Herald Square Theatre
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Built in 1883 at the corner of Broadway and 35th Street as the New Park Theatre, where the New York Aquarium formerly stood. It was designed by architect John Sexton. The New Park Theatre was almost entirely rebuilt eleven years later for actor/producer Charles Evans, who had it renamed the Herald Square Theatre, opening with the American premiere of George Bernard Shaw’s “Arms and the Man” in 1894.
The Herald Square Theatre was not notable for its appearance, which both inside and out was rather plain and unadorned compared to later Broadway houses, though Evans did have a graceful red marble colonnade erected along the Broadway facade, while the remainder of the exterior was in tan brick in the Italianate style. Its signage was also fairly simple, consisting of a large rooftop sign, and an inscribed sign under the cornice.
However, the theatre was notable for several other things: it was the first New York theatre leased by the Shuberts (starting in 1900), it was the theatre at which stage legend Helen Hayes made her Broadway debut, at age nine, in 1909 (a year after the Herald Square was gutted by a blaze and rebuilt as a smaller house), and it was the first legitimate Broadway theatre to be converted into a movie house, in 1912, under Marcus Loew. However, its career as a movie theatre was quite brief, since the Herald Square Theatre was closed in 1914 and afterwards demolished to make way for an office building.
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