Greenwich Village’s “Waverly”: Past, Present and Future
NEW YORK, NY — There was a very interesting article about the past, present and future of Greenwich Village’s Waverly Theater, by David Dunlap, in the New York Times on January 25th: “Past Will Flicker in Village Theater Renovation.”
The theater, closed since October, 2001, is undergoing an $8 million dollar transformation into a three-theater complex that will house the IFC (Independent Film Channel) Center. Two theaters, a 220-seat main floor theater and a 110-seat upstairs theater will be in the original theater structure, and a 60-seat theater and cafe are planned for an adjacent building.
According to the article, “Jonathan Sehring, the president of IFC Entertainment, said the complex would offer a comfortable and up-to-date place to watch movies and even to dine.”
In addition to the good news, what is especially interesting about the article is that it gives a pretty detailed and fascinating history of the building itself which is, apparently, 174-years old and has been through a number of uses, including a church, a offices/workshop for a company making stained-glass! (Its use as a theater began in 1937.)
Also, the Waverly’s two great claims to fame are mentioned in the article:
It was mentioned in the lyrics of the song “Frank Mills” from the musical “Hair.” (I believe a scene was filmed in front of the theater for the movie, but the scene was ultimately cut.)
And there were midnight showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Waverly beginning in 1976. It’s not clear from the article, but I believe the implication being made is that this was the first theater in New York City — and possibly anywhere — to have midnight showings of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
For more information on the IFC Center, read this Crain’s NY Business article.