Rent hike threatens to close beloved Drama Book Shop

Posted: 6:43 PM, Oct 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-26 18:43:14-04

MIDTOWN, Manhattan -- It has survived fires, floods, break-ins and armed robberies over an entire century.

But now the Drama Book Shop may become a victim of rising commercial rents in midtown.

The Drama Boom Shop is not about books. It’s about people.

“It starts starts with the staff, customers, playwrights,” Allen Hubby, The Vice President of Drama Book Shop told PIX11. “They love being here. They are very knowledgeable and that makes customers feel welcome."

For more than 100 years, it has been the hubbub of the New York theater world, where famous actors and those not so famous go in search of monologues and kindred souls.

“It helps to remind me why I came to New York originally,” Eileen Heffernan, an actress, told PIX11.

One of the favorite memories is how "Hamilton" creator Lin Manuel Miranda wrote “In the Heights” upstairs in what is now the Story Pirates children’s theater space and workshopped it in the downstairs black box theater.

“My biggest memory is watching him working away writing like there’s no tomorrow,” Ric E. Anderson, senior manager at Drama Book Shop, told PIX11. “Who knew at the time what a genius."

But now, that the landlord is hiking the $18,000 a month rent at the 250 W. 40th St. location to close to $30,000 this treasure trove for thespians is on the hunt once again for the perfect nest to nurture a love of theater.

“It makes sense to be in the lobby of the theater or maybe at a cabaret,” Hubby told PIX11.

“It feels like it would be a stab in the heart of the theater,” Livia Foley, acting’s student,” told PIX11. “I feel like the community will do what it has to do to keep it going."

There are already three different GoFundMe pages set up by loyal customers as the search for long term, affordable space continues.