10. Palace Theatre, 1913
Photograph via Wikimedia Commons
Unlike many of the theaters along Broadway, The Palace was specifically and originally designed to house vaudeville. Construction began in 1912 at the behest of West-Coast showman and entrepreneur Martin Beck. The theater, along with connected office space, was elaborately designed by midwest theater architects Kirchhoff & Rose. It was renowned for its fine acoustics and inside featured a double-balconied auditorium, boxes, and loges on three levels. Its design also included an unusually high and wide proscenium arch, a large stage, and a lavishly baroque foyer and lobby filled with high-relief plasterwork, marble, and iron-work.
In 1932, under economic pressure from movie theaters popping up around it, the Palace turned into a mixed vaudeville and film house. This required modifications to the architecture and much of the elaborate decor was covered up over the next few decades. The theater was purchased by the Nederlanders in 1965 and a half a million dollar restoration project revealed the theater’s original decor. They even found crystal chandeliers in the basement which now hang in the lobby. Theatrical productions returned to The Palace thanks to the Nederlanders and continued to run until 2018 when “Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical” closed in preparation for the theater’s integration into the new TSX Broadway building. The landmarked interiors will remain intact and be restored as the theater is lifted thirty feet. The theater is tentatively scheduled to reopen in 2021. Notable Broadway shows that have been in the Palace include “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aida” and Judy Garland’s record-breaking nineteen-week performance.