Palace Theatre

1564 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 126 - 150 of 237 comments

edblank on May 24, 2008 at 10:25 pm

I’ve covered many Broadway shows at the Palace since it went legit and once had a cordial dressing-room interview with George Hearn during the run of “La Cage aux Folles.”
Was there for a final preview of “Break a Leg,” which promptly folded opening night. I had taken an elderly friend named Tom Bate to the Saturday matinee of the comedy starring Julie Harris and directed by Charles Nelson Reilly.
After the show, Mr. Bate, who was 80-something, asked if I’d mind waiting while he made a quick trip downstairs to the men’s room. After an inordinately long wait, during which the theater had finished emptying and the staff was closing the theater until the evening performance, someone came up to the lobby and asked if I was Mr. Blank.
Mr. Bate, it turns out, has been pistol-whipped by someone who was hiding in one of the stalls after the performance. My friend bled profusely. While Mr. Bate and I waiting for an ambulance to take him to a nearby hospital, director Reilly stopped for a few minutes, and Julie Harris stayed with us until the ambulance arrived. Both were so kind to en elderly man who, though a member of the actors' union, they did not know. – Ed Blank

edblank on May 24, 2008 at 10:15 pm

The first movie and possibly the only movie I saw at the Palace was “Bedtime Story,” with Marlon Brando, Shirley Jones and David Niven, in late July 1964. I still think it’s a funnier movie than it was given credit for being. – Ed Blank

LuisV on December 31, 2007 at 10:36 am

I have many memories of the Palace. I saw one of my first Broadway shows at The Palace; a performance of Man of La Mancha in the late 70’s with Richard Kiley. I remember that it was a Tuesday evening and I was in high school. I was wearing a tie and was horrified that virtually every other man was wearing a jacket and tie. I have never felt more undressed than that evening.

Years later in the mid 80’s I went to see La Cage Aux Folles and it was apparent that audinece dress codes were dropping. This time I was appropriately dressed in a jacket and tie. I remember seeing a couple walk in dressed in JEANS and t-shirts! I couldn’t believe it. The were sitting directly in front of me in the front mezzanine. Just before the end of the first act, as the show stopper “I Am What I Am” is being sung on stage, the woman throws up in her seat! My first thought was, “well I guess that’s why she wore jeans.” They managed to clear out of their seats just before the lights went up for intermission. The girl I was with said to me, “I hope they clean that up before they get back.” I said to her, “They’re not coming back! I wouldn’t come back to my seat if I just threw up into it!” Anyway, the theater staff was excellent and cleaned up the mess before the start of the second act.

No, the underdressed couple didn’t come back.

How times change! Nowadays, people wear jogging outfits and flip flops on planes and are just as bad at the theater. The only night of the week that you see people dress up somewhat is on Saturday nights. However, I did go to see the god awful “Lestat” at The Palace and remember that there was some guy wearing a Tank Top (no it wasn’t summer) and he was sitting in one of the boxes. No Class.

jeffdonaldson on December 25, 2007 at 1:55 am

Warren and saps, thank you for your help. I only recently arrived at this terrific site, so I have much to learn. I have been to NYC several times beginning in 2001. It just kills me that I wasn’t able to experience these theatres in their glory days. I know a number of the Los Angeles theatres but, pending the discovery of a time machine, I’ll have to rely on the experiences available here. And that’s pretty good. Thanks again.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 24, 2007 at 10:06 am

Also, you can use Advanced Search and look under the former names feature.

jeffdonaldson on December 24, 2007 at 3:51 am

I cannot find a Cinema Treasures page for the Mayfair theatre next to The Palace theatre in Times Square. I searched Mayfair and RKO Mayfair but got nothing. They appeared to be right next to each other in the picture I saw. Were they connected somehow? It did seem to have a separate marquee so the Mayfair should have its own page. What am I doing wrong?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 4, 2007 at 10:28 am

I love this theater.

Bway on March 27, 2007 at 4:01 am

Forget the last 15 years, while that is no doubt true, I can’t believe how much it’s evcen changed in the last 5 years! Everytime you go there, if you haven’t been there for a few months, it looks totally different.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 26, 2007 at 7:18 pm

Will Rogers Follies ran at the Palace from May of 1991 through September ‘93, if that helps date the top photo. I can’t recall when the building on the site of the old Castro showroom building went up – it is shown still under construction in your photo.

RobertR on February 19, 2007 at 3:37 pm

The order form for “The Diary of Anne Frank”
View link

kencmcintyre on October 28, 2006 at 7:28 pm

Here is another 1966 article on the renovation from the Austin Minnesota Daily Herald:

Vaudeville Is Forever Dead
but the Palace Is Alive Again

NEW YORK â€"The old girl has had a fresh makeup job, and she looks lovely. Her age shows, but with the elegant manner of someone wearing
her years with dignity and grace. She sparkles, she’s wearing
bright red with cream accessories and crystals, and she’s getting ready to play hostess again in a manner which recalls
her years as Broadway’s dowager queen.

She’s the Palace Theater, that mecca of entertainment, that
vaudeville shrine where most of the greats have played (Al Jolson,
George M. Cohan and Sir Harry Lauder however, are among those who never played the Palace). The Palace is the place where, in every movie ever made about early vaudevillians, one would say to the
other, “One day we’ll see our name in lights at the Palace."
The line was always accompanied by a sweeping left to right
gesture of the right arm.

THE NAME IN lights at the Palace now is Gwen Verdon’s, and it’s appropriate that the talented redhead, the delight of critics
and the public, should reopen the house Saturday night
in the new musical “Sweet Charity.” There are still a few finishing
touches to be added to the Palace, but sitting on the plush
red seats, watching a large crew working on the newly enlarged
stage, there were moments when you felt you were watching a
piece of modern choreography.

RALPH ALSWANG, a noted Broadway designer, is in charge of the restoration. It was he who, knocking down plaster walls decorated
in a style he calls “early Ruby Keeler,” discovered much of the original Palace behind the additions. “It is not an exact restoration,” he said, “But we have taken the best of the Palace,
we have avoided the extravagant use of marble which would make
it look like Grand Central Station, and we have made a bouquet to the past”.

THE PALACE OPENED March 24, 1913, and for about the first three months of its existence, it was a box office flop. Then “the divine” Sarah Bernhardt played an engagement there in a series of one-act plays (she was paid in gold before each performance), and the theater
was on its way. An attempt was made several years ago to revive live performances at the Palace. Judy Garland and Harry Belafonte were among those having successful engagements. But the theater reverted to grinding out movies. The last film to play there was Joseph Levine’s “Harlow,” leading a cynic to suggest that in addition to remodeling, it was also necessary to fumigate.

THE THEATER was purchased last August by the Nederlander
Theatrical Corp. owners of successful, elegant houses in
Chicago and Detroit. James Nederlander, a son of the head of the corporation, says the restoration of the Palace cost around
a half-million dollars. “We had to enlarge the orchestra pit from the 15 men used for vaudeville to the 32 needed
for musical theater. We tore out dressing rooms on the side of
the stage to give us more room. We had to rip out all the plumbing.
And we had to install a different system of counterweights
to handle the scenery. After all, in vaudeville they only used
flats. This is the kind of job that pyramids. We knock out one
set of pipes, only to discover they lead to another, and so on.”

THERE’S ONE MAN working at the theater who has vivid memories of the Palace as it was. He is Tom Murray, nicknamed “Mr. Broadway,” the
stage doorman. He played the Palace as a character singer in 1914 and 1917. For the past dozen years, Murray, in his 70s, has been working as the stage doorman at the Helen Hayes Theater, and now
he is returning home. “It’s lovely to be back,” he said.

William on September 19, 2006 at 3:47 pm

The top ticket price for “Sweet Charity” was $9.50.

RobertR on September 19, 2006 at 3:09 pm

A 1966 Times article on the renovations for Sweet Charity. Although it was only for a short time movies did again play there.
View link

William on August 29, 2006 at 12:09 pm

If you look at many of the theatre ads in RobertR’s last post. Many of the theatres advertised they were air conditioned. But the Palace’s ad showed that they “Carefully air conditioned” their theatre.

RobertR on August 29, 2006 at 11:33 am

1960 Portrait in Black
View link

fultonboy on August 15, 2006 at 8:07 pm

I played harmonica in the orchestra for most of the two year run of “The Will Rogers Follies” at the Palace. 1991-93. Great Show! What a thrill that was! and what a beautiful theater! I worked with Mac Davis, Keith Carradine, Mickey Rooney,Larry Gatlin, Marla Maples. I even got to go to parties with all of them. I still play harmonica in musical theater productions througout the U.S.A. (Big River etc,) But doubt I’ll ever top that! What an experience!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 31, 2006 at 7:10 pm

Back in the late fall of 1963 on the day before Thanksgiving, the unlikely pairing of Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen held court at the Palace while day and dating at the Paris on 58th and the RKO Albee in B'klyn.

This ad – with Hedda Hopper’s endorsement – appeared a few days earlier in the 11/25/63 edition of the NY Daily News:
A Soldier in the Rain

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 31, 2006 at 7:01 pm

Apparently, it didn’t take all that long for the Elvis impersonators to crawl out of the woodwork… Here’s a winter 1978 ad for one such review that had been booked into the Palace Theater a mere 5 months after The King’s passing in August of 1977:
The Legend Lives – Daily News 1/25/78

irajoel on July 23, 2006 at 4:38 pm

I saw a few vaudeville shows in the 50s. Films seen include the sign of the pagan ugh. 4 girls in town, judgment at nuremberg, the diary of anne frank, and the judy garland concert in 1967.

I’m putting up nice movie material that relate to movie theatres including souvenir programs. check it out

you can also visit my own website
to view more material.

Bway on July 13, 2006 at 6:30 am

Wow Warren, so you were talking about the this Palace. When did the last show close there, and what show was it? This is really a shame, because this theater shouldn’t be closed.
Why would it be such a long time for the Palace to find a new tenant?

VincentParisi on July 13, 2006 at 6:25 am

It was supposed to get Mame but a production of that size seems no longer a propect on Broadway. Something big is coming in in the fall.
While we’re at it I hate that they got rid of the great facade and put up a slick plastic looking front. I can’t believe people are paid a ton of money to come up with these horrible new designs. Contemporary architecture not global warming will be the end of the human race.

VincentParisi on July 13, 2006 at 6:08 am

Bway you must be very very young. Lucky you!

Bway on July 13, 2006 at 6:02 am

I remember seeing Beauty and the Beast at the Palace. I had no idea it used to show movies there at one time, I thought it was always a live theater. The theater was beautiful inside, I had balcony seats for Beauty and the Beast.

mauriceski on March 15, 2006 at 8:34 pm

Warren,did RKO have a Broadway Movie House for first run films?