Times Square is home to over 30 theaters. These theaters can be awe-inspiring works of art and architecture. As a result, it is sad to think about Times Square’s opulent theaters that have either been nearly gutted or completely demolished. One former theater, which is overlooked by most who visit the area, lies in the middle of that spectrum.
Until recently, the former Loew’s Mayfair Theater was a souvenir store that incorporated some of the theater’s detailing. The store went out of business and so far nothing new has opened in its place. Ideally, its new occupant will restore the interior decorations and display them more prominently, as recently happened with the former I. Miller Shoe Store. (more…)
Cynthia von Buhler at the Players Club. Photo Credit: Maxine Nienow
What if John Wilkes Booth really assassinated Lincoln because of a sibling rivalry? The Brothers Booth, a new interactive play by Cynthia Von Buhler, creator of the Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning, will explore that possibility. Spectators will be encouraged to play along, observing the action and piecing together the clues as they explore The Players Club, founded by Edwin Booth in 1888. The Brothers Booth is a fantasy based on a number of truths about Edwin and his infamous brother, John Wilkes Booth. We met up with von Buhler at the Players Club to find out more about the play, which opens in March. (more…)
New York City is full of interesting and unique theaters. We have previously explored some of the City’s offerings including the Loew’s Valencia Theater in Jamaica, which is currently a church and the former Berkshire Theater in Sunset Park, which is currently a mosque. Today, we bring you 10 theaters that can be found along Broadway, in Upper Manhattan, most of which possess only a specter of their former glory.
On December 5th 1876, at least 300 play-goers died due to a monster fire in the Brooklyn Theater, which was located in Cadman Plaza near today’s Borough Hall. The theater was very popular at the time. In fact, all 900 seats were filled that night. The Two Orphans starring Harry Murdoch and Kate Claxton was playing.
According to the Bowery Boys, a gas light ignited some extra scenery at the beginning of the performance. The fire went unnoticed until the middle of the show when stagehands saw the spreading flames backstage. Then, the entire backstage wall crumbled and fell, and the famous ceiling fresco was burned. (more…)
Located along Dekalb Avenue, an area that once had a theater presence comparable to Times Square, the Beaux-Arts Albee Theater opened in 1925. It was established by Edward Albee and Benjamin Franklin Keith, who both sought to promote a more highbrow form of vaudeville. Along with the Metropolitan and Paramount Theaters, The Albee was a part of the Subway Circuit–a group of theaters easily accessible by subway, which played shows passing out from Broadway. In the first years after its opening, the Albee exclusively played vaudeville, but the program was eventually dropped around 1935, when the Depression forced it to discontinue the tradition. (more…)
Last year, Untapped Cities contributor Matt Lambros took us into the abandoned Loew’s King Theater in Brooklyn, a theater designed with inspiration from the Paris Opera Garnier and the Palace of Versailles. Although it was Loew’s flagship theater, high maintenance costs along with the arrival of the multiplex doomed this beautiful space like many other grand theaters of the era. But in 2010, the City of New York announced a $70 million renovation to restore the Kings Theatre for use as a performing arts center by 2014.
The Economic Development Corporation recently released photographs of the renovation: