HISTORY & MISSION
At Second Stage, we create and champion plays and musicals solely from living American writers. On our mainstage Broadway theater, the Hayes, and in our two Off Broadway theaters over the past 45 years, we have developed and presented over 200 daring and provocative theatrical experiences by working with countless artists who have contributed their talents to our award-winning productions. As the only Broadway company exclusively devoted to living American writers Second Stage is dedicated to introducing the world to bold and diverse voices of American creativity.¬†
Second Stage Theater was founded in 1979 to produce ‚Äúsecond stagings‚ÄĚ of contemporary American plays that deserved to reach a wider audience. We soon expanded this mission to produce new plays by our developing corps of writers. Over time, our dedication to telling essential American stories in their most exciting forms has come to include genre-bending solo performances, cutting-edge theatrical events, explosive new musicals, and world and New York premieres by America‚Äôs most esteemed playwrights.
Second Stage is committed to supporting both established and emerging artists. Commissions and artist residencies nurture playwrights, directors, designers, and actors in the creation of work that speaks to our contemporary moment. 2ST UPTOWN launches the hottest young talents with full productions and developmental support. And our Van Lier Fellowship program offers a training base for the next generation of directors. Dedicated to developing not only artists but artistic community, Second Stage builds future audiences by educating young people about the art of contemporary theater and encouraging their participation in the cultural life of New York City.
For more than three decades, Second Stage Theater productions have launched the successful careers of numerous directors, actors, playwrights and artists, many of whom regularly return to work at Second Stage. Under the artistic direction of co-founder Carole Rothman, Second Stage Theater produces a diverse range of premieres and new interpretations of America‚Äôs best contemporary theater, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner¬†Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis; 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner¬†Water by the Spoonful¬†by Quiara Alegria Hudes; 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner¬†Next to Normal¬†by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey;¬†Dear Evan Hansen¬†by Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul;¬†The Last Five Yearsby Jason Robert Brown;¬†Dogfight¬†by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Peter Duchan;¬†By the Way, Meet Vera Stark¬†by Lynn Nottage;¬†Trust¬†and¬†Lonely, I‚Äôm Not¬†by Paul Weitz;¬†The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity¬†by Kristoffer Diaz;¬†Everyday Rapture¬†by Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott;¬†Let Me Down Easy¬†by Anna Deavere Smith;¬†Becky Shaw¬†by Gina Gionfriddo;¬†Eurydice¬†by Sarah Ruhl;¬†The Little Dog Laughed¬†by Douglas Carter Beane;¬†Metamorphoses¬†by Mary Zimmerman;¬†The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee¬†by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin;¬†Jitney¬†by August Wilson;¬†Jar the Floor¬†by Cheryl L. West;¬†Uncommon Women and Others¬†by Wendy Wasserstein;¬†Crowns¬†by Regina Taylor;¬†Saturday Night¬†by Stephen Sondheim;¬†Afterbirth: Kathy & Mo‚Äôs Greatest Hits¬†by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy;¬†This Is Our Youth¬†by Kenneth Lonergan;¬†Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants¬†by Ricky Jay;¬†Coastal Disturbances¬†by Tina Howe;¬†A Soldier‚Äôs Play¬†by Charles Fuller;¬†Little Murders¬†by Jules Feiffer;¬†The Good Times Are Killing Me¬†by Lynda Barry; and¬†Tiny Alice¬†by Edward Albee.
The company‚Äôs more than 170 citations include two 2022 Tony Awards for Take Me Out (Best Revival of a Play; Best Featured Actor in a Play, Jesse Tyler Ferguson), six 2017 Tony Awards for Dear Evan Hansen (Best Musical; Best Lead Actor in a Musical, Ben Platt; Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Rachel Bay Jones; Best Book of a Musical; Best Original Score; Best Orchestrations); the 2009 Tony Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Musical (Alice Ripley, Next to Normal), Best Score (Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Next to Normal), and Best Orchestrations (Tom Kitt and Michael Starobin, Next to Normal); the 2007 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play (Julie White, The Little Dog Laughed); the 2005 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical (Rachel Sheinkin, ‚Ä¶Spelling Bee) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Dan Fogler, ‚Ä¶Spelling Bee); the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director of a Play (Mary Zimmerman for Metamorphoses); the 2002 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work, 29 Obie Awards, 11 Outer Critics Circle Awards, four Clarence Derwent Awards,¬†20 Drama Desk Awards, 11 Theatre World Awards, one Dorothy Louden Award, 20 Lucille Lortel Awards, the Drama Critics Circle Award and 23 AUDELCO Awards.
In 1999, Second Stage Theater opened its state-of-the-art, 296-seat theater at 43rd Street, designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The Second Stage Theater Uptown series was inaugurated in 2002 to showcase the work of emerging artists at the McGinn/Cazale Theater at 76th Street; productions include The Mystery Plays by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Spanish Girl by Hunt Holman, The Triple Happiness by Brooke Berman, Swimming in the Shallows by Adam Bock, Animals Out of Paper by Rajiv Joseph, Bachelorette by Leslye Headland, Warrior Class by Kenneth Lin, and Murder For Two by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair.
In 2011 the 43rd Street Theater was named after long-time Chairman of the Board,¬†Anthony C.M. Kiser, and became "The Tony Kiser Theater."
In 2015, Second Stage purchased the historic Helen Hayes Theater on Broadway. With this new home, Second Stage¬†is¬†the only theater company on Broadway dedicated exclusively to developing and producing works by living American playwrights.