104 Middle Neck Road,
Great Neck, NY 11021

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The Playhouse was located on the main drag in Great Neck, directly across from the Squire Theater. It opened as a legitimate live theatre in 1925. It was taken over by United Artists in the 1930’s.

It was shuttered in the early-1980’s and has since been converted into apartments.

Contributed by SteveSmith

Recent comments (view all 66 comments)

robboehm on March 24, 2015 at 2:22 pm

The fate of the Playhouse is still up in the air. Discussion on demolition was removed from the agenda of the March Village Board meeting. It MAY be placed on the agenda for April 13th.

wally 75
wally 75 on March 25, 2015 at 10:37 am

Thanks keep us posted….PS my psge jumped and this I may have UN subscribed hope I didn’t. thanks

robboehm on March 25, 2015 at 10:52 am

Newspaper articles always refer to it as First Playhouse so it sometimes passes under the radar. Now that we have a meeting date we know when to check back. No big deal to resubscribe.

robboehm on April 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Came upon a note I had scribbled when doing some online research. In 1940 there was a major and costly renovation in which the theater was to have been remodeled and redecorated, new seats, screen and marquee and the lobby was to have been enlarged.

robboehm on April 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Decision put off until May 11th.

robboehm on April 17, 2015 at 6:13 pm

There is still talk about preserving it. Just what is left to preserve after all this time? Anybody been in there lately?

robboehm on June 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm

The oft postponed hearing is now postponed indefinitely. Now, there is also the additional wait for the Nassau County Department of Public Works to weigh in on a proposal to cut off access to Middle Neck Road from Maple Avenue during the demo. Middle Neck Road is a county road.

If this goes on much longer the building will just fall down of its own accord.

robboehm on September 15, 2015 at 6:49 am

Since the Board wouldn’t give approval to the demo unless there was a detailed plan addressing the affect on traffic during the process the owners hired a traffic engineer. That report is nearing completion. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

dallasmovietheaters on November 3, 2015 at 4:00 am

The $450,000 Great Neck Playhouse was launched by Irving Lesser in 1925 with organist Billy Lent at the Wurlitzer. In just its first year, the playhouse tried out 29 different out of town runs. Ring Lardner and Charlie Chaplin had inaugural season tickets. For the tryout world premier of “The Play’s The Thing” by Franz Molnar on October 21, 1926. guests at the Playhouse included George Cohan, Eddie Cantor, the Marx Brothers, and Irving Berlin. Other supporters included W.C. Fields and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In 1927, Katherine Hepburn would be fired from her first live stage leading role while at the Playhouse, an event she long recounted. Other stars on the stage in its formative days were James Cagney, Claudette Colbert, Melvyn Douglas, Clark Gable, Ruth Gordon, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, Leslie Howard and Barbara Stanwyck. Though films were mixed into the Great neck Playhouse menu, United Artists took on the theatre in the 1930s to change the business model to film-centric purposes.

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