The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

A History of the Off-Center Oral History Website

By Sally Plass, Director of Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project
January 2017

   

In 2014, I found my schedule suddenly open for magical prospects.

I had been associated with Primary Stages from almost the beginning, since 1986, when they took over the small theaters at 45th Street near 9th Avenue, formerly occupied by the No Smoking Playhouse. I had the pleasure of being Casey Childs' stage manager, set designer, and props designer over the years and was always looking for yet another opportunity to work together.

Casey said he had a number of projects on his wish list, and, when I saw "create a recorded archive of Off-Broadway," I jumped on it. In my college days, theatre history ended with Arthur Miller. Now was the opportunity to capture the stories of those who had the drive, the talent, and the vision to birth such an important movement. We, along with a dedicated group of interns, have been recording about 45 interviews a year for the last two years.

I arrived in New York in the late sixties, totally unprepared for the actual theatre scene I would be entering. Casey and Primary Stages are a part of this history, and to learn from him as well as from those we interview is an unbelievably rich experience.

Through this ever-growing archive, everyone can now share this extraordinary treasure.