The Thorne Center & Bennett Park
November 5, 2023
On Sunday, November 5, the Millbrook Community Partnership, Inc., (MCP) held a public gathering in the future theater of the Thorne Center to update community members on the nonprofit’s two transformative projects – Bennett Park and the Thorne Center. Well over 200 residents were in attendance.
Oakleigh Thorne, President of MCP, Inc., shared plans for the Thorne Center with programming highlights including a culinary center, fine art, dance and music studios along with a digital arts lab that will, “provide community members of all ages with access to the expertise and tools necessary to design and build in any digital medium”. Thorne then introduced the new CEO of MCP, Inc., Cora Cahan, who has had a long and distinguished career in the performing arts and nonprofit arts administration. Amongst Cahan’s impressive list of positions, she served for 29 years as President and CEO of The New 42nd Street where she was in charge of the restoration of seven Times Square theaters. Cahan took the stage and announced that the Thorne Center theater would be designed by renowned designer, David Korins. Cahan said, “how thrilled I am to have been asked by MCP to help reimagine and reinvent the Thorne Center. It is fascinating to have worked to revitalize 42nd Street in mid-town Manhattan, to now be working to revitalize this iconic Millbrook building. And what could be more exciting than to have David Korins, who has designed 25 Broadway shows as the designated Thorne Center theater designer?” Korins then introduced himself and explained that he first learned of the Thorne Center from his good friend, collaborator and local resident, Lin Manuel Miranda, and how delighted he was when Cora Cahan reached out to him about designing the theater. He indicated that he intends to maintain as much of the original beauty of the current auditorium as possible, while creating a theater that will be designed to accommodate professional theater, dance and music performances, along with film and multimedia productions and workshops.
Thorne then made the third, and final, announcement that the eastern portion of Bennett Park was officially open to the public and accepting visitors. He encouraged attendees to go immediately following the presentation. He shared photos of the beautiful new park which includes paved walking paths, wooden benches, lamp posts throughout and a restored and reimagined Greek Theatre which was part of the original Bennett College campus and will hopefully be a spot for small music performances, readings and gatherings for many years to come.