The New Flea Theater Space Opens September 28

by Michael Eddy
Rendering of the new Flea Theater. Courtesy of Architectural Research Office
Rendering of the new Flea Theater. Courtesy of Architectural Research Office

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, The Flea Theater, the 21-year-old off-off-Broadway theater known for “raising a joyful hell in a small space”, will unveil its new home at 20 Thomas Street. The new performing arts center was designed by ARO, Architectural Research Office and built by Westerman Construction Company, and features three small theaters under one roof, each space with a unique design and multiple uses.

Activities will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, featuring Flea founders, Sigourney Weaver and Jim Simpson. Also speaking will be government officials including Comptroller Scott Stringer, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl, Majority Leader of the City Council James G. Van Bramer and First District City Council Member Margaret Chin, all of whom were instrumental in getting this tiny off-off-Broadway theater a permanent home. Also taking part in the official ceremony will be Flea Board Chair Linda Schupack and The Flea’s Artistic and Producing Directors, Niegel Smith and Carol Ostrow.

“The Flea has been working diligently for the past seven years to secure and build a permanent home for our company of artists,” says Ostrow. “Without the support of our city, state and yes even our federal government, as well as the generous contributions of many individuals, this dream would not have been possible.”

The morning ceremony is free of charge and the day’s celebration will continue with tours of the new space and brunch until noon.

That evening, all three theaters in The Flea’s new home will be in action. Starting at 5:30 in The Pete, the indoor/outdoor performance space named for the late seminal playwright, A.R. “Pete” Gurney, will be a new performance called Flea Fridays. This interactive monthly happy hour cabaret series will feature new visions, solo performance and alternative performance artists, all exploring a single question. For our inaugural Flea Friday, we tackle, “What does HOME mean to you?”

Following at 7:00 p.m. in The Sam, The Flea’s flexible black box theater named for legendary agent Sam Cohn, will be a preview performance of NSangou Njikam’s Syncing Ink, directed by Niegel Smith. This coming of age hip hop musical explores the roots of hip hop and what it really takes to freestyle. And at 7:30 in The Siggy, The Flea’s basement theater named for Sigourney Weaver, will be the New York Time’s Critic’s Pick Inanimate, a play about a girl, a guy and a Dairy Queen sign.

Further information from The Flea Theater: www.theflea.org