Mission & History

Our Mission

Classic Stage Company (CSC) is committed to reimagining classic stories for contemporary audiences. It is a home for New York’s finest established and emerging artists to grapple with great works of the world’s repertory that speak directly to the issues of today.



In 1967, director Christopher Martin founded CSC Repertory in a 100-seat theater at Rutgers Presbyterian Church on West 73rd Street. Following short stints in small spaces, Classic Stage Company grew to the point where it needed a permanent home. In 1973, the theater moved to its present premises on 13th Street, an intimate space that was a carriage house in its former life.

In the 50 years since, CSC has become a leading Off-Broadway theater that is a home for new and established artists, as well audiences seeking epic stories intimately told. Productions have been cited repeatedly by all major Off-Broadway theater awards including the Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.



1967- 1987

Christopher Martin founded CSC and led the organization until 1985, building an ongoing artistic company that performed the great plays of the world’s classical repertoire in a rotating schedule. Upon Mr. Martin’s departure, CSC came under the direction of Artistic Director Craig Kinzer, and then Producing Director Carol Ostrow.


Carey Perloff became Artistic Director in 1987. Her five seasons brought CSC a new level of recognition—not only in the Off-Broadway community, but nationwide as well. Ms. Perloff encouraged CSC to regard the great plays of the 20th century as legitimate “classics,” and did important work on plays by Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett and Bertolt Brecht, in addition to programming the mainstays of the classical canon.


David Esbjornson succeeded Ms. Perloff as Artistic Director in 1992. During his tenure, CSC continued to explore the classics of the 20th century, but also produced numerous new plays based on classic material, including works by major American playwrights, including Pulitzer Prize winners Tony Kushner and Paula Vogel.


Barry Edelstein became Artistic Director in 1998. In addition to continuing the theater’s tradition of producing major world classics and new adaptations of lesser-known works, Mr. Edelstein evolved the repertory to include forms such as dance and musical theater.


Brian Kulick became Artistic Director in 2003 and returned CSC to its roots with critically acclaimed productions of Shakespeare and multi-year programs like the Chekhov Cycle and Brecht Initiative. He instituted the Musical Theater Initiative, as well as introducing new work and important writers to CSC, including David Ives, whose Venus in Fur became CSC’s first Broadway transfer. It went on to receive a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. In 2004, CSC started the Young Company, which introduces thousands of students across New York City to the enduring power of Shakespeare.


Tony-Award winning director John Doyle became Artistic Director in 2016, having directed acclaimed productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Passion, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro for CSC. He leads the charge in recommitting to and revitalizing CSC’s mission of reimagining the classics for today’s audiences as CSC celebrates its 50th anniversary in the 2017-2018 season.