It’s Now the 20th and Final Season of ‘Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’ at Ludlow and Broome, Thanks to Essex Crossing Development
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Shakespeare in the Parking Lot has been an offbeat annual arts tradition since 1995. For twenty consecutive summers, the Municipal Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets transformed into an open-air theater, complete with putrid smells and the soothing sounds of late-night traffic. The twentieth season of programming kicks off July 10 with a production of Twelfth Night, presented by longtime collaborators the Drilling Company.
Yet, the two-decade anniversary milestone is bittersweet, for the end of the road is nigh. As with stalwarts Olympic Diner and Jade Fountain across the street, Shakespeare in the Parking Lot was also gobbled up by the Essex Crossing mega-development. And it’s happening much quicker than previously anticipated. The Drilling Company confirmed to us via email that summer 2014 is in fact the final season of free plays at this “venue.” Not all hope is lost, though. Apparently the troupe is “exploring other ways” to keep the tradition alive on the Lower a East Side.
The news obviously isn’t surprising. We knew that the troupe would need to find a new home ever since Essex Crossing renderings were first released. This plot, after all, is earmarked as home to the New York annex of the Andy Warhol Museum.
But the writing was already on the walls last summer when the DOT, seemingly out of the blue, began charging rental fees to use the one-acre Municipal Lot.
Everything is ending.
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot began in 1995 by Expanded Arts under the artistic direction of Jennifer Spahr. Upon her retirement five years later, the torch was passed to an organization called the Ludlow Ten. By 2001 The Drilling Company was on board as co-producer and would take sole ownership of the tradition in 2005.
Schedule for Shakespeare in the Parking Lot 2014:
Twelfth Night: July 10 – July 26
Othello: July 31 – August 16