Abrons Art Center Artistic Director Jay Wegman is Moving On

abrons crew

Abrons Artistic Director Jay Wegman (holding the Obie) with Henry Street Settlement Executive Director David Garza, Former Abrons General Manager Adrian Saldana and Operations Manager Rose Ortiz at the 2014 Obie Awards.

A big transition is ahead at the Abrons Arts Center. After 10 years as artistic director, Jay Wegman is stepping down to become senior director of NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Since his arrival in 2006, the center has developed a reputation on the Lower East Side and citywide for its cutting edge, boundary-busting and experimental productions. Abrons is part of the Henry Street Settlement. The center’s historic playhouse celebrated its 100th birthday last year. In a profile to mark that occasion, the New York Times wrote:

Mr. Wegman likes risk. And he likes surprise. He often brings in performance curators to program work he wouldn’t himself have chosen. He’s content to leave artists alone, though he’ll occasionally suggest a post-rehearsal margarita, and doesn’t worry about whether their shows will sell tickets. Abrons, he said, is “a place for people to succeed or fail or land somewhere in between.”

The New York Times reported that Wegman’s successor will be chosen in the fall.

TLD Interview: Abrons Artistic Director Jay Wegman

The Residents - From "Sam's Enchanted Evening"

We spoke with Abrons Arts Center’s Artistic Director, Jay Wegman, as he was preparing to announce his 2012 Spring Season. We discussed some of the upcoming shows and what he would like to see for Abrons in the future. Wegman has been producing some very cutting edge performances over the last few years. In 2009, The New York Times noted that Abrons “is gaining a reputation as one of the last standing locations for avant garde performance downtown.”

TLD – Tell us what you’re excited about this season.

JW – Well the spring kicks off with John Cage – who used to be a music teacher here – and it’s the 100th anniversary of his birthday so Alarm Will Sound is coming. They are based in Chicago – and Carnegie Hall is bringing them here as part of their American Maverick Series, as well as the Jack Quartet – so those are two free events for the community.

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The New York Times profiles Abrons Arts Center Director Jay Wegman. The Times says the center is "gaining a reputation as one of the last standing locations for avant garde performance downtown." Wegman, who is a practicing priest, says "People put religious people into a box, and clergy into a smaller box… I don’t even address the box.”  There's a bit of news embedded in the profile: Philippe Petit, who gained fame for his high wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974, is considering a one-man show at Abrons.

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Later today: look for a preview of Community Board 3's alcohol licensing committee meeting on Monday. A community group is mobilizing to oppose a proposed restaurant at the corner of Essex & Canal. We'll look at the state of restaurants & bars below Delancey.