Variety Theatre

110 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

Unfavorite 7 people favorited this theater

Showing 51 - 68 of 68 comments

markane
markane on February 20, 2005 at 11:55 am

the marquee is being demolished as I type this. the signage at the top of the building and its decorative details have been removed. This is just too sad for words.

EMarkisch
EMarkisch on February 18, 2005 at 11:37 am

Ron…If that is the case, then it should be listed as “Variety Arts”, which was the last name used when it was used as an off-Broadway theater. I am 100% sure of this fact because the company I work for was one of the producers of “Return to the Forbidden Planet”, which was the first off-Broadway production to play the theater after it was completely renovated after closing as “Variety Photoplays”.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 18, 2005 at 11:17 am

The usual rule here is to list the theatre under the last name it had while open for any entertainment purpose (live or movie). But someone should add “Variety Arts Theatre” to the “Also known as” list.

EMarkisch
EMarkisch on February 18, 2005 at 11:11 am

To answer Don Rosen…Yes, this is the Variety Arts Theater. The sequel to the Broadway show “Annie”, being referred to, was called “Annie Warbucks”, which starred Harve Presnell and Donna McKechnie. The show was mildly successful having played 200 performances between 10/9/93 and 1/31/94.

To our webmaster…Shouldn’t this theater be listed as “Variety Photoplays” and then aka “Variety Theater”? After all, it was known as “Variety Photoplays” for a good 75 years !

RobertR
RobertR on January 10, 2005 at 8:16 pm

This is another theatre could be built over and incorporated into the new structure.

DonRosen
DonRosen on January 10, 2005 at 7:31 pm

Is this the Variety Arts Theatre? If so, I believe the sequel to “Annie”, orginally to open on Broadway as “Annie 2”, was pulled and re-worked with another “Annie” title and played at this theatre.

RobertR
RobertR on December 24, 2004 at 6:16 am

Another NY landmark bites the dust. Will it ever stop?

DougDouglass
DougDouglass on December 24, 2004 at 5:03 am

The December 22, 2004 issue of The Villager, a weekly newspaper, reports rumors that New York University plans to buy and demolish the theatre to build a dormitory.

chelydra
chelydra on December 17, 2004 at 8:37 am

This is starting to sound like we should produce a picture book about this place! Maybe one of those dark, sordid comic-style graphic novels.

Tierney
Tierney on December 16, 2004 at 12:46 pm

I worked at night as a teenager during the summer helping to fix the seats in the Variety .It was a wierd place in 1946.Close to the Bowery and drunks sleeping it off.If I remember they closed it down at 2 AM and threw everyone out. so we could fix the seats. I always remember the tail end of almost every movie when we came in to work- but not one from that place. The marquee is a classic that show up in serious photography all the time and underneath the 3rd Ave EL.
David Robertson

Tierney
Tierney on December 16, 2004 at 12:44 pm

I worked at night as a teenager during the summer helping to fix the seats in the Variety .It was a wierd place in 1946.Close to the Bowery and drunks sleeping it off.If I remember they closed it down at 2 AM and threw everyone out. so we could fix the seats. I always remember the tail end of almost every movie when we came in to work- but not one from that place. The marquee is a classic that show up in serious photography all the time and underneath the 3rd Ave EL.
David Robertson

scottfavareille
scottfavareille on November 30, 2004 at 12:43 pm

According to the book The Ghastly Ones, this was one of (director) Andy Milligan’s favorite hangouts.

sethbook
sethbook on November 2, 2004 at 10:03 am

The movie “Variety,” mentioned by another poster here, was directed by Bette Gordon, my film teacher at Hofstra U. THe Village Voice panned it, saying that asking Kathy Acker to help on your script was a disaster akin to asking for more helicopters to circle Vic Morrow in the filming of the Twilight Zone movie.

The Variety theatre was for a while a porno theatre, attracting closet cases, much as the Bijou theatre nearby did.

br91975
br91975 on October 19, 2004 at 12:20 pm

I can’t imagine that part of 3rd Avenue without the Variety Theatre; it’s an unofficial neighborhood landmark, it’s been a familiar sight on many a weekday morning on my way to work and many a Friday and Saturday night, stumbling home after having a BIT too much fun (as usual :–), and most definitely should be saved.

RobertR
RobertR on October 19, 2004 at 10:59 am

Wow, another NY theatre going away. This place lasted 100 years and should be saved.

chelydra
chelydra on October 15, 2004 at 8:06 pm

There was an arty soft-core-porn movie called “Variety” (late 1980’s?) that used this theater as its main character, but some of it was actually shot at a 42nd street hard-core movie house. The plot involved a girl who took a job as an usherette and gradually got drawn into the degenerate eroticism of her workplace.

In 1969-70, I used to go there every couple of weeks with a friend when we finished doing layouts and cartoons at Rat Subterranean News around the corner on 14th street. My friend had a bad habit of bringing a few of bottles of Ripple wine, and tossing our empties against the side wall – the audience barely noticed. Admission prices started at about 25 cents in the morning, and gradually rose to a dollar or two by evening. The shows – always double features – were absolutely random. A typical show would combine a kiddie movie about a pet bear cub and the trashiest low-budget porn available – I think this was before the ratings systems was mandated. The weirdest thing was the rest rooms, both of which were unusable due to always being jam-packed with homosexual orgies; if you opened the door, someone would grab you to try to pull you in to join the party.

Next door was a little underground bar called the Dugout. In early 1970, I made the mistake of taking a girl there. She was a member of W.I.T.C.H., the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, which had just seized control of Rat (purging the male staff, myself included) in one of the historic early victories of radical feminism. We didn’t realize the Dugout had a male-only policy; it turned out she was the first female to actually get served at the bar, but with a polite warning not to come back. Except for a name change and a female bartender, the Dugout was exactly the same in 2004. The Variety Photoplay didn’t look all that different either.

William
William on November 17, 2003 at 2:57 pm

The Variety Theatre seated 594 people.

Jean
Jean on August 22, 2002 at 9:40 pm

I used to walk past this theater and see posters advertising cowboy films there.