6 at Astor Pl.; F, V at Lower East Side-Second Ave.; N, R, W at 8th St.-NYU; B, D, F, V at Broadway-Lafayette St.
Considerably more “off”—both geographically and artistically—than most Off Broadway theaters, the New York Theatre Workshop has a long-standing tradition of supporting iconoclastic dramatists and directors. In the former camp are playwrights like John Guare, Tony Kushner, and Sam Shepard—who also acted in the adaptable 188-seat theater’s New York premiere of Caryl Churchill’s A Number; in the latter are Jo Bonney, Ivo van Hove, Doug Hughes, and choreographer Martha Clarke. Though an ill-advised, politically motivated cancellation of My Name Is Rachel Corrie in 2006 put a slight tarnish on NYTW’s reputation as a fearless backer of the arts (and drew the wrath of notables worldwide from Harold Pinter to Vanessa Redgrave), the theater remains staunchly committed to the voices and visions of tomorrow. Its ongoing labs, readings, and workshops should help mend its reputation as a provocative performance space with one foot in the mainstream (Rent) and one foot out (Oedipus at Palm Springs).