It was a longtime coming for Carole Rothman—a decade in fact—but the artistic director of Second Stage Theater was finally able to officially unveil the organization’s new Broadway home, The Helen Hayes Theater, to industry and press. In the video above, watch Rothman and the cast of Lobby Hero, which will begin performances on the newly refurbished stage March 1, light up the 44th Street theatre.
To officially commemorate the opening, Second Stage was presented with an proclamation from Mayor de Blasio declaring February 5, 2018, “Second Stage on Broadway Day.”
Designed by Tony winner David Rockwell, the landmarked, newly renovated theatre is now the first Broadway house dedicated exclusively to living American playwrights. As previously announced, 2ST has commissioned a diverse group of playwrights, including Young Jean Lee, Lisa Kron, Dominique Morisseau, and Paula Vogel, to develop nine brand new works, with plans to produce each one on Broadway.
“We’ve been waiting for this for such a long time and it’s a thrill,” Rothman told Playbill. “Everybody thought we were going to be delayed but we’ve gone on as scheduled.
“And I was really happy to see so many people here [at the unveiling]…The combination of people coming here to support this theatre feels so good. You need to have fierce supporters to do what you want to do.”
On hand for the February 5 ceremony was the cast and creative team of the upcoming Broadway production of Lobby Hero including Michael Cera, Chris Evans, Brian Tyree Henry, Bel Powley, playwright Kenneth Lonergan, and director Trip Cullman.
Second Stage artistic alumni who came to celebrate included Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Paula Vogel, Kenny Leon, Tony Shalhoub, Judith Light, Billy Porter, Sherie Rene Scott, Michael Greif, Derrick Baskin, Adam Kantor, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Anita Gillette, and Tom Kitt, among others.
Other guests and speakers included Second Stage Board Members Tony Goldwyn, Lynn Nottage, and Brooke Shields; Speaker of the NYC Council Corey Johnson; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl; and NYC City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.