8. Cohoes Music Hall

A crowd of theatergoers on the Gilded Age
Photograph by Barbara Nitke/HBO

Oscar Van Rhijn, Marian Brooks, Gladys and Larry Russell, and many other characters attend the opening of a new play by Oscar Wilde in episode 3. The theater scenes in the show were shot inside Cohoes Music Hall in Cohoes, New York. The four-story hall opened in 1874 thanks to the financing of local miller William Acheson and newspaper owner James Masten. There were retail on the first floor and offices on the second floor. The top two floors were where the 475-seat music hall was located. The music hall was closed in 190 and didn’t host another performance until 1975.

Wilde visited New York on a lecture tour in 1882 and again in 1883 to oversee the first-ever stage production of one of his plays, Vera; or, The Nihilists. This play debuted in August 1883 at Union Square Theatre. When Oscar Van Rhijn tells Wilde that he enjoyed Maire Prescott’s performance, he is referring to the real-life actor who also produced Wilde’s play. As in the show, this debut was largely panned by the papers and closed less than a week after opening. This rough start however didn’t stop Wilde’s fame from skyrocketing.