Month: November 2014

Announcing the Off-Broadway Oral History Project

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project, a new endeavor to capture the oral history of the New York Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theatre movement through the first-hand accounts of the pioneers who created it.

We hope this project will fill a gap in theater scholarship about an innovative period in post WWII America by establishing a video archive featuring the artists who created Off-Broadway. In their own words, actors, directors, designers, producer, playwrights and theatre founders share their personal accounts of how Off-Broadway emerged.

Under the leadership of project director Sally Plass, and producer Casey Childs, we have already conducted close to 50 hours of interviews with 20 Off-Broadway leaders since June 2014. Among those who have contributed first-hand accounts to date:

JOANNE AKALAITIS – Founder of Mabou Mines

B.H. BARRY – Fight Director

SHAMI CHAIKIN –co-founder of The Open Theatre, sister of Joseph Chaikin

TISA CHANG – Founder of the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre

FYVUSH FINKEL – Actor and comedian from the Second Avenue Yiddish theaters and vaudeville

RICHARD FOREMAN – Playwright, director and founder of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater

ARTHUR FRENCH – Actor with the early Negro Ensemble Company

TERESE HAYDEN – Founder of the Equity Library Theater and founder of The Players’ Guide

ROBERT KALFIN – Founder of the Chelsea Theater Center

WOODIE KING, JR. – Founder of the New Federal Theater

JUDITH MALINA – Actress and co-founder of the Living Theater

PETER MALONEY – Actor, director, playwright with the Open Theatre, the Atlantic and Lincoln Center Theatre

ROBERT MOSS – Founder of Playwrights Horizons

ELIZABETH WILSON – Actress with the Public Theater and Circle in the Square Theatre

“I have been eager to launch this project for years. There are many opportunities for us to learn about the Off-Broadway movement in books and other print, but very few opportunities to hear the creators of Off-Broadway speak for themselves.”

—Casey Childs, Founder & Executive Producer of Primary Stages and Producer of the Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project

Within the next three years,we hope to capture interviews with dozens of important figures in the Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway and alternative theater movements in New York City, focusing on artists from both non-profit companies as well as notable commercial productions.We hope to eventually partner on the Primary Stages OBOH with a major university, library or foundation with the intention to create a website so these interviews can be accessed by future generation of audiences, artists and scholars. In the tradition of most oral history projects, these interviews will receive little editing. The interviews will run between two and three hours and are the subjects’ opportunity to discuss their theatre, their art and themselves in their own words.


For additional information or to support the Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project, please email:

30th Anniversary Gala

Primary Stages held its 30th Anniversary Gala on November 3, 2014.