Report: Former Rave Club Limelight to Become Theatre | Playbill

Industry News Report: Former Rave Club Limelight to Become Theatre

Director Michael Arden, producer Hunter Arnold, and film distributor Roadside Attractions are leading the project.

Michael Arden Michaelah Reynolds

Looks like NYC may be getting a new Off-Broadway theatre. According to a report in Forbes, director Michael Arden (Parade), producer Hunter Arnold (Purlie Victorious), and film distributor Roadside Attractions are at work to transform former NYC nightlife icon Limelight into a legitimate theatre with a circular stage and 320 seats over two levels.

The project is being overseen by Marvel Architects, who previously handled the renovations of Broadway's Lyric Theatre in preparation to house Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse, a former tobacco warehouse.

Located at Sixth Avenue and West 20th Street, Limelight opened as a nightclub in 1983. The venue is a deconsecrated church, the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, built in 1844 and operated as such until the early 1970s, when it became a drug rehab facility for about a decade before its life as a club. The spot originally was a disco and rock club, becoming a center for techno, goth, and industrial music in the 1990s. The club came under government scrutiny in the late '90s and early 2000s, targeted for being a center of the illicit drug trade. The venue has not operated as a nightclub since 2007, since when it has mostly been a fitness center.

Not much is known about Arnold, Arden, and Roadside's plans for what might be produced there, nor if it would be operated as an independent presenting house or a theatre company. It seems that renovation plans are still somewhat nascent, with no timeline for completion or a public opening yet revealed. 

The project would place the theatre alongside Broadway's Studio 54 as theatrical venues born out of infamous former nightclubs, though Studio 54 was actually a legitimate theatre before its time as the '70s nightspot.

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