Arts, Culture, and Humanities

New York Classical Theatre, Inc.

aka NY Classical   |   New York, NY   |  newyorkclassical.org

Mission

New York Classical Theatre's mission is to reinvigorate and create audiences for the theatre by presenting all-free productions of popular classics and forgotten masterpieces in public spaces throughout the five boroughs.

Notes from the nonprofit

New York Classical Theatre programs are all free and we have no ticket income. All of our artists receive a weekly salary along with pension contributions and health insurance benefits. Each season we reach up to 18,000 people with our welcoming and engaging programming. Unlike many classical theatres, our audience is comprised of people of all ages, ranging from spellbound kids experiencing their first live production to seasoned theatre-goers happy to see their favorite plays in unexpected places. New York Classical's attendees span all ethnicities, education and income levels. Our most recent survey shows: 70% are under the age of 60; 18% self-identify as non-Caucasian and nearly 30% live at or below the NYC Poverty Line.

Ruling year info

2003

Artistic Director

Stephen Burdman

Main address

64 Fulton Street, Suite 1108

New York, NY 10038 USA

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EIN

86-1056388

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Theater (A65)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We believe that everyone—regardless of social, economic, or educational background—should have the opportunity to enjoy professional classical theatre. As audience member Clara Ramos wrote to us in April 2018, “I am a first-generation college student and have always wanted to experience things that society told me I couldn't due to my ethnicity and background. [Classical theater] seemed like something I could not see because of its culture and class of people. I would see posters and ads all over Manhattan and Brooklyn for plays and would long to see them, but thought I couldn't. I thought it was too expensive and that I would stand out.” The experience of high-quality live performances have been so transformative in our lives that we see offering timeless plays—in a welcoming environment and engaging style—as a vital human need. NY Classical works to address the senseless barriers that keep people all over our City from the enriching delights of classical theatre.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

20th Anniversary Season

Our 2018-19 season is entitles Two Ways. We will be presenting Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" in which the cast will alternate roles/genders every other performance. Every performance will be completely free and open to the public. We will debut annual indoor programming with this production in the Mezzanine Theatre/ART-NY Theatres March 5-24, 2019. The show will then perform outdoors in Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Carl Schurz Park (May 25-June 30).

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$402,220

Where we work

Awards

Consistent commitment to excellence in theatre 2008

American Theater Wing

Westy - Service to the Upper West Side Community 2008

West Side Spirit Newspaper

Affiliations & memberships

Actor's Equity Association 2000

Shakespeare Theatre Association of America 2007

Stage Directors & Choreographers Society 2000

United Scenic Artists 2015

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of performances

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

New York Classical offers all FREE performances of classical theatre to the community each season.

Number of favorable critic reviews/awards of art produced given by media or peers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

New York Classical Theatre receives favorable press from The New York Times, TheaterMania, TimeOut New York, and others.

Total number of free seats filled for performances

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We hand out programs to each attendee in order to count our audience members. All our performances are FREE.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

We have several goals, all aiming to fulfill our mission of “creating and reinvigorating audiences”. NY Classical seeks to bring new participants to our programs, to promote education about and through classical plays, cultivate meaningful relationships with talented collaborators and our City-wide community, honor and build upon classical theatre’s historic traditions, and—ultimately—to empower community members to engage with live theatre as a public good intended for everyone.

To accomplish this, we cast our plays with the demographics of our city in mind. We want our audience to feel included by seeing themselves represented onstage. We host educational groups at our shows, and provide pre-show talks with the creative team to contextualize the performance. Our Production Internship program students receive hands-on experience on an Off-Broadway production, mentorship opportunities, masterclasses with industry professionals, and credit on their resumes. We bring the classics to people right near their homes. Each of our performance venues is within walking distance of New York City Public Housing Authority projects and Section 8 housing. There are no lines to stand in. There is no dress code. It’s a come-as-you-are experience, and we celebrate spontaneity in attendance. We also provide an introductory note on the play in our digital program. There is no need to hide a mobile device or feel embarrassed by reading the synopsis during the performance.

NY Classical’s signature style, Panoramic Theatre, prioritizes captivating storytelling. We adapt the scripts and direct the action of each show specifically to foster viewers’ engagement. Our productions create an active and immediate relationship between the performers and attendees. Our production values are as strong as any higher-budget Off-Broadway company. We want our audience to experience the best in theater, regardless of the fact that it is free. We invest in costume, wig, and props designs that make a clear artistic impression, and visually represent our interpretation of the playwright’s work. In the competitive New York City theatre landscape, we attract some of the most experienced classically-trained actors—especially qualified to embody challenging roles in heightened language and communicate complex emotional themes successfully—by paying a weekly union (Actors’ Equity Association) salary, plus healthcare and pension benefits.

Each season, NY Classical reaches as many as 18,000 people from throughout the greater New York area. We define our progress in terms of playing to audiences (based on their neighborhood, ethnicity, age, and income) not historically embraced, encouraged, or accommodated by Off-Broadway. We bring our free performances to up to 7 different venues each year, and our most recent survey reported that 18% of our audience describe themselves as non-Caucasian, 70% is below the age of 60, and 30% of our audience lives at or below the New York City poverty line.

Since 2000, NY Classical has presented over 700 free performances of more than 40 productions for nearly 250,000 people. Highlights include: when the Governors Island parade grounds played the role of Agincourt for our “Henry V”. Our 2006 presentation of “Mary Stuart” was the first play performed at Castle Clinton National Monument in 100 years, and our 2013 production of “The Tempest” re-opened the Castle after Hurricane Sandy. We launched a “Diversifying the Classics” program in 2018 by reading a new translation of a Spanish drama from 1600. This program is expanding the classical repertory, introducing us to Latinx-identifying actors. Our expansion to indoor, year-round programming in a traditional, seated theater space in 2019 allows us to reach students while school is in session, as well as seniors and people with disabilities (who might be less comfortable at our outdoor summer productions).

Financials

New York Classical Theatre, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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New York Classical Theatre, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 7/25/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Robert Staffaroni

Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP

Term: 2018 - 2019

Stephen Burdman

New York Classical Theatre

Rosina Dixon

Cambrex Corp.

Nick Salamone

NY Classical Theatre & The Christmas Decorator

Maura Harway

Sesame Workshop, Inc.

Jon Lukomnik

Chair, Emeritus

Sharon DeLevie

DeLevie Group Research

Andrew Carlon

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Melissa Kuklin

Friends of UNFPA

Robert Staffaroni

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Keywords

outdoor, professional, Off-Broadway, theatre, theater, classical, access, arts, shakespeare, free, park, education, children, family, public, restoration, drama, comedy, tragedy, Moliere, Chekhov, panoramic