Shetler Studios closes curtains on massive Midtown rehearsal space

20K-sf studio penthouse on West 54th Street is now up for lease

New York /
May.May 12, 2020 03:26 PM
250 West 54th Street and Zar Property principal David Zar (Credit: Google Maps; Twitter)

250 West 54th Street and Zar Property principal David Zar (Credit: Google Maps; Twitter)

A long-running Broadway rehearsal space has just taken its final bow.

Shetler Studios & Theatres — which attracted the likes of the late producer Harold Prince, songwriter Benj Pasek and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda — has handed over the keys to its landlord Zar Property. The rehearsal space occupied the 20,000-square-foot duplex penthouse at 250 West 54th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. The base of the building was previously home to the infamous Studio 54.

In an undated letter sent to clients last week, the Shetler Team wrote, “It is with a very heavy heart we announce that after 30 years in the Theatre District, Shetler Studios & Theatres has closed its doors for good. The path to recovery is simply too steep for our small company.”

The closing came just a few days before the Broadway League announced all theaters will remain dark until at least September 6.

Entertainment trade publications Playbill, Backstage and Broadway World also reported Shetler’s closure.

Among those that took to social media to lament the loss of the space was composer Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote he had “Countless memories in those spaces…” The Hamilton creator recalled a time he composed a new bridge for the play’s song, “That Would Be Enough,” and heard co-writer Phillipa Soo sing it for the first time.

In addition to audition, acting and rehearsal spaces — with upright and baby grand pianos, sprung dance floors and many mirrored walls — the complex included two Off-Off Broadway theaters for smaller performances and pre-Broadway tryouts. The space has also been home to The Acting Studio run by James Price for nearly two decades.

An automated message system for the studio said it would be reopening, but that was likely recorded back in March just as all the Broadway theaters were closed. The studio suspended rentals starting on March 17, according to its Instagram.

Since then, the number of coronavirus cases has skyrocketed across New York State, and the extended quarantine has strangled businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Shetler and Zar did not return requests for comment. But sources say the space is now listed for rent, featuring massive skylights, two private terraces — and plenty of pianos.


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