2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q at Atlantic Ave.-Barclays Center; 2, 3, 4, 5 at Nevins St.; D, N, R at Atlantic Ave.-Barclays Center
One of two major performance spaces for the Brooklyn Academy of Music's ambitious contemporary dance, opera, theater, and music programs, the BAM Harvey Theater has a quirky history that's visible in the building's grand, decaying interior. Originally known as the Majestic, the theater opened in 1904 with a production of The Wizard of Oz, then went on to house Shakespearean revivals, vaudeville revues, and musical theater. It was converted into a movie house in 1942 but had been abandoned by 1968. Nearly twenty years later, visionary Harvey Lichtenstein became interested in the venue while scouting out spaces for the 1987 Next Wave Festival because director Peter Brook, excited by the theater's resemblance to the Les Bouffes du Nord in Paris, wanted to stage his landmark nine-hour production of The Mahabharata there. Architect Hugh Hardy's renovation of the 874-seat theater retained much of the interior's crumbling columns and water-stained ceilings which today evoke a Greco-Roman ruin. Since Brook's show, the Harvey (as it's affectionately called) has repeatedly presented avant-garde mainstays like minimalist composer Steve Reich and choreographer John Jasperse as well as the occasional mainstream celeb like Cate Blanchett. Smaller and less polished than BAM's Howard Gillman Opera house, the Harvey may seem dingy to some, but its intimate, otherworldly feel has made it the site of choice for artists attracted to the aesthetics of fading grandeur.Resident Company
In addition to BAM's regularly scheduled performances at the Harvey, 651 Arts, a local nonprofit, is housed in the theater.