Circle in the Square Theatre
|Circle in the Square Theatre|
|Address||235 West 50th St., New York, New York|
|Owned by||Circle in the Square|
The original Circle in the Square was founded by Theodore Mann, José Quintero, Jason Wingreen, Aileen Cramer and Emily Stevens in 1951 and was located at 5 Sheridan Square (a former nightclub) in Greenwich Village. The original Circle in the Square did not have a theater license, but Mann was able to get a cabaret license; the production staff and off duty actors served as waiters if anyone insisted on ordering food or drinks. Many of the theater personnel, both acting and technical, lived on the premises. Even classical performances took place here: Pianist Grete Sultan, who later became a well known interpreter of New Music and was John Cage's close friend, performed Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach here in January 1953. After directing several landmark productions at Circle in the Square, Jose Quintero left to work on other projects. His last production for Circle in the Square was Eugene O'Neill's "Desire Under The Elms."
In 1960 the company moved to the Circle in the Square Downtown, at 159 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village in a historic building built in 1917. Their first production in the new space was Thornton Wilder's "Our Town." Paul Libin joined Theodore Mann to run Circle in the Square in 1963 and they remained partners for the rest of Mann's life (Mann died on February 24, 2012). Their first production at Circle in the Square was "The Trojan Women."
Before it became the Circle in the Square Theatre the Circle in the Square's new home was first a movie house followed by the original Amato Opera House. It was built by and operated by Italian-Americans, which was typical of the South Village in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Many of these theaters in the South Village were, like the Circle in the Square, built or altered from other types of existing structures (in this case, a movie theater) both presaging the adaptive reuse movement of the late 20th century and illustrating the South Village's unique innovative contributions to the world of theater and architecture.
In 2004, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation fought plans by the owners of the building to demolish the theater. This was part of a larger initiative by the organization to document and preserve the entire South Village. However, the theatre was demolished and another building was erected in its place.
Designed by architect Alan Sayles, the present home of the company is one of two theatres in the Paramount Plaza office tower. Its much bigger sibling is the Gershwin Theatre. The theatre entrance lobbies are side by side but separated by a wall. The company retains the downtown premises, but rents them out.
The Gershwin and Circle in the Square were built in 1970 when the Uris Brothers tore down the Capitol Theatre to build the tower (with the Gershwin originally being called the Uris Theatre).
The building also houses the Circle in the Square Theatre School, the only accredited training conservatory associated with a Broadway theatre, which offers two two-year training programs, in acting and musical theatre.
In 2007 Applause Theater and Cinema Books published Theodore Mann's memoir of his life and times with Circle in the Square "Journeys In The Night: Creating a New American Theatre With Circle In The Square."
Notable productions 
- 1952: Yerma; Summer and Smoke
- 1966: Eh?
- 1972: Mourning Becomes Electra
- 1973: Uncle Vanya; The Iceman Cometh; The Waltz of the Toreadors
- 1974: The National Health
- 1975: Death of a Salesman; Ah, Wilderness!; The Glass Menagerie
- 1976: Pal Joey; The Night of the Iguana
- 1977: Tartuffe
- 1980: Major Barbara; The Man Who Came to Dinner
- 1984: Awake and Sing; Design for Living
- 1985: Arms and the Man
- 1987: Coastal Disturbances; Oil City Symphony
- 1988: A Streetcar Named Desire
- 1989: Sweeney Todd
- 1992: Anna Karenina; Salome
- 1995: The Rose Tattoo
- 2000: The Rocky Horror Show; True West
- 2002: Metamorphoses
- 2003: Life (x) 3
- 2005: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
- 2008: Glory Days (musical)
- 2009: The Norman Conquests
- 2010: The Miracle Worker (March 3 to April 4);
- 2010: Lombardi (October 21 to May 22, 2011)
- 2011: Godspell (November 7 to June 24, 2012)
- - Retrieved October 19, 2011
- The Broadway League. "Mourning Becomes Electra". Internet Broadway Database
- "The Miracle Worker to close on Braodway on April 4". BroadwayWorld
- Mann, Theodroe Journeys In The Night, New York:Applause Theater & Cinema Books, 2007
- Circle in the Square - official website
- Circle in the Square papers, 1906-2004 held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- Circle in the Square Theatre at the Internet Broadway Database
- Profile of the Circle in the Square Theatre (with seating chart) at NY Tix.com
- Circle in the Square Photographs at Special Collections Dept., University Library, University of California, Davis