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New AMT Theater Opens with an Eye on Building Community

New AMT Theater on 45th Street aims to be an affordable resource for artists and theater makers in Hell’s Kitchen and the Theater District.

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New AMT Theater on 45th Street aims to be an affordable resource for artists and theater makers in Hell’s Kitchen and the theater district

First Off-Broadway theaters constructed post shutdown, the new venue is launching with the world premiere of “an unbalanced mind,” a new musical revue by Al Tapper

AMT Theater at 354 West 54th Street (Rendering by Philip H Cerrone)

(New York, NY) – AMT Theater, a modern new 99-seat Off Broadway theater located at 354 West 45th Street (formerly The Davenport), has opened in the heart of the theater district, the venue’s Producer Al Tapper, and Artistic Director, Tony Sportiello, today announced.  The first new Off-Broadway theater built in the theater district after its two-year shutdown, AMT will serve as a launching pad for small shows and as a permanent, affordable space where artists, theater makers, and the local community at large can go to test their works on a New York City stage.

“We want to make a difference in people’s lives,” says Tapper.  “We want to do new shows, to encourage new writers and directors.  We want to feature children’s shows and get young people involved in theater at an early age.  We also want to do cabaret because, well, it’s just fun.  We also want to serve as a regional theater to the people in our immediate area, to draw on their energy, and solicit their opinions – because we truly value the community around us.”

AMT Theater orchestra level

The clean, sleek space features a futuristic lighting scheme set against a black and white motif.  “When people hear about the black and white look, they’re a bit skeptical.  Even I was skeptical!” says Sportiello.  “But once they see the finished product, they agree it looks like a real work of art, and everyone’s been impressed.  In my opinion, it’s the most unique and striking Off-Broadway theater in the theater district. We can’t wait to share it with the community, so we’re looking forward to welcoming local theatergoers and press at a special launch event on August 16.”

AMT Theater is launching the space with the world premiere production of An Unbalanced Mind, a new musical revue by Al Tapper. The five-character revue is directed by Kelli Maguire, with music direction by David Wolfson.  Dana Aber, Brian Childers, L.R. Davidson, Michael Reilly and Joshua Pyram head up the cast.  The production features a collection of Al Tapper songs, some of which have been seen in his Off-Broadway shows, some of which are new, some of which have never been heard before.  ‘When you write music for as long as I have, you develop a ‘trunk’ full of songs,’ Tapper explains. ‘I’ve used a lot of these in shows such as “Sessions,” “National Pastime,” “The Paparazzi,” etc., but invariably you wind up leaving some on the cutting room floor.’ For more information, click here.

Logo for Al Tapper’s new musical “An Unbalanced Mind” now at AMT Theater

An Unbalanced Mind is running in rep with Seth Bison Hirsch’s “Love Quirks”, winner of four 2021 BroadwayWorld Off-Broadway Awards, including Best Production of a Musical, Best New Score of a Musical, Best New Book of a Musical and Best Direction of a Musical. For more information click here.

The AMT Theater staff also includes Tamara Flannagan (Technical Director), Sharon Osowski (General Manager), Julia Carr (Operations Manager), Mary Lauren (Youth Director), Deborah Greenberg (Theaterfest NY Producer), Laura Iniquez (US/ Mexican Liason), Kelli Maguire (Cabaret Director), Mateo Del Camp (Associate Producer), Mimi Warnick (New Works Development Director), Dan DeMello (Press Representative), and Gabrielle Piacentile (Website).

AMT Theater seen from balcony (Rendering by Philip H. Cerrone)

Aside from his work as Producer of AMT, Al Tapper is a Broadway composer, lyricist, playwright, humorist, leveraged buyout specialist and philanthropist – all of which have woven a rich tapestry of distinction and success. He recently won a prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting for his exuberant 2013 documentary Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy; this follows his acclaimed 2004 film “Broadway: The Golden Age”. He has written songs and lyrics for numerous musicals, including “Sessions,”“An Evening at the Carlyle,” “From Where I Stand,” “National Pastime,” “All Aboard,” “The Paparazzi,” “David” and more. He is the author of five books including A Minister, a Priest, and a Rabbi and A Guy Goes into a Bar.  His musical “National Pastime” played in Cooperstown and his latest documentary on the great hitter Ted Williams is available online.

Tony Sportiello is a playwright and producer whose work has been seen all over the country and all over the world.  Along with Al Tapper he has written the book for the shows “National Pastime,” “All Aboard,” “The Paparazzi” and “Upside Down.”  His play “Star Power” has been performed in London, “Tickets, Please!” in Los Angeles and “Crossed Wires” in China.  Along with Jason Hewitt e produced the musical “Sessions’,’ which ran for 300 performances Off Broadway.  The ultimate goal is to have a Broadway show but in the meantime he’s looking to work with theater artists and colleagues to help make AMT the ultimate ‘regional theater’ for Hell’s Kitchen, bringing original shows, children’s theater, cabaret and more to the area.

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