The mission of The York Theatre Company is fourfold:
- Be a birthplace for new literate, intimate musicals, and a place where underappreciated musical gems from the past are rediscovered;
- Provide support for the creators of new musical theatre and be a showcase for new musical theatre talent of all kinds;
- Provide students with opportunities for hands-on theatre education; and
- Serve the community by presenting free or low-cost musical theatre performances to under-served audiences.
About The York:
The York Theatre Company occupies a unique spot in New York’s theatrical landscape. Now in its 50th year, the York is the only theater in the city, and one of the few in the world, whose two-fold mission is to produce new musical works and rediscover musical gems from the past.
The York’s intimate, imaginative producing style has become its trademark. Its productions have won critical acclaim, a host of honors and awards, and a loyal audience. Just as important, the York provides a nurturing, constructive environment for new artists to hone their craft, and for some of the masters of the musical theater’s Golden Age to take fresh looks at their classic works. A special Drama Desk Award was presented to the company for its “vital contributions to theater by developing and producing new musicals.”
Founded by Janet Hayes Walker, the York has presented more than 70 full-scale musical productions, including such classics as The Golden Apple, The Grass Harp, On the 20th Century, A Doll’s Life, Lost in the Stars, Carnival!, and Merrily We Roll Along. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused exclusively on musical theater: newer musicals in its Mainstage Series (most of them world, American or New York premieres) and revivals in its popular Musicals in Mufti series of semi-staged readings.
Recent Mainstage productions have included Desperate Measures (Best Musical, Off-Broadway Alliance Award, Outer Critics Circle), Marry Harry, A Taste of Things to Come, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Rothschild & Sons, Cagney, Texas in Paris, Inventing Mary Martin, Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter, Storyville, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Closer Than Ever (Best Musical Revival, Off-Broadway Alliance Award), Ionescapade, The Road to Qatar!, Falling for Eve, Yank!, Blind Lemon Blues, Enter Laughing, Asylum, Thrill Me, Souvenir, and The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!).
Among the York productions that have had commercial transfers are Desperate Measures, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Souvenir, Jolson & Company, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, and Cagney, starring Robert Creighton as James Cagney and members of the original York cast, which ran at the Westside Theatre for over 500 performances with the original York cast. Cast recordings are available for 35 York productions.
In the spring of 2019, the York celebrated its 125th Musicals in Mufti production: Stephen Sondheim’s Saturday Night. The Muftis, now in their 25th year, constitute a lovingly-curated catalogue of rarely produced musicals, some of them under-appreciated in their initial productions, but all of them worth re-examination. Recent Mufti presentations have included Alan Jay Lerner’s Carmelina (with Joseph Stein), The Day Before Spring (with Frederick Loewe) and Lolita, My Love (with John Barry); three shows of Jule Styne, Hallelujah, Baby!, Bar Mitzvah Boy, and Subways Are for Sleeping; a celebration of Jerry Herman’s Dear World (starring Tyne Daly) and Milk and Honey, Berlin to Broadway to Kurt Weill, Starting Here, Starting Now, and Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.
The York’s New2NY series presents simply-staged concert performances of new musicals, providing a stage between developmental lab and full production. Previous shows in the series have included In Transit (which ran on Broadway in 16/17 season), The Times, Larry Grossman’s Compose Yourself!, and 2017’s Mark Felt, Superstar and How to Be an American!.
Each year, the York presents some 30 readings of new musicals in its Developmental Reading Series, which has been the incubator for such shows as Avenue Q, Summer of ‘42, Harold and Maude, Yank!, In Transit, Souvenir, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Mark Felt: Superstar, and We Foxes.
Started in 2015, the York’s Musical Theatre Training Program (MTTP) brings working professionals in to work with eager and dedicated theatre students. Our rigorous yet nurturing programs offer training in singing, acting and movement and often include master classes with some of New York’s top theatre artists. Most of our programs culminate in a showcase performance on the York’s Off-Broadway stage. We currently offer a Summer Intensive for middle and high school students and a Winter Intensive to college students from across the nation.
The York also produces the annual NEO Concert recognizing New, Emerging and Outstanding musical theater writers, and is proud of its longtime association with Marymount Manhattan College, its Education partner. The company recently honored Joel Grey with the 25th Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theater. Other recent recipients Angela Lansbury in 2015, and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty in 2014.