Under St. Mark's Theater
A venue where many independently produced (as in not affiliated with any of the major improv theaters) improv shows. It is located on St. Marks Place in Manhattan.
As it became more and more competitive to be cast in an improv show on one of the stages of the major improv theaters, up-and-coming improv students could not find places to perform. At Under St. Marks an established group (anything from a veteran UCBT Harold team to a long-time indie group) will often rent the space and invite less experienced teams to open. The less experienced team will bring a big crowd and the veteran team will close out the show.
USM has helped to evolve an unofficial Indie League of improv groups.
Amy Rhodes performed in a long-running comedy called Spooky Dog for Horse Trade Theater. While there, she learned that Horse Trade wanted to rent out its under-used space, the Under St. Marks Theater. She posted on the IRC that improvisers should consider using it. Rob Lathan started renting the space for his period variety show The Osgood-Schlatter Show. Also the sketch group Ralph staged its show Mr. Ralph's Neighborhood there. After performing there as part of the Will Hines show "Tim Conway Jr.'s Cavalcade of Stars," Rogue Elephant saw the potential for a regular all-improv show in the space. In July of 2004, they began renting USM for bi-weekly improv shows with Reuben Williams, which at that time was just beginning to perform under the name "Robin Williams." Rogue Elephant and Reuben Williams would perform every other week alongside one new team. Occasionally there would be a short stand-up set as well. Soon many improv and sketch groups followed suit and began booking Under St. Marks and its sister space The Red Room for regular improv and variety shows.
Rogue Elephant has hosted a very long run of shows on periodic Friday nights. Thank You, Robot currently hosts their show, Summer Fridays, on alternating Fridays. Sherpa hosts a show there regularly, usually two Saturdays a month. As does Jump On Three the first Friday of the month at 10:30.
Other past performances include:
- The Law Firm
- Fat Penguin
- The Brothers Hines
- Shark Tank
- We Can't Live in a Cave
- UCBT Harold Teams
- I Eat Pandas
One side wall of the stage features removable wood panels to expose the original sandstone and brick wall, the opposing side is a usable stand-up bar.
There is a backstage dressing room with direct access to crossover, stage and restroom. The lighting system includes a carefully designed reparatory plot which allows a great variety of looks, areas and colors. Four Re-Focusable and Re-Gellable instruments add to its versatility.
This space is equipped with a sound package that includes: a mixing board with a microphone jack, a dual CD Deck, digital hookup, and 4 speaker stereo sound.
Additional amenities include: air conditioning, a projector and screen available for rent and set and prop storage.
UNDER St. Marks has a beer and wine license! The Beer Pantry can be open upon request.
94 ST. MARKS PLACE BETWEEN 1ST AVENUE & AVENUE A
BASEMENT THEATER, NO WHEELCHAIR ACCESS
HORSE TRADE THEATER GROUP
85 EAST 4TH STREET NY, NY 10003