I learned today that the Actor’s Playhouse, the 170-seat theatre that sits opposite the former location of the legendary and long-defunct Circle Repertory Company, is going the way of its old across-the-street neighbor. The 62-year-old West Village theatre is closing its doors permanently, according to its operator, Peter Berger. The rent has become too expensive, and there is speculation that the owner of the property, Duell Management, is in negotiations to “to turn it into something other than a theater.”
This is very sad, considering the rich history of the Actor’s Playhouse. The theatre has been home to many fine and popular productions over the decades, including John Van Druten’s play, I Am A Camera (1956), which served as the inspiration for the musical Cabaret, Fortune and Men’s Eyes (in both 1967 and 1987), Last Summer at Bluefish Cove (1980), the Craig Lucas-conceived Stephen Sondheim revue, Marry Me a Little (1981), Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy (1982) and Safe Sex (1991), Howard Crabtree’s Whoop-De-Doo (1993), and Naked Boys Singing! (1999). Last summer, the theatre served as a FringeNYC venue, and was home to Gutenberg! The Musical! just earlier this year.
And so it goes that another long-standing contributor to the cultural and artistic landscape of Greenwich Village (and thus, New York City) fades into history.