NYU Reopens the Provincetown Playhouse

Following a two-year, $4.5 million preservation and renovation effort, NYU recently reopened the doors of the Provincetown Playhouse to the Greenwich Village community to celebrate the project’s completion.

The Playhouse opened in 1918 and was the home of the Provincetown Players—an amateur group of artists and writers who first collaborated in Provincetown, Mass., and later in Greenwich Village. The Players were the first theatre group to produce the plays of Eugene O’Neill, America’s only Nobel Prize-winning playwright.

The renovation project – which was tied to the larger building construction project of the adjacent Wilf Hall, a research center at NYU School of Law—involved preserving as much of the theatre’s original structural walls as possible, preserving the metal seat ends, and retaining the exact volume and footprint of the theatre. The architect, Morris Adjmi, also restored the Playhouse’s façade to look as it did during the 1940s, restoring the distinctive cast-stone occuli that flank the entrance doors and adding a replica of the 1940s signage above the doorway.

Today, the Playhouse is used as a teaching and performance space for Steinhardt’s programs in vocal performance and educational theatre. It is used year-round for a full schedule of staged readings, plays, musicals, and other performances.

At the Open House, community members were invited inside for tours of the space and refreshments while Steinhardt music students provided some beautiful piano music.

The project, which was featured in the New York Times, received the near-unanimous support of Manhattan’s Community Board 2, local elected officials, and received the endorsement of the Villager newspaper.

Click on the audio slideshow below to learn more about the Playhouse and its renovation. Pictures courtesy of Chianan Yan, NYU Archives, and NYU Office of Public Affairs.