Ambassador Theater

215 West 49th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Ambassador Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 19 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 20, 2007 at 7:54 am

The Ambassador’s connection with Cine Roma started on January 22nd, 1940, with the opening of “Il Paraninfo” (“The Matchmaker”), according to a review of the film in The New York Times of the next day. I don’t think this affiliation lasted very long, and it’s possible that the Ambassador was not actually re-named Cine Roma except in advertising and publicity. In May, 1940, Cine Roma returned to its original venue, the ex-Piccadilly/Warner, and operated there until early 1942, by which time fascist Italy had become one of America’s enemies in WWII and the product supply dried up.

AlAlvarez 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.

Tinseltoes on January 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm

The Ambassador’s signage and entrance on 49th Street can be seen in left background of this vintage photo of the Brill Building: View link

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?

Tinseltoes on September 14, 2010 at 6:32 am

There was (and still is) a “prostitution problem” on Eighth Avenue and west of that, but I don’t recall ever seeing whores soliciting in the cross blocks with “legit” playhouses on them. But maybe after midnight when the theatres had closed.

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?

Tinseltoes on September 15, 2010 at 6:27 am

What do you mean by a “bad corner?” Architecturally, or morally?

rlrl2010 on September 15, 2010 at 7:43 am

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

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