The Gene Frankel Theatre is one of most historic Off-Off-Broadway theaters in New York and we need your support.
We just went through another uncomfortable and HOT summer with our actors and audience roasting. If you know this theatre, you understand. We cannot afford to be dark for three months and it affected us.
I love this theatre. During the 13 years since Gene Frankel passed me the keys, my position has been one of those rare instances that allowed me to share my passion for art and theatre while working hand in hand with so many talented people.
With this position I have created a safe and creative environment for artists to succeed. We received a New York Times Critics’ Pick this season and first time playwright Paul E Alexander’s Trinkets sold out. We also worked with artist Scooter LaForge and have featured artists like Hattie Hathaway, Hapi Phace, Nora Burns, Jorge Clar, Amy Lloyd, Elle Sunman and Rafael Sánchez.
The Gene Frankel Theatre has remained steadfast since its namesake founded the theatre in 1949—. Our goal is to keep Gene Frankel’s legacy of sociopolitical theatre alive through classes and performances. Gene’s direction of Jean Genet’s The Blacks—The Clown Storywas praised by critics and audiences alike as one of the most important productions in U.S. theatre history and milestone in African-American theatre. The play set the tone at the GFT for years to come.
Today it is more relevant and necessary than ever for this small theatre to fuel the flame that attracts these artists. We are reaching out for your donation. Please, make a 100% tax-deductible donation to our not for profit 24 Bond Arts Center.
We need you because Central AC is on sale. We also need help our rears. Our goal is $50K.
To help make your donation more fun:
# If you donate under $100 you get a kiss from one of our actors
# If you donate $200-$400 you get an original Scooter LaForge tote bag
# If you donate $500–1,000 you get a mystery dinner date and tickets to a performance at the Gene Frankel Theatre
# If you donate $2,500–5,000 you get a personalized named brass plate on one of our plush theatre seats and an original Scooter LaForge tote bag
# If you donate $10,000 a brass plate of your name over the theatre door, a real kiss from one of our artists, tickets to a show at the Gene Frankel Theatre an original Scooter LaForge tote bag.
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Thank you so much!
Please write your check out to 24 Bond Arts Center and mail to
The Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012
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About Gene Frankel Theatre
Our Mission: The Gene Frankel Theatre has remained steadfast since Gene Frankel founded the theatre in 1949; finding and cultivating an audience that can share with us the discovery and excitement of theatre. Currently the Gene Frankel Theatre is still vibrant with classes and revolutionary theatre. Our goal is to keep the legacy of Gene Frankel alive by nurturing new talents that voice who we are today.
We are looking to give a home to artists that cultivate a theater that speaks not only of an idealistic socio-political change – but a personal change, the only truly manageable change that can lead to a new and better social, political, economic world. The work that has come from this venue for the last 63 years has had civil rights and progressive thinking at its core.
Today this is more relevant and necessary than ever. We are looking to reach out to our community and invite it’s people in their whole to celebrate new thinking, new ideas and a deeply emotional positive change. Through an evening at the theater or an afternoon of a children’s workshop – the GFT will be a haven for visual art, performance and discussion in a community that is quickly growing commercially and in our hope; culturally, intellectually and spiritually as well. ►more
About Gail Thacker
In 2001, Gail Thacker, Artistic Director, because Gene Frankel’s assistant and upon his passing Thacker took over the helm of the Gene Frankel Theatre in 2005. --- Since 2005 Thacker’s work has been supportive of the artistic community in lower Manhattan. She has worked with artist such as Stephen Tashjian / Tabboo, Ethan Shoshan, Chi Chi Valenti and many other artists geared at keeping underground art and performance alive. She has organized festivals such as Shotgun Theater Festival, Brag, Feme Fest, and The Psychedelic Circus. She also has produced work by or collaborated with artist’s such as, Mark Borkowski, Andrew Bauer, Katrina DeMar, Stephen Tashjian, Lance Cruce, Kara Tyler, Groove Mama, Rafael Sanchez & Kathleen White. She was the winner of The Acker Award for her work in photography of theatrical and transgressive subjects. And she has two theatre groups in residence - The Onomatopoeia Theatre Company & The August Strindberg Repertory Company? ►more
Review by Enzo Scavone
How the Gene Frankel Theatre Survived the Gentrification of NoHo
Published in: untapped cities on May 1st, 2014
Entrance to the Gene Frankel Theatre with Gene Frankel’s portrait on the door. In 2007, the opening of 40 Bond Street–a luxury condo by Ian Schrager–signaled the demographic shift to come in NoHo and its surroundings. NoHo, roughly defined by the ten blocks north of Houston Street, between Broadway and Bowery, was the home of a thriving theater and music community.
With the going rate of 1-bedroom apartments in NoHo at around $4000 today, it’s easy to see why there’s been difficulty sustaining some of the artistic venues in the area. The Bleecker Street and the Bouwerie Lane Theaters closed in 2010 and 2007, respectively and CBGB–a seminal establishment for the modern punk rock culture–shut its doors in 2006 after a lawsuit over outstanding rent. One institution that survived the rising property prices is the Gene Frankel Theatre, located at 24 Bond Street.
Founded in 1949 by actor Gene Frankel, the theater played a vital role in establishing the off-off-Broadway scene in New York. The 70-seat theater also served as a workshop and school. More than an artistic mission, the theater always had a greater community-oriented mentality. From its mission statement:
We are looking to give a home to artists that cultivate a theater that speaks not only of an idealistic socio-political change – but a personal change, the only truly manageable change that can lead to a new and better social, political, economic world. The work that has come from this venue for the last 63 years has had civil rights and progressive thinking at its core. Today this is more relevant and necessary than ever. We are looking to reach out to our community and invite its people in their whole to celebrate new thinking, new ideas and a deeply emotional positive change.
The theater hit an impasse when Gene Frankel died in 2005. The current director, Gail Thacker, took over the business and has been struggling to make ends meet. With business savvy and enthusiasm she was able to avoid bankruptcy.
According to Thacker, gentrification does not only bring drawbacks like exorbitant property prices. It also brings more foot traffic to Bond Street, which is now a block well frequented by shoppers and tourists.
NoHo hasn’t always been a refuge for wealthy New Yorkers, although Bond Street was initially laid out for the city’s richest who built mansions on the wide street in the early 1800s. By the 1880s and 1890s, manufacturing dominated and the Greek Revival architectural style was instituted as a nod to its illustrious past. 24 Bond Street, the building where the Gene Frankel Theater is located, was constructed in 1893.
With the decline of the textile and manufacturing industry in the 1960s and 1970s, much like in neighboring SoHo, artists moved in. Robert Mapplethorpe lived at 24 Bond Street, where the theater is now, and Chuck Close was his next-door neighbor. What happens after that is a well-told story in cities, often categorized under the rubric of “gentrification.”
NoHo was designated a historic district in 1999. At the time, the facade sculptures on the Gene Frankel Theater by Bruce Williams were deemed illegal, but after a public hearing the Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled in favor of keeping the art.