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Biltmore Theatre

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Biltmore Theatre

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Address 261 West 47th Street
City New York City
Coordinates

40°45′38″N 73°59′12″W / 40.760481°N 73.986713°W / 40.760481; -73.986713Coordinates: 40°45′38″N 73°59′12″W / 40.760481°N 73.986713°W / 40.760481; -73.986713

Architect Herbert J. Krapp
Owned by Manhattan Theatre Club
Capacity 650
Type Broadway theatre
Other names Biltmore Theatre
Production The Snow Geese
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Built December 7, 1925
Architect Herbert J. Krapp
NRHP Reference # 04001203[1]
Added to NRHP 2004
Website
http://www.mtc-nyc.org


The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (formerly the Biltmore Theatre) is a Broadway theatre located at 261 West 47th Street in midtown-Manhattan.

History

Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp for impresario Irwin Chanin, it opened on December 7, 1925 with the play Easy Come Easy Go. With a seating capacity of 903, it was one of Broadway's smaller venues.

The theatre was used by Federal Theatre's Living Newspaper project in the 1930s. CBS leased it for use as a radio and television studio from 1952 until 1961. In 1968, the groundbreaking rock musical Hair opened at the theatre.

In 1987, a fire struck the Biltmore. The blaze, which was later determined to be an act of arson, destroyed the interior. After the fire, the building sat vacant for fourteen years, suffering more structural damage from water and vandals. The theatre's ownership changed hands several times between 1987 and 2001, but most plans proposed for its future use - such as a showcase for "Best of Broadway" revues - were rejected since its New York City landmark designation required it to operate only as a legitimate Broadway house if renovated.

In 2001, the property was purchased by the Manhattan Theatre Club as a permanent home for its productions. Surviving sections of the original theatre were restored by Polshek Partnership Architects (plasterwork restored by EverGreene Architectural Arts), and missing parts were reconstructed. With 622 seats the new Biltmore has about two-thirds of the capacity of the old, although it now boasts modern conveniences such as elevators and meeting rooms. The Biltmore's landmarked features, such as the proscenium arch, dome, staircases and a vaulted second-floor gallery, were restored or replicated.[2]

For the renovation of the Biltmore Theater, under floor air displacement was used. The benefits of this system include energy efficiency, superior indoor air quality, lowest noise levels of all other mechanical systems, and best thermal comfort. Biltmore is the first theater in New York City with under floor air displacement.

The theatre was renamed the "Samuel J. Friedman Theatre" in a dedication ceremony held on September 4, 2008. The new name honors Broadway publicist Samuel J. Friedman.[3]

Biltmore Theatre in media

In 1983, the Biltmore Theatre can be seen in The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Notable productions

References

Bibliography
  • Lost Broadway Theatres by Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, Princeton Architectural Press (1997) ISBN 1-56898-116-3
Notes

External links

  • Friedman Theatre Broadway Theatre Guide listing
  • "At This Theatre" at Playbill.com
  • , July 2004


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