Welcome to the MSDL Theater, a 145-seat off-Broadway jewel right next to Central Park West and around the corner from Lincoln Center.
The MSDL Theater is a non-profit, independent off-Broadway theater, which exists to create and launch new and innovative works that inspire, entertain, and reflect our diverse community.
We strive to serve our community by providing affordable and high-quality professional arts performances, programming, training, and education while furthering the YMCA of Greater New York’s Mission of building healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy spirits.
The West Side YMCA began construction on the Little Theater in 1929. The theater opened in 1930 as a School for Movie Projectionists. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, many young men such as Bob Jope and Tennessee Williams stayed at the West Side YMCA when they first came to New York to begin their careers. In fact, the premiere of Tennessee Williams’ drama Summer and smoke, happened in this theater before it moved to the Music Box Theater on Broadway. The Little Theater was also host to such notable events as WOR radio’s first live broadcast and a host of then ground-braking screenings of silent movies and what were then called “talkies.”
From the early 1940’s through 2003, the Little Theater served as a cornerstone for the West Side YMCA’s drama and theater programs. Designed to be exactly 1/5 the size of a Broadway Playhouse, the Little Theater played host to a variety of youth and adult drama, dance, music, and theater programs. The theater also served as a venue of a variety of outside productions.
Over the years, the theater fell into disrepair and its original beauty was masked as it was covered with paint and plaster. In 2001, the West Side YMCA recognized the theater as an important cultural relic and untapped asset and launched a capital campaign aimed at raising funds for significant restoration and renovation project of the 79-year-old historic theater. Through many generous donations, $2 million was raised, enabling the project to move forward.
This historic space was named in 2004 for the late Marjorie S. Deane, a New York City philanthropist, theater advocate and fashion industry icon, whose study of fashion was fueled by her interest in costume design for the theater. Theater architect Mitchel Kurtz designed the renovation to include upgrades to the 79-year-old historic theater.
Thank you for your interest in renting our theater. Please reach out to Mike Lesser, Theater Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
We provide space for live performances, industry showcases, professional performances, film screenings, board meetings, lectures, readings, rehearsals, workshops and more!
10 West 64th Street, New York, NY 10023.
Accessibility – Ramp entrance | ADA Compliant
A, C, B, D trains to 59th Street Columbus Circle
1 train to 59th Street Columbus Circle or 66th Lincoln Center