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The Life of Studio 54

Studio 54 was known for two things before Roundabout purchased this historic theatre: being a famous club and being a cursed theatre, with shows sometimes opening and closing in the same night. However, Roundabout turned Studio 54's luck around with successful productions likeSunday in the Park with George, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and, of course, Cabaret.


1927: Gallo Opera House built by Italian entrepreneur Fortune Gallo for the San Carlo Opera Company.

November 7, 1927: First production at Gallo Opera House, La Boheme, closes after less than three weeks of performances.

December 1, 1927: The opera house is renamed The Gallo Theatre and does a production ofElectra, which only runs for 12 performances.

October 21, 1929: Revival of A Tailor-Made Man opens three days before Black Thursday, the start of The Depression.

May 12, 1930: Theatre re-opens with a performance of Henrik Ibsen's The Vikings. Closes after eight performances.

1932: Spanish Theatre of Madrid occupies the space for several weeks, attempting to bring good luck to the theatre; meets the same fate as all the previous occupants.

April 8, 1933: Gertrude Cox stars in a musical about life on Kentucky race tracks titled Hummin' Sam. Opens and closes on the same night.

1937: Space renamed the Federal Music Theatre with aid from the WPA's Federal Theatre Project, which strives to create a performance venue that would only charge 25 or 50 cents per ticket. In 1939 the project was defunded and the theatre was left open for purchase again.

1939: The theatre is renamed The New Yorker Theatre and starts with a performance of The Swing Mikado, an adaptation of The Mikado with an all-black cast.

1940: CBS-TV renames the space yet again to the CBS Radio Playhouse Number 4, only to have another name change after World War II as CBS Studio Number 52. During this time the studio is home to popular shows including "The Jack Benny Show," "Captain Kangaroo," "Password," and "The $64,000 Question."

1974: CBS decides to move most of their studios to California, and the space becomes vacant again.

April 16, 1977: Restaurateurs Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager purchase the building and renovate the interior to create the club popularly known as Studio 54. Studio 54 is known for only admitting the rich, famous, and beautiful. With its capacity at only 700, people line up around the block for a chance to go inside.

The Studio 54 lobby. Photo by Tanya Braganti, source Spotlight on Broadway.

November 1979: Rubell and Schrager begin to take money from the business for personal use. The IRS comes down on them and both plead guilty and spend over a year in jail.

February 4, 1980: Studio 54 closes after having a last blow-out party.

1982: A second incarnation of the club opens with attempts to keep the same environment as the original Studio 54 and undergoes various changes as nightclub, concert hall, and more until 1998.

November 12, 1998: Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Cabaret moves from the Henry Miller's Theatre to Studio 54 and runs until January 4, 2004.

2003: Roundabout Theatre Company purchases Studio 54.

April 22, 2004: Broadway debut of Assassins by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman opens and goes on to win five Tony awards.

The cast of Assassins. Photo by Joan Marcus.

December 2, 2004: Another Sondheim and Weidman collaboration, Pacific Overtures, opens at Studio 54.

2005: Roundabout Theatre Company removes the cabaret style seating and adds in traditional raked seating, creating a 1,002-seat house.

April 2005: A Streetcar Named Desire receives its 8th Broadway production, starring John C. Reilly and Natasha Richardson.

April 20, 2006: The Threepenny Opera opens, starring Alan Cumming alongside Jim Dale and Cindy Lauper.

Jim Dale, Ana Gasteyer, Alan Cumming, Nellie McKay, and Cyndi Lauper in The Threepenny Opera. Photo by Joan Marcus.

February 2008: Roundabout brings over Sunday in the Park with George from the Menier.

The cast of Sunday in the Park with George. Photo by Joan Marcus.

April 30, 2009: Waiting for Godot opens starring Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman, and John Glover.

The cast of Waiting for Godot. Photo by Joan Marcus.

May 2012: Harvey opens starring Jim Parsons.

Jim Parsons in Harvey. Photo by Joan Marcus.

November 2012: The Mystery of Edwin Drood opens and receives 5 Tony nominations.

The cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Photo by Joan Marcus

March 21,2014: First preview of the return of Cabaret.

This article features in our Upstage playgoer guide for Cabaret.

Cabaret plays at Studio 54 through January 4, 2015. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.

Click here to visit the Roundabout blog.

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