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.
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: