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Queens Chronicle

Secret Theatre to build street front space

Theater take DOB regulations in stride

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Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:39 am, Thu Aug 8, 2013.

When the Department of Buildings gives out lemons, make lemonade.

The Secret Theatre in Long Island City closed down a fourth of its performance space last Saturday and simultaneously is looking to raise money for an expansion.

Because of DOB regulations the theater’s landlord must rework the ground floor, forcing the theater out of its firstbuilt space.

And although Richard Mazda, the founder of the theater and of the space’s house company, The Queens Players, admits it’s a less than ideal time because “of course like all theaters we are stony broke,” he has decided to seize on an offer to build a space with its own street entrance.

Right now the theater is set back several feet from 23rd Street, creating a truly secret location.

The new building will give the theater, which hosts many full shows a year from “Hamlet” to “Urine Town” and rents its space to the Queens Secret Improv Club and Face Off, a greater street presence.

“It’s a very exciting prospect for us since we now can welcome customers to the space with our own dedicated entrance,” he said.

Construction will begin in about a week, Mazda said.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to The Queens Players at fracturedatlas.org or non-tax-deductible donation can be sent directly to the theater.

In January 2005 Mazda founded The Queens Players, performing out of The Creek and The Cave’s unused bar space for free.

The company “grew and grew” Mazda said, and in two years he decided to move into the LIC Art Center building at its current location.

This became the Little Secret Theatre, which is the first theater space built on the property and is the area being shut down.

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