New York's Top 10 : Times Square and Theater District (part 2) - Theaters

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  1. Lyceum

    The oldest playhouse boasts a vaulted ceiling, murals, and elaborate plasterwork. Often used as an auxiliary for Lincoln Center.

    • 149–157 West 45th St

  2. New Victory Theater

    Built for Oscar Hammerstein in 1900, this had resorted to X-rated films until restored in 1995 to present family entertainment.

    • 209 West 42nd St

    New Victory Theater
  3. Hilton Theater

    The rundown Lyric and Apollo were combined to form this showcase for musicals in 1998, marking the arrival of corporate sponsorship for theaters.

    • 214 West 42nd St

    Hilton Theater
  4. Shubert Theater

    Built in 1912–13 as a lavish site for musicals and headquarters for the Shubert Organization. The Booth, opposite, was built at this time.

    • 221–33 West 44th St

  5. New Amsterdam Theater

    This Art Nouveau beauty housed the famous Ziegfield Follies. Restored by Disney, it is home to the popular Mary Poppins.

    • 214 West 42nd St

  6. Hudson Theater

    A restrained façade belies the lavish interior, including an inner lobby with a classical arcade and domes of Tiffany glass.

    • 139–141 West 44th St

    Hudson Theater
  7. Belasco Theater

    A 1907 monument to impresario David Belasco, who supervised the unusual Georgian Revival design. The rooftop duplex was his personal residence.

    • 111–121 West 44th St

  8. Lunt-Fontaine Theater

    Originally the Globe (finished in 1910); part of the roof of this venue could be removed to create an open-air auditorium.

    • 203–217 West 46th St

  9. Palace Theater

    Sarah Bernhardt inaugurated the stage, and playing the Palace became the ultimate assignment. Now restored as a venue for musicals.

    • 1564 Broadway

  10. Winter Garden Theater

    Originally the American Horse Exchange in 1885, this was acquired by the Shuberts in 1910 and remodeled in 1922. Until 2000, it was the home of Cats.

    • 1634 Broadway

A Brief History of New York Theater

The first of countless theaters built in New York is thought to have been the New Theater, erected in lower Manhattan in 1732. The city’s theatrical center steadily moved uptown to the Bowery, then Astor Place, Union Square, and Herald Square, until it settled for good around Longacre Square (now Times Square), following the opening of Oscar Hammerstein’s Olympia Theater on Broadway in 1895. Some 85 theaters were built over the next three decades, many with grand Beaux Arts interiors by architects such as Herbert J. Krapp, and Herts and Tallant, the latter responsible for designing cantilevered balconies that eliminated the need for columns. Impresarios like the Shuberts and the Chanins made theater-going more democratic by blurring the class distinction between orchestra and balconies, using a single entrance for all. As modern theaters replaced them, more than 40 of these beauties have been demolished. Fortunately, the rest have now been designated landmarks.

Oscar Hammerstein Top 10 Broadway Shows
  1. The Phantom of the Opera

  2. Jersey Boys

  3. Chicago

  4. The Lion King

  5. Mamma Mia!

  6. South Pacific

  7. Avenue Q

  8. Wicked

  9. Mary Poppins

  10. West Side Story

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