At this board, we talk a lot about theatre. That could be expected, given that our name is literally The Theatrical Board. However, there is one glaring thing we haven’t mentioned: the locations themselves. Now, I’m not personally a Broadway baby myself. I grew up on the West Coast and saw shows in these massive, sprawling theatres. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I first made it to New York and realized how small and intimate those theatres are in comparison. I’ve since been to the city six times and had 45 different theatrical experiences in 26 different theatres.
Now, I’m by no means an expert, nor am I claiming to be, but I’ve had a lot of different experiences! I’ve tripped down the stairs that put the “below” in 54 Below, and I've ran from the mezz and through the lobby at the August Wilson because if I didn’t get to the bathroom immediately, we were all going to have a bad time. I’ve also been to Radio City Musical Hall, an expansive and historic location dedicated to performance, and to Connelly Theatre, a 150 seat theatre situated above a bowling alley, of all things. So in honor of all of that, I thought I would tell you some of my favorite theaters in New York City!
The Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center For Theatre
Better known as Roundabout Underground, the Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre is a little gem of an Off-Broadway theatre hidden underground about a block away from Times Square. I’ve only been to the Black Box twice, but it is one of my favorite places in all of New York City. I love it. I love how small and intimate it is. I love that it’s underground and that you have to have an elevator attendant take you back upstairs if you want to check your phone at intermission, because there’s no service down there. I love how completely immersive it is. I love this theatre so much.
The Public Theater
Like the black box, I’ve been to the Public twice, though only to the theatre once. The other time I went to Joe’s Pub for a concert a friend of mine was doing. The Public is unique in that of all the theatres in New York, it’s the one I have cried the most in. (Miss You Like Hell. I can’t say enough good things about it.) It’s another intimate Off-Broadway theatre, and while larger than the Black Box, it’s still small enough that it feels like there’s not a bad seat in the house.
The Lyceum Theatre
This is the only Broadway theatre that I’m going to talk about. I really, really love the Lyceum. It’s got something that I haven’t noticed in many other theatres that I appreciate- when you first walk in, it puts you right into a symmetrical lobby. Many Broadway theatres don’t have much of a lobby to go through or they put you at an odd angle to the theatre itself. Not so at the Lyceum, whose lobby also puts you at the center of the back of the orchestra. The layout is easy for me to understand and I’ve never felt lost inside the theatre, which is a sensation I can get easily.
The Connelly Theater
Now this is the last theatre I’m going to mention. The only reason the Connelly Theatre, a snug little place in the East Village, isn’t ranked higher is because I did experience non-consensual weiner gazing at this theatre. Now, the bathrooms here are agender, which is really cool! I am not against agender bathrooms. What I am against is the person who was using a stall and didn’t lock it so I accidentally opened it while they were using it. An uncomfortable experience all around. But besides that unfortunate moment, I loved my time at the Connelly. It didn’t hurt, of course, that I was there to see The Lucky Ones and Shaun and Abigail Bengson were such gracious hosts that I felt right at home, but it was overall a place that I hope to see another show. It was sweet, intimate, and I felt right at home.
(Photo provided by Roundabout Theatre.)