The Flea Theater has made a name for itself with its daring and adventurous performances in an intimate setting, and now, the TriBeCa-based company is a step closer to expanding, but not very far from its current home. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
You wouldn't expect any less from a cutting-edge theater company: a symbolic wall knocked down to kick off construction of a new space for the Flea Theater.
"The Flea Theater has always been groundbreaking, but today, we are actually going to break ground, finally, on our new home," said Sigourney Weaver, co-founder of The Flea Theater.
The Flea made its mark with the post-September 11th play "The Guys," which starred Weaver, months after the attacks.
The new home will be in a building the company bought four years ago on Thomas Street with a mix of public and private funding, three blocks from the space they currently rent on White Street. It will feature three theaters and an outdoor area.
An ongoing fundraising campaign helped raise nearly $17 million towards construction. The ultimate goal is $18.5 million.
"Really putting sort of an investment in off-off Broadway, which means there will be a permanent off-off Broadway Theater in Lower Manhattan," said Jim Simpson, artistic director of The Flea Theater.
"What I'm really looking forward to doing is handing this building over whenever, five, 10 years, to the next generation of off-off Broadway artists," said Carol Ostrow, producing director of The Flea Theater.
The Flea has also been a place for established actors to shine, like Peter Scolari of HBO's "Girls," currently on stage in Family Furniture written by A.R. Gurney.
"Jim and Carol and Sigourney and Beth have a place for these folks to count, to be meaningful, to perform live in New York City, the theater capital of the world ," Scolari said.
That's something you don't have to tell Sigourney Weaver and other actors who have been on stage at the Flea.
"We feed Broadway and the industry in so many ways with all of our young talent," Weaver said.
"There is nothing like the Flea, what this does for Lower Manhattan, what it does for young artists," said actor Jay O. Sanders.
Like Christine Lee, star of "Mary-Kate Olsen is in Love" and member of the Flea's resident acting company, The Bats.
"Being part of the off-off Broadway company allows you to experiment and broaden your horizon," Lee said.
The scheduled completion date for the performing arts space is in the fall of 2015.
For more information on the theater and their fundraising campaign, go to theflea.org.