Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Manhattan Theatre Source


Thanks to reader esquared for the info: Broadway World announced yesterday that Manhattan Theatre Source will be closing in January 2012 after a dozen years in Greenwich Village.


Opened in 2000, Manhattan Theatre Source was named by New York as one of the city's Top 5 Off-Off Broadway theaters.

Said one of the board members to Broadway World, "Despite efforts to save it, we have finally reached a point where we can no longer sustain the running of our space at 177 MacDougal Street. Our deficits have grown too high, and the terrible economy has badly hurt small theater companies in NYC."

Blogger Andrew Bellware at Pleasure for the Empire has a different take on the closure. He recently wrote on his blog, "The present Board is actually and actively destroying the theater. And they're doing it willfully--not just from neglect... The theater is not going bankrupt... It's just closing because this Board lacks the imagination, the will, and the backbone one needs to keep a small business running."

Massey Knakal

Either way, the building, along with its neighbors, is up for sale. Massey Knakal has the listing with an asking price of $11,950,000. The realtors write, "Between the buildings, there are a total of 8 stores and 10 rent regulated apartments plus a theater space on two and a half floors at 177 MacDougal which will be delivered vacant and could be converted to residential."

In addition, in case you didn't know, "
Retail stores have tremendous upside, as national tenants like Dallas BBQ and Le Pain Quotidien have come to the block."

There's even a video walk-through of the buildings, showing everything that could, theoretically, be wiped out should a new owner decide to demolish the lot or triple the rents or do whatever landlords do these days. I think about that whenever I walk by the dilapidated, low-rise corner to see the little barber shop that somehow survives.

my flickr

The video also includes a few shots of the wrecked interior of what was once Bon Soir, the cabaret on West 8th where Barbra Streisand (in 35-cent shoes) got her start, singing songs like "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"

So if you have $12 million to spend, you could own this piece of history, along with the theater, which you could choose to keep as a theater and not turn into a Pain Quotidien or an Au Bon Pain or any other kind of pain.

If you don't have that kind of money, you might want to spend a few bucks to see one of Manhattan Theatre Source's last performances. Here's what's playing now.


Anonymous said...

As a long time member of manhattan theatre source, the issues which have resulted in the closing of this amazing space are many and persistent. The theatre has struggled from it's inception, surviving on a legion of volunteers, a loyal audience and several large donors. Those generous donors have moved on for the most part and the rising rent and strain of production costs are the primary reason for it's demise. However, the hundred plus members and volunteers are adamant about keeping the Source and their flagship festivals (EstroGenius, InGenius, TestoGenius) alive. This is only the end to one chapter in the history of this organization and people should know that Indie Theater in NYC is at risk in general, not just one space. Support Indie Theater consistently and loudly so that such sad developments are not repeated.

Ken Mac said...

That tiny block has been a oasis of calm for years with the classic 8th Street Bookshop (where Dylan met Ginsberg) and mews across the street. So the beast that marched down Bleecker has finally come to MacDougal.

Dane Vannatter said...

I wondered what happened to the Bon Soir spot. That's the club that Streisand got booked in after winning the singing contest at The Lion on 9th Street (which apparently is The Lion again). Guess we won't see the likes of Bon Soir, Village Gate, The Blue Angel again in New York. I'm glad the Vanguard is hanging on!

ShatteredMonocle said...

I love the ironwork on the facade. Reminds me of this one, just beyond Gino (RIP).

bowery boy said...

I used to buy dance shoes in this space back when it was a Capizio store. Never saw a show there that I thought wouldn't be better in a different space. I mean, I like intimate, but MTS is just small. I'm sure they'll move on to bigger and better things, it'd be hard not to, but the neighborhood will be worse off for not having an arts space nearby.