Belmont Theatre

121 W. 48th Street,
New York, NY

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Opened by producer/actor/director Jack Norworth in 1918, this relatively small playhouse seated just over 500, and featured a Venetian Renaissance facade, complete with a pair of large bronze lanterns on each side of the arch window over the marquee. Its understated interior featured a single balcony and just a set of boxes on each side of the proscenium arch.

The decor was neo-classical, featuring oak paneling, several kinds of marble and elegant plasterwork. The Norworth’s architect was Eugene DeRosa.

Norworth opened his theater with a comedy called “Odds and Ends” which was moved from the Bijou, where he was starring in it. After the failure of this show, Norworth lost the theater, just weeks after opening it, and the new owners, continuing legitimate theater, had it renamed the Belmont.

In 1919, the theater was briefly renamed the Theatre Parisien when French dramas played there until 1920, when its next owners renamed it the Belmont, and straightforward legitimate theater returned.

By 1933, with the Depression on, and having had a long string of unsuccessful shows, the Belmont was shuttered. It was reopened in 1937, but only for a week, when the play bombed. Later in the same year, it was reopened as a movie theater, playing foreign features, although the occasional live performance was staged at the Belmont as well.

It was closed during the early 50s and later razed.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

AlAlvarez on July 26, 2007 at 6:35 pm

Richard, I think it gets more complicated.

There was another 48th St theatre (217 West 48th St) that ran movies concurrent with Belmont/Music Hall from 1940-1945. It also ran Spanish language films, Swedish films and occasionally silent programs.

AlAlvarez on July 26, 2007 at 6:38 pm

By the way, that 48th Street I mentioned above is probably the Walter Kerr, currently running the musical GREY GARDENS.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on October 25, 2007 at 3:22 pm

When Naples Sings at the Belmont circa 1931.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 3, 2008 at 4:29 pm

I just watched the 1945 movie Doll Face with Viviane Blaine and Perry Como. Blaine’s character is in a stage show she is to perform in at the Belmont Theatre in New York. In the last half hour of the movie we see the theatre exterior at night with lights and the theatre name “Belmont” as well as interior shots of stage and audience. I have no way of knowing whether the actual Belmont was used for exterior and interior shooting or whether other locations were employed for either or both. Perhaps it was all done in Hollywood, but it’s supposed to be the Belmont in New York. Perhaps someone can look at the DVD and come to a conclusion.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 4, 2008 at 7:11 am

Hollywood movies about the Broadway stage industry are notorious for their inaccuracies and falsifications. “Belmont” was a name used not only for theatres, but also had a connection to one of America’s wealthiest families. I doubt that the Belmont in “Doll Face” was intended to be taken for the actual Belmont Theatre in Manhattan, and the scenes certainly weren’t shot there. 20th-Fox had a standing theatre interior on one of its backlots that was usually used for such scenes. But sometimes Fox would opt for an actual theatre in the Los Angeles area.

AlAlvarez on January 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

Still listed in the 1953 Film Daily Yearbook as CINEMA 48, an Ansell theatre, a chain that runs Spanish language theatres.

RickB on August 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Jack Norworth is in the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, on the strength of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Shine On Harvest Moon.”

Tinseltoes on August 17, 2011 at 6:51 am

The Belmont Theatre was on the north side of West 48th Street. The Google Maps street view is incorrectly “fixed,” and shows a site on the south side of West 48th.

Tinseltoes on August 18, 2011 at 6:25 am

The tempestous romance and marriage between Jack Norworth and the legendary singer-comedian Nora Bayes was depicted in WB’s highly-fictionalized “Shine on Harvest Moon,” with Dennis Morgan and Ann Sheridan in the leading roles. The B&W musical is best remembered for a surprise Technicolor production number built around the title song.

AlAlvarez on August 18, 2011 at 7:46 am

The 44th Street theatre roof showed movies in 1920 as the NORA BAYES

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