This Intersection was Just Renamed to Honor Founder of the Public Theater

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The Public Theater has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, and honored it in a big way. 

As of Friday, December 1, the intersection of Lafayette Street and Astor Place has been renamed (or co-named, really) Joseph Papp Way after the Public Theater’s founder.

Great News!! The intersection of Lafayette Street and Astor Place is now officially co-named Joseph Papp Way, honoring the mighty Joseph Papp, founder of the @publictheaterny When you pass by, look up at the new street sign and thank Joe Papp for the massive legacy he left our city! The co-naming honors the late founder of the Public Theater, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its landmark home on Lafayette Street. The sign was unveiled this morning by Gail Papp, wife of the late Joe Papp, with remarks from The Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl and District 2 City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. Our dear friends and neighbor, The Public Theater was founded in 1954, then known as the New York Shakespeare Festival. It opened the doors to its permanent home on Lafayette Street in October 1967 with the new musical Hair. Papp, was an East Village local and active member of the community. His life and an important period of the Public’s history are currently being brought to life in Richard Nelson’s play Illyria, running through December 10 at the Off-Broadway theatre. #AstorPlace #EastVillage #PublicTheater #OffBroadway

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Joseph Papp did plenty for the theater community of NYC, which began when he “founded the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1954—the first company in the United States to offer free productions of Shakespeare, with an emphasis on an American style of performance.” With the expansion of the Shakespeare Festival came The Public Theater. As the Public Theater states in their description of Joseph Papp:

“During his 37-year tenure, Papp launched over 900 productions which changed the face of American theater, both nonprofit and commercial, by producing groundbreaking works by American playwrights from a range of backgrounds.”

The co-naming ceremony took place  at 8:30 am, and the street sign was unveiled by Papp’s wife, Gail. You can even rewatch the live broadcast of the event through Facebook here:

Featured image source: Facebook / The Public House 

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