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The Kitchen Theatre Company

A side of edgy drama, anyone?

Words by Maggie Gilroy | Artwork by Kelly O'Neill

Syracuse theatre critic Jim MacKillop, who has reviewed shows for the Post-Standard and Syracuse New Times, dubbed the Kitchen “Upstate New York’s only Broadway Theater.” With the slogan “important conversations happen in the Kitchen,” this space’s stories have ranged from “The Mountaintop,” a fictional telling of Martin Luther King’s last day, to “Peter and the Starcatcher,” a politically correct prequel to Peter Pan. The Kitchen was first formed in 1991 and moved into its current home on West State Street in 2010, becoming the first theatre in Ithaca to own its own structure. Led by Artistic Director Rachel Lampert, the Kitchen is home to a black box with a 99-seat thrust stage and presents non-mainstream plays as well as world premieres. “My late wife and I would have the experience of seeing something in New York, this happened many times, and she kind of liked it in New York, and then when it was at the Kitchen it just blew her away because it was so much more powerful when the actors [were] about six feet away from you,” MacKillop says. “It just has more effect.”

Lampert often begins mainstage productions by asking that the newbies identify themselves, asking them why they chose to come to the kitchen that night and creating a warm feeling before the show even begins. This neighborhood feel extends to locally-owned businesses that provide deals for patrons who present them with Kitchen tickets. “The Kitchen has that advantage of being downtown, and its location in the west end,” says Bunge, who frequents both the Kitchen and the Hangar. “Its neighborhood is getting more funky and fun all the time, a new restaurant went in, there’s other new business coming into that part of town. So that’s a good thing.”

Behind the Curtain:

  • Address: 417 West State/MLK, Jr. St. Ithaca, N.Y. 14850
  • Student tickets: $15 rush
  • Mainstage season: Year round
  • Distance from Syracuse University: 53 miles; 1 hour 4 minutes by car

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