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NYC Theatre Museum Holds Theatre Architecture Exhibit

Times Square Theatres: A New Century/A New Style, which provides a unique glimpse into the varied architectural styles of 20th century Broadway theatres, will run from January 11 through March 7, 2007, at the Municipal Art Society, 457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street in New York City. It opens with a wine and cheese reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10, 2007.

"This exhibition explores Broadway theatre design from the last Victorian playhouse into the future through a historical journey reflecting society's developing trends and values. Showcasing 12 theatres, it begins at the turn of the century, when the New Amsterdam brought the rare Art Nouveau style to the developing district, and travels to the 1930s when Renaissance style was highly popular. It then explores Broadway's reaction to the movie industry, from planning techniques to the evocative romantic themes inspired by movie palaces. The exhibition notes the hiatus caused by the Depression as well as World War II and explores the new Broadway, where modern design and technology merged with a changing audience. It then proceeds to the future, when historic restoration and cutting-edge creativity will co-exist for Times Square theatres," according to Theatre Museum notes.

"The exhibition places eight-foot panels, which illustrate each theatre with architectural plans and photographs, around artifacts preserved from them. "I'd like people to see the relationship between the show and the container in which the show is presented and how it is all part of a unified experience," said Craig Morrison, curator of Times Squares Theatres: A New Century/A New Style. Mr. Morrison is the author of Theaters, a Library of Congress book about the development of theater architecture since our country's founding.

On Monday, January 29, 2007, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm, theatre producer and owner Stewart F. Lane will moderate a panel discussion entitled "What is the Future of Theatres on Broadway?" Theatre owners from Jujamcyn Theaters, Manhattan Theatre Club and the Nederlander Organization will consider the changing nature of Times Square, the impact of air rights and changes in technology and audience demand.

A lecture, "Another Op' nin', Another Theatre - Broadway's Evolution," will be held from 6:30 pm to 8pm on Wednesday, February 21, 2007. Craig Morrison, exhibition curator, theatre restoration architect and historian, will discuss significant challenges facing architects building theatres during the 20th century and how those theatres flourished and matured.

The exhibition includes such theatres as the New Amsterdam, Shubert, Palace, Biltmore, Marquis and American Airlines (Selwyn). A walking tour will be offered on Saturday, March 3rd from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning on the steps of the New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street. There will also be community outreach to schools in collaboration with Inside Broadway, New Victory Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club and the Roundabout Theater's education programs.

This multifaceted exhibition has been awarded a $2,500 matching grant by the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a $5,000 donation by The 42nd Street Fund, an arm of The 42nd Street Development Corporation. The Theatre Museum met the state grant with proceeds from The 42nd Street Fund. The Times Square Alliance, New Amsterdam Theatre, Jujamcyn Theaters, New York Marriott Marquis, Millennium Broadway Hotel and The Rockefeller Group are also sponsoring the exhibition.

The Theatre Museum, founded in 2003, is New York State's first and only chartered, non-profit museum dedicated to the history of theatre. It is a museum-at-large presenting exhibitions in collaboration with other cultural institutions. The Museum's programs have included community outreach, such as teaching children how to write, direct and stage live theatre. Its primary mission is to preserve, protect and perpetuate the legacy of theatre through innovative programming.

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