223 W. 42nd Street,
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Originally opened in 1910 as the Bryant Theatre, a vaudeville and movie house, this theater was acquired ten years later by the Selwyn brothers. The theater was rebuilt, renamed the Apollo Theatre, and given a new Neo-Classical/Neo-Georgian style colonnaded facade on 42nd Street, which it would share with the Selwyn’s Times Square Theatre next door. The theaters were both designed by architect Eugene DeRosa. The Apollo Theatre could seat 1,197 and was designed in Adam style, with 675 seats on the orchestra level, 495 in the balcony, and 27 in the boxes.
The legitimate era of the Apollo Theatre lasted until 1933, and after being forced into bankruptcy during the Depression, the Apollo Theatre became home to Minsky’s Burlesque in late-1934. By the late-1930’s, films made a return to the Apollo Theatre, and the theater would remain a grind house for decades until the Brandt Organization made an attempt to bring back live theater to the Apollo Theatre in 1979, cleaning it up and giving it a new marquee, heralding the New Apollo Theatre. Legitimate theater would be short-lived, since in 1983, the Apollo Theatre returned to screening movies.
The Apollo’s last incarnation would be as the Academy, a concert hall. For this, the theater’s orchestra level seats were removed and the floor leveled, though the balcony seating remained intact. The original decor was uniformly covered in a dull white paint.
In 1996, after its days as the Academy ended, most of the Apollo’s architectural elements were removed, including the spectacular dome from the auditorium ceiling, to be reused in the Ford Center for the Performing Arts (later renamed the Hilton Theatre, and in 2011 the Foxwoods Theatre), which would be constructed on the site of the Apollo Theatre and neighboring Lyric Theatre upon their demolition.
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