New York Times: Art lights up New York’s dark theaters

By Colin Moynihan



Like many cultural organizations, the Irish Repertory Theater in Manhattan has streamed pandemic programming on its website.

But recently, the theater added a new sort of broadcast to its repertoire, setting up two 60-inch screens in windows that face the sidewalk, installing speakers on the building facade and airing a collection of films that show people reading poems in Ireland, London and New York.

In the past year, theaters and other performing arts institutions in New York have turned to creative means to bring works to the public, sometimes also injecting a bit of life into otherwise shuttered facades. Those arrangements continue, even as New York has announced that arts venues can reopen in April at one-third capacity, and some outdoor performances, like Shakespeare in the Park, are scheduled to resume.

Pop-up concerts have been arranged by the Kaufman Music Center on the Upper West Side, in a storefront north of Columbus Circle. At Playwrights Horizons in Midtown, the Mexican-American artist Ken Gonzales-Day is placing photographs of sculptures of human figures in display cases, encouraging viewers to reckon with definitions of beauty and race.

And last December in Downtown Brooklyn, behind glass, the Brooklyn Ballet staged nine 20-minute shows of select dances from its “Nutcracker.”

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