Provincetown Playhouse? We think not.
By ROBIN POGREBIN
It has a storied past that includes names like Eugene O’Neill and Edward Albee, and on Saturday the newly renovated Provincetown Playhouse will be opened to the public by New York University, which says it spent $4.5 million restoring a building that has played an important role in Greenwich Village and theatrical history.
The theater, part of four 19th-century town houses at 133-139 Macdougal Street, was once home to the Provincetown Players, an amateur group of actors, writers and artists who fostered new work by American playwrights and was founded in Provincetown, Mass.
But it is the theater’s history in Greenwich Village that has been the issue since N.Y.U. announced plans to turn much of the site into a research center for its law school. Three of the four houses were demolished and rebuilt for use by the law school. But after much negotiation, the university agreed to renovate, not demolish, the theater, which continues to occupy much of the fourth, at No. 133.
But some preservationists said that the renovated theater bears no resemblance to the historic playhouse and that they planned to protest at the open house.
“It shouldn’t be called the Provincetown Playhouse,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, an advocacy group. “I actually find it offensive. They are attempting to trade on the cultural capital of the name after destroying the historic artifact.”