Kevin Cunningham of 3LD interrupted his vacation to exchange multiple phone calls and emails with me and very very generously offered to consider us for a March spot  – thank you Kevin.  And Kristin Marting of HERE also got back to me immediately with the possibility of a March date.  Thank you Kristen!

Joria Productions were so warm and helpful on the phone and came up with a number of possible scenarious in their space and also referred me to the Roy Arias  Studios…  Roy was simply amazing and incredibly patient with us… If you haven’t seen his off-broadway house you should… its a great space in a perfect location and Roy is simply wonderful to work with.

We talked to a ton more people during those 10 days, from The Connelly to CSV to Duo to Henry Street.. the list goes on and on- and one after another the people we spoke to were warm, helpful, understanding and encouraging.  We may have lost 10 days of pre-production work (ouch ouch ouch), but there are so many silver linings to this cloud that in many ways I’m almost happy it happened.

So, with Center Stage NY having achieved what seemed impossible, the incredible New York Theater community behind us and our wonderful cast and crew… off we go!  Better Left Unsaid will indeed be opening two weeks from today as the first of its kind interactive live-streamed play!

I can not wait!

And thank you, New York, from the bottom of my heart.

and  PS  – a million thank yous to my dear friend Geo Geller who never stopped thinking of alternative ideas… Geo.. i love you!

and PPS- and oh Leonard Jacobs – a new friend  whom I met when he wrote a simply marvelous article about Better Left Unsaid and who I am now proud to call a collaborater– your suggestions and help were invaluable and always spot on as were those of the wonderful Cat Parker.

and PPPS to all of you who have been so supportive, especially all you #2amt folksI am embarrassed at how deeply I have fallen off the social media radar.  It’s always surprising how producing begins to envelop your whole life, and I can’t believe how much of your work these past two months I have missed… I so look forward to February when I can jump back in and support all of you right back!


Leave a Comment