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Worth & Nancy Howe Return To The Theatre They Founded


Worth & Nancy Howe return to Roosevelt Island on October 26th when RIOC celebrates naming The Howe Theatre in the Cultural Center. The Howes pioneered MST&DA’s expanding role in community life.

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

When we learned that Worth and Nancy Howe were leaving Roosevelt Island, I wrote a tribute. In Los Angeles, Worth developed his acting career.

It was a major loss for Roosevelt Island, but true to his generous character, my article humbled Worth.

Worth & Nancy Howe return to performance space they built

Few Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance fans know how completely the Howes changed things for the future here.

Way back in 1989, both served on the Design Task Force that shaped the Cultural Center, but even before that, Nancy and Worth joined MST&DA as directors. That was 1984, and earlier shows were staged in a Goldwater Hospital auditorium.

In 1984, they got space in the Youth Center. That year, they staged four equity productions and a Children’s Theatre production of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.

Pretty impressive for our little town, then with a population well under 10,000.

For perspective, consider this:

  • In 1984, we had just the WIRE buildings.
  • Manhattan Park was five years away.
  • PS/IS 217 was even farther.
  • The Octagon was a wreck in a weedy field
  • And Southtown was a distant dream in the Master Plan for Roosevelt Island
  • No one imagined Cornell Tech filling in for space Goldwater Hospital left behind
  • FDR Four Freedoms Park was a dream lacking any concrete plans for coming true

“Diana Brill brought in Nancy & Worth to save the theatre,” MST&DA executive director Kristi Towey tells The Daily.

“They were quite the team, and they continue to be life-long friends, all living in Los Angeles now.”

“They physically — and I mean put their muscle into being there and actually assisted in the physical labor — helped to build what is now the theatre space inside the Cultural Center,” Towey added.

RIOC Honors the Howes

On October 26th, Worth and Nancy Howe return to Roosevelt Island for “a special event recognizing their historic contributions to the performing arts community on Roosevelt Island.”

“Renaming the theatre in honor of Nancy and Worth Howe is a fitting tribute to two people who expanded the role of Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance and influenced creativity in our community,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC).

“We at RIOC are honored to continue to support MSTDA.”

The theatre in the Cultural Center gets a new name, and it’s the “Howe Theatre.”

And the fun continues…

The Disney Villains Cabaret is a fundraiser event perfect for the whole family. Limited tickets available but there are still some.

“There are children’s activities and a cocktail hour for adults from 6:30-7:30, but like all Disney shows, there will be a happy ending,” Towey promises.

The Beauty & The Beast Children’s Theatre cast performs along with MST&DA staff, guest performers and a special preview performance from our Teen Theatre High School Musical cast. 

You don’t want to miss this.

More local stories of interest…

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