Broadway Theatre

1681 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 51 - 75 of 77 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 9, 2006 at 5:17 am

Here are two interior images from the Internet Broadway website that I rejuvenated to show more detail. None of the ceiling chandeliers are original or even close copies of them:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 9, 2006 at 4:06 am

In the spring of 1942, MGM (probably with assistance from the allied Loew’s Theatres) leased the Broadway Theatre as a showcase for short subjects. The two-hour programs had a sliding price scale of 28 cents to 45 cents, with children 20 cents at all times. I don’t know how long the policy lasted, but it started in April during Easter Week and had ended by July 4th, when the Broadway Theatre returned to “legit” with the opening of Irving Berlin’s patriotic musical, “This Is The Army”:

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 15, 2006 at 5:33 am

The photos I posted in January are now located in this Broadway Theater album, now that I’ve reorganized my photobucket album.

William on April 21, 2006 at 5:39 am

here is the theatre’s name timeline.
The B.S. Moss’s Colony Theatre opened on Dec. 25th, 1924.
Universal’s Colony Theatre reopened Feb. 7th, 1926, Film.
B.S. Moss’s Broadway Theatre reopened Dec. 8th, 1930, Film.
Earl Carroll’s Broadway Theatre reopened Sept. 27th, 1932, Legit.
Broadway Theatre reopened Dec. 26th, 1932, Vaudeville house.
B.S. Moss’s Broadway Theatre reopened Oct. 12th, 1935, Film.
Cine Roma 1937, Film.
Broadway Theatre 1939, Film

The B.S. Moss stands for Benjamin S. Moss, who was a theatre owner and operator. The Shubert’s bought the house in 1939.

William on April 21, 2006 at 5:12 am

The Broadway Theatre was also known as Cine Roma back in 1937, it showed Italian films.

AlAlvarez on April 14, 2006 at 9:15 am

Thanks Warren. I am not sure how one would list them, but the old Criterion and the Vitagraph both deserve a listing.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 14, 2006 at 3:06 am

Vitagraph was one of the names used for the theatre in the Hammerstein’s Olympia complex that spent much of its existence until demolition as the Criterion. There is some discussion of the Vitagraph/Criterion in the listing for Loew’s New York, which was originally the Olympia Music Hall and part of the same complex. It was all demolished in 1935 for new buildings that included the second Criterion Theatre.

AlAlvarez on April 14, 2006 at 1:54 am

Sorry, I found that one. It is the VITAGRAPH (44th & Broadway) that appears to be missing.

AlAlvarez on April 14, 2006 at 1:30 am

There appears to be no listing for Paramount’s Broadway Theatre. (1915-1928)on 41st street. Does anyone have any information?

ThePhotoplayer on March 28, 2006 at 11:13 pm

While remodeled several times, there are some typical DeRosa features, particularly the “swish” trim around the top and bottom of the boxes.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 10, 2006 at 5:19 pm

The last time I had been in the Winter Garden was for “Beatlemania” back around 1977 or ‘78. “Not the Beatles, but an incredible simulation.” Wow, nearly 30 years ago… time flies when you’re having fun!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 10, 2006 at 1:45 pm

The intro notes that “This Is Cinerama” had a “magnificent” run here, but I think that the engagement was only in its 35th week when the film moved to the Warner/Strand Theatre. That marked the end of Cinerama at the Broadway, which returned to a “legit” showcase.

LuisV on January 10, 2006 at 1:09 pm

Wow, I haven’t been to the Broadway theater in many years. The 2 shows I rmember seeing there were “The Wiz” with Stepahie Mills in the eighties and “Miss Saigon” in the mid nineties. I have to say I am surprised to see the relative lack of ornamentation on this theater. Especially after just having popped my head on Sunday into the incredible “Hollywood” theater just around the corner. Thanks Ed for the pictures!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 10, 2006 at 6:37 am

I visited this theater Sunday afternoon and took in a performance from 8th row center. The proscenium opening is huge, particularly from that perspective, so I can only imagine what it must have been like with the large, curved Cinerama screen installed! I’m not sure what the original decor was like, but it looks like it could have been in the Beaux Arts style or possible Adams (judging from the foyer), with lots of arch moldings creating space for mural work. Today, it is probably one of the least ornamented theaters on Broadway. The wall space in the auditorium between the moldings is now predominantly adorned with red velvet to match the seat upholstery. The most dominant feature in this space is the elliptical dome and chandelier, which is now partially obscured with rigging for stage lighting. The main foyer is much more elegantly appointed and ornate. I snapped a series of photos while I was there; however, some of the shots in the auditorium came out a bit dark. I also lacked a wide enough lens to really capture the proscenium and dome:

Facade and adjacent skyscraper
Dome and chandelier
Balcony view 1
Balcony view 2
Left side boxes view 1
Left side boxes view 2
Seat end-cap
Right side boxes
Proscenium arch view 1
Proscenium arch view 2
Main foyer

In the 2nd shot, you can see the way the new facade was incorporated into the adjacent skyscraper as Warren pointed out in one of his posts above. In the balcony views, you can make out where the projection booth was located (particularly in the 2nd view where you can make out the large windows at the rear of the balcony). What I’m wondering is, for the Cinerama exhibition, did they use this high projection booth? Or did they build a new booth at the rear of the orchestra (where there is a sound board now)? I know that Cinerama required a more level projection field than most rear-balcony booths provided and I notice in the ad posted by RobertR in June that the illustration seems to depict projection from the rear orchestra.

RobertR on July 27, 2005 at 4:08 am

Here is a 1952 teaser ad for “This is Cinerama” at the Broadway View link

RobertR on July 4, 2005 at 3:17 pm

Here is an ad from the legendary “This is Cinerama"
View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 6, 2005 at 7:01 am

The first movie under UA’s 1947 lease was the New York premiere engagement of Charles Chaplin’s “Monsieur Verdoux,” which opened at the Broadway on April 11th, barely two weeks after the theatre’s final “legit” booking.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 2, 2005 at 8:23 am

The UA lease of the Broadway in 1947 came after the March 29 closing of the stage musical, “Beggar’s Holiday,” and ended in January, 1948, when the theatre reverted to “legit” with a revival of “The Cradle Will Rock”…During the UA lease, the Broadway was advertised as “Broadway’s most newly decorated theatre.” Another booking during that period was a re-issue double feature of “Lady of Burlesque” and “The Great John L.”…During the first week of the NYC premiere engagment of the long banned “The Outlaw,” the Broadway operated 24 hours daily to accommodate the expected crowds. I don’t know if they ever materialized.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 23, 2005 at 8:50 am

In 1947, the faltering United Artists Corporation was finding it tough getting mid-town bookings for some of its product, so it took a lease on the Broadway Theatre and opened them there. I don’t have a complete list, but it included “Dishonored Lady” (with Hedy Lamarr & Dennis O'Keefe), “Copacabana” (Groucho Marx & Carmen Miranda), “Heaven Only Knows” (Robert Cummings & Brian Donlevy), and the long-delayed “The Outlaw” (produced in 1941 but held up by problems with the MPAA and state and/or local censorship groups).

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 13, 2005 at 2:01 pm

Walt Disney’s “Dumbo” had its New York premiere engagement here in October, 1941, on a continuous run policy, though mezzanine seats could be reserved in advance. Admission was 35 cents to 1PM for adults, and 28 cents at all times for children under 12. Starting on December 24th for one week only, “Dumbo” opened on the entire RKO neighborhood circuit, with “Rise & Shine” as second feature. Meanwhile, “Dumbo” continued at the Broadway as a solo feature, and remained there for some time into 1942 in an exclusive engagement.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 7, 2005 at 7:26 am

One of the reasons that “Fantasia” lasted so long here was that it was shown as a road show with only two performances daily and all seats reserved. Advertising claimed that “This picture cannot be shown in any other theatre within 100 miles of New York.” All evening performances were at 8:40, with tickets priced at 75 cents, $1.10, $1.65, and $2.20. Weekday matinees at 2:40 were 55 cents, 85 cents, and $1.10. The matinees on Saturday, Sunday and holidays were 55 cents, 85 cents, $1.10, and $1.65. There were no reduced prices for children.

Shade on June 4, 2004 at 10:06 am

According to’s Broadway theatre listing page, the Broadway currently has 1752 seats.

And yes this is where “Steamboat Willie” starring Mickey Mouse had its world premiere, November 18, 1928, which is recognized by the Disney company as the official birthday of Mickey Mouse. Steamboat Willie was actually Mickey’s third film, but the first two were silent (“Plane Crazy” and “The Gallopin' Gaucho”) and were swept aside in the rush to talkies.

William on March 30, 2004 at 8:21 am

“Fantasia” opened in New York on November 13, 1940 at the Broadway Theatre and played there for over a year. The sound system was named “Fantasound”; the original installation cost for the theatre was $85,000 (1940 prices). Only a few engagements of “Fantasia” were presented in Fantasound. The main problem was the cost to the theatres for the sound system and the possible war in Europe. Fantasia would not be heard in stereo again until 1956, when it was restored to it’s original length and released in the four-track magnetic stereo format. The “This is Cinerama” engagement only moved 5 blocks down to the Warner Theatre (aka:Strand)in Times Square.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 30, 2004 at 7:14 am

The Shubert Organization fully “restored” the Broadway in 1985-86, with help from the archtiectural firm of Fox & Fowle. They reportedly spent $8 million on the job, since very little of the original interior existed when they started. The Broadway re-opened April 10th, 1986 with Bob Fosse’s “Big Deal,” which proved a quick flop, but the following year it struck gold with “Les Miserables,” followed by “Miss Saigon.” Several years ago, the Broadway received a new entrance and marquee, due to construction of an adjacent skyscraper hotel that cantilevers over it.