Founding President & CEO, The New 42nd Street
After a distinguished career as a dancer, Cora Cahan metamorphosed into an effective arts administrator, co-founding and serving as Executive Director of the Feld Ballet, developing the Lawrence A. Wien Center for Dance and Theater familiarly called “890 Broadway,” and acquiring and transforming the Elgin Cinema into the award-winning Joyce Theater, New York’s pre-eminent theater for dance.
In 1990, Cora Cahan was recruited to become President of The New 42nd Street, a non-profit organization established by New York State and New York City charged with restoring and finding appropriate uses for seven neglected historic theaters on the blighted block between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. The renewal of 42nd Street began in December 1995 with the rehabilitation and restoration of The New Victory Theater, New York’s first theater entirely devoted to children and families. Over the course of the following ten years, The New 42nd Street initiated and supervised the transformation of the remaining theaters and designed, built and operates the New 42nd Street Studios, a $34.7 million facility which houses rehearsal studios, offices, and a 199-seat black box theater, The Duke on 42nd Street, creating a permanent workplace for performing artists and the creative process on 42nd Street.
Ms. Cahan serves on the Boards of The Park Avenue Armory; The Times Square Alliance and The Center for Architecture Foundation (NY AIA); is a member of Bessie Awards Steering Committee; and on the CalArts Board of Governors. She is Founder and Trustee Emeritus of both the Joyce Theater and Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. She has been a member of the Governor’s Commission Honoring the Achievement of Women in New York State, and the Advisory Commission to the High School of Performing Arts, and served on the Board of Directors of the Greenwich Village Historic Preservation Society and NYC & Company. She has been the recipient of a number of awards for public service, including the 2001 New York State Governor’s Arts Award.
Ms. Cahan is married to Bernard Gersten, Founding Executive Producer of Lincoln Center Theater, and Jenny and Jilian are their two grown daughters.