Historic Cherry Lane Theater Sold for $11 Million

The Cherry Lane Theater, the oldest repeatedly operating Off Broadway theater in New York City, has been offered to the Lucille Lortel Theater Foundation for $11 million, the theater introduced on Monday.

“It has been a great run,” Angelina Fiordellisi, the manager director of the theater, mentioned in a press release. “To stand on the stage where so many of our greatest artists, crews and theater providers have stood is to know what theater history feels like.”

The new proprietor would be the Lucille Lortel Theater Foundation, which is just a few blocks from the Cherry Lane Theater on Christopher Street and has managed the constructing for the previous decade. The sale consists of the 179-seat foremost stage and a 60-seat studio theater.

Fiordellisi, who has led the 97-year-old nonprofit theater since buying the constructing in 1996, will proceed to steer the nonprofit producing group Cherry Lane Alternative, which can have readings — and presumably productions — within the theater’s studio area.

She had beforehand introduced plans to promote the constructing, at 38 Commerce Street, in 2010, citing monetary struggles. At the time, she informed The New York Times that the theater was working at a deficit of $250,000, which she attributed to a steep drop in revenue from authorities and basis help, ticket gross sales and rental charges.

“It’s frightening to me, what’s happened to Off Broadway theater,” Fiordellisi informed The Times in 2010. “We have to adhere to the formula of having a film star in our productions to sell tickets because it’s so financially prohibitive. I don’t want to do theater like that.”

But eight months later, she reversed her determination due to a considerably decreased deficit, a brand new managing agent and the help of the theater’s neighbors. Cherry Lane Alternative, the resident theater firm Fiordellisi established in 1997, at the moment has a deficit of $100,000, a spokesman for the theater, Sam Rudy, mentioned.

The theater, a Greenwich Village establishment that has lengthy been a testing floor for new work by rising artists, reopened at full capability final month with Jacqueline Novak’s “Get on Your Knees,” a comedy that gives a private and mental historical past of oral intercourse. It is scheduled to run by way of July 31.

Under Fiordellisi, Cherry Lane has mentored writers together with Katori Hall, who gained this yr’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “The Hot Wing King”; Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu, whose play “Pass Over” will start previews on Broadway in August after being produced on the theater in 2016; and Jocelyn Bioh, whose “Merry Wives,” a recent tackle Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” is operating on the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Cherry Lane was began by a gaggle of artists who have been colleagues of Edna St. Vincent Millay and has showcased work by Samuel Beckett, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams. But regardless of its storied historical past, the theater had not staged a play in two years when Fiordellisi purchased it for $1.7 million in 1996 and renovated it for $three million.

Cherry Lane Alternative, the nonprofit producing group, mentioned it expects to renew a scaled-back model of its acclaimed Mentor Project, which pairs rising writers with established playwrights like Lynn Nottage, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Taylor Mac to develop and stage their work within the studio theater area. It will doubtless embrace one manufacturing per season as a substitute of the standard three.

George Forbes, the Lucille Lortel Theater Foundation’s govt director, mentioned the inspiration plans to announce new programming shortly.