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Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Biltmore Theatre
Biltmore Theatre NYC 2007.jpg
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Address 261 West 47th Street
New York City
United States
Coordinates 40°45′37″N 73°59′12″W / 40.76035°N 73.98677°W / 40.76035; -73.98677
Owner Manhattan Theatre Club
Type Broadway theatre
Capacity 650
Construction
Architect Herbert J. Krapp
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Built December 7, 1925
Architect Herbert J. Krapp
NRHP reference No. 04001203
Added to NRHP 2004
WPA Federal Theater Project in New York-Living Newspaper-"AAA Plowed Under" - NARA - 195706
A crowd of people standing on the sidewalk in front of the theatre (1935)

The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (formerly the Biltmore Theatre) is a Broadway theatre located at 261 West 47th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

History

Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp for impresario Irwin Chanin, the theatre 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. The producer David Cogan acquired the Biltmore in 1958. In 1968, the groundbreaking rock musical Hair opened at the theatre.

In 1986, Cogan sold the Biltmore to developer Samuel Pfeiffer. 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 14 years, suffering more structural damage from water and vandals. 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 1993, the Nederlander Organization and Stewart F. Lane acquired the Biltmore; after being unable to secure a deal with theatre unions, the theatre was sold to developer Joseph Moinian.

In 2001, the theatre was assumed by the Manhattan Theatre Club as a permanent home for its productions. Polshek Partnership Architects restored surviving sections of the original theatre and EverGreene Architectural Arts restored plasterwork and reconstructed missing parts. With 622 seats, the Biltmore has about two-thirds of the capacity of the old venue, but it includes 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.

The theatre was renamed the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in a dedication ceremony held on September 4, 2008. The name honors Broadway publicist Samuel J. Friedman. The Manhattan Theatre Club took ownership of the Samuel J. Friedman in October 2008.

Biltmore Theatre in media

The Biltmore Theatre is prominently featured in The Muppets Take Manhattan as the location of the Broadway show that the Muppets put on in the finale of the film.

Notable productions

  • 1928: Pleasure Man
  • 1940: The Unconquered; My Sister Eileen
  • 1946: No Exit
  • 1947: The Heiress
  • 1951: Billy Budd
  • 1961: Take Her, She's Mine
  • 1963: Barefoot in the Park
  • 1968: Loot; Staircase; Hair
  • 1976: The Robber Bridegroom
  • 1977: Hair
  • 1978: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
  • 1980: Nuts
  • 1982: Deathtrap
  • 1983: Doonesbury
  • 2003: The Violet Hour
  • 2005: After the Night and the Music
  • 2006: Rabbit Hole
  • 2007: LoveMusik, Mauritius
  • 2008: Come Back, Little Sheba; Top Girls; To Be or Not To Be
  • 2009: The American Plan; Accent on Youth; The Royal Family
  • 2010: Time Stands Still; Collected Stories; The Pitmen Painters
  • 2011: Good People; Master Class; Venus in Fur
  • 2012: Wit; The Columnist; An Enemy of the People
  • 2013: The Other Place; The Assembled Parties; The Snow Geese
  • 2014: Outside Mullingar; Casa Valentina; The Country House
  • 2015: Constellations; Airline Highway; Fool for Love
  • 2016: Our Mother's Brief Affair; The Father; Heisenberg; Jitney
  • 2017: The Little Foxes; Prince of Broadway; The Children
  • 2018: Saint Joan; The Nap
  • 2019: Choir Boy; Ink; The Height of the Storm
  • 2020: My Name Is Lucy Barton; How I Learned to Drive

Bibliography

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

Notes

Coordinates: 40°45′37″N 73°59′12″W / 40.76035°N 73.98677°W / 40.76035; -73.98677

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