Ripley Grier Studios
If you stand in the lobby of 520 8th Avenue, you will hear the doorman asking visitors where they are headed. “Ripley Grier,” many will say. “17th floor.” “16th floor.” “Ripley Grier.”
These are not New York accountants heading in for another long day in the office. Some carry dance bags; some carry scripts. Some move with room-stirring charisma. One lean gentleman in a bowler hat announces his “Rippley Greeyah” destination with such aplomb that people turn and stare. ‘Who is that?’
If you find yourself on the Ripley Grier floors, you’ll feel like you are backstage Broadway. You’ll hear dancers moving en masse, soloists warming up, small vocal groups working on harmony. It is a musicianly, if unexpected, combination of voices, instruments, monologues and taps.
Electronic and wooden boards announce which studios are hosting auditions for which upcoming shows. These are or will be the shows that people are talking about.
The Ripley Grier Studios extend beyond this building to two others – one on 8th, one on 72nd. All in all, Ripley Grier offers 67 studios for rent. This well-used rehearsal space is run by spouses Patricia and Butch Grier, who have been overseeing the business for 29 years.
Patricia was a dance and exercise teacher prior to managing and growing the studios. Butch was a stuntman and actor. Together they have built these behind-the-scenes spaces that are humming with talent and hope for the future.
If you’re in New York and want to rehearse something in a Broadway-lucky space – ‘harmonious environments using Feng Shui principles’ – the Ripley Grier studios are also available for public rental.
Written by Elizabeth Newton