For Immediate Release: September 28, 2017
GRAND OPENING OF THE FLEA THEATER
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Opening Performances
Thursday, September 28, 2017
On Thursday, September 28, 2017, The Flea Theater, the 21 year old off-off-Broadway theater known for “raising a joyful hell in a small space”, joyfully unveiled its new home at 20 Thomas Street. The new performing arts center was designed by ARO, Architectural Research Office and built by Westerman Construction Company.
The Flea raised close to $21 million to date for the project; with $5 million in public support from the City, and another $4.5 million from state and federal sources. The remainder was raised from private sources, including The Flea’s Board and many generous supporters.
Activities for the Grand Opening began at 10:00 a.m. with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, featuring Flea founders, Sigourney Weaver and Jim Simpson. Also speaking were Comptroller Scott Stringer, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl, Majority Leader of the City Council James G. Van Bramer and First District City Council Member Margaret Chin, all of whom were instrumental in getting this tiny off-off-Broadway theater a permanent home. Also taking part in the official ceremony were Flea Board Chair Linda Schupack and The Flea’s Artistic and Producing Directors, Niegel Smith and Carol Ostrow.
“Our city has always been a center for theater and performing arts, providing a space for artists to connect with audiences large and small and tell stories that capture the complexity of human experience,” said NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “The Flea Theater is a tremendous source of new energy and fresh perspectives for New York’s theater community, and its new home embodies the city’s values of diverse forms of expression and accessible spaces to cultivate the next generation of talent. Congratulations to Carol Ostrow, Niegel Smith, and the Flea’s board of directors on this major achievement.
Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said: “For two decades, The Flea Theater has been a gem of New York City. With a wide range of performances that serve incredibly diverse audiences, The Flea helps expand access to the arts across the city. I’m incredibly proud to help launch this Grand Opening – and even prouder of this new, permanent home.”
Says Ostrow, “The Flea has been working diligently for the past seven years to secure and build a permanent home for our company of artists. Without the support of our city, state and yes even our federal government, as well as the generous contributions of many individuals; this dream would not have been possible.”
The new Flea features three distinctive and singularly named theaters: The Sam, a large black box named for legendary deal maker Sam Cohn; The Pete, an intimate one-of-a-kind indoor/outdoor performance space named for seminal and late playwright A.R. Gurney; and The Siggy, a below-ground theater that uses arches dating back to the building’s origins in the 1700’s, named for Flea founder and continuing inspiration Sigourney Weaver. The combination of three unique theatrical spaces will mean additional programming opportunities and the ability to welcome itinerate theater, dance and music companies as well as community groups into The Flea. This new initiative, called Anchor Partners @ The Flea, will see eleven such companies in residence during the upcoming season, including New Georges, New York Deaf Theater, LAVA, The Bang Group, EPIC Players and ArTEK.
The celebration continued with tours of the new space and breakfast bites until noon.
This evening, all three theaters in The Flea’s new home will be in action. Starting at 5:30 in The Pete, will be a new performance called Flea Fridays. This interactive monthly happy hour cabaret series will feature new visions, solo performance and alternative performance artists, all exploring a single question. For our inaugural Flea Friday, we tackle, “What does HOME mean to you?”
Following at 7:00 p.m. in The Sam will be a preview performance of NSangou Njikam’s Syncing Ink, directed by Niegel Smith. This coming of age hip hop musical explores the roots of hip hop and what it really takes to freestyle. And at 7:30 in The Siggy will be the New York Time’s Critic’s Pick Inanimate, a play about a girl, a guy and a Dairy Queen sign.
Tickets to the evening’s portion may be purchased at www.theflea.org or by calling Charlie Madison at 212-226-0051, ext. 110.