The rooftop soundstage and garden at The Theater Arts Production Company School (TAPCo) is officially open for business!
Councilman Ritchie Torres joined principal Ron Link in cutting the ceremonial ribbon on the roof at 2225 Webster Avenue during its inaugural concert on Friday morning, May 31.
It was there that students debuted their outdoor careers at TAPCo, commissioning the soundstage with outstanding performances of ‘Run Freedom Run,’ ‘Lean on Me,’ and ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ as well as many more exciting hits.
More than just being used for performances, the rooftop also encompasses rows of gardening plots for the school’s gardening club and could even end up growing organic vegetables for the TAPCo cafeteria.
The room connected to the roof will also be converted into a television studio for students to produce content and record the outdoor performances with robotic cameras that are soon to be installed.
Link also explained that the rooftop would be open for community use in the upcoming months.
Due to safety regulations, part of the rooftop couldn’t be utilized as a soundstage but Link and TAPCo still plan to spruce up the unused section, likely with the assistance of the school’s gardening club. Torres said that securing the funding for TAPCo to build a rooftop soundstage would be one of his proudest legacies to leave when his final term in the city council concludes.
The project’s origin dates back to 2015, when Torres announced the allocation of $750,000 for the garden and soundstage.
That number grew to $2.5 million with additional support coming from the 92nd Street Y, as well as AT&T.
Since that time, TAPCo students had created and submitted designs of the rooftop to Torres’ office with help from the 92nd Street Y.
“I was so taken by the vision and the passion of the students that I couldn’t help but say ‘yes’,” said Torres. The councilman also mentioned how he strictly instructs his staff to never guarantee a financial allocation during a proposal, but this was simply too compelling to turn down.
Torres also commended Assemblyman Victor Pichardo for helping steer the soundstage project in the right direction.
“We have to think of the arts not as an afterthought but as an essential element of public education,” said Torres. He also mentioned how TAPCo, and schools like it, also deserve equal amenities to the most privileged schools throughout the city.