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Vortex Theater Company

Vortex Theater Company

Arts & Culture

7 Supporters


The Vortex Theater Company, founded in 1983 and in residence at the Sanford Meisner Theater in far west Chelsea, is dedicated to producing thought-provoking and well-executed theatrical experiences that reconstruct classical texts for a contemporary audience, while also benefiting the Chelsea artistic community. Since a change in management in early 2005, the company has produced 9 successful and well-acclaimed shows. These productions have received one Drama Desk Nomination and five Innovative Theater Award Nominations.


he Vortex Theater Company was founded in 1983 by playwright, actor and director Robert Coles and was dedicated to the mission of presenting new works by emerging playwrights. On January 1, 2005, the Vortex underwent some exciting changes. After 20 years as the Artistic Director, Robert Coles officially assumed the role of Playwright in Residence/Founder, and Joshua Randall became the new Artistic Director. After working at Manhattan Theatre Club, the New York City Opera, and Shenandoah Shakespeare, Joshua, along with a new managerial staff, is re-inventing the Vortex as a leader of off-off Broadway theater, emphasizing collaboration with other artistic venues within the Chelsea community.

In 1984, the company built its performance space in what had been an empty storefront loft at 164 Eleventh Avenue in a then-deserted part of far west Chelsea. In 1985 The Vortex's space was named the Sanford Meisner Theater in honor of the famed acting teacher who was a founding member of the Group Theater. The naming ceremony was organized by Sandy's great friend, the actress Elizabeth Wilson. Tony Randall served as master of ceremonies and many of Sandy's former students and peers attended, performed, or spoke, including David Mamet, Bob Fosse, Maureen Stapleton, Anne Jackson, Eli Wallach, Diane Keaton, Geraldine Page, Francis Sternhagen.

Since that time, the Sanford Meisner Theater has hosted performances by hundreds of different arts groups including not only theater but music, dance, and opera companies as well.

Other playwrights and performers whose work has been presented by the Vortex Theater Company include Nicky Silver, Jim Fall (director of the film Trick), David Greenspan, Patricia Scanlon, Don Nigro, Stephanie Correa, Pennell Somsen, David Steinhart, Robin Carrigan, Kevin Kuhlke, and Lisa Sokolov.

Under new leadership since 2005, the Vortex has now committed itself to creating and producing a diverse range of classical texts reconstructed for contemporary audiences. Focusing on unconventional theatrical experiences, the Vortex’ most recent acclaimed productions include Kristjan Thorgeirsson’s (named one of New York Magazine’s Top 25 Under 25) production of Maurice Maeterlinck’s THE BLIND at Classic Stage Company, LEARegardless at the Sanford Meisner Theater, Gisela Cardenas’ AGAMEMNON (DRAMA DESK NOMINATED for Gisela Cardenas, Outstanding Director of a Play, 2005) Maurgerite Yourcenar’s FIRES, A. Rey Pamatmat’s DEVIANT, and a new adaptation of Goethe's classic novel, THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER.

Group Members / View all (7) Group Members

  • Joshua Randall
  • Alex Audia6
  • David Hernandez-Palmar
  • Joseph Baron-Pravda
  • Malcolm Lawrence

Classical texts for a contemporary audience

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Vortex Theater Company

164 Eleventh Ave.
New York, NY 10011
United States
(212) 206-1764

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Moderator: Joshua Randall