Beyond Broadway and outside Off-Broadway lies The Flea Theater, an intimate Off-Off-Broadway theater located in downtown Tribeca. The Flea’s experimental, multi-disciplinary productions thrive in Tribeca’s inventive theatrical scene, providing a trusted place for new and established artists to grow their craft.
The Flea’s Origins
In 1996, director Jim Simpson, designer Kyle Chepulis, and playwright Mac Wellman founded the Flea Theater with the impulse to create “a joyful hell in a small space.” This evolved into the formal mission “to present distinctive work that raises the standards” of Off-Off-Broadway, focusing on both the artist and the audience experience. Now located at a converted Tribeca factory, The Flea Theater is a three-floor operation with two small state-of-the-art theaters, a resident volunteer acting company called The Bats, and a new performing arts complex in development in a nearby building. “Part playground, part laboratory, part training ground,” The Flea has earned a Drama Desk Award for Distinguished Achievement for their dedication to adventurous theater.
Making History with The Guys
In December 2001, The Flea Theater premiered The Guys, a formative show written by Anne Nelson and starring Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver. The play addressed the events of 9/11 and its effect on the community, heightened by The Flea’s proximity to Ground Zero (only blocks away). The Guys became a community phenomenon, with 13 months of sold-out houses and a rotating cast including Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Bill Irwin, Carol Kane, and more. It was made into a feature film and returned to The Flea in September of 2006 for a special five-year anniversary run.
Throughout the year, The Bats and rising New York City playwrights participate in #serials@theflea, a late-night play competition that runs in cycles. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, five teams of Bats perform original short episodic plays, which the audience votes on. The three most popular return the next week with a new installment, while the two least popular must return with something entirely new. This popular event has featured works by modern young playwrights like Brenton Lengel, A.J. Ditty, and Charlie O’Leary.
The Flea is a staple of Tribeca theater, adding to the creative atmosphere of the lower Manhattan neighborhood. Blocks away from The Flea’s experimental stage, Tribeca House’s lofts apartments are perfect for any creative mind. Contact us today to find the luxury apartment that inspires you.