104 Middle Neck Road,
Great Neck, NY 11021

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Showing 1 - 25 of 57 comments

robboehm on October 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Go for it. You might try going via the historical society. One of the women I spoke to a number of years ago had a contact.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

This raises a question as to what remains, if anything, of the theater’s interior? The lower level is clearly a parking lot, with driveway located at what used to be the foyer wall at the back of the house. But, is there anything left above the garage and at the front of the house? Perhaps the proscenium? Ceiling and balcony? Wonder if they’d allow whatever remains to be photographed for posterity.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm

The condominium project at the Great Neck Playhouse has not been completed, and I’m not sure it’s even underway yet. When it does get underway, the theater will probably be demolished rather than converted for a new use.

This article from April 25, 2013, said that the developer wanted to demolish the theater and build a new building that would replicate the facade, rather than preserving the street-front walls per the original plans for the project.

An entry from September 9 on the Great Neck Historical Society’s Facebook page says:

“It seems quite clear that demolition of the Playhouse is a certainty. The architect presented their plans, and folks were only permitted to ask questions, not state their positions. No answers were permitted to the questions, but all questions were to be answered in writing at a future date.”
The Facebook page has no more recent posts on the subject of the Playhouse. If we have a demolition watch list, this theater should be placed on it.

Kamm on March 19, 2013 at 12:02 am

I used to go to moves at the Playhouse theater when I was a kid, and it is a memorable part of my childhood. It seems like it should be a crime that it was gutted to make condos. It’s sort of like someone using a Van Gogh for firewood. I’m all for personal property rights, but I wish Playhouse had had some sort of landmark/historical structure protection.

wally 75
wally 75 on July 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Nice job…except for gate and flower urn, that what it looked like through the 70’s…I had new carpet put down from the box office area to all three floors and made over all the walls giving it the 1923 vibe..

Tinseltoes on July 20, 2012 at 11:05 am

For better or worse, the Skouras Playhouse got the “Full Treatment” in this 1963 renovation: Boxoffice

wally 75
wally 75 on June 11, 2012 at 11:27 am

ok… the marquee was like Manhasset with neon Playhouse on top each side but larger…

robboehm on June 11, 2012 at 6:14 am

Pretty dramatic photo in Black and White. Whets the appetite.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 11, 2012 at 6:09 am

Wally75, if you ever find any of your old pics of the Playhouse, please be sure to post them here (or send them my way and I’ll gladly do it for you)!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 11, 2012 at 6:06 am

Robboehm, here’s a link to a B&W shot of the screen and front of the house from the balcony during the Playhouse’s waning days as a movie house. This link had been erroneously posted on the 8th Street Playhouse page, and I’m surprised it was never re-posted here… until now, that is.

The image is from photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, who took a series of images at several different cinemas, where he locked down a large-format camera at some central point opposite the screen and then opened the shutter for the duration of the movie. The results were quite lovely. I’m sure if you google the photographer’s name, you’ll find a number of these stills floating around the web.

robboehm on June 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Ed it’s nice that you’ve posted current photos but, reviewing the comments, there is not one photo, or link, to see what the theatre looked like in the day. What kind of marquee was there? The interior was supposed to have been nice…….

nhpbob on November 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm

I worked there in its final year, I believe (I recall us showing “Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip” and “Four Friends” and “Personal Best”) and even helped with its conversion to a legit live theater again. Helped scrape off old paint on the railings, and loved helping it come alive again. I got to walk on the stage, and up above were old scenic flats!!! Could they have been holdovers from the 1920s when the Marx Bros, some who lived in town, staged “The Cocoanuts”??

wally 75
wally 75 on August 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm

This may be a repeat of something I said but, the area left of the condo sign and to the right of vogue store was an alley that was the area where all the eastside of the Playhouse fire escapes and the apt. fire escapes would come together to take them to the street…under the stairs was a dumpster for apt. and Playhouse..the area was all open then…and store with the black sign 2nd from the left was the Playhouse entrance……more later..

wally 75
wally 75 on August 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm

The apts. you see on Middle Neck road are the same ones that have been there since 1923…they just fluffed them up and called them condos…Ed that picture you took looking south…has always looked that way…the shorter of the three was back stage entrance that would take you to the dressing rooms and under the stage…more soon

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

Still puzzles me how the auditorium space could have been converted to residential. There are no windows at all that have been punched through any of the auditorium walls, as you can see from the photos I posted. Not to mention that the upper floor or two doesn’t even connect to the original apartment building that fronts Middle Neck Road. Still wondering exactly what was converted to what, aside from the garage that obviously exists on the ground floor where the foyer and rear orchestra were situated.

robboehm on August 30, 2011 at 10:29 am

According to someone from the Great Neck Historical Society the old dressing rooms and cages (!) existed in the basement after the conversion to residential. Never established whether they are still there.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 30, 2011 at 5:58 am

Calling Wally 75! If you still have some photos of the Playhouse that you’d like to share, please try my email again (see post above) or try your hand at uploading them yourself – it’s quite easy, as long as you have the photos in a folder that’s easy to browse to in your computer!

Tinseltoes on August 30, 2011 at 5:57 am

I would not describe the Playhouse as a “movie palace.” As its name implies, it was built for stage plays (replaced by vaudeville on Sundays). The interior decor was conservative and similar to the “legit” houses in NYC. However, the area was under-populated at the time, so the Playhouse had to switch to showing movies to survive.

miclup on August 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm

So glad to read that there are fans for the old Playhouse Theater in Great Neck. When it was owned by UA, I worked at both the Playhouse and the Squire across the street. I tried to schedule as often as possible in the Playhouse. The theater was so lovely. It had a great balcony and projection room. Even the upstairs lobby was huge. The programming was more focused on B-movies and second runs which were so much more fun than the A list playing across the street. I had 2 great experiences at the Playhouse—seeing THE EXORCIST for the first time and the original release of HALLOWEEN. These films were just scarier in an old movie palace.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Hey Wally… My email is still . Perhaps you hit a typo. Feel free to try again, but if you have those pics on your computer, you should now be able to post them yourself using the newly restored add-a-photo feature. If you have any troubles with that, definitely send the pics my way and I’d be more than glad to post them for you!

robboehm on June 13, 2011 at 5:56 am

I have the answer on remove. CT now gives you the ability to remove messages you, and only you, have posted. Helpful for those times when you hit enter twice or when something has been resolved and the comment no longer applies.

wally 75
wally 75 on June 13, 2011 at 12:33 am

Ed, tried to e mail you some photos…. i tried that quan somthing but it keeps returning it..please e mail me. Also, next to my last comments April 27th and 29th it says (remove) whats that about? thanks

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Here’s a curious photo of something that was called the Great Neck Village Airdome.

The image comes from the digitized collection of the Great Neck Library. The information provided about the image notes that the Airdome had an “earth floor” and would exhibit motion pictures after the sun went down. No dates provided, but this is obviously early in the 20th Century. Oh… and it was owned by a “Mr. Duck!”

You really can’t make out much apart from the apparent capacity crowd, but that looks like a projection booth in the back of the room (and raised seating only on the side sections). Click on the image to zoom in and click on the thumbnail to move the “red box” and change the area of detail shown in the larger image.

wally 75
wally 75 on April 29, 2011 at 2:14 am

Looking at the the condo entrance..there use to be an alley there for the Playhouse exits and there was also a door that lead to back stage…there was also a door that lead to the boiler room under the Playhouse Box office, it gave heat to both theatre and condos..
The strange roof top structure is a large fan that would pull the heat from the projection booth, there was no ac….the windows on the top belong to the booth…The windows above the garage were covered years ago on the 2nd floor…The exit doors where the garage entrance is now, to the left and right of the exits there was a stair
case on both sides that lead to 2nd. floor to balcony…more later!