Naked Angels was formed in 1986 by a group of artists intent on creating a creative home for rigorous new voices. Forming a community of writers, directors, actors, producers, and designers, our founders crafted an open environment for expression, experimentation, and production. The company took its name from the John Tytell book, which referred to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and other Beats as “a generation that wanted to break out of convention and scream.” As a young group, the Naked Angels artists felt the same way; needing a place where, through the medium of theater, they could show the world a different perspective of the times. Sometimes outraged, often irreverent, occasionally absurd, and always intelligent, enthusiastic and fun, Naked Angels’ work was a spark to which audiences were quickly drawn. The Space, as their theater on 17th Street was known, soon became a vital, thriving crossroads where talented theater artists met and collaborated: the destination of choice for those seeking a truly celebratory theatrical experience.
Starting in the mid 1990s, Naked Angels transitioned from being a company-led organization to having a single Artistic Director at the helm, leading a continuously robust population of artists on a nomadic trail throughout the city, free of the burden and pressure of maintaining a stage in the face of an explosion in NYC real-estate prices. Our creative leaders since that time have included founding company members Tim Ransom, Geoffrey Nauffts and Pippin Parker, as well as affiliated producers Jenny Gersten, Andy Donald, and Liz Carlson.
In 2017, founding member Jean Marie McKee became the Artistic Director of Naked Angels, shifting the company’s focus from full productions to targeted programs that build community using the already successful programs Naked Angels had long fostered, Tuesdays@9, 1st Mondays and 3T Writing Workshops for youth. All are free and open platforms for the development of emerging, professional, and student writers. We welcome everyone, so we attract individuals with diverse and dynamic stories and perspectives. Our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access is reflected in our staffing, our outreach to artists, our work with students in public school, foster care, and those facing incarceration. Our commitment to learning and improving is unwavering.
Naked Angels has been anything but conventional. For over 35 years, the company has operated at many levels, big and small. We have proudly helped develop work that has gone everywhere from downtown dives, to regional theaters, major Off-Broadway productions and even Broadway itself. Yet at the core of it all has been an unyielding support of dynamic storytelling. So long as we're serving artists with our communal spirit and helping to get the work done, then we are enthusiastically meeting our mission.