Best Of 2021

Best show of showbiz chutzpah: Ward Smith’s Studio Grand Central and Off-Central Players

Ward Smith’s Studio Grand Central and Off-Central Players

Buy a building and start a theater company and gallery in the midst of a pandemic? Why not? In January, when actor/director Ward Smith saw that acting coach Andi Matheny was selling her studio in the Grand Central district, he and his sister, mortgage industry exec Karen Riffe, jumped on the opportunity. Matheny’s space was already set up with seats and lighting, and Smith opened in August with “Rasheeda Speaking,” the first in a season of provocative contemporary plays well-suited to the intimate space. (Bonus: Riffe’s charmingly candid blog about her introduction to the backstage world.) studiograndcentral.com