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Historical Note: The Chelsea Theater Center was a not-for-profit theater company, founded in 1965 by artistic director Robert Kalfin and dedicated to the production of innovative and lesser-known works. The Chelsea Theater Center experimented with the use of multimedia, revived forgotten historic plays, and presented new, groundbreaking productions from lesser-known playwrights.
After presenting its first three seasons in Manhattan, in 1968 the Chelsea Theater Center became a company in residence at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. During its decade-long residency, Chelsea utilized BAM theater and office space and publicity resources while retaining full artistic control over its productions. Chelsea's BAM residency saw the production of shows such as Candide, Slave Ship, The Beggar's Opera, Saved, Tarot, The Screens, Yentl the Yeshiva Boy, and Kaspar. Both Candide and Yentl moved to Broadway.
Chelsea moved back to Manhattan in 1978, although four former Chelsea members - Michael David, Des McAnuff, Sherman Warner, and Edward Strong - remained in Brooklyn and continued to present experimental works at BAM as associate directors of the Dodger Theater. The Dodger Theater received BAM funding and theater space from spring 1978 until March 1980. Due to a lack of funding, the Chelsea Theater Center ended its operations in 1984.
Scope and Content Note: The Chelsea Theater Center files consist of news clippings (reviews of productions and feature articles), production photographs (including slides and contact sheets), promotional materials (including advertisements and special event materials), and programs from nearly 15 years of Chelsea Theater productions. The files also contain materials such as budget spreadsheets, scripts, actors' kits, and set design plans for certain shows.