New York City Center has played a defining role in the cultural life of the City since 1943 when it was founded by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia with the civic mission to make the best in the performing arts accessible to all.
Today, the distinctive neo-Moorish theater welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience internationally acclaimed artists on the same stage on which legends like George Balanchine, Leonard Bernstein, and Barbara Cook made their mark. Since 1994, the treasured, Tony-honored Encores! series has given new life to the American musical theater canon, complimented in recent years by the Encores! Off-Center series, which features seminal Off-Broadway musicals filtered through the lens of today’s innovative artists. Dance continues to be an integral part of the theater’s mission through programs like the annual Fall for Dance Festival, which exposes a new audience to an international array of artists by offering subsidized tickets.
City Center is also the home to a roster of renowned national and international companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (City Center’s Principal Dance Company) and Manhattan Theatre Club. Through its robust education and community programs, City Center brings the performing arts to over 9,000 New York City students each year and activates all areas of the building with talks, master classes, art exhibitions, and intimate performances that provide audiences an up-close look at the work of the great theater and dance artists of our time.