Norman McGrath Returns to Photograph Penn Station 50+ Years Later

Renowned architectural photographer Norman McGrath got behind the camera once again to shoot the set of The Eternal Space. McGrath, whose work is internationally acclaimed, lent many photos from his catalog to help recreate New York’s old Penn Station on our stage. Seeing the show earlier in the week, he called it a “masterpiece” and shot the set yesterday afternoon as a “dramatic and fitting climax” to his photography of Penn Station that began some 50 years ago.

Below are some photos of the master photographer shooting his own work in an unimaginable and unanticipated way. We also include a video with our Marketing Director, Malini Singh McDonald, to discuss his career, his inspiration to photograph Penn Station’s demolition and his critique of our production. 

OUR MAS SUMMIT 2015 PRESENTATION WAS A SUCCESS!

Photo by Malini Singh McDonald

Photo by Malini Singh McDonald

The Eternal Space cast and crew were honored to be featured at the MAS Summit for New York City 2015. It was an amazing opportunity and a great success! We gained a new audience of thousands because of the MAS's live web stream of the event.

Below are some pictures and video from the evening at the Times Center.

Photo by Malini Singh McDonald

Photo by Malini Singh McDonald

We were given a wonderful introduction by MAS Board Member, William H. Wright II who turned it over to Justin to provide context for the context for the scene.

Below is a portion of scene one read by Clyde Baldo as activist and English teacher, Joseph Lanza, and Matt Pilieci reading Paul Abbot the construction worker and photographer taking Penn Station down while photo documenting the process. Both actors will be playing the roles in our upcoming production starting November 14th. 

Many thanks again to the MAS for letting us take part in such an incredible event! We were grateful to be a part of it. 

From left to right: Rome (Production Manager), Clyde (Joseph), Justin (Playwright), Dan Stern (Narrator), Malini (Marketing), Matt Pilieci (Paul)  Photo by Malini

From left to right: Rome (Production Manager), Clyde (Joseph), Justin (Playwright), Dan Stern (Narrator), Malini (Marketing), Matt Pilieci (Paul) 

Photo by Malini

We had a blast... clearly. 

 

 

The Latest Press Release for Our World Premiere

On October 28, 1963 the Original Penn Station was Demolished, Forever Altering the NYC Landscape.

Over 50 Years Later, the Story of an Unlikely Friendship is Revealed.

 

THE ETERNAL SPACE

A World Premiere Production

Written By Justin Rivers

Directed By Mindy Cooper

Performances Begin November 13 at Theatre Row

 

NEW YORK, NY, October 15, 2015 – The world premiere of THE ETERNAL SPACE, a new play written by Justin Rivers and directed by Mindy Cooper, will begin performances at New York City’s Theatre Row on November 13, 2015.  

October 28th, 1963 marked the end of an era in New York City history. The demolition of the old Pennsylvania Station had begun, and as the wrecking crew worked to dismantle the 53-year-old architectural marvel, a chance meeting between a construction worker running from his past and an English teacher who can’t let his go sparks a three year odyssey where one man fights to keep the station standing while the other tears it down.

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the demolition of the old Penn Station, THE ETERNAL SPACE uses original photography from the journalists who documented the station's destruction and recreations of broadcast recordings of the day to chart an unlikely friendship during the social and cultural upheavals of the mid-1960s.

"I decided the demolition photography would have to be central to the show,” said Rivers. “Not only would it provide the backdrop for all the scenes, it would be a living presence on the stage. Since these photos communicate so much, they really became the third character on the stage with their own story to tell. They even have their own stage directions." THE ETERNAL SPACE will feature the photography of Norman McGrath, Peter Moore, Alexander Hatos, Ron Ziel and Aaron Rose.

The loss of the beaux-arts Penn Station would invigorate the efforts of the preservation movement both locally and nationally. National legislation that followed would later be critical to saving Grand Central Terminal and many other NYC buildings.

Playwright Justin Rivers wrote the first draft of THE ETERNAL SPACE in 2002 as a testament to all the things we don't appreciate until they're gone. Currently he is the author and co-collaborator of The Wonder City, a graphic novel that re-imagines the history of NYC. He is also Founder and Executive Director of The Character Connection Initiative, a non-profit organization that brings character education to inner-city middle school students and teachers throughout NYC. He has written and produced fifteen plays.  

Director Mindy Cooper  has been a collaborator in the New York theater and dance communities for over 30 years. Her body of work as a performer, choreographer and director includes Broadway- (Chicago, Titanic, Dracula, Beauty and the Beast, Wrong Mountain, Song & Dance), Off Broadway- (Soul Doctor, 50 Shades- The Musical Parody, Mars/Venus Live, and Five Course Love),  FringeNYC and NYMF, as well as The Broadway Series at Town Hall.

The cast of THE ETERNAL SPACE will feature Clyde Baldo and Matt Pilieci. Baldo is an actor, director and photographer whose credits span more than fifty plays and thirty films. His play Glimpses was first performed at Arclight Theatre and has been performed twice in Rio de Janeiro. He is a proud member of The Amoralist Theater Company. Pilieci is a Co-Founder and former Associate Artistic Director of The Amoralists Theater Company. He is a graduate and company member of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts whose credits include Through The Yellow Hour (Rattlestick Theater) and Hotel Motel (The Amoralists).

Scenic design is by Jason Sherwood (Goodspeed Musicals: The Circus in Winter, Yale Repertory Theater: In the Next Room). Projection design is by Brad Peterson (Broadway: Fish in the Dark). Lighting design is by Zach Blane (Roundabout: Too Much, Too Much, Too Many, Suicide Incorporated). Costume design is by Tristan Raines (NYC: Bare, Tribes, The Internationals, Soul Doctor). Sound design is by Benjamin Blank (Social Life The Musical). Sara Zick is the associate producer. Public relations services by John Capo Public Relations.

 THE ETERNAL SPACE will be presented at Theatre Row’s Lion Theatre, located at 410 West 42nd Street in New York City.

Performances will be held from November 14 through December 6, 2015.  All seats are $56.25.

To view the performance schedule and purchase tickets, visit www.TheEternalSpacePlay.com

 

www.TheEternalSpacePlay.com

@TheEternalSpace

Facebook.com/TheEternalSpacePlay

Instagram.com/TheEternalSpace

Remnants of Penn Station Tour & Show Ticket Deal

Untapped Cities has created a special deal for NYC history buffs and Penn Station enthusiasts. As our co-promoted tours continue to sell-out, Untapped Cities is offering a combo tour and show ticket for selected Sunday performances during the fall. Beginning at noon, attendees will enjoy the 90 minute tour, led by playwright Justin Rivers and licensed tour guide Tamara Agins. We'll hunt for the relics of Penn Station past before heading over to Theatre Row on 42nd for a 3pm curtain. During the roughly 90 minute intermission between events, attendees can take advantage of lunch deals that we have created in the vicinity of Theatre Row. Bookings for this combo deal are available exclusively through Untapped Cities and offer a 20% discount on the show ticket. Space is limited, but you can read all about it  here and get the combo deal here.

We hope to see you all at the show this fall!

New Tour Date Added for the Remnants of Penn Station Tour with Untapped Cities

These tours keep selling out. As we work toward's the world premiere of the play in the fall, we have a busy fall full of events that celebrate Penn Station and our ultimate opening. First up, we have added a date to calendar for yet another Penn Station tour. Join playwright Justin Rivers and our friends at Untapped Cities for the September event. Clicking here will bring you to our new Other Events page where you can find out about all the exciting stuff planned around our Off-Broadway opening. 

Backer Reward and Ticketing Update

A proof of the Backer Reward postcard, designed by Courtney Zell.

A proof of the Backer Reward postcard, designed by Courtney Zell.

Hey Backers!

We’re in the midst of some exciting times for our upcoming production but I wanted to address some important housekeeping points for our backers.

Backer Reward Fulfillment: 

Over the past six months it was necessary to use all of our time and resources to secure the theater and engage the other key components that will make The Eternal Space a full-fledged Off Broadway production this November. With most of that safely underway, I will be able to devote the month of July to fulfilling the print rewards that I know you’ve all been so patiently waiting for. These include the train ticket reproduction, the postcard, and the Norman McGrath prints. The only exception will be the designed production poster. We haven’t printed those yet since we are waiting to confirm the talent names. Our goal is to fulfill the posters at some point in the fall. Above you will see a proof of our backer postcard as designed by illustrator and artist Courtney Zell

Ticketing: 

For those of you who filled out the ticketing request forms we thank you and want you to know that we have received and are processing your requests. Since it took a few weeks to get the The Eternal Space into the Telecharge system, we are now ready to generate your invoices and send them along. Again prepare to receive those invoices throughout the month of July.

If you have tickets coming to you as a backer reward and haven’t had the chance to reserve your seats, you still can by clicking on this form. Please do so as tickets are already on sale to the public. And for those backers who don’t have tickets as part of their reward package but would like to jump on purchasing tickets for the fall, visit our newly instated Telecharge profile page by clicking here.

Should you have any questions or concerns I am happy to field them and again, I thank you for your support and your patience. Launching an Off-Broadway production is a mammoth task and one that wouldn’t be possible without your support.

With gratitude, 

Justin

Weekly Update: April 28, Jane's Walk NYC Edition

Greetings Backers,

More exciting news to report: The Municipal Art Society NYC asked me to lead three tours this coming weekend as part of their Jane’s Walk NYC celebration. Jane’s Walks are given in cities all over the world from May 1-3 to commemorate Jane Jacobs, urban visionary and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. She is pictured above at the AGBANY Penn demolition protests in 1963.

Photo by Alison Mester 

Photo by Alison Mester 

Of course, my walks will focus on the demolition and remnants of Old Penn Station. These will be a little different from the tours we do in partnership with Untapped Cities, but still in the same spirit of Old Penn exploration. Click here for the info. There is no RSVP or ticketing required, all the walks are free. You just show up and look for the guy standing in front of the Penn Eagle holding a MAS plaque. We even have one this Friday at 1PM if you want to come by on your lunch hour. 

If you plan on attending please let me know. I’d love to say hi and if I can hand deliver your McGrath print, that would be awesome! Also, if you’re interested in volunteering (mainly helping me check people in and holding MASNY plaques) let me know, it will get you into the Jane’s Walk NYC celebration at the White Horse Tavern this Sunday, May 3rd at 6:00pm. 

In other news: If you haven’t reserved the performance date for your Kickstarter reward tickets please do so by clicking over and filling out the online form. Remember you have until May 15th before we open ticketing up to the general public. 

I hope where ever you are, you’re enjoying a beautiful day.

 

Weekly Update: Tax Day Edition, April 15, 2015

Taken from the New York Transit Museum's Landmark's exhibit currently up at Grand Central Terminal

Taken from the New York Transit Museum's Landmark's exhibit currently up at Grand Central Terminal

Happy midweek to you! Here's your weekly update on all things The Eternal Space:

  • Last Saturday we had two more successful Penn Station Remnant Tours with our friends at Untapped Cities. Pictures will be coming soon. In the meantime we've set the date for our next round: Sunday, May 31 at 2pm. Untapped Cities still has a waiting list to get through but they've opened up some spots should you want to join us. Click here to reserve a ticket. I would suggest acting fast because these tours tend to sell out. If you can't make this round, we're also planning a special tour in October as well.
  • For all Kickstarter backers $50 and above I sent out emails about reserving your reward tickets to our show before we put the them on sale through Telecharge. If you didn't see it yet, here's the link to our online form. Kickstarter Backers have until May 15 to choose their seats before the general public. Needless to say, I'll keep reminding you. Remember: $50 & $75 backers are entitled to one ticket$100 and above backers are entitled to two tickets.
  • Norman Print Update: I'm continuing to hold off on fulfilling the McGrath prints since artist and illustrator extraordinaire Courtney Zell is almost finished designing our official postcard. Once that is printed, I am stoning two birds in one mailing (no birds will be hurt in your Norman print/postcard fulfillment). Thank you for your patience.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

 

Weekly Update: April 6, 2015

There is so much... awesome... to report from last week so let's get to it. 

First, we signed the lease on The Lion Theatre! Ladies and gentlemen, because of you, this production is officially a reality with a home. We will open on Thursday, November 12 and run through  Sunday, December 6.

In the coming weeks we will activate our advance ticket sales through Telecharge. Backers who have tickets coming to them as part of their rewards package will be getting an email directly from me asking when they would like to attend the show. This is so I can enter you into the Telecharge system before other potential audience members can purchase those seats. In short: you guys get first dibs.  

To be clear you do not need to take any action right now! Just expect an email from me by the end of this week and it will explain the next steps.

Last Wednesday evening we had a stellar event with the New York Transit Museum. The coordinators reported that it was their best-attended Platform event yet and there was a lot of positive buzz concerning our show specifically. It was literally standing room only as people were stuffed in the train cars trying to listen to the show because the platform was covered with audience members. 

We are hopeful that the museum will work with us to coordinate a dedicated event just for our before our production begins in the fall. We were also appreciative to have some friendly backers attend the evening and show their support. Big thanks again to those who came out! 

Here are a few more pictures from the evening. I will be posting all the photos up on Instagram each day this week. 

Lastly, some Kickstarter backers have been reaching out about the Norman McGrath prints. I would like to clarify that they have not been mailed out yet. I bulk-ordered the proper shipping envelopes and awaiting their arrival before I begin the fulfillment process. Once I do, I will send a confirmation email stating that they were sent out so you know to expect them. 

Have a great week and thanks!

Weekly Update: March 23, 2014

Last week I mentioned that The Eternal Space was chosen to be part of the New York Transit Museum’s Platform performance event and I’m happy to report that we’ve been scheduled for the evening of April 1st at 6:30. The museum describes Platform as “an open mic night for historians and urbanists… a show-and-tell for their creative musings on mass transit.”

I met up with the coordinator of the event last Tuesday morning and we scoured the museum for the best performance space. For those who may not know, the Transit Museum occupies the refurbished 1936 Court Street subway station in downtown Brooklyn. The lower level is the station platform, occupied on both sides by historic subway cars that people are allowed to go in and out of at their leisure. Most of the evening’s performances will take place inside those cars. 

Our thirty-minute select scene will be read on the station platform between the old 1963 World’s Fair shuttle train (which left from Penn Station) and a 1933 BMT train car that is worth a look all on its own. We’ll be using restored Grand Central waiting room benches as audience seating and the photographs will likely be cast on one of the historic train cars.

Clyde Baldo and Matt Pilieci will reprise their roles as Joseph Lanza and Paul Abbot with technical direction by Rome Brown and stage directions read by Dan Stern.

For those who are local and want a sneak peek at the show this is an awesome opportunity in a unique space. Tickets are $15 but if you enter the code CREATE10 when you purchase the tickets from NYTM’S Platform page, you can snag them for $10. That’s quite a deal considering there will be ten other artists across several media also on hand to enjoy that evening.

Click through to this page for more info and the opportunity to purchase tickets. If you plan on attending let me know, I’d love to say hi.

The Return of the Weekly Update... Ides of March Edition

My apologies for being out of touch over the past few weeks. We’ve had a great deal going on and there’s hardly been time to write. I have a long list to report and will try to do so today in brief. Over the subsequent weeks I’ll focus on unpacking each point one-by-one with a little more detail. 

First, the Norman McGrath prints are in my possession and they are amazing! For those backers who are owed these I will begin that fulfillment process soon. Next week I’ll have more for you on the exact timing and method. Also for those interested in purchasing a print, we will have them up for sale on the website very soon as well. 

Second, I believe I reported in my last update eons ago that we were booking The Lion on Theatre Row right in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district. I’m happy to report that the ink is almost dry on the contract and it looks like November 12 will be our opening. I’ll be sure to let you know when that is official so we can begin to schedule those backers who have show tickets coming their way.  

Tour photo by Alison Mester 

Tour photo by Alison Mester 


Third,  you may have heard through social media that our Penn Station Remnant Tour co-hosted with Untapped Cities was a great success. Not only did we sell out the one intended backer tour, Untapped Cities had such interest from their readership that they created a second tour. That one sell out too! Then there were enough people on the waiting list to hold two more tours in mid-April AND… wait for it… both sold out as well! Now we’re looking at tour dates for the beginning of June. The backers who attended our first tour reported that they really enjoyed the tour. If you’re interested in joining us in late June, you won’t be disappointed. As soon as we finalize the date, I will reach out to you guys first in case tickets go fast like the others. 

Tour photo by Alison Mester 

Tour photo by Alison Mester 

And lastly, I am excited to report that the New York Transit Museum has picked The Eternal Space to be highlighted in it’s evening transit arts program called Platforms. We are setting the date and finalizing our offering’s format but it could be as early as April 1. If you’re in the area and want a sneak peak at the show you should come on down. We will be performing inside one of the most unique museums in the city.

Ok, that was a long one, but again, there are many awesome things happening for our production. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I look forward to being in touch next week.   

Weekly Wednesday Production Update--Norman McGrath Prints

Photo by Norman McGrath 

Last Friday I spoke to Norman about our successful Kickstarter funding. He was thrilled and agreed that he and I should pick three prints for our backers to choose from. He wanted me to assure them that he would take good care to choose pictures that have never been printed before and were also special to him. 

After I give him a tally of who wants what, he will personally produce, sign, and number each print to increase their value.  In addition Norman is going to increase the size of the print from an 8 1/2" X 11" to a 11"X14" to give it "more presence" should our backers decide to display it. Overall he is excited to get this process started and I am so grateful to have Norman involved.

If you didn't have the opportunity to contribute to the Kickstarter and would like to make a tax deductible donation to our upcoming production, you can click through to my artist page at The Field and do so easily. If you're interested in purchasing a special edition Norman McGrath print please contact us through our email widget on the home page and we would be happy to set that up for you.

In other news... we are putting together proposals to submit to theaters, some I'm hoping will go out before Thanksgiving. I'm meeting with Untapped Cities next week to discuss the particulars of the Penn Station tour and will be sure to update you on our progress next week. 

Until then, be well and stay warm!

Introducing Your Weekly Wednesday Update

Pic by Dawn Slegona. 

Pic by Dawn Slegona. 

It's hard to believe it's been almost a full week since we funded our Kickstarter campaign. Now that we have a production to mount, I will keep you informed of our progress through weekly blog posts. I thought Wednesday would be a good day for these as I will be concurrently be doing Kickstarter Backer updates on the same day. 

With these updates, you'll get an inside look at things like booking a theater space to securing production staff or maybe even some new adventures in uncovering demolition photos straight through to behind-the-scenes peeks at rehearsals. If on some weeks there isn't that much to report, I'll include another rare photo. 

Either way, you're in the loop and an important part of our process. We cannot wait for everyone to see this show and now you can say you've been with us since the beginning.