N.Y.U. Plan Threatens Historic Theater Associated with O'Neill

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New York University’s proposal to demolish the historic Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village as part of its planned expansion over the next 25 years is meeting resistance from community leaders and scholars who say the building, where Eugene O’Neill’s plays were first produced, is an important site in American theater history.

“It is a beloved piece of our city’s history and, I would argue, our country’s history,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Its demolition, he added, “is going to create an enormous rift between the university and the surrounding community, preservationists, theater lovers, that I’m not sure how easy it will ever be to repair.”

But the design for the proposed building, which would be used by N.Y.U.’s School of Law and include a new theater, is actually more consistent with how the playhouse originally looked before renovations, a university official and the architect for the project both said on Tuesday. They stressed that the demolition of the theater, at 133-139 Macdougal Street, was only a proposal and that a dialogue with the community would continue.

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