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What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2008-11-17 20:56:03


Everytime I walk through Times Square and the Theater District I can't help looking at all the buildings and thinking which ones use to be theaters but are now used for other things. Obviously the Times Square Church use to be a theater, but what else? I don't mean ones that are torn down, but the ones that still have the existing facades, etc. Did the Hard Rock Cafe use to be a theater? Or the AMC Theaters?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-17 21:05:16





The AMC building was the Eltinge - the only Broadway theatre named for a female impersonator (Julian Eltinge)! It later was a movie theatre called the Empire. The facade was beautifully restored, but the interior was pretty much stripped down of most of its detail work.




The Times Square Theatre, also on 42nd Street, is supposed to be becoming an Ecko store, but nothing much seems to be happening with that project.



There is a red brick building on 41st Street. That's the back of the Liberty Theatre. The Liberty's auditorium is still standing and is hidden behind a wall in the Applebee's complex, when you exit the AMC theatres.



The Hudson on 44th Street has been beautifully restored, but is part of the Millenium Broadway hotel.



The building where the Hard Rock Cafe is once housed the Paramount, a very large, very grand movie/concert venue. That marquee for the Hard Rock is a facsimile of the original.




The Ed Sullivan Theatre was briefly a Broadway theatre called Hammerstein's (for Oscar I, grandfather of the lyricist, Oscar II).



Downstairs at the Paramount Hotel on 46th Street, I think the remains of Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe may still be around. It was a nightclub, but also a small Broadway theatre called the Century which was used in the 1970s and early 80s.




The Supper Club, which I think is now called the Edison Ballroom, was the Edison Theatre for many years. It spent most of its Broadway career housing Oh, Calcutta!, but it had a few other mostly unsuccessful shows.



The Lamb's Theatre, a beautiful little theatre on 44th Street, was a very much in demand Off-Broadway house, but as Off-Broadway failed, that building has been stripped and is being converted into a boutique hotel.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by scaryclowns223 2008-11-17 21:26:54


What is now Toys R Us used to be Criterion Center- where a ton of great shows (and Roundabout shows) played.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2008-11-17 21:34:19


Oh, i've seen the Edison Ballroom, never know that though! Thanks Smaxie. I love that set-up. What a great venue for a Cabaret revival.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by amoni 2008-11-17 22:39:34


The Roxie Deli is the lobby of a movie theater that was called The New Forum 47th St, then later christened Movieland. This is where ET played Times Square for a year. The auditorium was Club USA for a few years.


http://gallery.bustalk.info/displayimage.php?pos=-10175

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-17 22:46:36


In addition to its life as a movie theatre, that Roxy/Club USA space had been a Broadway theatre called the Central. It only spent about 16 years as a Broadway theatre, but at the time it was sold in 1988, it was owned by the Shubert Organization. I don't know why, with its great location, it didn't become a Broadway theatre again. At any rate, the auditorium was demolished.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by WestVillage 2008-11-17 22:53:07


Wasn't the Rialto Theatre, where Marlowe played, on the site where Hard Rock Cafe is now?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-17 22:57:33


No. The Rialto was between 42nd and 43rd Streets. Hard Rock/Paramount Building is between 43rd and 44th Streets.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by TheActr97J 2008-11-17 23:04:45


I'd give anything to get a peek inside the Liberty's auditorium!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Paul W. Thompson 2008-11-18 01:52:30


The Times Square Information Center on the east side of Times (Duffy) Square clearly was a theater at one time.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-18 07:39:01


It was a movie theatre, called the Embassy. I was just sticking to buildings that were legit theatres.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by WOSQ 2008-11-18 11:59:45


There is the last movie palace in Times Square in the building at 7th Ave and 47th Street, NE corner. The entrance is/was on 7th. Previously this was used as a movie theatre (in the 60s as a hard ticket house called the DeMille and later as the Embassy 2-3-4). I think it shut up shop maybe 10 years ago and sits there. It always smelled of mildew.

Inside the orchestra has been partially taken up by restaurant space and what is left of the theatre has been divided into three. The balcony was spilt in two and each half was a very long, very narrow moviehouse. The orchestra or what was left of it, is wider than it is deep, but it looks like there was a full stage house intact although probably with a very limited fly system by the time it closed.

The 3000+ seat Paramount Theatre had its entrance where the Hard Rock's marquee is now. In the 60s this theatre became untenable and the interior was converted to office space. I don't think the Paramount Theatre was ever used as a legit house, but it probably housed vaudeville in its day in addition to Sinatra et al in the 40s.

The building, 1501 Broadway, was the world headquarters for Paramount Pictures into the early 70s and is often refered to even now as the Paramount building.

The Rialto Theatre where Marlowe played is no more It was on 7th Ave between 42nd and 43rd and was demolished for the Reuters Building. This was barely a legit house. I think it was built as a movie theatre and there was no fly system.

Most remnants of theatres have come down in the last 20 years or so.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by wicked_beast4 2008-11-18 12:17:52


I would also LOVE to see the Liberty. It sounds so mysterious, the gigantic theatre hidden behind the wall.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by PalJoey 2008-11-18 12:56:45


And I'd love to see some cabaret at Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by cello_dude 2008-11-18 14:35:58


There were some pictures of the Liberty interior in it's current state. I found them online a few years ago but I cant find them any more. They were very green and there were pics of the boxes and the torn seats. If anyone saved these pics they would be great to see

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by cello_dude 2008-11-18 14:36:00


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by EponineAmneris 2008-11-18 14:54:50


VERY interesting

smaxie, you are amazing. Such a wealth of information. You make me happy

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by TheaterBoy7777 2008-11-19 04:50:56


I am very intrigued by the Liberty and decided to do some google research. I have found some pictures that are apparently the current state of the inside of the Liberty. This site(below) said that you could still access the theater through the Hilton Hotel but a NYT article says through Applebees. I think I might take a trip downtown and check it out myself tommorow. Also I thought it was cool you can see the back of the theater from 41st St. Sorry I couldnt figure out how to directly post onto the page so I did links... Sorry I went a little link crazy

Pictures of the inside of the Liberty
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3043335296/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3043335230/in/photostream/

Back of the theater from 41st
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3042495687/in/photostream/

Also here is a recent picture of the Times Square Theater
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3042495729/in/photostream/

Theres some great info or speculation on the liberty here:
http://cinematreasures.org/theater/2661/
Also check out this 2003 NYT article
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06EEDA173CF930A35753C1A9659C8B63
Also layout of 42nd st
http://newvictory.org/user_documents/2008/07%2042nd%20Street%20Map.pdf

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by songanddanceman2 2008-11-19 06:42:15


Smaxie as always you are a legend, the posts about this stuff fascinates me and you are always the one to come up with the goods

And theatreboy7777, thanks so much for the brilliant pics

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Drunk Chita Rivera 2008-11-19 06:48:50


Does anyone know if John's Pizza used to be a theater (on 44th next to the St James) because I was in there the other day and I sat up stairs in and it looks exactly like a theater. Does anyone know anything about that?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Used To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-19 07:18:57


The Times Square Church started out as Warners Hollywood & than became the Mark Hellinger. Its original entrance was on 7 Ave

It was designed by Thomas Lamb who did the Embassy, Loews Capitol & State, Mark Strand & the Rivoli .

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-19 07:35:12


John's Pizza was a church.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-19 07:50:21


Here are some current shots of the Hudson Theatre. Again, it's now used by the Millenium Broadway Hotel for conferences and weddings. But it's a beautiful house.

Auditorium
http://virtualtours.millenniumhotels.com/50337/stills.htm?id=238352&id_type=2&locale=1&container=15&package=702&show=0&sizedFrame

Lobby/Box Office
http://virtualtours.millenniumhotels.com/50337/stills.htm?id=238355&id_type=2&locale=1&container=15&package=702&show=0&sizedFrame

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by cello_dude 2008-11-19 14:26:40


The Demille/Embassy
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/2007790725/sizes/m/in/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/2007796849/sizes/m/in/photostream/

The Embassy interior (now the Times Square info center)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/woody1969/2008576656/sizes/m/in/photostream/


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by WOSQ 2008-11-19 14:38:30


There is a large-size book called Lost Broadway Theatres that has photos of theatres that have been torn down or otherwise destroyed. It is worth a look-for.

Try the Strand (12th & Bway) or www.abebooks.com.

The parking garage next to the Imperial for instance. If you know this used to have a theatre on it, you'll see that the size of the lot is the size of a theatre.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2008-11-19 17:30:55


this is my new favorite thread!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-19 18:10:29


>The parking garage next to the Imperial for instance. If you know this used to have a theatre on it, you'll see that the size of the lot is the size of a theatre.<

That theatre next to the Imperial was called the Klaw, and later, the Avon. It was briefly a CBS studio before being torn down in the '50s, I think.

Here's a vintage shot of 45th Street from the mid-1920s and you can see a sign for the Klaw, next to the Imperial.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by cello_dude 2008-11-19 18:52:03


Here are some pics of the theaters that were torn down to make way for the marriot marquis

Helen Hayes:








Morsoco Theater:










Astor:
http://memory.loc.gov/master/pnp/cph/3b40000/3b40000/3b40700/3b40754u.tif

http://memory.loc.gov/master/pnp/cph/3b40000/3b40000/3b40700/3b40757u.tif

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by alfgiotir 2008-11-19 19:57:55


this is by far my most favorite thread that has ever been on BWW. such beautiful houses. seeing how some are still not lost makes me wish I had some extra millions to restore them and give them back to the theatre community.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-19 20:24:52


The Demile and The Embassy are two different buildings.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by TheaterBoy7777 2008-11-19 23:31:58


So I made a trip to take some pics of the DeMille which is now the Phantom of Bway store...These are some pics of the new entrance. When they arnt so busy another day I will have to see if the theater still exist behind the store because the ceilings appereared way to low to be a theater.
Entrance of DeMille:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3044450487/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3045289946/
Closer Detail http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3045289010/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10862573@N05/3044451475/in/photostream/

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2008-11-19 23:35:27


I'm gonna try and see where the door is at applebees that leads to the Liberty.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by TheaterBoy7777 2008-11-19 23:40:26


I wish you luck Neverandy I went on the search today and had no luck...although the Hilton has the pictures I posted of the Liberty in their Lobby so those we cool to look at.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by TheActr97J 2008-11-20 01:25:32


I wonder if there is someone with the City of New York I could contact about getting a peek inside the Liberty?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-21 16:29:23


Here are some small shots of the Liberty's interior, circa early 2000s.

Scroll about half-way down the page.

http://www.silverscreens.com/thsa.php

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-21 16:38:47


If i remember correctly from when I looked there earlier this year, the entrance to The Liberty was a doorway with, I think, a diamond cut into the stone work on either side.
As you walk from 41st to 42nd thru the Hilton lobby they have displayed, photos of the interior.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-21 16:47:31


Here are some of the facts, figures and dimensions of the Liberty from the New42 website.

Balcony: 2
Seats: 1,054
Grid Height: 71'
Proscenium Width: 36'
Width/Right Wing: 14'
Width/Left Wing: 20'
Stage Depth: 35'
Rigging: Hemp
Orchestra Pit: Covered
Dressing Rooms: 13

Approximate Area Measurements:
Total Area: 31,900 s.f.
Area of Footprint: 11,800 s.f.

There's more here at this link (http://www.new42.org/about_history_liberty.cfm). No additional photos though. In a healthier economic climate, a 1,050 seat legit theatre on 42nd Street would probably be useful, although the Liberty does have that pesky 2nd balcony. And its facade is covered with signs, and there are stores occupying its lobby space and entrance way. Apart from that, it's perfect!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-21 17:08:25


This paragraph caught my attention on the New 42nd Street site:

"The New 42nd Street signed a 99-year master lease, during May 1992, with the City and State of New York for six theaters known as the Apollo, Liberty, Lyric, Selwyn, Times Square and Victory. (The Empire theater came under The New 42nd Street's master lease once it was fully restored in April 2000.) A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in July 1995 between The New 42nd Street and Forest City Ratner for the Liberty, Harris and Empire theaters. Construction began in August 1997 on a five-story entertainment complex which includes a 25-screen cineplex operated by AMC (opened in April 2000), the renowned Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and a variety of entertainment-related retail uses."

So, of the nine theatres they acquired, they managed to tear down three of them - the Apollo and the Lyric were demolished for the Hilton, save for preserving the facades and some interior detailing. The Harris was torn down for no discernible purpose and with very little fanfair (or notice in the press). The Times Square is supposed to become an Ecko store, but that project has been at a standstill for years now. They've found no tenant for the Liberty and have marooned its auditorium. The Selwyn was restored as the American Airlines, but the distinguished looking seven-story Selwyn Building that graced 42nd Street magically fell down in the middle of the night one night, when no one was around. And the Empire was not "fully restored". The facade looks great, but the attempt at recreating the detail work of the proscenium arch and ceiling detail looks cheaply done to me, compared to photographs of the original interior. Only the Victory received a complete and beautiful restoration without some aspect of the building being diminished in the process.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2008-11-23 00:36:45


I would love to see aerial views of the theater district. Like, it amazes me when I stand on the street opposite the Imperial and try to fathom how that theater fits into that space so well. It doesn't seem like the theater would be so big, or that it'd go up so high, but it does. And, I thought the parking lot next to the Imperial must have been something. I mean, it's a whole row of theaters and then suddenly it just drops off. I really really wish they'd spruce up the marquees. Especially the Shoenfeld, the Jacobs, and the Golden. I mean, those are some ugly boring marquees.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by TheActr97J 2008-11-23 01:46:46


I'm obsessed now. I must see the inside of the Liberty. I found this picture of the elusive door to the theater. Now, can anyone figure out where the heck this door is exactly?

ETA: A blog on the Angel Project from 2003 says that the door was situated behind a "souvenir stand". Does that help at all?



ETA: The souvenir stand?


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-23 07:46:28


It's in the sort of blank space where you exit from the AMC Theatres, directly to the left of that Universal News stand in your photo. There's an escalator up to the Applebee's, or to the food court when it was there. There used to be a Starbucks in that space, and then a souvenir stand, but I think it's empty now.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by PalJoey 2008-11-23 08:37:23


Those pictures of the Helen Hayes and the Morosco make me weep.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 10:30:43


This is progress?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by TheActr97J 2008-11-23 10:45:33


No Roxy, it's awful and a spit in the face of New York history. George M. Cohan debuted "Give My Regards to Broadway in that theater for godssake.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by amoni 2008-11-23 14:45:42


I was there the day the bulldozers knocked down The Helen Hayes and Morosco. I asked a worker if I could have a brick and he let me in the fenced off site and I picked one from The Morosco. It's just a brick to most, but not to me. Of course no one had the thought of building above them, like the DoubleTree did above The Palace. No, just knock'em down. The fact that there are two completely viable theaters buried among the Applebee's and tourist traps is just wrong. It would probably cost more to create entrances for them than to actualy restore them.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 14:57:18


To The Act

I was being facetious. I s***** big time but it is so called progress. In Europe & many other cities they try & save what they can. In NY, if it is old knock it down - screw history.

I got a momento when my local movie palace went down. It was the Loews Triboro. I got a marquee letter. I tried for a T but had to settle for an E - for effort in trying to save it I guess. It is on my wall @ work along with an ornamental plaster knob - many of which were underneath the balcony.It serves as a paperweight. Sad to say, tis is all that remains.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 15:19:10


The Demille, on the corner of 7th and 47th, aka as The Colombia, RKO Mayfair, Lowes Mayfair and Mark I,II and III is still a complete auditorium above what can be seen today. Inside that auditorium is a very bad conversion into a 3 screen cinema. If this was ever removed the auditorium would be complete and unchanged but in a very, very bad state of decay. The likely hood of this ever seeing the public sitting in it again are zero.
It was the very last of the big Times Square movie houses to close its doors as the smaller multiplexes opened up in the surrounding blocks.
Every time i see that corner with its huge Broadway billboards (Hairspray and Spamalot at the moment) I try and imagine the huge theatre that is just sitting there decaying day by day.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 15:32:40


I know how you feel

Every day I pas by a decaying theater I tried to save (killed by the same public official) & wonder how different it might have been

I remember the DeMille when it played epics in the 1960's . It's huge wraparound billboard was unique & really ushered you into see a big sprawling movie.I remember,during intermissions, going to their huge & comforable lounge.

Some of the biggies that played there:

1. Barabbas
2. Fall of The Roman Empire
3. Spartacus
4. The Cardinal
5. Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 16:05:22


Mr Roxy!
For you, one of those wonderful wraparound billboards.
Note The Palace playing Sammy Davis Jnr in 'Golden Boy'

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 16:10:53


The Palace was still palying movies than I believe.

I saw Golden Boy @ the Majestic I believe. Got Sammy to sign the Playbill. Great show really ripe for a revival . The score is great

Thanks for the picture.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2008-11-23 16:21:45


It's weird to me that a complete theater is just situated back there. You'd think a non-profit with some extra cash (maybe Lincoln Center?) would try to spruce it up. Actually the smallish theater might work well for Lincoln Center since most of the plays it produces in a Broadway house are normally plays.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 16:22:30


Sorry! yea its a board for the show at the Majestic. 'Charles Strouse covers 'Golden Boy' very well in his book 'Put On a Happy Face' - worth reading if have time.
it comes across as show he wouldn't want to stage again in a hurry.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 16:32:51


I have the Strouse book. I just need to find time to read it. I ordered the Strouse CD as well from Footlight

A good theater book is Before The Parade Passes By about Gower Champion.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 16:37:58


There is very little stage area left after all the chopping around when it was divided, first into 2 then 3 cinemas. It was a very bad job with very bad sight lines in all three of the auditoriums. A company like Lincoln Centre or Roundabout would have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to make one decent theatre out of the mess thats there. This theatre will either return as full size house or be demolished- the latter getting more and more likely.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 16:42:37


I am surprised that such a prime piece of Times Square real estate was not redeveloped years ago.

Sadly, it will probably be pounded to dust as well.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 16:57:48


A birds eye view of what looks like a a great big building site!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 17:05:22


Its days as it is currently configured are numbered. As soon asthe economy improves, look for it to go

On that site - towards the front - was a castro convertible store with a little girl jumping up & down on a mattress.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 17:08:56


The Mayfair, also known as the Demille, Embassy etc

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 17:14:18


Tried to open it but no luck.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 17:21:51


Hammersteins Theatre and Roof Garden.
44th and Broadway. demolished and later replaced by the famous Rialto Cinema which in turn is no more.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 17:28:33


I love the statement in the small box on the bottom left!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 17:29:37


The admission price is astounding.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 17:29:37


The admission price is astounding.

The theater opened 1/1/1910 & was called the Columbia It was designed by an architect called Mc Elfatrick. He mostly designed opera houses. In 1930, it was renovated by Thomas Lamb.The house is art deco & the seating capacity was 1735. It could be a big broadway house but it will never happen .

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 17:39:15


The Hippodrome Theatre
43rd and 6th
1913
Now i believe just remembered by a building named Hippodrome?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 17:44:11


The Hippodeome was huge. They used to stage huge shows like a reenactment of civil war battles & water shows as the stage opened up & there were, I believe , 3 separate pools. It was a consistent money loser. The office building is simply named the Hippodrome.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 17:53:47


Supreme Vaudeville at The Palace 1915

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 18:00:45


We still have our Hippodrome in London and that staged the same kind of spectaculars with polar bears, sinking ships etc etc. It still stands but is no longer a theatre. It now houses a burlesque show until next year when it gets converted to a casino

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-23 18:06:50


The Criterion
Toys'R' Us is now on this site.
After life as a live theatre it was converted in to a multiplex cinema.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 18:09:27


The Criterion opened Sept 1936 & was for a while a Loews theater. It finished its life as part of the United Artists chain. The seating was almost 1700. It stood on the original site of the Olympia

Some of the big pictures that played there were:

1.South Pacific
2.Funny Girl
3.Lawrence Of Arabia
4.My Fair Lady
5.Patton

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Madcap Maisie 2008-11-23 18:16:09


has anyone managed to get into the Liberty yet? or at least locate the door?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by cello_dude 2008-11-23 19:03:43


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2008-11-23 19:10:35


BWW Class trip!!!!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by bwaybabe2 2008-11-23 19:16:13


Smaxie, you made me very happy, too Amazing display, and THANKS for the memories!
Wow, those prices were really something, indeed, Mr. Roxy =O
I don't know what you could get for that price, nowdays. Not even one foot (toe?) into a Broadway theater

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-23 20:46:33


= 0 ?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by bwaybabe2 2008-11-23 21:25:27


= 0 ? ...because they were so LOW, it's astonishing! my sense of humor is a bit "offbeat" sometimes (I guess I must be on a roll today, since this is the second "I don't get it" response from someone, to my comments, he, he Well, I'M having fun!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-23 22:38:46



LIBERTY THEATRE, 1911

Are the columns on the sides with the carvings on top (caryatides) still visible? Do you know if you can still see the eagle and liberty bell on top?

I sure wish I knew somebody in the Mayor's office or somebody powerful enough to arrange a tour of these lost treasures!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by thtrbear 2008-11-24 01:33:36


Some Liberty Theater, and other, tidbits.

In late 1996 there was a limited one-week? run of TS Eliot's The Waste Land performed by Fiona Shaw and directed by Deborah Warner. I attended this. I took some pics of the thtr but dont know if I developed 'em (i'm bad that way) or where they are. Actually, I think it was darkish and they didnt come out too well.

About 4 years ago the same Ms. Warner directed something for Lincoln Center's summer festival where you went around to different places in NY and saw people representing ghosts or angels wandering around the sites (The Angel Project or something?). I didnt get to go, it became sold out, but at that time I went by 41st street and the Liberty had its doors thrown open there during "performances" (the stage and the bottom of the doors is about 3 feet above street level). I got to take a look for a few minutes from the street, but they wouldnt let me take pictures.

Every few years, there will be one or another theater society having an expensive trip around New York to see theaters (like $1000 to be in the group) and they sometimes visit the Liberty, I've seen fotos. I think they may throw open the 41st street doors to get daylight so that would be a good day to go by IF you could hear about it which isnt easy.

Even now if you go by 41st you may be able to peek between the crack of some of the doors and get a very small glimpse (if it's lit inside and it's night out). It's not a very wide or deep stage so you cannot be too far from any spot where Cohan, as someone posted, sang Give My Regards. There's a famous photo of him in this number and it is recreated with a similar set in Yankee Doodle Dandy. (from Little Johnny Jones, 1904).

I guess if this ground floor of Applebees is deserted sometimes it could be an idea to try a credit card on the famous door :). I find the escalator exit route from AMC INTERMINABLE but you can try to sneak onto another floor and see another film.

Around 10 years ago, when they were renovating the Times Square Thtr, a teenager on the door miraculously let me go in when I asked him (in my experience guards will never say yes to anything you ask them). I walked in but about 10 seconds later I heard the official group of investors that was in there coming down from the mezzanine, so I immediately left so as not to cause any trouble. Another time I walked in during the morning and asked if I could look around, the construction workers said no, but I did get to walk across the orchestra floor to ask the foreman (no seats).

I got to see the Harris Theater when the Times Square Info Center used to be there, wish I'd gone more than once, I did get to walk across the stage.

I think in London there are more small West End theaters than there are on Broadway, even some with 2 balconies but that are or feel small. And some from the late 1800's, the Criterion where the 39 Steps plays in london fits all these. Smallish bway thtrs here have been demolished I'd say, like the Bijou and another that were torn down for the Marriot Marquis (kind of a crappy replacement but great orchestra sightlines). I think 5 theaters were torn down for that incl. the Astor which had become an art gallery, but 2 of them were small ones iirc. And the Hudson (part of a hotel) and the vanished Henry Miller were kind of smallish. A new/renovated broadway thtr with 1200 seats or less that could not fit a big musical, only a play or a very small musical, is not attractive financially it looks like (otoh the Biltmore and the Selwyn were not all that big, guess we're lucky to have them).

btw the Rialto mentioned above, on 42nd and 7th, was originally Hammerstein's, a huge vaudeville theater, figuring in the plot of Portrait of Jennie. Until it was torn down around 10 yrs ago the large facade on 7th ave and on 42nd was a 30's facade familiar from fotos (and not very theater-ish). They have a beautiful blown-up photo of the OUTSIDE of this thtr, circa 1900, in a bank at 68th and bway on the sothwest corner, across from Sony Linc. Sq. This bank chain (forget their name) has a lovely huge colored photo blowup of old NY in most of their branches, you can walk up to it when they're open or look in when they're closed but lit. They have at their branch on 42nd and 9th (NE corner), a great foto looking north up bway around 1910 and showng the huge old Criterion Thtr torn down in 1929 or '30. At 22nd and Park there's one of the Flatiron and at 54th and 6th, one of Columbus Circle. Sorry these arent theater ones; and also at 43rd and 3rd, and 42nd east of Park.

I second that the book Lost Broadway Thtrs is excellent for pics of these theaters, it will set yr imagination dancing. If I had gotten into this book 2 or 3 years before I did I could have visited some of these thtrs when they were still movie theaters, I wish I had!

Thanks to everyone who posted the great photos in this thread, many of them were new to me.

btw, sometimes including lately, the 1980 film The Fan with Lauren Bacall is shown on the Sleuth Channel on cable (and a sorely lame and disappointing channel it is, considering that name). In the 1st several minutes, they show Lauren Bacall coming out of the Morosco and being beseiged by fans. The Morosco looks so clean and nice outside, 2 yrs before it was torn down, and you can see just where it was in relation to the Booth across the street. Supposed to be a pretty bad/cult fave film, and to have many scenes of Times Square in 1980. As I guess the 1979/80 fiction film Times Square does too.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-24 04:28:12


In the pic of the Liberty just above, either side of the door are two diamonds in the stone work- these are very visible from 42nd St and they are what I mentioned earlier in the thread!
Oh and Bwaybabe2, thanks for the 'no thanks' for my input too!!!!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by bwaybabe2 2008-11-24 05:02:26


Mamma! Sorry for my oversight =O Really. Sometimes, after scannig through pages of posts, I lose a handle as to who said what, posted what, so I just mention some. I went back to the post, and your input was, indeed, really worthy of mention. My apologies :[
...and thanks for posting them!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-24 07:12:17


haha!
More to come!


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-24 09:47:18


A sad pic of the Liberty and Empire in 1993:

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-24 09:52:06


Isn't it funny that that those two buildings are now many yards apart thanks to modern technology!
At least we still have them, tho the Empire will never, ever see an audience again. It's interesting to step into the Empires foyer now to see the auditorium almost complete but so very far away from a live show.
The statement on the front of the marquee is pretty amazing 'What usage will save us now?, now that sex won't!'

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-24 09:56:28


Today.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-24 09:57:48


The Liberty and many other 42st theatres!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-24 10:06:08


The Hilton Theatre 43rd St elevation, before and after.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2008-11-24 10:11:30


They actually moved the Empire down the street? I never realized that!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-24 10:11:37


Double post

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-24 10:11:45


Here's the Empire being moved down the street, and the facade of the Liberty wrapped up, as well as the body of the auditorium on 41st Street.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-24 10:15:45


There is/ was a time lapse video of the whole process.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-24 10:17:24


Great pics!

Oops - I was having trouble getting it and by the time it posted, yours was there!

I still say if it hadn't been for Disney and their deep pockets, none of this work would have been done.

Is the old facade of the Liberty still connected to the auditorium at all? I know they've mentioned a doorway but that image showing the theatre being moved makes it look like they aren't connected at all.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-24 10:26:06


Double post on my pic there Maimie!!!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-24 11:00:54


I just realized it wasn't the Liberty that moved, it was the Empire. (It gets a little confusing when you aren't there to actually LOOK at it!)

This is an interesting chronology of the 42nd Street renovation project:http://www.new42.org/about_history_chrono.cfm

to be part of the wax museum?
http://web.bvu.edu/faculty/whitlatch/42nd/liberty.htm


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2008-11-24 11:25:14


Uh, so much to read! Thanks guys, I'll read it when I get back from work!

I love the Liberty's marquee though!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2008-11-25 00:04:11


Oh how I wish the American Airlines wasn't call the American Airlines, ha.

Hm....so who owns the Liberty if they performed a show there in 1996? What company produced it?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-25 06:33:35


The Waste Land was produced by Jedediah Wheeler and the site-specific theatre company En Garde Arts. I believe it was something that New 42nd Street permitted in the stretch of time when most of the property on 42nd Street had already been condemned but the buildings were sitting empty, awaiting the next phase of the rejuvenation of the block. The street was pretty ghostly in the mid '90s, with lots of closed store fronts - so it was a bit of a brilliant idea to stage The Waste Land amid true midtown squalor. I've linked Ben Brantley's review of The Waste Land, below.

En Garde Arts, by the way, also staged a play called Crowbar at the Victory Theatre in 1990, five years prior to its restoration, where the audience sat onstage and the play was performed throughout the house. The Wooster Group staged Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape at the Selwyn in 1997, also pre-renovation.

If you want to see some of the 42nd Street theatres at their considerable worst, the Empire plays a major role in The Last Action Hero (1993), although the filmmakers did some additional set decoration with that theatre. Vanya on 42nd Street (1994), a version of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya adapted by David Manet, was filmed amidst the wreckage of the New Amsterdam. Those of you you don't know quite how far gone that theatre was should check out that film. And though it's been a while since I've seen it, I think the 43rd Street facade of the soon to be demolished New Apollo briefly plays a role as an out-of-town theatre in Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway (1994). Or further back, Travis Bickle takes Betsy to a porn film at the Lyric in Taxi Driver (1976).

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Paris400 2008-11-25 10:30:02


One of my favorite movies is Times Square from 1980. In this scene where the two girls are running from a plainclothes policeman, what theater do they run into?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by UglyBetty 2008-11-25 10:40:33


There was talk of a certain never-been-on-Broadway rock musical being put into the Liberty- but the cost to bring the structure up to code was cost-prohibitive.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by EvanK 2008-11-25 20:35:50


I found an awesome site with information and before and after photos of the New Amsterdams renovation:

http://web.bvu.edu/faculty/whitlatch/42nd/amsterdam_pictures.htm

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 09:51:09


The Casino Theatre
Broadway and 39th
When the Casino opened in 1882 it wast he farthest uptown of all of the city's 10 playhouses!!!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 09:57:33


The Victory.
As it looked in the late 1980s.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-26 10:04:59


There's also a little bit of the Rialto Theatre building on the right in your Victory Theatre photo, Mama.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:06:13


I go cold when i see all this stuff!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:07:10


The Broadway Theatre.
Broadway and 41st St
1888-1928

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:12:28


The Empire Theatre
Now demolished.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:15:35


The Paramount Theatre, Times Sq.
The housing of the huge auditorium can be seen down the side street to the left.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:20:31


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:21:51


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:24:55


Just waiting to be Disneyfied!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:30:11


Madison Square Theatre.
1877- 1908

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:34:24


What's playing at The Roxy???

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:42:46


The Cosmopolitan Theatre.
Columbus Circle.
Demolished totally 2000.
Staged the first musical version of 'The Wizard Of Oz'

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:49:49


The New York Theatre
44th and 45th

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-26 10:49:59


Here's a surviving piece of the facade from the Ziegfeld Theatre. Apparently, this piece is still kicking around Manhattan somewhere.





re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:51:47


The Roxy

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:54:57


The Rivoli

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 10:57:09


The Rivoli
49th and Broadway

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by PalJoey 2008-11-26 10:59:12


And don't forget the John Street Theater at 15 John Street, a few blocks north of Wall Street, where the Hallam family played for 3 decades, from 1767 to 1797:

THEN:



NOW:

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 11:03:30


The Variety Arts Theatre
Built 1918 Demolished 2005
Home of 'Annie Warbucks'

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by PalJoey 2008-11-26 11:11:20


I lived in the East Village for 15 years. It broke my heart they tore down the Variety Arts.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-26 11:23:56


It was a great little venue. I saw 'Annie Warbucks' there tree times and a few other great shows.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-26 11:40:30


These photos are just fabulous. You realize I'm going to have to fill a few disks with all these photos, don't you?

I think the reason these places have such a strong hold on our hearts is because of the imagination, artistry, and effort that went into their design and creation. Then once built, the range of emotions that resulted from the performances that went on there. Today's glass and steel boxes are built without heart and soul and would never, EVER, hold those ghosts of the past.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2008-11-26 12:13:32


I've been wondering whether any of the new buildings going up on Eighth Avenue have plans to include a Broadway theatre? I'm particularly curious about the lot that has been cleared between 45th and 46th Streets, next to the Imperial... Even the rotten charmless new theatres built in the last 30 years have become invaluable.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Gypsy9 2008-11-26 12:35:03


There has been a great deal of interest in the Liberty Theatre on this fascinating thread. 8 to 10 years ago I was walking down West 41st Street and stopped at the enormous red brick exterior of the rear of the Liberty. There were construction workers around and the stage door was open. I asked a worker if I could take a look inside and he said "Sure"! I entered the stage door and walked across the stage, noting the old lighting board still in position. I then walked into the auditorium with its tattered seats and thought about the many performers who played there, including Abbott and Costello. When I left, the construction foreman yelled at me, but it was worth it being inside this old theatre.

If it were to be used as a theatre again, it would need a complete restoration. It apparently is owned by the Hilton Hotel which has a few photographs of the interior in the hallway between 41st and 42nd street. And, as has been noted, it was used in the "Angel Project" several years ago.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Gypsy9 2008-11-26 12:35:04


Bump

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by cello_dude 2008-11-26 16:46:51


Some great images of the Roxy Theater being torn down

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=roxy+theater+source%3Alife&btnG=Search+Images

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2008-11-26 20:08:26


Great pictures but very sad.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2008-11-26 21:55:23


It would seem that a lot of these hidden treasures will probably remain hidden in this economy. There's going to be a lot of vacancy in the houses we already have. I was in Time's Square yesterday and it was funny to know of some of these spaces tucked away behind pizza restaurants and Gift shops.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-26 21:56:22


I always wanted to see what that room (and those huge columns) looked like before the destruction. That last photo with the hard hats preparing to tear it down really did make it sad. (The pic of Ms. Swanson always looked to me like a bomb site from WWII)

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Justin D 2008-11-27 09:33:06


as for that Paramount theatre, was that a live teatre or a movie house? It doesnt appear an the 2 books i have about lost broadway theatres and I;ve always thought the marquis and frontage looks like it could have been a theatre.

So I'm wondering wny it is not in those 2 books

I also love how that little Empire theatre went through 2 different styles, the above photo being the 2nd renovation. The first style reminded me of some London theatres.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-27 09:47:04


A lot of old New York movie theatres can certainly be listed here as live theatre because 99% of them at one time would have staged some kind of live stage entertainment at some time even if it was just a few vaudeville acts prior to the main movie screening, they had absolutely enormous stages.
Indeed some of those movie theatres had better backstage facilities than some of todays main Broadway houses could even begin to dream of!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2008-11-27 11:52:54


The Paramount hosted many live events. The most famous of which is probably Frank Sinatra's concert there in the late '40s or early '50s. This was the first appearance of the Bobby-Soxers. They were actually Girls hired by his record company to scream and faint to create a circus-like atmosphere outside the Paramount.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-27 13:10:22


The Strand Theatre
47th and Broadway
1915

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-27 13:12:36


Strand Theatre
Auditorium.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-27 13:21:15


Another stunning hot of The Roxy.
How about that fro a mezzanine!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MamasDoin'Fine 2008-11-27 13:31:01


The Palace Theatre as it should look today!!!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by devonian.t 2008-11-27 13:57:21


Mama, some amaxing photos. I'd never seen the Roxy in all it's glory. That it's gone is a disgrace.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-28 15:12:48


Close up of the old (vaudeville days) Palace:


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2008-11-28 18:30:53


Wow the Roxy is beautiful. I don't understand how we could go so backwards. Shouldn't buildings today be just as beautiful if not more so than the ones of yesteryear. I mean, we have more money, more technology, etc. Shouldn't the new theaters be intricate and detailed just like those? I love how theater was see has this high, prestigious thing back then, but nowadays it's for all the have beens. Ugh.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-28 23:36:23


This isn't a 'lost' theatre, but I thought the photo was interesting anyway. It's the current home of "Billy Elliot". The Imperial Theatre with its first production, Mary Jane McKane in 1923 or '24. I guess that's a bit of the Klaw Theatre on the left.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by MadameRoseRules 2008-11-29 16:18:35


This thread is fascinating.

I heard that the New Victory Theater used to be Minsky's.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2008-11-29 22:05:00


I think it was called the Republic (or Theatre Republic) then. It went way downhill after Minsky's and became the first X rated theatre at some point in time. It's funny that it ended up as a center for children's entertainment.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2008-11-29 23:09:17


How big is the New Victory? I've been wanting to get a ticket to see a show there just to gawk at the theater. It's beautiful out front.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by thtrbear 2008-11-30 05:14:57


Some tiny tidbits:

I enjoy the picture of the Strand and the amazing picture of the Palace and its surroundings. The Strand pic may be from 1930, the year there was a talkie of the 1925 stage musical.

I think this may have been in this thread already, but it looks like the Embassy or DeMille on 7th ave north of 47th st. has been turned into a store (Phantom of Broadway?) I wonder if there's anything to see inside.

On 3rd ave around 103rd st. there was, about 4 to 5 yrs ago, a big penny-type store that was a theater before, there was a bunch to see including the balcony (I love stores like that). It was on the west side of 3rd, sorry cant be more specif.

New Victory Theater- it is smallish, small number of seats for bway, but may even have 2 balconies on top of a mezz. Sometimes, I think, their shows are on play-by-play, and they usually take tdf voucher there. It is lovely inside.

In Newark, there's a former movie thtr which has a great ?Paramount? marquee outside, a coupla blocks from Penn Station. It's an army-navy type store now. Nothing to see inside (sometimes like here the old parts of a buiding are in employee-only type areas, storerooms, etc.).

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by songanddanceman2 2009-02-28 12:16:50


I had to bump this thread just because its probably one of the best on here

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2009-02-28 12:25:40


Interesting article on the Mark Ecko store in what used to be the Times Sq. theater



http://www.nypost.com/seven/02172009/business/this_ecko_sounds_like_a_lawsuit_155553.htm

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by broadwayguy2 2009-02-28 12:29:45


RentBoy,
The New Victory seats 499.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-02-28 14:19:53


More shots from inside Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe, which was a nightclub at the bottom of the Paramount Hotel on West 46th Street and spent a good amount of time as a Broadway theatre in the 1970s and early 1980s called the Century. I don't think anything has ever been done with the space once the Paramount became an Ian Schrager hotel.





re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2009-02-28 14:20:34


The building that is diagonally across from TKTS used to be the Mayfair & than the DeMille. It has that one of a kind wraparound billboard

The Astor & Victoria & its famous block long billboard is now the site of the Marriott Marquis. The soon to be defunct Virgin used to be the Loews State. Near the Lyceum was the USO which during the run of Ben Hur was the Ben Hur Bar.

What is now an office bulding around the corner from the Barrymore was the Mark Strand later to become the Warner. They renovated the Warner for Cinerama & than again when they doubled it & made the backstage area the Orleans showing X rated movies & the outside resembling the set of A Streetcar Named Desire.

The Paramount was one of a kind. The lobby was modelled after the Paris Opera House. The stagehouse was shallow for a theater that size. It closed in 1964 after The Carpetbaggers & reopened one last time for a 24 hour round the clock showing of Thunderball. Regrettfully, that was the only time I was in it. It had a lobby long concession stand & was painted a hideous pepto bismal pink. It was sadly gutted after that.Watch Midnight Cowboy & in the beginning when the Voight character looks out his hotel window you see a drop cloth over the entrance when they were gutting it. It eerily looks like the theater is still there with the Paramount logo over the arches. The chandeliers were removed in the 40's during the war for blackout reasons & the statuary was stored away lest the Sintra fans smash them in a frenzy. On the sidewalk by the Paramount building is sort of a manhole cover. When the theater was there they had the cover solid brass with the Mount Paramount logo on it. In the center of the glass fron over the marquee they had a stained glass Mount paramount.

The Capitol was a huge theater 3 rd in size between the music Hall & Roxy . It had over 5000 seats. It was a georgeous theater that was covered over when the remodeled it. It than became a Cinerama theater & a number of rows of seats were removed from the rear & a huge & lovely Japanese garden with ponds, fish & bridges was put in. It all went down went the theater did

The Criterion was where Bonds Clothes used to be. It was remodeled & went to a rather ignominious death.

The Earl Carroll Theater was across the Street from the Roxy & was very modern in decor. For years after it closed, it was a Woolworths with most of the theater intact under a false ceiling. It went down intact when Woolworths went down.

There was a Globe theater where the Roxy Deli is now. The Metorpolitan opera House is now an office building with a little plaque the only memory of it.


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by snowskittle 2009-02-28 14:33:49


I love this thread.

Any old photos of the Wintergarten?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-02-28 14:38:50


On the subject of the demolished, here was one of my favorite oddball Broadway theatres when it was originally Lou Walters' nightclub, the Latin Quarter. In the 70s and early 80s, it was a Broadway theatre that had three names: 22 Steps, the Princess Theatre and then the Latin Quarter again. It housed a lot of disasters, like Coquelico, Censored Scenes from King Kong, Animals, The Babe, Fearless Frank, but also housed the successful Tony-nominated Pump Boys and Dinettes.

It was a VERY strange building. I also remember the entire exterior of the building being painted black. It sort of looked like the charred remains of a building that had been set on fire. The Hotel Renaissance stands on this site now.




re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by songanddanceman2 2009-02-28 14:40:49


Roxy and Smaxie you guys are the reason im on Broadway world, its great to hear the stories and the history.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-02-28 14:41:08


Here's the Winter Garden when the billboard used to run the length of the block.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2009-02-28 14:42:55


Re the Latin Quarter, on one side of the Marquee was a little stor that specialized in printing phony headlines on newspapers.Ah a lost art.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-02-28 14:43:37


A spooky shot of the late, lamented Morosco Theatre...

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2009-02-28 14:49:30


Great shot.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-02-28 14:57:26


This was the entrance on Broadway for the Globe Theatre, later renamed the Lunt-Fontanne. That entrance was abandoned for years and switched to the West 46th Street side. That building was used for various stores and also I think part of the Lunt's bar occupied some of the space. The building was just recently demolished for the new construction that has gone up on the corner ... I think for a clothing store going in?



While on the subject of the Lunt, it used to look like this when it was the Globe.


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Actor 7 2009-02-28 22:51:12


I remember the tragedy of losing the Morosco and Helen Hayes Theatres back in the early 1980's. We demonstrated and tried to prevent the loss of these two beautiful theatres but they demolished them anyway. There's one theatre that I am very curious about. I know it is still standing and I wonder if it might still be restored? It was called The MANHATTAN OPERA HOUSE and it's located at 322 West 35th Street. It had three balconies. Does anyone know what its' current use is and if there are any plans to save it? I haven't heard anything about this theatre for many years. I believe it's only five blocks south of the Nederlander Theatre.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by snowskittle 2009-03-01 00:48:36


Is there a Broadway Museum anywhere? Seems like one of these abandoned theaters would be a perfect place for something like that.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RentBoy86 2009-03-01 03:13:38


So the Lunt use to had two balconies? When did it switch over? Seems like major construction. I don't think it's too pretty inside, but I find the lay-out to be so interesting. The dressing rooms/offices are on the street entrance, and it has all these roped off areas. It seems like an odd layout.

Also, so the New Victory could be a Broadway house if it added one more seat? I mean, I know it won't ever be, but that's interesting to know. Is it worth venturing inside?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-03-01 06:40:04


Manhattan Opera House is now called Manhattan Center. The Hammerstein Ballroom space inside is used a lot for concerts and TV specials. It's quite beautiful inside. I think the building is owned by the Moonies, who also operate the nearby New Yorker Hotel.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-03-01 08:41:29


The Lunt originally opened as the Globe in 1910 and was a legit house until the early 30s, when it was used for movies. Around 1958, the interior was gutted into the configuration you see now, and it returned as a legit house and was renamed the Lunt-Fontanne. From 1958 until around 1994, the interior was powder blue, with ceiling murals of cherubs flying around. Tacky, but sort of charming in a kitschy '50s way. Right before The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, it was painted a hideous Milk of Magnesia shade of blue. It was absolutely the ugliest theatre on Broadway during that period - and maybe the ugliest Broadway theatre of all time. Right before Beauty and the Beast moved from the Palace, the interior got a makeover, which is what it looks like now ... probably the best it has looked since I've been going there. I think there's a massive disconnect between the building's exterior and interior. The facade promises that rococo style that you see in the 1910 interior photo, but that the "new" interior doesn't deliver. It's the same disorientation in reverse that you feel with the horrendous new exteriors for the Palace and the Broadway. But what can you do? The damage has been done.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by BlueforBroadway 2009-03-01 10:35:42


Thank you so much for all the wonderful pictures and posts in this thread. I am very interested in this type of info and you've made me go on a quest to find out more. Next time I am in the city, I'll be looking at the theaters with even more reverence.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by snowskittle 2009-03-01 10:37:10


Smaxie thanks so much for all the great posts and information. Since you seem to be such a good source, I was wondering if you might have any information or sources for the early (or even later) building layouts, archibects plans, revisions of any of these theaters. I don't mean the seating plan, but plans for the layout of the whole building.

I've always been especially curious about the parts of the theater that the audicned doesn't get to see. Everything I've seen seems to indicate that the backstage/dressingroom/ workshop, etc. areas are a convoluted maze of oddball tiny spaces carved (and later recarved) out of some murky bedrock.

If you've got any sources for building plans, I'd love to see how the backstage spaces are organized, or may have been reorganized over time, since I'm sure they have been, probably over and over.

Again, thanks so much for all your posts.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by gvendo2005 2009-03-01 11:28:29


More importantly, can anyone specifically pinpoint the entrance to the Liberty Theater? Is it easy to get to? Anyone who's been in there, is the seating still good sight line wise, etc.? I have an idea...

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-03-01 11:38:31


> Everything I've seen seems to indicate that the backstage/dressingroom/ workshop, etc. areas are a convoluted maze of oddball tiny spaces carved (and later recarved) out of some murky bedrock.<

The dressing rooms for most of the Broadway theatres are stacks of floors usually adjacent to the stage area. They are usually 3-6 floors of dressing rooms that can range a lot in size and configuration, but the basic set-up for dressing rooms is fairly consistent. The spaces under the stage for wardrobe, wig electrics, properties and carpentry is where things frequently get a bit more unusual.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2009-03-01 12:09:26


"Is there a Broadway Museum anywhere? Seems like one of these abandoned theaters would be a perfect place for something like that."


It's amazing that no one has put a museum together. It seems like it would be such a no-brainer for something like this to be done. What better subject than a Truly American Artform. and what better exhibits than iconic sets costumes and other acoutrement of the trade. You could house it in one of the abandoned theaters(the Liberty seems like the obvious choice) and that would give the patrons the opportuunity to see what its like to stand on astage and to see the backstage and dressing rooms as well.
Shouldn't this have happened already?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-03-01 12:15:22


There used to be a Broadway museum that was located in the breezeway at the Minskoff. Gone for some time, but it was attempted before.

I've read that the Liberty now has no backstage or dressing rooms because of the other stores and properties that are occupying space that used to belong to the theatre. Also, with no lobby or dedicated entrance and exit, it must be considered a potential fire hazard.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by PiraguaGuy2 2009-03-01 12:16:49


The Gershwin has sort of a museum.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-03-01 12:19:16


Yes, the Gershwin is a museum of bad '70s architecture.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Tom's Cat 2009-03-01 12:20:06


Maybe that would be a viable use for the Times Square Theatre? The issue of load in space wouldn't be much of a problem and the central location would be fabulous for theatre fans.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by snowskittle 2009-03-01 12:20:19


I would love to see one of the unused theaters become a museum to Broadway. Seems like there might be a lot of people that would visit it.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Neverandy 2009-03-01 12:24:42


Yeah. It seems that TDF or BC/EFA would be all over this. What a way to raise funds.Exhibits could be rotating, reflecting the ephemeral nature of the business. Also,if the space could be successfully fitted for performance use every once in a while, you could have benefit concerts and viewings.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Actor 7 2009-03-01 12:40:47


Smaxie: Thank you for your great knowledge of theatre history. Thank you for the beautiful color photograph that you posted of The Manhattan Opera House (now called Manhattan Centre). Wow! It is beautiful. Does it still have an operational stage? I heard the stage was large and almost anything could be done on it but I didn't know if it had been preserved or torn out like so many former theatre spaces. Very curious about this space. I wish it would return to legit. status. They should award a Tony to people like you, Smaxie, as your knowledge is invaluable!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Byron Abens 2009-03-01 12:54:06


We did at least get one good thing out of the demolition of the Roxie. Those images of Gloria Swanson provided the inspiration for Follies.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by snowskittle 2009-03-01 13:48:19


Neverandy, you are SOOO right. I just can't believe this hasn't happened before. You take a still existing, empty historically interesting and important theater and turn it into a museum. And your ideas of rotating exhibits and retaining space for an occasional (fund-raising) performance are great. And who knows better than theater people know how to put on a good show...especially one for a good cause like this.

Broadway has certainly raised a ton of money for lots of causes. I'd imagine they could/would be willing to do this to save their own history if there's any interst in doing so. I'm not sure about BC/EFA since they have a different purpose and this might cut into their revenue, but they're already raised a lot of money for that.

If other NY landmarks have been saved/restored through fund-raising and group effort why NOT use an unused but once beautiful theater for this purpose, and use the wonderful skills and talents of its people to raise the $$$ for it.

I'm sure there are a million negative reasons and obstacles to this, but maybe someone just needs to start the ball rolling.

Or maybe just a new thread.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Tom's Cat 2009-04-16 14:40:51


I wanted to revive this thread to tell you about this terrific book I just received. It's "Historic Photos of Broadway - New York Theater, 1850-1970". The text and captions are by Leonard Jacobs and it's filled with images from the Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Not only are photos shown from productions but so are lots of photos of the actual theatres - so many of which are only a memory. And I swear I haven't yet run across a pic that I've seen before. Every one of them is new (to me at least). Of course I'm only at the beginning!

I shouldn't even try this (the scanner here at work makes horrible images out of really good ones) but this is one of the more recent photos in the book. It's the stage door at the Imperial - so familiar to all of us but not looking like this! The book is so new that the caption under this photo reads "The Imperial has earned its name by housing musical smashes" (includes list of long running hits)"....., Les Miserables (1987), which premiered at the Broadway, ran here for 13 years. Billy Elliot (2008 ), based on the hit film, promises to be the next long-term tenant."

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2009-04-16 18:05:30


Sadly, NY has lost almost all of its picture palaces.

Roxy
Paramount
Capitol
State
Mark Strand
Rivoli

Well over 22,000 seats. Somehow, this does not bring the word progress to mind.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by smodel11 2009-07-12 13:07:58


Bump! I love this thread :)

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-13 01:58:02


I found another pic of The Liberty from 1922. When the theatre was dark, they would use it to run silent films. That was the case when this pic was taken:

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 02:43:37


I think that's a different Liberty Theatre. The 42nd Street Liberty had a much narrower facade with just one set of doors. (This facade still exists, for the most part, and is presently hidden under signage).




re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 03:34:07


Here's the Liberty, circa 1983.


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-13 04:13:52


I thought so too but the photo I posted is identified exactly as I described it and is on file in the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the NY Public Library. It also states that this theatre opened in 1904 and that agrees with the IBDB history of the theatre. (Which simply means that THEY got it wrong too!)

This one shows it much more recently. The columns on the left and right side of the Internet Cafe are all that's recognizable.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 04:35:59


Yes, it doesn't look like the same theatre. More than that, the Liberty was in pretty constant use as a legit theatre for the 1920s and didn't turn over to films until around 1933.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-13 04:44:45


Because of all the junk now covering that end of 42nd Street, I was never able to tell exactly where the old entrance to the Liberty was actually located. Now I can spot it when I compare the pic below with the one above. If you look at that row of lights running above the internet cafe you can see that those two columns span the length covered by the last three lights. Also note the location of the pole with the street light. You can easily spot the same location on the photo below by looking for those same three lights and the pole (now a street light). I could be completely wrong here, but it sure looks right.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by songanddanceman2 2009-07-13 04:44:54


Keep adding to this thread i LOVE it

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-13 04:52:59


Smaxie - according to this history the theatre ran silent films when the legit stage was dark. It didn't go completely over to films until much later. (Of course, they got the photo wrong!)

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 04:57:53


Actually, Mamie, the second photo you posted is further west. The Ripley's Museum is occupying space that would have been part of the Liberty's lobby (though not the Liberty's auditorium, which as previously noted is mostly on 41st Street. You can see a bit of the distinctive diamond-shaped pattern from the Liberty's facade in this photo, and those oval shaped columns above it.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-13 05:16:03


Oh - Fabulous!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 05:17:41


Can't remember if I posted this before, but if I have, oh well.

This is a shot of the Empire (aka Eltinge, now the AMC Theatre lobby) being moved down the street. The Liberty is the wrapped figure on the left and the building behind it is the Liberty's auditorium.


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 05:22:43


Here's what they looked like before they were separated.




re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by After Eight 2009-07-13 06:14:11


Thank you to all those who have provided this fascinating information and beautiful pictures.

Three years ago, Charles Busch presented a benefit performance of "Die Mommie Die!" at the Hudson/Millenium Hotel. I had a seat in the mezzanine, and it was a great thrill to experience the beauty of this theatre.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by After Eight 2009-07-13 06:39:11


There was an off-Broadway Mayfair Theatre at 235 W. 46th St., now the address of the Paramount Hotel. It housed productions during the 60's and 70's, including one I'm really sorry to have missed, "A Curious Evening With Gypsy Rose Lee."

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by songanddanceman2 2009-07-13 11:32:07


I love this thread

I really wish someone would do something like this for the West End Board *looks at Mamma*

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 11:56:37


The small Broadway theatre in the basement of the Paramount Hotel also was known as the Century (also briefly the Stairway). It did have a few decent tenants, like a return engagement of On Golden Pond, and a revival of A Taste of Honey with Amanda Plummer, but it mostly housed flops. It originally had opened as Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe nightclub. I'm not aware of what the Paramount has done with the space, but it last housed a Broadway show in 1982 (Melvin Van Peebles' Waltz of the Stork).

Here's a photo of the space as Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe:

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by fashionguru_23 2009-07-13 12:34:58


http://ibdb.com/venueimages.php?id=1220

Both pictures of the New Century Theatre, where Kiss Me Kate opened in 1948. I went onto Google Maps, and I looked at the street view as to what is in the place of this theatre, and it just a bunch of buildings that don't like like ever held a theatre. Here is the theatre's address from IBDB:

932 Seventh Ave. at W. 58th St., New York, NY

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 12:42:44


The New Century was knocked down in the 1950s. There's an apartment building that stands on the spot.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by fashionguru_23 2009-07-13 12:54:52


Well, that sucks! lol

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-13 14:03:40


In 1921 the Klaw Theatre opened at 251 W. 45th Street. In 1929 the name was changed to the Avon Theatre. It was leased and then sold to CBS in 1934 when it became the CBS Radio Playhouse No. 2. Today it?s the beautiful parking lot you see next to the Imperial Theatre. The first pic here shows it after it went to CBS. All other photos were marked Klaw Theatre.





(Klaw, Imperial, Music Box)

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-13 14:51:22


Here's a fun shot of the little sandwich and hot dog shop that used to exist in the old Selwyn Theatre building.



And here's the Selwyn Building, which "fell down" in the middle of the night one night when the 42nd Street rehabilitation began. The Selwyn auditorium, located on 43rd Street, survived the collapse. The New 42nd Street Studios replaced the Selwyn building and the theatre got a new lobby as the American Airlines.



re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-14 08:06:26


Couple of nice shots of the Mark Hellinger that I'm not sure we've posted previously.








re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-14 10:51:10


Wow! It's absolutely gorgeous.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by zepka102 2009-07-14 10:55:40


It's a crime we don't have the MArk Hellinger as a Broadway theater.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-14 11:05:52


It was a spectacular place to see a show. The huge, luxurious lobby gave you ample space to congregate before the show and at intermission, without the dispiriting crush of humanity you experience at almost every other theatre. The grandeur and comfort of the Hellinger just built up anticipation for whatever flop you were about to see there. And during the boring parts of said flop, you could contemplate all of those googaws and doodads flying around on the ceiling above you.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by ILoveMyDictionary 2009-07-14 11:58:22


I have a playbill from the Liberty Theatre when it played The Spring Maid starring Christie MacDonald. It says that Klaw and Erlanger were the managers of the theatre. Is this the same Klaw that the Klaw Theatre was named after?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-14 12:39:38


Yes. And the St. James was originally named the Erlanger.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by jaystarr 2009-07-14 14:08:57


Mark Hellinger Theater

I hope we get this beautiful theater back!



The Balcony:




The Stage (view from Orchestra)




Proscenium


Balcony (view from stage)


Box Seats


More interior (ceiling)






re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by fashionguru_23 2009-07-14 15:01:04


At least, we are getting back the Henry Miller as a "new" Broadway house. Why is the New Victory rarely used as an Off-Broadway Theatre?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-14 15:32:39


The New Victory is run as a non-profit, housing productions for children and families and is not available as a house for commercial Broadway or Off-Broadway productions.

When the renovation of 42nd Street began, the New 42nd Street Organization did not want the theatres on the street to all return to use as Broadway theatres. When work began, there were nine former Broadway theatres on that block - the New Amsterdam, Apollo, Lyric, Times Square, Selwyn, Harris, Liberty, Empire and Victory ... 10, if you count the remains of one, the Lew Fields, which was stripped of almost all interior and exterior detail and ended its life as an ugly cinema called the Anco.

The idea in the early to mid 1990s was that Broadway could not sustain nine additional new Broadway theatres, so the New 42nd Street Organization was determined to find alternate uses for some of them. As it turns out, having a few more of those theatres available for Broadway productions would probably have been a good thing, as Broadway seems to be encountering booking jams in most of the recent seasons, with productions waiting in the wings for shows to fold.

Obviously, the New Amsterdam became Disney's flagship theatre and the Selwyn returned as the American Airlines. The New Victory became a children's theatre.

The Harris - once owned by and destined for renovation by the Nederlander Organization - was knocked down, with almost no attention paid to it. A shame, because as per photos, so much of that theatre seemed to be intact.

The Apollo and Lyric were also knocked down, with elements of both of those intimate playhouses used for the unbookable, unsustainable Ford Center/Hilton.

The Lew Fields/Anco was demolished, with no tears shed.

The Empire (aka Eltinge, named for famed female impersonator Julian Eltinge) was moved down the street, given a cheap coat of paint and a cursory "renovation" and is the entrance for the AMC theatres.

The Liberty auditorium sits marooned on West 41st Street.

The Times Square - which several non-profits and I believe some commercial theatre owners had looked at - has been embroiled for about five years in the aborted Marc Ecko store and still does not seem to have a determined future use.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Jonwo 2009-07-14 16:54:59


The Mark Hellinger looks like it's in good condition and with a little bit of refurbishment could easily become a theatre again but I'm unsure if any theatre owners would be willing to offer enough money to move the Time Square Church to another location.

I do hope with the Henry Miller's reopening, that more lost theatres could be restored or rebuilt and be back in use.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-14 17:33:56


The Times Square Church has kept the Hellinger in better shape than the Nederlander Organization ever did. Apart from missing it as a Broadway venue for 20 years and the foolishness that it was sold outright to the church, the only thing that ever alarmed me in particular about the Times Square Church was a story that ran in Theatre Week or In Theatre Magazine where a reporter snuck in one day at an off hour to take a peek at the venue and found a couple having sex in the mezzanine.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-14 18:36:11


This is interesting so I thought I'd post it here - even though this was not a Times Square theatre.

The Star Theatre was located downtown at 844 Broadway from 1861 to 1901. This was before the theatre district had moved further north. In 1902 it was dismantled - probably the same way it was built, one brick at a time. This link is to a time lapse video someone made in 1902 as the theatre was coming down.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=828NGoYdNeE

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by songanddanceman2 2009-07-14 18:52:54


wow what a great video

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Brave Sir Robin2 2009-07-14 20:34:42


This is amazing! How long does that church have a lease?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-14 20:44:04


The Nederlander Organization originally leased it to the church but a few years later, for reasons I cannot understand, sold it. The church owns it. So, unless the church were to go under or find a property they prefer or get an astronomical offer for the building, it won't be returning as a Broadway theatre.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RippedMan 2009-07-14 23:18:06


Maybe an outside source will buy the theater? Andrew Lloyd Webber? ha.

That sucks about all those buildings, though. And the Hilton is an awful house.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Gingersnap2 2009-07-15 10:51:08


Just have to pop in and mention how much I always enjoy this thread and how glad I am whenever more pictures are posted. It's a fascinating little treat.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by gvendo2005 2009-07-15 11:55:32


ALW's not likely to buy it. The last time he set foot in the Hellinger, it was to see the world premiere staging of JCS, which any ALW fan will recall he has expressed serious dislike of. But the London one...oh, good God, he bought the damn theatre. *sigh*

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by PalJoey 2009-07-15 12:13:53


That stop-time video of the Star Theater coming down is so sad.

I wonder whatever happened to the ghosts?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-15 12:55:18


I think Lloyd Webber did want to purchase the Hellinger. I vaguely recall that he wanted that theatre for Sunset Boulevard (which would have been perfect). I also think that Michael Bennett and Cameron Mackintosh had also tried to buy it at various points.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2009-07-15 14:53:02




Here's a nice shot looking into the house from the stage of the Hudson Theatre. (It's the theatre just down the street from the Belasco and attached to the Millenium Hotel).

The Hudson was built in 1903 and was used as a legit theatre up until 1968, with intermittent periods as a TV studio. After 1968, it was a porno theatre, a rock club and is now a conference center.

It's been beautifully restored with a large, spacious lobby. Another house that would be great if it returned to the legit fold, but not likely to happen.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-15 15:55:54


I wonder whatever happened to the ghosts?

You think like me, PJ.

It looks like they might have had time to catch a streetcar for uptown.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2009-07-16 21:43:11


Time for another old theatre - The Hippodrome!

The Hippodrome was a huge theatre located on 6th Ave, filling the block between 43rd and 44th Streets. The Hippodrome had an enormous 119 foot wide stage and held an audience of 5,000. The last production there was "Jumbo" in 1935. The picture I have from that production (2nd one down) covers 2 pages and was too big for my scanner. You can get an idea of how big a production it was from this piece of the picture. I did a quick count and found 47 people in addition to the live elephant in the center.




JUMBO


Irish tenor Jack McCormack in 1918 - WITHOUT amplification!




Houdini and Jennie - in 1918





re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by CATSNYrevival 2009-07-16 22:01:30


The Mark Hellinger is gorgeous. It's absolutely criminal that it no longer houses Broadway shows.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Kevn520 2010-05-01 10:15:09


This remains one of my favorite threads on BWW. Out of everything I've read here and in "Lost Broadway Theatres", the Liberty Theatre remains the most fascinating. It's probably because it still exists in some capacity, and it is hidden from public view.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Famebroadway2 2010-05-01 11:29:45


Lets talk about the Liberty again.. Has anyone been in there recently? I am going up in a few weeks and i am going to find this door and go in. LOL

Anyone has any luck?

R ;o)

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Used To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2010-05-01 14:14:41


The Roxy delicatessen used to be a theater , In addition the NY Visitors & Convention Bureau (next to the Palace) was a small theater designed by Thomas Lamb who did some of the bigger movie palaces in Times Square - Mark Strand, Capitol, State,Rivoli & the old Mark Hellinger (Warners Hollywood). All except the Hellinger are gone

In addition, I believe he may have done the old Loews Mayfair which is the building with the wrap around billboard on 47th Street. The front of it is a souvenir store while most of the theater sits there unused. It later became the De Mille which hosted some of the epics of the 60's . I remember they had a beautiful lounge . The theater may be art deco as you can see traces of it when entering the store. It would be great to bring it back & show old wide screen movies & bring back what movie going used to be like.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by frontrowcentre2 2010-05-01 16:17:43


I seem to remember reading the the New Victory was where Minsky's Burlesque was in the late 1930-s? Anyone know anything about that.

Outstanding thread... THIS is why I visit BWW!!

I was in New York that Monday March 22, 1982 when the demonstrators tried to stop the demolition and were arrested and carted away. As soon as the all clear was given a worker with a sledge-hammer went and smashed every one of those glass panels that said "Morosco" that framed the entrance. What a waste. And the sad thing was that he two theaters could have been included in the design for the Marriott hotel. (Also torn down was a somewhat faded but still comfortable old hotel called The Piccadilly where I used to stay in the early 80s.)

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by chinkie azn jai 2010-05-01 16:45:35


Are there any pictures of the Morosco Theatre during or right before the demolition?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Kevn520 2010-05-02 04:58:03


There are some in the book "Lost Broadway Theatres", though I don't know if they're online anywhere.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Gypsy9 2010-05-02 07:54:22


Mr.Roxy, I remember t
The gigantic Capitol with it's fine wood paneling. That is where I saw a James Bond film with an all star cast: CASINO ROYALE, in the mid 1960's. In its heyday, the Capitol had elabaorate stage shows in addition to first run movies.

Famebroadway2: years ago, when the 42nd Street Redevelopement Plan was winding down, I was walking down West 41st Street between 8th and Broadway and came upon the rear of the Liberty Theatre. The stage door was open and there were construction workers on the scene. I boldly asked one of them if I might go in to take a quick look and he said "Sure"(!) So in I went. The backstage area still had it's original lighting board. I continued into the auditorium where I encountered a very dilapidated theatre. All of the seats were intact, as well as the stage, but things were in a sorry state. The Liberty, like all of the theaters on W. 42nd, had been used as "grind houses", showing old westerns, James Bond films and the like during the period before the restoration. A fair amount of anonymous sex went on in those theaters, especially during the 1980's, contrasting sharply with the revues, dramas, and musicals that were presented up until the mid 1930' s. At the Liberty, which had a long entranceway on 42nd Street and the auditorium on 41st Street, such stars as Fred and Adele Astaire, Jeannette MacDonald, dancer Bill Robinson, and the comic team of Abbott and Costello performed on its stage with it's patriotically decorated proscenium. The Liberty had opened in 1904 under the management of famous producers Klaw and Erlanger. Incidentally, the massive back wall of the theatre on 41st Street is impressive in it's own right. It looks as if it has been cleaned. The door leading to the auditorium, locked tightly, is in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, along with a few photos of the current interior, warts and all. Supposedly it is to be restored some day.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2010-05-02 09:05:25


Chinkie -
Here's a few pictures of the Morosco I've gathered - both before, during, and after the destruction of the theatre.


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by PalJoey 2010-05-02 09:55:37


Oh, Mamie, those pictures hurt. I cried when they tore down the Morosco and the old Helen Hayes.

EDIT: I posted the exact same message in this thread on 11/23/08

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mamie 2010-05-02 10:27:57


That shows just how genuine and heartfelt your comment was, as well as the popularity of this thread!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by E.Davis 2010-05-02 11:18:19


I love Thomas Lambs work. He has some beautiful Theatre's up in the Capitol Region.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by chinkie azn jai 2010-05-02 11:26:56


Thanks a lot Mamie!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2010-05-02 16:05:27


Google the San Francisco Fox & see what was probably the most opulent theater ever built. A 4000 plus beauty by Lamb demolished.

Here are some others:

Loews Ohio - Columbus
Loews 175 th St - NYC
Loews Syracuse - Syracuse NY
Loews 72 nd St - NYC - Demolished

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Gypsy9 2010-05-03 12:34:15


Mr. Roxy, there was a Loews 86th Street (NYC) that was demolished in the 1980's. I lived in the area and remember peeking into the construction site and seeing the remains of dressing rooms at the top level of the theatre. An older friend of mine remembers attending movies and stage shows there in the distant past. Movie going used to be a real night out.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by songanddanceman2 2010-05-03 13:17:36


This thread is great, intresting, informative and no bitching lol

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Smaxie 2010-05-03 13:31:37


The theatre behind the Roxy Delicatessen entrance was the Central, also known as the Holiday and the Gotham when it was a legit theatre. It was a movie theatre from the 50s through the 80s, until it became Club USA for a brief time before being demolished to make way for the W Hotel.

To my surprise, I believe it was owned by the Shubert Organization when it was demolished.


re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Deena Jones 2010-05-03 13:56:30


as Smaxie says, The Central which before being demolished was Club USA. It was a very well designed night club with rooms desgined by Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier. There were two slides taking you from the front mezz to the orchestra via burlap bag! Anyone have pics of Club USA?!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by smodel11 2010-05-03 16:02:21


BUMP! I'm so happy to see this thread again :) It's so fascinating!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Mr Roxy 2010-05-03 18:21:06


Lamb did the 86 th st as well. He also did the RKO Proctors on 58 th street which was demolished for Alexanders which was in turn demolished for Bloomberg World HQ

One of his creations still standing is the Loews Canal on Canal & Ludlow, The outer lobby is an appliance store & the auditorium is a warehouse for a nearby hardware store. No idea if they are still there. There was talk of restoring it as almost all of the auditorium is still intact.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Orangesaretuesdays 2010-10-21 18:36:36


So did anyone finally get into the Liberty after all? I'm visting the city next week and If it is possible I'd love to see it!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by songanddanceman2 2010-10-21 20:14:20


So glad to see this thread back

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by gvendo2005 2010-10-23 18:40:05


Someone tell me where the Liberty entrance is! I'm-a goin' in next time I'm in town!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by allofmylife 2010-10-30 14:34:15


Two years and nobody has fixed the atrocious language in the title of this thread. Now there's a demolition of which I would approve.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by ljay889 2010-10-30 15:53:34


Wow, just read this thread for the first time. Amazing!!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RippedMan 2010-10-30 17:30:56


I just moved to Harlem and was getting on the 1 at 137th, and noticed that above the McDonalds there was a sign that said "Gotham Theater." Does anyone know anything about the "Gotham Theater" and/or what it use to look like and what happen to it?

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by gvendo2005 2010-10-31 11:57:59


^ The sign is old. It's listed here as the Delmar.

http://cinematreasures.org/theater/7825/

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by RippedMan 2010-10-31 12:03:28


I'm guessing it's pretty much been gutted now, but they left the sign.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by everythingISpossible 2010-11-07 23:25:29


When I win the lottery I'm going to produce a full, first rate revival of Follies at the Liberty...

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by gvendo2005 2010-11-14 10:20:42


Frankly, you'll only be able to do it if you beat my production of Godspell first.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Kevn520 2010-12-03 20:38:47


There was an interesting interactive feature in today's NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/12/03/nyregion/42nd-street-then-now.html?ref=nyregion

It's a side-by-side comparison of 42nd St in 2010 and 1989.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by TheaterBoy7777 2012-05-18 16:51:21


I saw End of the Rainbow last night in the beautiful Belasco theater and after the show I spent some time looking into the windows of the Hudson Theater(located on the same block). It reminded me of this thread and led me to spend my day re-reading this great thread and googling my day away searching about the Helen Hayes and Morosco theaters. I found some interesting things about the rally's to Save The Theaters, thought I'd pass it on. I had never seen Lee Harris Pomeroy's design to incorporate the theaters into the hotels design.]
Save the Theaters http://www.lhparch.com/project.aspx?cat=&id=28#


Found this through google appears to be a research DVD of the news reports regarding the demolition of the theaters.Has anyone seen this collection or remember watching these on TV? I can't seem to find any videos of the demolition online
http://www.worldcat.org/title/save-the-theaters-helen-hayes-and-morosco-rally-march-4-1982/oclc/079413292


Also stumbled upon this thread today its another thread I got grabbed into today where Smaxie and Margo Channing have some great history to share
http://broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.php?thread=914717&boardname=bway&boardid=1&page=1thread=914717&boardname=bway&boardid=1&page=1

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by phan24 2012-05-20 15:37:57


http://www.timessquarenewyears.com/parties-liberty-theater-new-years.php

what is this????

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Justin D 2012-05-20 16:03:31


what is says, it was the liberty theatre

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by kadu335 2012-05-21 09:38:49


This is by far one of my favorite threads on here.
I love it when people post new things... Thanks for the contribution, TheaterBoy7777!

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by smallworld 2013-09-02 21:36:49


Bumping this thread just because of how amazing it is.

re: What Times Square Area Buildings Use To Be Theaters?
Posted by Deena Jones 2014-02-03 22:08:47


Any news on the 4D show supposedly coming to the Timex SquarevTheatre?