The Duo Multicultural Arts Center: A Turn of the Century Theater

The DMAC has served many uses since its opening in 1889: dance and catering hall, theater and TV studio.

The Duo Multicultural Arts Center building opened in 1889 as a dance and catering hall. The building consisted of restaurants, meeting halls and residences. John Philip Sousa, the famous American composer, established one of the first musicians’ unions in the building’s ballroom.

The proscenium  arch was added when the space was converted into a theater.

The ballroom was converted into a theater in the 1930’s and was named the Fortune Theatre. Over the years, the theater had many different uses; it was a Yiddish theater in the 1930’s; a television studio in the 1950’s; and was the home of Channel One Theater (a comedy improv theater) during the 1960’s. Andy Warhol rented the theater in 1969 to screen “Boys Adore Galore,” his pornographic film series. Later, Francis Ford Coppola used the theater to film the operetta scene of The Godfather: Part II.

Two of the murals in the back of the theater.

In 1981, the building was taken over by the Duo Multicultural Arts Center, which uses the space as a venue for latino artists in the East Village. The exterior of the building underwent a 2.1 million dollar renovation in 2011. The Duo Theater hope to use the grant from Partners in Preservation to restore the murals and the decorative tin ceiling.  More information on the theater can be found at

 A close-up of one of the murals.

View of the theater from the stage.

Click  here  to vote for Duo Multicultural Arts Center, find out more about them on Facebook.  Follow Untapped Cities on  Twitter  and  Facebook. Get in touch with the author @mattlambros.

Duo Multicultural Arts Center  [Map]
62 East 4th Street    New York, NY 10003
(212) 598-4320

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 culture, Matt Lambros, partners in preservation, preservation, theater

2 Responses
  1. Lesli Klainberg Reply

    Wondering why basic info like, where specifically the theater is located, is not in the article or a photo of the exterior.

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