New Amsterdam Theatre

214 West 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 51 - 75 of 271 comments

LuisV
LuisV on May 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Hi Saps, yes it is true that the Belasco and the Lyceum specifically have had a tough time over the years getting a hit, especially the Lyceum, but its location is not the problem. The Lyceum is small and a pretty small house. I’m not saying that some theaters are not more successful than others, just that the location in and of itself is not the primary or even an statistically important reason.

There are some theaters I don’t care for, say the Gershwin and the Marquis, but they have booked many a show over the years that I have loved and therefore I have been many times. That’s my point.

It makes me VERY happy when I get to go see a show that I want to see AND it is in a theater I love like the New Amsterdam, The Cort, The Lyceum, The Hilton, The Richard Rogers, The Hirshfeld and The Music Box!

edblank
edblank on May 4, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I concur. The legit theaters east of Broadway sense “off the beaten path” to theatergoers.

A blockbuster booking such as Denzel Washington in “Fences” can override that perception, but I don’t think people like going down the darker side streets where there’s only one playhouse. They feel isolated, vulnerable and removed from the merry hustle-bustle.

Also, if you go to a show at a theater that’s very much in the middle of things – say the Imperial or the Music Box on West 45th, you notice the titles on marquees of the other theaters, which gives those shows a bit of allure.

The other, more isoloated theaters don’t benefit from that visibility and the street-traffic factor.

This is truest of the Nederlander, which is truly a block beyond the perceived border of Broadway. Again, a big enough hit, such as “Rent,” can override the disadvantage. But in that particular case, “Rent” was helped by its funky nature, as “Hair” would be. “Rent” attracted a disproportionately young (teens, 20s) audience that is just naturally less concerned about the amenities of being in the heart of the highly illuminated heart of Broadway.

At “Rent,” more than any show of its era, you’d see early-arriving patrons curled up on the sidewalk. Fancy that at “Morning’s at Seven” or “Fiddler on the Roof.”

I remember that at the packed performance I attended of Lena Horne’s “The Lady and Her Music” at the Nederlander, she remarked candidly – OK, snidely – about the, uh, theater her show had been plunked down in.

The theaters at Lincoln Center are even farther afield than the aforementioned but have the advantage of being in a cluster of upscale artsy activity and seem, if anything, even tonier than Broadway itself.

AGRoura
AGRoura on May 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I agree with you saps, but If I want to see a show I will go. So I also agree with LuisV.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I don’t know, Luis, but some houses don’t seem to attract hits — the Belasco, the Cort, the Lyceum, the Nederlander…

LuisV
LuisV on May 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

In all my years of theater going (almost 35 years) I have NEVER not gone to see a show because of a theater location. It is ridiculous to think that anyone would. If those people exist it would be an insignificant number. Unlike Marcus Loew who famously “sold tickets to theaters, not movies” that is not the case on Broadway. The show must be good enough or have the marketing good enough to succeed on its own. Just because a show is good doesn’t mean it will succeed. The theater location has virtually nothing to do with it. I personally have no desire to see Million Dollar Quartet, though, ironically I do want to see the theater restoration results.

I will qualify my statement somewhat……Way back when, in the 70’s and 80’s I might have though twice about the Nederlander because it was on the worst block in Manhattan, but certainly not in the clean and safe reality of today.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on May 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Bill, although it just opened it already has the second lowest attendance percentage for a musical on Broadway. The Tony nomination could help but so could getting out of the Nederlander.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 4, 2010 at 9:13 am

The show about Elvis that Al mentioned, “Million Dollar Quartet”, just got a Tony nomination for Best Musical.

LuisV
LuisV on May 4, 2010 at 8:54 am

Al should read the article in this week’s NY Times about how all of the Broadway houses are booked solid, but specifically, how desirable the Hilton Theater is on 42nd St. The delayed Spiderman musical is holding on to it and paying rent until the show is ready rather than risk letting this prime house go. Proof positive that Al was dead wrong in his assessment.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on May 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

Bomb scare responsible for Broadway boxoffice decline? Read here:
View link

LuisV
LuisV on April 23, 2010 at 8:59 am

Well, not to show movies, but yes many have been spared: Radio City, The New Amsterdam, The Beacon, Loews 175th, The Apollo, The (New) Ziegfeld, The Paris, the Hollywood. I would love to have ONE old theater dedicated to just showing films. Technically, we do have one, at the Loews Jersey which is celebrating 10 years of showing films and has made incredible progress with its greas roots restoration. Nonetheless, Manhattan should have one as well.

Why not the Times Square Theater (Currently available for rent as a retail space)? The Liberty theater (currently cocooned inside the Hilton hotel on 42nd St? Well the Liberty probably has access issues, but it it would be nice to have one single screen theater on 42nd St and the only one who could fit that bill is The Times Square.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm

And not one picture palace has been spared.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on April 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

Al you are incorrect about the Hilton and the American Airlines. The Hilton is very desirable to producers becuase its the 2nd largest Broadway theatre with over 1800 seats.“Spiderman” which is coming to the Hilton will be the most expensive musical ever produced and is holding on to the Hilton. There is a huge demand for Broadway theatres seating 1400 seats or more for the large scale musicals. Producers have to wait for these theatres to be available because of the hudge demand. “ Love Never Dies” has also been delayed and is holding on to the Neil Simon.Many time producers will try to squeeze a musical into the smaller theatres because none of the larger houses are available. This has been a problem for Broadway for some time. The American Airlines has had several limited run successfull plays as part of a subscription series from the non-profit Roundabout Company. The non-profit theatres on Broadway are the following American Airlines,Studio 54,Henry Miller (Sondheim),Friedman and the Vivian Beaumont. The Nederlander where “Rent” played for 12 Years has been restored. Currenly the Shubert’s Belasco is currently being restored. There are now 40 operating Broadway theatres up from 30 during the 1970’s. brucec

Bway
Bway on April 22, 2010 at 8:02 am

Here’s an ad I found in a program from the Colonial Theater from January 1904….it’s an ad for a play “Mother Goose” which was playing at the New Amsterdam Theater the same week…

Click for scan

NYer
NYer on February 24, 2010 at 5:08 pm

“Cabaret” didn’t open at Studio 54. It opened at Henry Miller’s Theater on W 43rd Street. It was renamed The Kit Kat Club for this engagement. During the run there was a crane accident from neighboring construction, one fatality and a damaged theater. Unable to continue, the show transfered to Studio 54 for the rest of the run. The Henry Miller’s was demolished with the exception of the landmarked facade and has now been rebuilt and currently playing Roundabout productions.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm

“When you talk about 42nd Street YOU ARE talking about all of Times Square.”

On what planet? 42nd Street has been in crises since 1934. Times Square thrived after WWII but the Deuce went to hell, even while still beautiful. Just around the corner off just west of seventh Avenue, Times Square changes. Always for the worse.

41st street is a loading dock alley and it was never anything but sleaze. No one wants that Nederlander Theatre even now. I went by Monday afternoon and even the outside is disgrace. Next up is a country western musical based on Johnny Cash and Elvis. (Yeah, that’ll work!)

Most Broadway shows that don’t lose money open away from 42nd street for a reason.

I see the grosses in Variety and I often get free tickets to the Selwyn when they need to fill the house. None of these shows have been very successful, nor may I add, very good. They ARE bombing.

The Roundabout made sure “Cabaret” opened on 54th street at Studio 54.

NYer
NYer on February 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

With all due respect AlAlvarez, The Selwyn (American Airlines) has had many successful shows. It is run by The Roundabout Theater Company, a non profit organization. All shows booked are limited runs. They are not open ended productions. Every once in a while something extraordinary will open like the revival of “Cabaret” and they will become open ended, anything opening The Selwyn will be limited. Just because you see a new marquee up every six months doesn’t mean they are bombing.

LuisV
LuisV on February 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Thanks Saps for the lyrics! I remember how thrilling it was for me to see the revival of 42nd Street at the Hilton Theater which actually IS on 42nd Street. I saw the original back in the early 80’s. It’s a great musical and it’s great to see actual Street back to being a great thoroughfare once again!

LuisV
LuisV on February 24, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Al, with all due respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about. The Nederlander has just been fully restored. It was done after Rent moved out. Rent was there for at least 7 years and it happended only after 42nd Street was brought back from the dead by Disney and city subsidies. No one wanted it before. The Conde Nast building, Reuters and Ernst & Young buildings do not have large blocks of available space. As a matter of fact, they are doing better than Manhattan as a whole. 11 Times Square is not yet complete, however, Proskauer Rose is close to signing a lease for several hundred thousand square feet of space and the aquarium is also close to leasing the entire first 7 floors. Regarding your point about money losing shows: Guess what? Most Broadway shows lose money! So What? The theaters, however, still get paid. Guess what? Spiderman is still paying rent on the Hilton even though they are not ready. They want to keep this theater! The Hilton is quite successful. I love how you call 41st street a dump, but wax poetic over the sleaze that was Times Sqaure from the 70’s to early 90’s. When you talk about 42nd Street YOU ARE talking about all of Times Square. You don’t have one without the other. Without the revitalization of this street, you would not have had the incredible turnaround of this neighborhhood into the vibrant and successful area that it has become. What is truly astounding is that you seem to think it would have been better if we had left it all alone. It just defies all logic. Detroit, East St. Louis, Cleveland, the Tenderloin in San Francisco all have the atmosphere you seem to crave.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 24, 2010 at 1:02 pm

In the heart of little old New York,
You’ll find a thoroughfare.
It’s the part of little old New York
That runs into Times Square.
A crazy quilt that “Wall Street Jack” built,
If you’ve got a little time to spare,
I want to take you there.

Come and meet those dancing feet,
On the avenue I’m taking you to,
Forty-Second Street.
Hear the beat of dancing feet,
It’s the song I love the melody of,
Forty-Second Street.

Little “nifties” from the Fifties,
Innocent and sweet;
Sexy ladies from the Eighties,
Who are indiscreet.

They’re side by side, they’re glorified
Where the underworld can meet the elite,
Forty-Second Street.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I was talking about 42nd street, not all of Times Square. Times Square property has always thrived even during the worst of times. Those four office towers at each corner of 42nd are full of empty offices. The newest one has one single tenant signed so far. The state guarantees their profits so they have no incentive to reduce rents.
Before eviction, as a group, the theatres on 42nd street, including those running 24 hours a day, grossed more than all other Manhattan theatres put together. That is why they were given first-run releases. Since they were owned by the operators they were extremely profitable and that is why it cost taxpayers so much to buy them out.
41st street is still a no-man’s land. The Nederlander is filthy dump that has rightfully never been restored because it was always a dump. It has run one profitable show (RENT) in forty years. The squalor of the site added to the mood of the play. Maybe they could revive URINETOWN because the last two Neil Simon shows bombed so badly the first one closed early and the second one never opened.
The Selwyn (American Airlines) looks pretty much the way it always did before with faded murals, inch thick patchwork paint jobs, and dusty walls. It was NOT lovingly restored the way the New Amsterdam and Victory were and it has not had a single hit since re-opening.
The Hilton had been dark for two years now. Even YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN lost money here. The delay of SPIDERMAN was caused by investors dropping out due to a lack if advance sales.
Compare these three stinkers to any other Broadway house and you will see they are jinxed.
Like all of 42nd street, stores open, fail, close and get replaced. The wheels will keep turning as long as taxpayers foot the landlord’s bills.

LuisV
LuisV on February 24, 2010 at 11:03 am

Thanks Bway…I forgot to add that a deal is very near to place an urban Aquarium on the first 7 floors of the new office tower at 11 Times Square; right next to the Empire AMC 25. An Aquarium! On 42nd Street! A new Intercontinental hotel is opening next month on 8th Avenue! An Intercontinental! On 8th Avenue! Oh wait, according to AlAlvarez there is no profit or economic activity in the New Times Square. Times Square is flourishing like it hasn’t since the 30’s and 40’s.

Oh, and as for “personality”, I remember W. 41st Street between 7th and 8th Avenue was a no man’s land. A barren, desolate spot that few dared to walk alone. In the middle of that block stood the Nederlander Theatre; empty and abandoned for I don’t know how many years. No one would take it. Not even a disco, which had temporaily saved such iconic theaters as Henry Miller (Xenon), Academy of Music (Palladium), Loews Commodore (The Saint) and the Forum (Club USA). But once 42nd Street (Thanks to Disney and the New Victory) started the ball rolling, “Rent” moved in and the rest is history! Now the Nederlander has been fully restored thanks to a rejuvenated 42nd Street.

Bway
Bway on February 24, 2010 at 10:15 am

Quote AlAlvarez:
“My point is that the new 42nd street has no personality AND no profit.”

The Times Square of the 1970’s and 1980’s had no profit anymore either. Again, you are lamenting an era in Times Square that was dead by the 1960’s already. The current Times Square didn’t destroy the pre-1970’s Times Square", that was already dead in the 1970’s and 80’s already.
It’s a fantasy to think that if Times Square would not have been rejuvenated in the 90’s, that these beautiful old theaters along 42nd St would be filled with people today watching the latest movies and rolling in the profits. That’s a fantasyworld, not reality.

And I agree with Luis….dirt, crime, prostitution, drug addicts, and abandoned deteriorating theaters don’t qualify as “great personality”. And if you think the theaters were falling apart in the 1970’s and 1980’s, think of the condition they would look like today. The current Times Square didn’t “chase out” the historical vibrant Times Square of the 1950’s and earlier…..it died in the 70’s already.

LuisV
LuisV on February 24, 2010 at 8:13 am

The Hilton is still a SPECTACULAR theater and one of Broadways best! It’s a wonderful addition to New York’s theater world.

LuisV
LuisV on February 24, 2010 at 8:11 am

Wow! I couldn’t disagree with you more! The Hilton is currently dark only because the prodcution of Spiderman has been delayed but they ARE paying rent. So while it is dark, it is spoken for. Same for the American Airlines theater. it is operated by a non-profit that puts on productions generally for limited perids, but it IS successful. There are virtually NO empty storefronts on 42nd street save for the Times Square theater (again only due to the difficulties currently experienced by Mark Ecko who had to back out). The street is always thronged with people. The Theater District as a whole is thriving! As a residential neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen has never been better. Retail rents in the Times square area are the only ones that have not declined. Where is the evidence of economic decline that you speak of? new office towers continue to rise (11 Times Square) and new residential towers as well (Related’s new behomoth at 10th Avenue) This will bring even more people and dollars to the area.

Oh, dirt, crime, prostitution, drug addicts and abandoned buildings do not qualify as “great personality”. If they did, Detroit and Cleveland would be the greatest cities in America. I will never understand people who would actually prefer to have all of that back.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 24, 2010 at 8:01 am

I’d like to add that the American Airlines auditorium is a loving restoration of the original Selwyn theater and is not “all-new;” the Selwyn is intact. (The lobby collapsed during construction of the surrounding office building and is new.)

The Hilton was built from the ground up (except for the exterior walls and some decorative elements saved from the Lyric/Apollo demolitions.)