In the spring of 2006, the New York Theatre Workshop was at a crossroads. Under Artistic Director Jim Nicola’s leadership, NYTW had earned a reputation for supporting important artists in the creation and production of innovative and intellectually challenging plays. It was thought by many discerning observers to be among the most interesting and exciting organizations in the crowded New York theater scene. Expanded programs had been made possible in part by substantial revenues from Rent, a play which NYTW had developed and premiered, which subsequently enjoyed a long and successful Broadway run.
Nicola and Managing Director Lynn Moffat were presiding over one of the theater field’s success stories. The playwright Tony Kushner called NYTW an “astonishing place, a great, great, great theater.” Mel Gussow wrote that “Under [Nicola’s] … leadership it has become an essential part of the New York cultural landscape.” And Ben Cameron, Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group, said of the theater, “I would be hard-pressed to think of any theater that more consistently displays such rigor and integrity in the artistic-making process.”
Nicola and Moffat had accomplished much of what they had set out to do. They had not sought out commercial success and did not seek to duplicate it in the future, but past revenues from Rent had helped expand the theater’s activities in support of artists and new work. Royalty revenues were now declining and expenses had increased, resulting in a series of operating deficits. How could NYTW move forward to a new level or even maintain the progress that had been made?
Publication Date: 2006-05-15
Suggested Citation: Arthur Nacht, "New York Theatre Workshop (2006)," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case Study #06-01, May 15, 2006
Keywords: New York, Competition, Donor Relations, Facilities, Organizational Direction
Teaching Notes: Yes (contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
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