NEW YORK, April 20 (UPI) -- Second Stage Theatre says it has completed its purchase of Broadway's Helen Hayes Theatre.
Renovations and upgrades to the 103-year-old landmark building are to begin next year and the company plans to stage its first production on Broadway during the 2017-18 season. The house will be the only one on Broadway dedicated exclusively to developing and producing works by living American playwrights.
Second Stage will continue to lease and operate the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, its original theater on the Upper West Side, as well as the Tony Kiser Theatre in Midtown Manhattan. "This is an amazing moment, not only for Second Stage Theatre, but for American playwrights and American theatergoers," Second Stage Founder and Artistic Director Carole Rothman said in a statement Monday. "Second Stage takes the commitment to producing new plays very seriously. We pledge to keep our new theater a bustling center of activity on Broadway, nurturing not only new plays from established and emerging writers, but also feeding a new, diverse generation of theatergoers who will help keep American plays at the heart of the Broadway experience." "It's immensely exciting that Second Stage is expanding their breadth and vision. Broadway needs a space that will showcase the rich diversity of voices that make up the American theater," added playwright and board member Lynn Nottage. "I can't wait to see how this new space shifts the creative conversation on Broadway, as it will be introducing a range of artists who previously may not have been represented there." "My relationship with Second Stage goes back over 20 years. As an actor, as an audience member and now as a member of the board, I have watched Carole Rothman guide this extraordinary American theater with a singular vision: bringing the work of living American playwrights to the stage," said Second Stage alumnae and board member Tony Goldwyn. "Carole's passion for nurturing artists, for demanding that we push ourselves to our full potential and, more importantly, to realize the potential of the play makes her a visionary among artistic directors. The acquisition of the Helen Hayes Theatre ushers in a new era for Second Stage that will be a rare gift to Broadway audiences and artists alike."