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The Story of Theater for the New City, As Told By Ghosts

IMG_5053Jonathan Slaff Dain Alexandra (l) as the ghost of Molly Picon.
Jennifer Koller (r) as Lily Field.

With the Living Theatre having raised less than half the money it’s seeking in order to stave off eviction, it’s a fitting time for a play about the woes of a theater company.

“155 First Avenue (The Epic Adventures of the Theater for the New Syzygy),” now showing at Theater for the New City, portrays a theater company in New York struggling against financial strains and decades of neighborhood change. Playwright Toby Armour has made the theater itself the main character through his strong and versatile writing, and the actors in the play are facets of the artistic community.

The lifeblood of the theater is a woman named Lily Field, smartly played by Jennifer Koller. The first act presents her reminiscing in the basement of 155 First Avenue. Her guides through the past are ghosts: Molly Picon, Caroline Astor, Walt Whitman, Peter Stuyvesant, and Jake, a Jewish peddler who, starting from the beginning of time itself, recounts the series of “miracles” that led to the theater’s current location. Read more…