Spotlight: NY Classical Theater

October’s New York Monthly Meeting’s Spotlight featured New York Classical Theater, a nonprofit with a mission to create and reinvigorate audiences by presenting free productions of popular classics and forgotten masterpieces in public spaces throughout New York City. Bob Staffaroni ’73, Board Chair, and Stephen Burdman, Artistic Director, led the presentation.

Since 2000, NY Classical has staged more than 700 performances, welcoming over 250,000 audience members into the worlds of Shakespeare, Molière, Dickens, Shaw, Wilde and others in urban settings that have included Central Park, Carl Schurz Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, The Battery/Castle Clinton National Monument and Brookfield Place.  By bringing energetic and relatable adaptations of dramatic literature to the City’s “backyards”, NY Classical seeks to create a truly integrated audience community of neighbors and friends. Its vision is for everyone—regardless of social, economic, educational or ethnic background or age—to enjoy professional theatre together. By presenting all of its performances with highly skilled professional actors, at no cost to the audience, NY Classical attracts people from every demographic in the metropolitan area. Surveys have indicated that nearly 30% of its audiences live at or below the New York City poverty line, and more than 25% attend with children in Grades K through 12.

Romeo & Juliet | Carl Schurz Park | Ian Antal as Romeo; Vivia Font as Benvolio


In addition to full staging of plays, NY Classical also has a Diversifying the Classics program, which offers, free of charge to the audience, fully-rehearsed readings of previously under-produced English-language translations and unpublished adaptations from classical texts. The aim of this program is to increase audience exposure to world theatre treasures and connect with cultural immigrant communities.

Twelfth Night | Castle Clinton National Monument/The Battery | Chantal Jean-Pierre as Olivia; Ben Charles as Sebastian


Here is a message from Bob:

I am very grateful to YANA for inviting us to make a presentation to its members about NY Classical. We appreciate the suggestions we received at the presentation and would be happy to hear further thoughts about how we might enhance our growth and visibility. All are welcome to attend one of our performances.



NY Classical’s website

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