Neighborhood Playhouse (New York, N.Y.)

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The Neighborhood Playhouse was founded in 1915 by Alice and Irene Lewisohn, as part of the Henry Street Settlement. Many early twentieth-century modern dancers and artists found a professional home at the Neighborhood Playhouse, including composers Ernest Bloch, Kurt Schindler, and Louis Horst, who also worked with Martha Graham. Other notables whose works were produced at the Neighborhood Playhouse include Agnes de Mille, Laura Elliott, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. The Neighborhood Playhouse Theatre closed in 1927 and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre was founded in 1928 by the Lewisohn sisters in association with Rita Wallach Morgenthau.

From the description of Neighborhood Playhouse scores, 1919-1931. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 60390278

The Neighborhood Playhouse was founded in 1915, by two sisters Alice and Irene Lewisohn, as part of the Henry Street Settlement House. This neighborhood theatre closed in 1927. In 1928, Irene Lewisohn in collaboration with Rita Wallach Morgenthau founded the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.

From the guide to the Plans for Bitter oleander, 1934-1937 and n.d, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

In 1905 Irene and Alice Lewisohn began classes and club work at the Henry Street Settlement House in New York. While at the Settlement House they also began to present performances featuring dance and drama. In 1915, the sisters opened the Neighborhood Playhouse on the corner of Grand and Pitt Streets, where they offered training in dance and drama to children and teens. Irene Lewisohn oversaw the dance training and production, with the assistance of Blanche Talmud, while Alice Lewisohn led the dramatic work.

In 1928 the Neighborhood Playhouse became the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. Martha Graham and Louis Horst were put in charge of the dance department, while Irene Lewisohn continued to administer the program.

Throughout her time at the Neighborhood Playhouse, Irene Lewisohn actively produced and wrote action interpretations for “orchestral dramas,” or expressive movement pieces set to musical compositions. She also wrote and helped in the staging of various ballets, pageants, and festival performances. Some of this work is documented in this collection of scenarios.

From the guide to the Neighborhood Playhouse scenarios, 1914-1931, (The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.)

Philanthropist sisters Alice (1883-1972) and Irene (1892-1944) Lewisohn founded the Neighborhood Playhouse in 1915 as a home for the Neighborhood Players, an amateur acting troupe for adults and children at the Henry Street Settlement on New York City's Lower East Side. The Players participated in pageants and festivals sponsored by the Settlement and produced plays that highlighted the ethnic diversity of the neighborhood.

In 1914, the Lewisohns bought a lot on the corner of Grand and Pitt Streets and donated it to the Settlement as the site of a new theater that would provide better performance space and teaching facilties. The Neighborhood Playhouse opened in 1915, showing both motion pictures and theatrical performances. By 1920, professional actors had replaced the amateurs and the Playhouse became renown for its experimental and avant-garde productions, often incorporating dance, music, and poetry, and for its popular revue, "The Grand Street Follies."

The Playhouse officially closed in 1927. However, under the general management of Helen F. Ingersoll, the company began producing plays on Broadway. In addition, the Lewisohn sisters and Rita Wallach Morganthau established the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in 1928. The School is still in operation at 340 East 54th Street.

From the guide to the Neighborhood Playhouse records, 1904-1937, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

The Neighborhood Playhouse was founded in 1915 by Alice and Irene Lewisohn, as part of the Henry Street Settlement. Many early 20th century modern dancers and artists found a professional home at the Neighborhood Playhouse, including composers Ernest Bloch, Kurt Schindler, and Louis Horst, who also worked with Martha Graham. Other notables whose works were produced at the Neighborhood Playhouse include Agnes de Mille, Laura Elliott, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman.

The Neighborhood Playhouse Theatre closed in 1927 and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre was founded in 1928 by the Lewisohn sisters in association with Rita Wallach Morgenthau.

From the guide to the Neighborhood Playhouse scores, 1919-1931, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Plans for Bitter oleander, 1934-1937 and n.d The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Neighborhood Playhouse scenarios, 1914-1931 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
referencedIn Lucille Lortel papers, 1902-2000 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Neighborhood Playhouse records, 1904-1937 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Lil Liandre papers, 1910-2003 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
creatorOf Neighborhood Playhouse (New York, N.Y.). Neighborhood Playhouse scores, 1919-1931. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Neighborhood Playhouse scores, 1919-1931 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Music Collection corporateBody
associatedWith Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750 person
associatedWith Blackwood, Algernon, 1869-1951 person
associatedWith Bloch, Ernest, 1880-1959. person
associatedWith Brundage, Frances, 1854-1937 person
associatedWith Crowley, Alice person
associatedWith Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Baron, 1878-1957 person
associatedWith Eichheim, Henry, 1870-1942 person
associatedWith Enesco, Georges, 1881-1955 person
associatedWith Galsworthy, John, 1867-1933 person
associatedWith García Lorca, Federico, 1898-1936 person
associatedWith Gippius, Z. N. (Zinaida Nikolaevna), 1869-1945 person
associatedWith Guilbert, Yvette, 1865-1944 person
associatedWith Horst, Louis person
associatedWith Horst, Louis. person
associatedWith Hyland, Lily person
associatedWith Ingersoll, Helen person
associatedWith Leontovich, Eugenie person
associatedWith Lewisohn, Irene, -1944 person
associatedWith Liandre, Lil, 1910-2003 person
associatedWith Lortel, Lucille person
associatedWith Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. corporateBody
associatedWith Prokofiev, Sergey, 1891-1953 person
associatedWith Rossini, Gioacchino, 1792-1868 person
associatedWith Saddler, Donald person
associatedWith Schindler, Kurt, 1882-1935. person
associatedWith Talmud, Blanche person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Theater--New York (State)--New York
Women in the theater
Little theater movement
Music and dance
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1919

Active 1931

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