The Cherry Lane Theatre, one of the West Village’s historic stages, has been bought by the film studio A24, according to a deed filed Friday. It was reported last November that the studio had been eyeing the property after the theater’s owner, actress Angelina Fiordellisi, tried and failed to sell it the year before. (She had listed it for $13 million, and a deal to sell it for $11 million fell through.) A24 paid $10 million through a corporation called Cherry Lane Venue, whose listed address is the studio’s New York office, in a partnership with Taurus Investment Holdings. (Netflix has similarly taken over a number of struggling historic venues — though they’re all movie theaters — including the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles and the Paris Theater on 58th Street.)
The Cherry Lane, which became a playhouse in 1923, is the oldest continuously running Off Broadway theater in the city. It figured prominently in the mid-century Off Broadway movement, showcasing work by Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, and Tennessee Williams, and like many other such spaces it’s been facing financial headwinds for awhile. As the New York Times reported, Fiordellisi almost sold the theater in 2010, citing an operating deficit of $250,000, but reversed her decision eight months later. In 2021, she almost closed a deal to sell the theater to the Lucille Lortel Theatre Foundation, but it ended up falling through. Still, this is likely to be a reprieve; A24’s pockets are deeper than most operators’ are likely to be, and presumably it wants to retain the theater as a theater instead of turning it into, say, a Brandy Melville storefront. Finally, a place for Lexi’s Euphoria play to make its Off Broadway debut.