The term “hidden gem” usually isn’t meant literally, but in the case of Stageworks Theatre, it could be.
Walk far enough back in Grand Central at Kennedy’s West Building No. 151 and you’ll find the theatre group’s performance and rehearsal space, complete with 99 distinctive purple upholstered seats, which became exclusively theirs in 2012.
“Our goal was always to have a permanent home,” producing artist director Karla Hartley said. “When they built Grand Central, the owners of the building, Mercury Advisors, were always saving this space for a cultural space.”
Each theatre season runs from fall to early-summer and features five to six productions. Hartley said the group makes sure to include a mix of well-known shows, like the upcoming “Avenue Q,” and smaller, more complex works, like Annie Baker’s “The Aliens.”
“One of our greatest missions is to show diverse work to society, so we include small, intimate plays that might be hard to watch because they’re surrounding things like homeless issues or racism,” Hartley said. “It’s a balance between work that brings in crowds and, frankly, money, to have some in reserve for societally important work.” Stageworks also works with the juvenile justice system to teach conflict resolution and anger management through theatre.
“Avenue Q” runs at the Stageworks Theatre May 4-21 and “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety” runs June 2-18.