After conquering the independent film and TV world, A24 is venturing into live theater. The production and distribution company has bought the Cherry Lane Theatre, one of the oldest Off-Broadway venues in New York City.
According to a deed filed Friday in the New York City Department of Finance, the venue was purchased for $10 million by a corporation called the Cherry Lane Venue; said corporation’s stated address is the same as A24’s New York offices. The deal comes after the venue’s longtime owner, actor Angelina Fiordellisi, attempted to sell to the Lucille Lortel Theater Foundation in 2021, before the sale fell through due to price disagreements. A24’s interest in the property was first reported last November.
A source with knowledge of the deal told IndieWire that A24 will keep the newly acquired venue in the live theater business, as opposed to using it for film screenings or premieres. Cherry Lane will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of its opening this coming December.
The building located at 38 Commerce Street contains two stages: a 179-seat main stage and a 60-seat studio. Historically, the theater is best known for serving as the world premiere venue for plays by major artists like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Samuel Beckett, Edward Albee, Harold Pinter, and Sam Shepard. Fiordellisi first purchased the venue in 1996.
Although A24 might not be planning to convert Cherry Lane into a movie palace, its move into New York real estate is similar to Netflix’s 2019 purchase of another imperiled venue, the beloved single-screen Paris Theatre in Manhattan. Netflix also has an ownership stake in Los Angeles’ Egyptian Theatre.
News of A24’s purchase comes after a big 2022 for the studio, with the Best Picture-nominated “Everything Everywhere All at Once” becoming the highest-grossing film in its history. Other films from last year by the studio, such as “The Whale” starring Brendan Fraser and “Aftersun,” have also scored nominations at the upcoming Academy Awards. Film projects set for release from the studio later this year include “Beau Is Afraid,” “Showing Up,” “The Iron Claw,” “Past Lives,” “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt,” “The Deepest Breath,” “Earth Mama,” and “You Hurt My Feelings,” while TV shows in the works at the distributor include “Beef” and “The Idol.”
Curbed was the first to report A24’s purchase of the Cherry Lane Theatre.