8th Street Playhouse

52 W. 8th Street,
New York, NY 10011

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Showing 1 - 25 of 106 comments

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on October 27, 2013 at 8:35 am

Ed Solero, it was kind of like the original shadow box screens at GCC when they first opened. They did not have masking like most Ruggoff theaters they had just a single strip that came down from the ceiling. Very strange.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I seem to recall there might have been a bit of a platform stage in front of the screen, but certainly nothing by way of theatrical facilities. Didn’t stop a hell of a show from going down in front of numerous Rocky Horror screenings, back in the day! If my memory is correct, it was no more than a slight, raised platform, maybe a few inches above the floor ahead of the first row. I could be completely mistaken about that.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on October 25, 2013 at 4:15 am

Nick 810,It did not. It had a screen in the wall.

nick810
nick810 on October 24, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Does anyone know if the 8th St. Playhouse has a full stage?

Desbiens
Desbiens on June 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I use to work at the 8th St. Playhouse in 79. I worked there and Crazy Eddies. I sure would like to see some people from that time 79. Maybe someone who worked there. I lived at One Christopher in the Village.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on February 3, 2012 at 8:32 am

The theatre first opened as the Film Guild Cinema on the night of February 1st, 1929, according to a report in the next day’s New York Times. The revered American writer-activist Theodore Dreiser was among the notables attending. The opening feature was the Soviet/Ukraine-made “Two Days,” with support from shorts including Charlie Chaplin’s 1916 two-reeler “One A.M.” and experimental amateur films from America and the Soviet Union. The NYT noted that “The theatre itself offers several interesting points of conjecture, including the darkened planes of the side walls, which will be employed in the future as part of the screen. By flashing pictorial matter on the side walls, the management hopes to create in the audience more of an illusion of three dimensions than the flat-screen can hope to give. But nothing of this sort was tried last night.” Management was by the Film Arts Guild, which had been holding screenings at rented venues before building its own cinema at 52-54 West Eighth Street.

lfreimauer
lfreimauer on January 20, 2012 at 9:03 am

Saw 15 chapters of a Batman serial there in one day in the 1960’s. J Carroll Nash played a Japanese villian.

geogrif
geogrif on January 20, 2012 at 7:56 am

No telling what that bland facade used to be. But the Film Guild Cinema interior, by modernist architect/designer Frederick Kiesler in the 1920s, was amazing. A photo is here: http://www.kiesler.org/cms/index.php?lang=3&idcat=36

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 26, 2011 at 8:35 am

Fifty years ago today, John Cassavetes' improvisational “Shadows,” shot in B&W 16mm with a hand-held camera, moved exclusively to Rugoff’s 8th Street Playhouse after a surprisingly successful Broadway premiere engagement of four weeks at the Embassy 46th Street.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

Yes, that is the Playhouse Theatre in Great Neck (Nassau County, Long Island). I compared the photo to one published in The New York Times on July 11, 1982, as part of an article about the Playhouse being converted into a performing arts center. The NYT photo shows a bare stage being used for a rehearsal, but the surrounding decor is exactly the same.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 14, 2011 at 9:22 am

Wrong listing, iatse311. The 8th Street Playhouse featured a streamlined decor without a proscenium and with all the seats on one level. Googling the work of photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, it appears that the photo might be of the Playhouse in Great Neck? But I can’t really support that definitively. You may try posting there to see if it jogs any memories.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on April 14, 2011 at 8:28 am

Is that photo supposed to show the auditiorium of the 8th St. Playhouse? Surely not!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Went walking around this part of the village back in November of last year and snapped a couple of shots of the 8th Street Playhouse site and the horrific alteration of the adjacent Electric Lady Studios entrance:

Store For Rent

Electric Lady Bland

Wonder if the place was ever rented out. Also wonder if the auditorium still sits behind the store front?

Michael K.
Michael K. on February 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Seamus, apparently you don’t remember Richard O'Brien being lead into the Ladies Room by a group of Magentas. There was a “snow storm” gonig on in there.

SeamusOK
SeamusOK on November 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Some of the best times of my life were spent seeing RHPS at the 8th Street Playhouse. From the ages of 14-16, I only lived to save up enough money to travel from Montreal to NYC to visit the greatest place on Earth. I’d always avoid the long lineup whenever I’d see Sal or Jimmy Colgate hanging around outside. I was there on the Saturday of the 10th Anniversary party where I sat right behind Richard O'Brien who proceeded to light up a fat spliff and pass it right back to me. There’s one for the books.

Penway14
Penway14 on February 9, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I seem to remember seeing “Fantasia” here in 1960s.
Vaguely. :)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 26, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I personally witnessed the city kill this street in the early nineties by harassing teenagers (read BLACK) who were the life the street after dark in this neighborhood.

Ethnic cleansing, Rudy Guliani style, at work.

randytheicon
randytheicon on November 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

dr. brown, it was also SOP (standard operational procedure) for fans to smoke “whatever” during “Rocky Horror,” and on at least one occasion I got a contact high from “whatever”! Smoking was allowed in the last ten rows and the rear aisle; the seats in those rows had ashtrays.

The first time I saw “Rocky” there (06/29/1984) it was in a double feature with “Repo Man.” The latter would play there in first run for at least six months.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on November 2, 2009 at 6:42 am

It had a small entrance but the auditorium seated at least 490.

richjr37
richjr37 on November 2, 2009 at 12:34 am

Ok,exactly how big was this theatre? From the pictures of the outside of the building,it looks no bigger than one of your average multiplex shoebox theatres.

drbrown
drbrown on September 20, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I first saw “The Song Remains The Same” as a midnight movie there in 1982. We were driven in by a friend’s parents, who went with us. I was 12 and this was my first-ever “concert” experience. I clearly remember someone coming over the PA before the show and saying “we’ve cleared it with the fire marshals and you’re all allowed to smoke- WHATEVER YOU WANT!!!” you can imagine the applause. It was a monstrous sound system and my ears were ringing for days.
Fifteen years later I ended up working at Electric Lady (I was there when the wall went down), and there was a trap-door that opened from our third-floor storage that went down to the second floor of the theater. I was afraid to go down there but one day the studio cat got loose and ended up in the theater so I wandered through and it was a very surreal experience. I grabbed some ticket stubs, and found a blue plastic bong with a Jerry Garcia sticker on it that I still have. Anyone can shed light on where that came from? Also was there one Sunday morning when they pulled the marquees down. The plastic side marquee was laying on the ground and I grabbed all ten feet of it and still have it as well! Very interested in the history of the building going back to 1929- anyone doing a serious project on it please email me at I have a huge pile of papers on the history from the beginning to the present.

randytheicon
randytheicon on June 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Belated reply to KingBiscuits and M. Kuecker: “Rocky Horror” ran at the 8th St. Playhouse from July 1978 to late summer 1989. It then moved to the Eastside Cinema (3rd Ave. & 55th St.) from 1989 to spring 1991, and next to UA Movieland 8th St. (formerly the Art) from 1991 to November 1996. The Waverly run was from April 1976 to early 1978.

Checkerphil: Steve Hirsch died in July 1986. The subsequent order of operation was BS Moss (1986-88), UA (1988-89), then City Cinemas (1989-closing).

Mikeoaklandpark: Theatre of the Living Arts is at 334 South Street. Now a concert venue, it’s also been known as the Fillmore. TLA Video was a subsidiary of the theatre. “Rocky Horror” (movie) played at TLA in the early-mid 1980s, and the play also ran there several times in the late-80s/early-90s.

Everyone else: 8th Street Playhouse was equipped with a Sensurround system – two massive subwoofers were placed in the back row. Sensurround was turned on for EVERYTHING, including “Rocky Horror”!!

RobertR
RobertR on April 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Brazil in Dolby Stereo
View link

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on April 14, 2009 at 1:59 am

Metropolis and Pee Wee look about right. The poster for the latter even appears.

A strange double bill.