Ensemble Studio Theatre New York

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Ensemble Studio Theatre – Off off-Broadway

Instead of a Broadway show consider going to an off off-Broadway show, or three (or four); better value, same caliber of acting while supporting emerging playwrights.

All Broadway actors and writers have taken this route and the best place to watch their stars rise is at Ensemble Studio Theatre, in business since the early 70s. In fact, almost nothing has changed since that time — physically, it is a time capsule worth visiting for that reason alone. It’s very funky. I know this because I was one of its founding members and even recently designed the lighting for 5 shows.

It’s way out in Hell’s Kitchen on west 52nd Street just off 11th Avenue. It’s a schlepp from the subways that run on Eighth Avenue, but the walk will take you through part of Hell’s Kitchen, now gentrified — but only recently — so you’ll get a whiff of the old days. In the ’70s things were rough, yet the risks were worth the rewards.

There are now oodles of highbrow restaurants but one remains from the old days — Sonny’s Grocery, on 10th Avenue, just south of 52nd Street, east side. There you can still get an egg salad sandwich and a can of beer in a paper bag, find a stoop, sit and eat. I go in there to pay my respects to old New York. You should too.

A lot goes on at EST; check the website to discover current offerings. Look for the annual Marathon of One Act Plays.

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549 W 52nd, New York

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)