Must-See Hell's Kitchen
by David Sokol, 07/08/2014 [Updated 12/29/2015]
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Photo: Gert Krautbauer
Many visitors happen on to Hell's Kitchen pre- or post-theater, because the neighborhood is immediately adjacent to Broadway. The Theatre District spirit thrives within Hell's Kitchen, too, thanks to countless Off-Broadway venues where experimental drama and future blockbusters thrill audiences. A consistently bright star in this constellation is Ars Nova, whose programming more than makes up for a less central location. The not-for-profit was founded in 2002 to nurture emerging voices in comedy, music and theater, and the shows featured on its intimate stage regularly garner praise.
Just as Ars Nova runs the gamut of performing arts, so does Hell's Kitchen. After drama, dance is a neighborhood specialty, thanks in part to the presence of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Joan Weill Center for Dance. Alvin Ailey founded the company in 1958 to celebrate African-American culture and modern dance in America, and it has occupied New York's largest building dedicated to dance since the facility's completion in 2005. That year also marked Mikhail Baryshnikov's launch of the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) on the top three floors of a mid-rise that also houses the Orchestra of St. Luke's DiMenna Center for Classical Music. BAC presents dance, music and other shows in spring and fall seasons in its Jerome Robbins Theater and Howard Gilman Performance Space, and it supports artists in residence year-round.