Friday, June 11, 2021

The Drama Book Shop

Today, I got a chance to visit the newly reopened Drama Book Shop in Midtown. It was great to finally be able to return!

The Drama Book Shop used to be over on West 40th Street, but it shut down when the landlords figured they could make more money leasing the space to a high-end clothing store. A group of investors, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, bought the remaining stock of the bookstore and promised to reopen is somewhere in the same neighborhood.

Well, there were the inevitable delays, and then COVID hit, so the reopening has been a long time coming. The selection on hand looked about the same as it has always been, though I noticed they also had a section in the front for "Bestsellers" that included novels, poetry, and other books that had nothing to do with the theatre, which I don't remember from the past.

There used to be a theatre downstairs from the bookstore, where I had a reading of a selection from The Mysteries of the Castle of the Monk of Falconara as part of the book launch for The Best American Short Plays: 2005-2006. I was down there more recently for a talk given by the director Ivo van Hove. The new location of the Drama Book Shop has a roped-off staircase leading down to... dare we hope a theatre?

The new location also has a cafe, so you can get snacks and beverages. Currently, management is recommending that you make a reservation to be sure you can get inside, since capacity is capped. When I showed up on a Friday afternoon, though, they just waived me in without checking my reservation, so it looks like they're taking walk-up browsers, provided the store isn't too full.

I bought a volume of some Eugene O'Neill plays while I was there, and I look forward to spending more time reading this summer. Thank goodness the Drama Book Shop is open again for hungry readers like me!