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The mission of City Center 55th Street Theater Foundation, Inc. is: To celebrate and preserve America's artistic heritage, making accessible to a broad audience work drawn from the rich traditions of indigenous theater, music, and dance. To provide a New York home for other non-profit arts companies: an attractive venue, at a subsidized cost, with support services in marketing, sales, and production. To use the artistry on stage--produced by City Center and others--as an educational resource for the students and teachers of New York.
City Center is Manhattan's first performing arts center: a 2,750-seat New York home for the best of theater, music, and dance. On December 11, 1943, City Center opened with a special concert by the New York Philharmonic. New York City Opera, New York City Ballet, and City Center Drama Company were created at City Center. City Center quickly became a cultural haven for New Yorkers: an affordable - and fun - complement to the Broadway theater, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Opera House. In the mid-'70s, after the opera and ballet moved to Lincoln Center, the building was slated for demolition. Fortunately, the theater was re-dedicated as New York's premiere home for dance and given landmark status. The City Center 55th Street Theater Foundation was formed to manage the complex and ensure its survival as a performing arts center. Today, City Center provides special services (significant rental underwriting, ticketing, production/technical help, marketing assistance) to the many companies that perform here annually. City Center presents, co-presents, and commercially rents the Mainstage theater, and is the long-time home for the Manhattan Theatre Club in City Center's Stage I and Stage II theaters. The jewel in City Center's producing crown is City Center Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert, introduced in 1994 to critical and audience acclaim. It has successfully brought a new audience into this theater - and kept them here, with an annual subscription renewal rate over 95% - who are encouraged to cross over and enjoy other programming at the same venue. Committed since its founding to be an educational resource for the diverse New York community, City Center has long offered opportunities for students and teachers. For over ten years, City Center's Young People's Dance Series has brought professional artists into public schools; brought their students into the Mainstage theater experience; and brought the creativity, discipline, and excitement of the music and movement into the schools' core curricula. This renowned effort, nationally recognized in 1999 by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, has been expanded into workshops, musical theater components, and teacher education programs, and today reaches out to educate and enlighten both young and general audiences. For over 55 years, City Center has hosted some of America's and the world's most amazing performers and productions. Each season unveils exciting new developments.
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