The Stendhal Syndrome

Mission and History


59E59 Theaters was established by the Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation in 2004 to grant professional space and expertise to non-profit theater companies premiering their work in New York City. Under the leadership of Val Day, Artistic Director, and Brian Beirne, Managing Director, 59E59 Theaters presents a year-round curated program of Off Broadway plays and musicals that are nurtured and supported through rent-free spaces, as well as production, ticketing, FOH, marketing, and press support.


The Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation was established by Founding Artistic Director, Elysabeth Kleinhans to create a new, state-of-the-art theater complex to host original and innovative theatrical productions in East Midtown Manhattan.

In 2002, the building at 59 East 59th Street was donated to the Foundation. The building was then gut renovated, creating three brand new theaters, Theater A, Theater B, and Theater C, designed by architect, Leo Modrcin, who collaborated with the Foundation to create an inviting ambiance.

Under the leadership of Founding Artistic Director Elysabeth Kleinhans and Executive Producer Peter Tear, 59E59 Theaters opened its inaugural season in February 2004 with a production of The Stendhal Syndrome produced by then resident company, Primary Stages, in the largest of its three spaces, Theater A. Shortly following, in April 2004, the other two spaces, Theater B and Theater C opened their doors with productions of Sun Is Shining, by the ground breaking British-Chinese Mu Lan Theatre Company, and My Arm, Tim Crouch's critically-acclaimed hour-long solo show from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, during the Theaters' first annual Brits Off Broadway—a season dedicated to premiering new work by Off Broadway-style UK companies. 

Since 2004, the theaters have been continuously occupied with shows running from three to seven weeks. For detailed information about past productions, please see our Archives.

In 2017, Elysabeth Kleinhans and Peter Tear stepped down from their roles, and Val Day, a longtime agent with William Morris and ICM, was appointed as Artistic Director. With the addition of a new Artistic Director, 59E59 Theaters moved to the final phase of transitioning from the founding team to a traditional theater management structure, begun in 2012 with the appointment of Brian Beirne as Managing Director.

Pictured: THE STENDHAL SYNDROME (2004). Presented by Primary Stages.