Criterion Theatre

1514 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 351 - 375 of 433 comments

broadwaymarty
broadwaymarty on December 10, 2004 at 5:27 am

When Urinetown The Musical was forced, during a successful run, to leave the soon to be demolished Henry Miller (now only the landmark facade remains) the producers looked into rellocating to the Embassy 1,2 and 3 site (once the Demille and Mayfair), logistically a perfect venue for that show, it was found to be too broken down for the move. On the subject of the Capitol, which had been later converted to the Cinerama format (a still, gorgeous auditorium remained behind the sreen a drapes), it would have been better had1633 was built over and around it. It’s 5000 seat capacity could have been reduced to make THAT a Broadway musical showcase, rather than the barn (THE GERSHWIN)that stands on that site!

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on December 9, 2004 at 4:27 pm

Warren there is a huge demand for muscial theatres sitting between 1500-1800 seats. The Palace has been booked with a show ever since Disney announced the closing of “Aida”. Many times a producer will book and reserve a desired theatre way in advance to assure there production the proper theatre. The in coming musical “Spamalot” reserved the Shubert months ago. The in coming musical Lennon reserved the Broadhurst almost a year in advance. Vincent you are correct, the Strand(Warner) and Loew’s State could have been altered to house broadway musicals such as the Orpheum in San Francisco where they brought the stage into the Orchestra and reducing the capacity to make the theatre more intimate for broadway musicals.The cost of doing this would have been less than building a new musical theatre from the ground up. Then they could of built over these theatres like they did with the Palace. Broadway doesn’t want theatres larger than 2000 seats, where the road requires musical theatres larger than 2000 seats. A hit show on Broadway will usually run 2-17 years like Phantom,Chicago,The Producers,Rent,Beauty and the Beast,Mama Mia,Hairspray,Movin Out,42nd Street and Avenue Q. Even a flop on Broadway can run anywhere from 6 months to a year.Broadway on the road plays most theatres only for a few weeks and require a larger theatre to recoup there costs. A few markets such as Toronto,Boston,Chicago,San Francisco,and Los Angeles may have a long run with a Phantom or a Lion King but this is rare.brucec

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on December 9, 2004 at 1:47 pm

Enough with the juke box musicals!
I guess we’ve now got to deal with decades of them.
Where’s my time machine?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 9, 2004 at 1:13 pm

The Embassy 2-3-4 (ex-Mayfair, DeMille) does not have stage facilities and I doubt that that they could easily be added since the theatre is boxed in by surrounding buildings. And does Broadway really need more “legit” theatres? The nearby Palace is sitting empty until the Elvis Presley musical opens there next year.

RobertR
RobertR on December 9, 2004 at 7:48 am

It still sounds like the Embassy would make a good legit house.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on December 9, 2004 at 6:14 am

I doubt that the Rivoli or the Criterion had the space behind the prosceniums to house a Broadway show. But the Loews State and the Strand would have been terrific as legit houses though maybe somewhat large. Though twice the capacity of the Gershwin they still would have been warmer more welcoming theatrical spaces than that aircraft hangar.
And the City Opera could have had a midtown opera house! The development in our city is a joke. I hope that Giuliani and Koch choke on their ill gotten gains.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on December 8, 2004 at 9:39 pm

The Lion King is still doing sell out business at the New Amsterdam which is the 3rd largest legit theatre on Broadway and it will be a few years before Disney will move it to a smaller theatre. The largest theatre on Broadway is the Gershwin and the Ford Center, soon to be renamed the Hilton Theatre, is the second largest. The Rivoli and the Criterion would have made great legit musical theatres if a stage house could have been built.Its a shame because the demand for a musical theatre seating between 1500-1800 is huge. Many musical shows are lined up waiting for a theatre of this size and many times have to postpone until the next season. The average hit musical is running longer and longer.Every theatre on Broadway is either running a show or is booked with a show coming in.brucec

RobertR
RobertR on December 8, 2004 at 6:54 pm

Who ran the Embassy 2-3-4 when it was the Mark 1-2-3?

William
William on December 8, 2004 at 5:46 pm

Well they are going to put in a Restaurant and bar into the space that once was the north side of the building where the fire exits once stood. It’s signage has already been put up, going tobe called Bond 50 Restauant.
The Times Square church really maintains the old Mark Hellinger, really well. They painted the lobby and relamped the lobby light fixtures in the last two months.
Disney may do what they did to “Beauty and the Beast” when it left the Palace and moved-over to the Lunt and Fontane Theatre. They down sized the show from what played and opened on Broadway at the Palace. So it could still play on Broadway but smaller to fit the other theatre.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on November 12, 2004 at 9:30 pm

The most logical theatre for the Disney organization is the old Mark Hellinger which is now the Times Square Church. The church doesn’t want to give it up at this time. Disney has two productions coming to Broadway in the next couple years “Mary Poppins” and “The Little Mermaid”. The New Amsterdam will likely run “The Lion King” for several years unless they move it to another theatre.I doubt Disney would run a theatre in New York like the El Capitan as the cost would be so expensive.brucec

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 2:46 pm

It was after Walter Reade gave it up. It was in Aug 75. The opening was a doubel feature for $1.00. I remember one film was Jacquele Susan’s Once Is Not Enough. I don’t think it lasted long as a $1.00 theater. Right after that it became the Mark 1,2,3 and that didn’t last long. The last owner was the Guild organization.
Sorry I gave the wrong year in my earlier post.

RobertR
RobertR on November 12, 2004 at 2:04 pm

Wow who was going to run the Demille as a dollor house? Peter Ellison?

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 2:00 pm

Warren
The Demille did have a stage before they split it up. I interviewed their in 1976 when they were going to reopen as a dollar house. I rememeber the big stage and the redcurtains which were kept in the downstairs theater when they split it up.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 1:59 pm

Warren
The Demille did have a stage before they split it up. I interviewed their in 1976 when they were going to reopen as a dollar house. I rememeber the big stage and the redcurtains which were kept in the downstairs theater when they split it up.

br91975
br91975 on November 12, 2004 at 12:46 pm

I imagine the main reason why the El Capitan is such a draw are the stage productions which accompany most, if not all, the Disney flicks shown there. If a renovated Mayfair/DeMille/Embassy 1-2-3 were to become a studio o/o venue, it would most likely be run by a someone other than Disney – a studio whose product is 99% straight action, drama, comedy, etc., and doesn’t lend itself to any sort of theatrical accompaniment. I suspect the property’s ultimate fate will be conversion into retail space but maybe I’ll be proven wrong…

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on November 12, 2004 at 12:35 pm

Has anybody else noticed that Broadway has turned into Branson for the middle aged and that Andy Williams has become ABBA?
New York lost Times Square and it now has lost its culture.

Goodbye greatest city in the history of the world.

RobertR
RobertR on November 12, 2004 at 11:54 am

Obviously the El Capitan must be making money, why wouldent that work in New York?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 12, 2004 at 11:36 am

The Mayfair/DeMille has no stage facilities…In “the glory days,” the Palace presented only vaudeville, with two shows per day. For a brief time before the Palace dropped vaudeville in 1932, movies were added, but the combined policy proved a flop, and only movies were shown until 1949. Variety shows on television revived the public’s interest in vaudeville and the Palace resumed it, but without the “name” headliners of the past. It presented nine acts of ordinary vaudeville, plus a first-run “B” movie, with programs changing once a week. This lasted for about two years until the novelty wore off and the Palace tried again with just two-a-day vaudeville, starting with Judy Garland as headliner. Unfortunately, there were no longer enough big stars available for such a policy, so the Palace eventually went back to movies as a hard-ticket house.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 10:56 am

I remember the Palace having movies in the late 60’s until they booked Applause with Lauren Bacall. It’s been a legit house ever since.

Vito
Vito on November 12, 2004 at 10:36 am

Warren, The Palace will open the musical “All Shook Up” on
March 24 2005 with previews beginning on February 20, 2005
In the meanwhile, Vanessa Williams and Linda Elder have scheduled concerts in December. Wouldn’t it be fun to use the some of the dark time till Jan 20 with vaudeville shows and a movie? like the ole days. Yeah … that I’ll happen.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 9:05 am

Which theater r u talking about Warren?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 12, 2004 at 8:43 am

The theatre has no stage facilities, which would be a problem unless Disney wanted to show only movies there. But why would it when “exclusive” runs are no longer feasible? For stage productions, Disney already has the New Amsterdam, and makes deals with other “legit” houses when the need arises. The closing of Disney’s “Aida” has left the Palace dark, and “Lion King” will eventually have to be replaced at the New Amsterdam.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on November 12, 2004 at 6:21 am

Marty,
The Criterion was a very elegant Art Deco theater with excellent sightlines. A spacious but not too large theater where the large screen was perfectly placed head on in front of the theater. It showed of its product as if they were jewels. Unless you were there during it’s heyday it’s hard to see in pictures what is more obvious in the old black and white photos of the Roccoco spectaculars built in the 20’s.
It was one of New York’s great movie theaters.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 5:18 am

I agree with an earlier post, Disney should purchase the Embassy 2,3,4 aka Demille and restore it like the El Capitan in CA. They could have also purchased the Times Square theater.

Vito
Vito on November 12, 2004 at 5:13 am

Marty, we are all in mourning for these magnificent theatres, the likes of which we will never see again.