N, Q, R at Fifth Ave.-59th St.; F at 57th St.
| Ongoing ||New Chamber Ballet|
City Center almost went out of business when the NYC Opera and NYC Ballet departed in the 1960s and headed for Lincoln Center. Thankfully, dance companies such as Alvin Ailey and Paul Taylor, as well as the Manhattan Theatre Club, came along to ensure that this former Shriners' Temple would remain the populist arts nexus that Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia had envisioned when he saved the building from the wrecking ball in 1943. Beneath the red-tiled dome and beyond the Moorish, nearly-windowless façade, are a number of performance spaces furthering that mission: the 2,700-seat main hall and two subterranean spaces occupied by MTC among them. The center's signature series is ENCORES!, which mounts semi-staged concerts of oft-ignored musicals such as Pal Joey, Babes in Arms, and Chicago (long before the Oscar-winning movie made it a name again) to a core constituency of show tune fanatics.Special Offerings
City Center has three rehearsal studios. For more info, call 212-247-0430.