6. Wallack’s Theater (later Star Theatre)

The Star Theatre in the background. Photo from Library of Congress.

Like most historic theaters in New York City, Wallack’s Theater, located at Broadway at Thirteenth Street, had a bit of an identity crisis since its opening on September 25, 1861. In 1881 it was renamed The Germania Theater and then only two years later, it was changed again to the Star Theater. The German Romanesque theater was opened by actor James William Wallack and was originally named after his son, actor John Johnstone Wallack. Like the theater that was named after him, Wallack has gone by several names including Allan Field and John Wallack Lester.

James Wallack appeared for the last time on any stage at the opening of the comedy, The New President, when he addressed his theater for the first time. Wallack’s Theater was known for booking some of the most prominent names in theater at the time, including John Gilbert, Helen Tracy, and Frederic Robinson. Following the success of the first theater, another Wallack’s Theater was built on Thirtieth Street and Broadway. Four Broadway theaters once bore the name Wallack’s Theater and none are left standing today.

The Star Theater was sent off with The Man-o’-War’s Man starring Thomas E. Shea as its final show on April 20, 1901. Destruction of the theater began that same April and the demolition was recorded in time-lapse.