104 Middle Neck Road,
Great Neck, NY 11021

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robboehm on March 17, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Matt do you have any interior photos? I understand there were a number of dressing rooms, too.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 17, 2016 at 1:29 pm

It doesn’t really matter. There’s nothing left inside the auditorium.

robboehm on March 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

At the March 14th meeting the matter of demolition was tabled another month. So what else is new.

robboehm on February 16, 2016 at 11:38 am

According to the agenda for tonight’s Great Neck Plaza trustees meeting the matter of the Playhouse demolition is to be tabled until the March 14th meeting. On and on. Delays without resolution. If this continues like the plans for the Lynbrook it will be 2030 or so before anything happens.

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.

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.

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 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 April 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Decision put off until May 11th.

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 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.

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 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

The September 8 meeting robboehem referred to laid an egg according to this item from Newsday of September 10. Mayor David A. Fox said that there were still too many questions about the developer’s plans that had not been answered, and the hearing was postponed indefinitely. I can’t find anything more recent about the project on the Internet, so maybe the fate of the Playhouse is still undecided.

robboehm on August 22, 2014 at 6:55 am

Next hearing is September 8th.

robboehm on August 20, 2014 at 7:28 am

Nothing further on the demolition. The Village Trustees have requested a detailed timetable re the demolition because of the impact it will have on the village’s main drag.

wally 75
wally 75 on July 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

If you go to google earth it will show the theatre…the apts were always there..when you go to a street view the entrance and marque was below the first apt. The lobby was under the apt.’s..the theatre it self is still as it was stores replace lobby…I ran The Playhouse for a few years under UA…the only other thing changed, was an alley that was on Middleneck Rd that theatre patrons could exit now it’s a store..

robboehm on July 18, 2014 at 7:35 am

Now, more than ever it’s time to try to get inside and take pictures. It was announced that The Village of Great Neck Estates Board will hold a public hearing on August 6 (2014)on a plan to raze the theatre to make way for a new apartment building with retail space and parking. The latter is something which is sorely needed.

There are attempts to have the building given Landmark status. At the minimum the Historical Society wants the facade preserved.

Anybody see the facade? Doesn’t look like anything, much less a theatre.

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..