Ohio Theatre, 3-Legged Dog Become Domestic Partners

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Off-Off-Broadway finally has some good news. Per a press release issued late last week by David Gibbs of DARR Publicity, the soon-to-be-formerly-embattled performance space 3-Legged Dog has struck a deal with the soon-to-be-out-of-its-longtime-digs Ohio Theater that may allow both entities to continue their work.

No doubt there are still some questions here. Let’s start with the one I posed earlier this year (which at least one ethically conflicted “leader” of the independent theater community remains unwilling to answer):

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Why was this leader more upset about the Ohio Theatre’s closing than the impending closing (now averted, apparently) of 3LD? Was it due to the fact that this person worked (or wanted to work) at the Ohio? How can certain so-called “leaders” pretend to care about spaces and the whole real estate problem for the arts in New York City when they are so obviously and unabashedly driven by how things affect them?

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And why is this ethically conflicted “leader” unable to bring himself/herself to acknowledge that Off-Off-Broadway must develop multiple carrots and multiple sticks in order to address the industry’s real estate issues?

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While this individual merrily slathers himself/herself in self-aggrandizement, let’s take a moment and congratulate the Ohio and 3LD for this arrangement. With all sincerity, I hope it works out well. Both entities are critical to independent theater.

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Here are the details:

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3-Legged Dog Gives the Ohio Theatre a Leg Up
3-Legged Dog and The Ohio Theatre are excited to announce Ohio Interrupted @ 3LD, the Ohio’s new three-year residency at 3LD Art & Technology Center, located at 80 Greenwich Street in NYC. The residency allows the Ohio Theatre to continue its programming and momentum while it takes time to create a careful strategic plan.

Robert Lyons, Artistic Director of the Ohio Theatre says, “Losing our home of 29 years is truly a disaster. But it is at times like this, when everything is in flux, that unforeseen opportunities appear. 3LD has been one of my favorite venues since they opened. I’ve always admired the work I see there, and the spirit of community they foster. I feel Kevin and I value very similar things. I’m very excited by this opportunity.”

For 3LD the partnership will expand and deepen the 3LD community and contribute to 3LD’s “strength in numbers” tactical response to the recent devastating cuts in arts funding in New York. 3-Legged Dog’s Executive Artistic Director Kevin Cunningham says, “We got together, looked at our circumstances, our aesthetic programs and missions and our operating assumptions and quickly concluded that our similarities make this partnership an obvious choice. We believe we have developed an innovative improvement on the merger model with an agreement that preserves the autonomy of both organizations but allows us to work together for our common betterment.”

This residency will provide a secure platform that will allow the two-time Obie Award-winning Ohio Theatre to continue its long history of producing, presenting and curating the high quality programs that have established it as an indispensable pillar of the downtown theatre community. At the same time the addition of the Ohio’s programming to 3LD’s award winning mix will bring together under one roof two of the most active and important centers for arts production in New York and will deepen ties within the beleaguered downtown arts community, creating a more secure atmosphere for the creation of new artwork for all involved.

Ohio Interrupted is an informal coalition, led by Soho Think Tank, of the core companies who produced at the Ohio Theatre. Ohio Artistic Director Robert Lyons adds, “The goal is to build on the long-term relationships that developed within the Ohio Theatre artistic community, in order to define and create new opportunities for further cooperation.” These opportunities include, but are not limited to, the pursuit of a long-term rental or purchase of a new theatre space in Lower Manhattan.

…Both award-winning companies have faced difficulties recently despite their stellar track records as producers and presenters of some of the best cutting edge artwork in New York. 3-Legged Dog has been struggling to recover from the loss of 90% of its contributed income due to the recession and was recently threatened with eviction by its landlord, the MTA. The MTA has withdrawn those threats. The Ohio Theatre will be evicted from its home of 29 years in Soho to make room for yet more high-end retail in Soho. The final performance in the space will be Aug. 14, immediately followed by a blow out dance party.