Live Performance in a Once-dead Place

  • Arts & Culture
  • 2016

A decade and a half after the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center, the site had rebounded remarkably. Dramatic new office towers had occupants, a much-improved transportation hub was operating, an affecting museum was in place, and the streetscape of the neighborhood was more efficient and attractive than ever before. Only one piece was still missing:  a proposed performing-arts center. A major theater had been included in the 2003 master plan for bringing the dead neighborhood back to life, but that got delayed amidst the many other demands of the massive project.

Then in 2016, businessman Ronald Perelman ponied up $75 million to jumpstart the project. Soon plans were in place for a technologically advanced structure that could seat an audience of 1,200—or be easily subdivided into three smaller theaters. Music, dance, drama, and an annual film festival will animate the space throughout the year. Perelman, who is known as a hands-on, high-energy donor, was reported at the time of his donation to be taking a particular interest in making sure the theater has advanced media capabilities so its performances can be shared around the world via Internet streaming.