History of Theater Ten Ten
Founded in 1955, Theater Ten Ten, New York City's longest continuously operating Equity Off-Off Broadway Theater, is dedicated to reaching out to the community, and producing quality theater at affordable prices, utilizing established professionals and fostering young artists as they emerge into the theatrical mainstream. Under the artistic leadership of Producing Artistic Director Judith Jarosz, Theater Ten Ten produces Equity runs of mainstage shows each year, plus various special performances and workshops, including readings of masterworks, new plays and musicals, a children's series, and a Cabaret Concert Series.
Theater Ten Ten's supporters have included theatrical luminaries Vincent Sardi and Mary Martin, writer Isaac Asimov, philanthropist Clementine Tangeman and Mrs. Bert Lahr. Productions have ranged from the contemporary to the classical, embracing comedy, drama, musical comedy and light opera, while bringing to the stage a variety of authors and composers, from Wilde, Shakespeare and Shaw to Miller, Mamet, Stoppard, Coward, Kaufman, Bernstein and Schwartz. Notable past productions include Little Mary Sunshine, (1969, Show Business excellence in Off Broadway Theatre Award), Bleacher Bums, (1985, written by Tony award winner Joe Montegno, who oversaw this Ten Ten revival), The Beggar's Opera (1990, featuring the world premiere of Jonathan Dobin's period arrangements and orchestrations), the New York premiere of Cowardy Custard, (1991, a collection of Noel Coward's best), From Berlin to Broadway, the Music of Kurt Weill(2000, first NYC revival) and The Singapore Mikado (2006, Innovative Theater Award Winner).
Theater Ten Ten has had a long association with William Shakespeare and Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan. Past G&S productions include HMS Pinafore (1985), Iolanthe (1988), The Singapore Mikado (1994), and The Nova Scotia Pirates of Penzance (1986 and 1995). In 1996 Theater Ten Ten produced W.S. Gilbert's rare gem of a comedy, Engaged. In 1997, Ten Ten mounted the first NYC revival of George S. Kaufman's adaptation of HMS Pinafore, Hollywood Pinafore, which garnered critical and audience acclaim and resulted in the play being published for the first time by Dramatist Play Services, with a listing of the 1945 Broadway & the Theater Ten Ten cast, staff, and crew.
In 1993, Ten Ten came under the artistic leadership of Lynn Marie Macy and Judith Jarosz, who are credited with restoring financial health and fiscal responsibility after a period of troubled finances.In 1997, Macy stepped down as Co-Artistic Director but remains the company's playwright-in- residence. Ten Ten's world premiere of Macy's Innocent Diversions, A Christmas Entertainment with Jane Austin and Friends led to its production Off Broadway at the Trilogy Theatre. Jarosz then teamed with David Fuller and together they continued to mount high caliber productions, including exciting interpretations of Shakespeare's Hamlet (1997) and King Lear (1998), both directed by Rod McLucas, classic comedy like The Importance of Being Earnest (1998), innovative approaches to "classic" musicals (Godspell 1998), and exciting world premieres (Duellists: the Forgotten Champions, an evening of stage combat from Medieval times to the mid-Twentieth Century). In the spring of 1999, Ten Ten produced the first NYC revival of Park Avenue, a musical written by George S. Kaufman and Nunnally Johnson, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and music by Arthur Schwartz.
Now under Jarosz singular leadership, in the 1999-2000 season, Ten Ten produced Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, Behind the Mask by Ricki G. Ravitts, a world premiere featuring exciting swordplay, From Berlin to Broadway, the Music of Kurt Weill (first NYC revival, directed and choreographed by Hal Simons) which won an Off Off Broadway Review (OOBR) award and then was transferred for an extended run Off Broadway.
In 2000-2001, Ten Ten produced Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, directed by Tom Rowan, and an original revue, An Evening with Gilbert and Sullivan, conceived, adapted and directed by Jarosz, which also toured to the Catskill Mountain Foundation in Hunter, NY. The 2001-2002 Season included acclaimed productions of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, directed by Tom Rowan, and another original revue, Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life..., a compilation of songs from operettas, conceived by Judith Jarosz and created by Jarosz and music director Allan Greene, which traveled to the Catskill Mountain Foundation in July, 2002.
The 2002-2003 mainstage season included The Two Gentlemen of Verona, directed by Tom Rowan and The Nova Scotia Pirates of Penzance adapted from the Gilbert & Sullivan and directed by David Fuller. In 2003-2004 the mainstage productions were Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, directed by Lynn Marie Macy and Iolanthe... unplugged, adapted from the Gilbert & Sullivan and directed by Judith Jarosz, the latter which received an OOBR award for overall excellence and toured to the Catskill Mountain Foundation.
The 2004-2005 season included Shaw's The Apple Cart, directed by David Scott and an original revue of British music hall entitled A Little of What you Fancy, directed by Shaw Project Founding Artistic Director David Seatter, which received an Innovative Theater Award nomination for Outstanding Musical and which also toured to the Catskills. In 2005, Theater Ten Ten was also voted an Outstanding Theater Organization by The New York Theatre Experience (nytheatre.com).
In 2005-2006 the initial mainstage production was Tergenev's A Month in the Country, directed by David Scott, followed by Kiss and Cry, a new play written by Tom Rowan and directed by Kevin Newbury, which garnered an Innovative Theater Award Nomination AND a National GLADD nomination, and The Singapore Mikado, adapted from the Gilbert & Sullivan by Charles Berigan and David Fuller and directed Fuller, which received five Innovative Theater Award Nominations including Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Ensemble and won one Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor. Special events abounded and included Addie Brownlee, Cristiane Young and David Tillistrand in concert, children's shows, and staged readings of rarely done pieces by The Shaw Project,The Walt Whitman project, and a fifties style 50th ANNIVERSARY GALA.
During the 2006-2007 mainstage season Theater Ten Ten's first production was Northanger Abbey, A Romantic Gothic Comedy, adapted from Jane Austen and Ann Radcliffe by Lynn Marie Macy and directed by David Scott. This highly successful swashbuckling comedy-romance was followed in the winter by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Judith Jarosz in a wonderfully whimsical production that featured original music by Jason Wynn. In the spring, David Fuller directed the Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill musical Happy End, which was under the music direction of Michael Harren and which garnered an Innovative Theater Award nomination for Outstanding Musical. Happy End was then performed to a sold out house in Hunter, New York courtesy of the Catskill Mountain Foundation.
The 2007-2008 mainstage season featured Innocent Diversions, A Christmas Entertainment with Jane Austen and Friends written and directed by Lynn Marie Macy, (and reviewed favorably by the New York Times!) The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, directed by Judith Jarosz, and Rogers and Hammerstein's A Grand Night for Singing, directed by David Fuller. (This toured to the Catskills). Special events included the Cabaret "The Frog that hopped Away, and Other Hammy Songs," with Seth Bisen-Hersh, a Holiday concert with RPM, and an Irish Music concert with Joe Travers and Adam Alexander, Children's programming with Sammie & Tudies Imagination Playhouse, and poetry and prose readings with The Walt Whitman Project.
The 2008-2009 mainstage season included The Tempest a Romantic Comedy by William Shakespeare, directed by Judith Jarosz, The Philanderer, A Socially Aware Comedy by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Leah Bonvissuto, and The 103rd Annual Performance of Ruddigore, or the Witch's Curse Presented by Murgatroyd's Hospital for Mental Rehabilitation, Ruddy Gore, Maine" which was a Nominee for 2009 Innovative Theater Award "Outstanding Production of a Musical" Ruddigore was nominated for Outstanding Musical. Holiday, Cabaret, Folk Rock, and Early Medieval music were all featured in our concert series this year. Vocal group RPM delighted a packed sanctuary with songs of all the winter holiday in "Oh, What Fun It Is to Sing" "Seth Sings Bisen-Hersh" was an evening of Cabaret hits from the artist, "Joe Travers in Concert" featured tunes from this popular modern folk artist. And the award winning early music duo "Asteria" presented sublime medieval love songs. The Walt Whitman Project presented readings and music for the 190th Birthday of Walt Whitman, and a special grant allowed us to commission our own Music Minister, Paul Vasile to compose a world premiere piece which he played on the organ during the presentation. A special Gala Benefit performance of "La Vie en Rose" with Soprano Doreen Dixson, featured classical, Broadway, modern, and art songs. Our Children's Series continued for the seventh year in a row with Sammie & Tudie's Imagination Playhouse. These interactive shows allow the children to participate in the show! Sammie & Tudie's new book, "Be a Thinker, Not a Stinker!" was just published and was also a big hit with audiences. They were a Family TIME OUT pick of the week. Our Summer Salon Series included Sammie and Tudie's imagination Playhouse a reading of a new musical about Body Image called More to Love and a new adaptation of Schiller's Intrigue and Love by Lynn Marie Macy.
The 2009-2010 mainstage season included Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw and directed by Leah Bonvissuto. This is a delightful comedy filled with Shaw's usual razor sharp wit, and an exuberant take on love and war, The Cradle Will Rock by Marc Blitzstein, directed by David Fuller, a fierce and riveting musical comedy about the fight of the everyman against the power of corruption, and Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, one of the Bard's most beloved comedies! A riotous romp of love and mistaken identity. Twelfth Night toured to the Catskills.
Special events included more Cabaret, Concerts, Children's programming, and Poetry and Prose readings. For the second year in a row The Learn Project of the City of New York sponsored high school interns for The Fordham School for the Arts to work and learn with Artistic Director Judith Jarosz. The Fordham School molded its entire drama curriculum for the year around the theater's season of mainstage productions, and free tickets, as well as talk backs with cast and crew were given to groups of students.
On April 21, 2010 Theater Ten Ten celebrated 55 years of Professional Equity Theater. In January 2010, the ministry council of the Park Avenue Christian Church, which had been the theater's lifelong sponsor, announced that they were re-evaluating how all of the programs within its building connect with the mission and vision of the church, as well as plans for building use itself. As part of that effort the then Theater Ten Ten dissolved in the summer of 2010. The theater staff, board, and patrons have continued presenting quality professional theater at Theater2020.
"We must become the change we want to see"
Theater Ten Ten was proud to have nurturing relationships with many organizations including, but not limited to, The Catskill Mountain Foundation, The Walt Whitman Project, The Jean Cocteau Repertory, The Shaw Project, Rutgers University, Hunter College, Fordham High School for the Arts, City Lights Youth Theater, New York University of English and Business, The Jane Austen Society, The English Speaking Union, The New Jersey Shakespeare Company, The Educational Alliance, The International Center, The Institute for International Education, and over 15 Senior related institutes and services.