Primary Stages founder Casey Childs, project director Sally Plass, and participants who lent their voices and stories to the Primary Stages Off-Broadway oral history archive pose for a photo during the launch party on March 2. (Photo by Veronica Shea)

Primary Stages Launches Off-Broadway Oral History Website

Almost 100 interviews with Off-Broadway luminaries went online on March 2.

NEW YORK CITY: Primary Stages has launched Off-Center, a website with almost 100 interviews with visionaries who founded and established what is now known as Off-Broadway. The website is at primarystagesoffcenter.org and went live on March 2.

Sally Plass, who has been associated with Primary Stages for 30 years in such roles as a stage manager and a set and props designer, serves as director of the project, and Primary Stages founder Casey Childs is the executive producer.

When Plass found herself with extra time in 2014, she said she jumped at the chance to create a recorded archive of Off-Broadway, which had been on Childs’s project wish list.

“In my college days, theatre history ended with Arthur Miller,” Plass said in a statement. “Now was the opportunity to capture the stories of those who had the drive, the talent, and the vision to birth such an important movement. We, along with a dedicated group of interns, have been recording about 45 interviews a year for the last two years.”

The database includes videos of Off-Broadway leaders sharing memories—some running a few minutes, others running more than an hour—as well as background notes on each participant. Primary Stages hopes the interview archive will serve as a valuable resource for current and future generations of audience members, artists, and scholars. Recently added interviews include actress Roberta Maxwell, founding member of Ma-Yi Theatre Group Ralph B. Peña, playwright Eduardo Machado, and puppeteer Ralph Lee, among others.

Founded in 1984, Primary Stages is an Off-Broadway theatre company dedicated to inspiring, supporting, and sharing the art of playwriting.

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