Performing arts center honors beloved Emmy-winning archbishop

- A building on Bleecker Street owned by the Archdiocese of New York sat vacant for years until Timothy Cardinal Dolan proposed turning it into a performance space.

Named after the beloved Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, which opened two and a half years ago, presents dozens of theater, music, film, and talk events every year. The center's complex includes a 270-seat theater, a 90-seat theater, four rehearsal studios, and an art gallery.

Sheen was a master at using the media to share what he called "timeless truths." He hosted the show Life Is Worth Living, first broadcast on the Dumont network and taped inside what is now Fox 5's building on the Upper East Side.

Sheen won two Emmys for outstanding TV personality, beating out Milton Berle, who quipped, "He's got better writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."

Actors Morgan Freeman, John Lithgow, and Vanessa Williams have all performed here.

A lot of interesting things are coming up. A play on literary giants J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis debuts on May 22. And a play based on the historic Little Rock Nine makes its New York premiere on May 30.

Inside the Sheen Center, the off-Broadway Loreto Theater has 274 seats and hosts shows, films, and talks. The Black Box Theater is a versatile 80-seat venue with moveable seats.

I caught choreographer Martha Clarke working on an upcoming work on the life of St. Francis.

And finally, an art gallery is located in the Elizabeth Street lobby.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center for Thought and Culture | 18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012 | (212) 925-2812 | sheencenter.org

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