Public Theater

425 Lafayette Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Showing 26 - 30 of 30 comments

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on December 22, 2004 at 3:14 am

I have no problems with calling it Little Theatre, since that was the designation used to refer to it within the larger complex, although that was NOT its name. No New York theatre was known as “Little Theatre.” If you asked someone in New York where they had seen a movie, and they said “Little Theatre,” that would be a puzzling response indeed. If they said “The Public Theatre,” you would know what they were talking about. Some special film programs, incidentally, took place not at the “Little Theatre” but at a larger one in the complex. None of this would be an issue if ALL the auditoriums were film venues and “The Public Theatre” meant “The Public Cinema.” But because live theatre is predominant, it seems we have to somehow separate the cinema portion for a site called Cinema Treasures.

Should the Museum of Modern Art auditoriums be listed as Roy and Niuta Titus Theatres I & II?

The Little Theatre at the Public had a steep stadium-style rake long before that became the thing in multiplex movie-houses.

br91975 on December 21, 2004 at 4:47 pm

I agree with Warren. Given all encompassed within the Public complex, titling this entry the Little Theatre would be far more appropriate.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 21, 2004 at 1:14 pm

I think that this theatre is misrepresented. The Public Theatre is a complex of spaces, and the cinema was just a small section of it. I don’t recall the cinema being called the Public Theatre. The listing should be like the one for the cinema that’s part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on December 21, 2004 at 7:29 am

Regarding the theatre’s name: in ads and publicity and in a logo, this was generally referred to as The Public Theatre or The Public…with the definite article included.

I have many memories of seeing films here during the venue’s several-decades-long life. One of the auditoriums was used for live theatre productions, such as Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. The “Little Theatre” is, I believe, now also used for that purpose.

Many Italian films of merit were shown here. I remember a belated American premiere run in 1982 of Bolognini’s moody and atmospheric 1961 “Senilità”—-renamed “Careless” for its run here. I saw a number of Rossellini films here: “The Age of the Medici,” a rare screening of his “The Messiah,” with an introduction by daughter Isabella, a presentation of Francesco Rosi’s “Neapolitan Diary” with the director on hand, a retrospective of Mario Monicelli films with the director introducing.

Some hard-to-see Luis Buñuel films made in Mexico were offered to filmgoers here. There was so much more, and I would like to check my files to refresh my memory. Perhaps other New York film buffs may want to add their recollections of this unique cinema.

br91975 on December 21, 2004 at 7:13 am

George C. Wolfe, then in the early years of his leadership of the Public, dropped the programming of the Little Theatre sometime around 1994. In a Village Voice article which ran not long thereafter, Fabiano Canosa, then without a regular film-booking home, expressed an interest in booking two of three screens of the then-23rd Street Triplex (now known as the two-cinema Chelsea West), which was at the time mostly a move-over house and venue for lesser genre product. Eventually, Canosa landed on his feet with not one, but two, steady gigs – at the Symphony Space/Thalia on 95th and Broadway and at the Anthology, at 2nd and 2nd in the East Village, positions both of which he holds to this day.