4. Cherry Lane Theatre is NYC’s oldest continuously running off-Broadway theater
Cherry Lane Theatre is New York City’s oldest continuously running off-Broadway theater, data back to its first performance in 1924. The building, though, dates back over a century prior. It originally served as a farm silo, as well as a brewery and box factory. In 1923, a group of authors, most notably Edna St. Vincent Millay, opened the Cherry Lane Theatre, with regular performances of new releases and plays dating back to the 17th century starting as soon as the following February. Eugene O’Neill, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and W.H. Auden all had plays produced at the theater in its early years.
By the 1950s, the theater was due for a makeover, and it acquired many items from the Center Theatre of Rockefeller Center in 1954. With the interior remodeled, the theater put on particularly avant-garde and absurdist productions, including a play written by Pablo Picasso. Samuel Beckett had a number of premieres at the theater, as did Sam Shepard. The theater also put on the Mentor Project, pairing Pulitzer-winning and Pulitzer-nominated playwrights with aspiring authors.