Ambassador Theater

215 West 49th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Ambassador Theater

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This playhouse, which opened in 1921 for the Shuberts with “The Rose Girl”, was designed by Herbert J. Krapp. The Ambassador was an intermittent movie theater from 1923 to 1940 and a full time cinema from 1945-1950.

It was known as the Cine Roma (moved from the Broadway Theatre on 52nd Street) during 1940-1941. The Ambassador also served at times as a radio and television studio before returning to the Shubert organization in 1956 and to legitimate theatrical use.

During it’s short movie life, the Ambassador managed to premiere some of the most enduring classics in film history:

ECSTACY (1940)
VOLPONE (1947)

Contributed by Al Alvarez

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 18, 2007 at 11:08 am

It should be pointed out that the Ambassador is “built on a bias”, the center axis of the auditorium and stage are at an angle to the street. The rear of the auditorium is in the southeast corner and the stage is in the northwest corner of the lot. It shares this characteristic with the Beacon Theatre on Broadway, and the late Roxy Theatre. One of the big musical hits here in 1921 was the Shubert’s Schubert/Romberg musical “Blossom Time” whose road companies continued to cross America right up into the early 1950s. I had no idea that it had any cinema history.

William on June 19, 2007 at 8:24 am

Two other film titles come up for opening at the Cine Roma.
“Allegri masndieri” (The Make Believe Pirates) opened Oct. 19th, 1939

“Dottor Antonib, II” (Doctor Antonio) opened Dec. 1939.

The Internet Broadway Database does not give a complete history of the theatres. It based more on the Boardway shows then the movies.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 19, 2007 at 5:46 pm

The movie in question is Lilian Gish’s THE WHITE SISTER, not THE WHITE LADY and it played at the Ambassador for over six months. The introduction I am credited for has been somewhat altered with new information since I first submitted material for this theatre over a year ago.

Cine Roma was a moving cinema company that went from venue to venue booking their product and changing the venue’s name. The Colony/ Broadway (53rd) and the Ambassador were two of them.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 20, 2007 at 8:08 am

I originally submitted the Ambassador about a year before it was actually posted. I suspect someone at CT felt it did not qualify due to its more significant legit history and wanted to review it further.

Either that or I sent them on a tail-spin looking up THE WHITE LADY and YIDL MITN FIDL.

edblank on May 27, 2008 at 5:58 pm

It’s interesting that this Broadway theater once played movies.

rlrl2010 on September 13, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Did Godspell play here in 1977? Was there a prostitution problem around the theater and the Ramada or was it decent?

rlrl2010 on September 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm

they fixed up the 8th Ave area around the Ambassador really nice. just curious, say like 30 years ago was the corner of 49th and 8th a bad corner?

rlrl2010 on September 15, 2010 at 7:43 am

morally. heard the St Malachy Church had problems due to the area

DavidRayner1947 on August 31, 2016 at 7:32 am

I’ve just added a much brighter and clearer image of a photo already uploaded, showing the American premiere of Roberto Rosselini’s classic 1947 film “Germany Year Zero”, held at the Ambassador on Monday, September 19th, 1949. A very popular film at the time, going by the huge crowd outside waiting to get in.

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