May 7, 2020 By Christian Murray
The operator of a well-known Long Island City theater company announced Tuesday that he is closing his doors for good.
Richard Mazda, who founded the Secret Theatre in Long Island City more than 10 years ago, took to social media Tuesday to notify residents and the arts community that he is closing the Long Island City institution permanently.
“This is a very difficult video to make but today I am announcing that the Secret Theatre is closing permanently,” Mazda said. The video ends with him panning around the 44-02 23rd St. theater and then heading out the exit.
Mazda, a Sunnyside resident, attributed the closing to the economic damage caused by COVID-19. His theater—like all non-essential businesses—was ordered shut in March.
He said that he was not prepared to go into debt not knowing when he would be permitted to reopen and when tourists would return.
“We have loved providing Shakespeare, musicals, weird avant-garde off left field plays, children’s shows, dance festivals, musical festivals, concerts, operate and hosted film festivals,” he said.
Mazda said that he expects other companies like his to close.
“The plain truth is that the theater business is in such trouble now,” he said. “I expect that we will be one of many small theaters to close—certainly one of many micro businesses.”
The Secret Theater will not be completely gone. Mazda has set up a Secret Theater online academy geared toward children for voice, acting and singing coaching.
“Thanks a lot everyone. We have really loved being here.”