44th Street Theatre
216 West 44th Street,
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Opened as Weber & Fields Music Hall (named after two popular comedians of the day) on 21st November 1912, it was operated by the Shuberts ‘ who re-named it the 44th Street Theatre from 29th December 1913. The theatre was decorated in 18th Century Georgian style and above the main auditorium was a large enclosed roof theatre. In the basement, the original rathskeller, became the Little Club during Prohibition and the Stage Door Canteen during World War II.
Big hits on the main theatre stage were Marx Brothers “Animal Crackers” (1929), “Rosalinda” (1942), “Winged Victory” (1943) and “Follow the Girls” (1944).
The Film Daily Yearbook, 1930 edition, has the 44th Street Theatre listed as a movie theatre and this lasted for a few years before returning to legit stage productions. In 1931 the German lesbian film “Maedchen in Uniform” (1931) played for a season here twice daily 2:50 and 8:50 pm and Sundays and holidays 2:50, 6:00 and 8:50 (‘Lower prices than any other two-a-day movie on Broadway’ — ‘All Seats Reserved’).
In 1940 the New York Times bought the theatre and it closed in 1945 and was demolished that year to provide space for a postwar expansion of its headquarters and printing plant, which still stands there today.
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