Late last year Cherry Lane Theatre director Angelina Fiordellisi had us really worried when she announced plans to sell one of Downtown's most scenic and largest non-commercial theaters, but she's decided not to sell. In a press release yesterday she explained that an overwhelming show of support, and some serious belt-tightening, will enable the theater to pay off its quarter-million dollar deficit by January 2012.
In a statement regarding the 38 Commerce Street two-theater performance venue's future, Fiordellisi said:
I received hundreds of phone calls and emails and visits from people who were concerned to hear that I was leaving and that the theater was for sale. And when those people started referring rentals to us, I was able to look ahead and feel more secure about the theater's financial future. It made me feel like I was doing something essential in the community and that I belong here.
Reductions in staff and expenses, and outsourcing management of the venue to the Lucille Lortel Theatre
Foundation (of the same-named Christopher Street theater), has allowed Cherry Lane to streamline its operations. That, matched with a steady number of rentals—including, in October, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's guaranteed seat-filler Asuncion, written by and starring Jesse Eisenberg—will enable the resident company to mount its first production since last summer's Nunsense, the premiere of One Night, a commissioned play by Pulitzer-winner Charles Fuller, next year. This season marks the Cherry Lane's 86th, making it by far the city's longest-running Off Broadway theater.