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Theatre 80 St Marks

Theatre 80 1 Theaters East Village

Theatre 80 is chock full of history. According to the affable owner, Lorcan Otway, Frank Sinatra once performed on their stage. Stars such as Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson, Jane Russell, Myrna Loy, Kitty Carlisle, and Dom DeLuise all visited this spot, pressing their hands into cement to decorate the sidewalk that lines the building.

Most amazing was learning the history of Theatre 80 itself, designed and created by Lorcan’s father, Howard Otway. Howard had come from a family involved in theatre since the seventeenth century, and after running away to become a coal miner, returned to the world of theatre at fifteen to become an actor and published writer. During his thirty years of traveling and performing on various stages, Howard would always take notes on how the stages themselves specifically affected the performances. In 1964, Howard was able to receive a loan from Walter Scheib, who had run the space since its time as an illegal nightclub during the Prohibition Era. With the success of the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in 1967, Howard was able to pay off the loan and ensure that 80 St. Marks Place could grow to be what it is today.

Theatre 80 is part of a shrinking class of medium sized, off-Broadway theatres, and is truly one-of-a kind. Lorcan informed us that Howard’s main influences were Roman amphitheaters and German opera houses. He designed the theatre such that everyone is be able to see the entire performance, no matter where they were sitting. For this reason, the stage is enormous, taking up almost fifty percent of the room, and is also on a lower level than most other stages. The acoustics are also amazing, Lorcan telling us that a whisper on stage can be heard from the back row!

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Theatre 80 1 Theaters East Village
Theatre 80 2 Theaters East Village
Theatre 80 3 Theaters East Village

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Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor

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