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Iconic Drama Book Shop Priced Out Of Theater District Location

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The curtain may be closing for good on a staple in the performing arts community as the Drama Book Shop in Manhattan's Theater District is being priced out of its lease.

"This was the first place I ever went to when I moved to New York City," said Lachlan Quertrnus. "Whatever you need is here."

Like most actors just starting out, this shop is where he finds new plays and monologues for classes and auditions.

"I can't even tell you how many people who have documented hours here," he said. "It's so important to the community."

Well-known actors such as Brian Dennehy and Laura Linney regularly stop by, but when news broke the shop may close because its rent skyrocketed, notable customer Lin-Manuel Miranda stepped in.

"Lin was here, daily and at the time is when he was creating 'In the Heights,'" said senior manager Ric Anderson. "He used our piano downstairs."

Back in 2008, he spoke with CBS2's Dana Tyler about creating his first Broadway play. Later going on to write "Hamilton," the multiple-Tony winner hasn't forgotten his roots. On Thursday he tweeted out support for the store and signed everything with his name on it.

"He appreciates the way this place natures the arts community and the theater community," said Lee Overtree, creative director of theater company Story Pirates that practices above the shop.

"The Big Bang Theory" actress Lauren Lapkus got her start there.

"If the bookshop were to close, I don't know people would go to form community," said Overtree.

The Drama Book Shop
The Drama Book Shop (credit: CBS2)

The Drama Book Shop is the only book store the Tony Awards has honored. In the 100 years it has been around, it has moved four times, but its West 40th Street spot is its longest standing location.

"Really, the space is honestly, iconic," said actress Gabriela Safa.

"It's face-to-face interaction that I think is very important," actor Kevin Chaikelsom.

Customers are hoping the shop stays in business for at least one more act, maybe in a new location.

While supporters have started their own GoFundMe page to help the book store, an official one will be created in the coming days.

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