Helen Hayes Theatre
238 W. 44th Street,
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The Winthrop Ames Theatre was opened March 12, 1912 with a production of John Galsworthy’s comedy “The Pigeon”. It is one of the smallest Broadway legitimate theatres. It was designed in a Neo-Federal style by architects Harry Creighton Ingalls & F.B. Hoffman, Jr. with just 299 seats. In the 1910’s architect Herbert J. Krapp was employed to add a balcony to increase the seating capacity to 450. In 1919 it was taken over by Oliver Morosco and in 1920 John Golden was the operator. In 1931 it became part of the Astor families property empire and was sold to the New York Times in January 1942 to be renamed Times Hall Theatre, used mainly for conferences, lectures and recitals.
In 1959 it was leased out to ABC as a TV & radio studio. It reopened, again as the Winthrop Ames Theatre on September 7, 1964 with a move-over from the Royale Theatre of “The Subject Was Roses”. Later in 1964 it was renamed Little Theatre and leased to the Westinghouse network who televised “Beat the Clock” in 1969 also “The Merv Griffin Show” and the “David Frost Show” from the theatre. In September 1973 it had a brief run screening gay male pornographic movies. In April 1974 it returned to legitimate theatre once again and among its ‘hit’ runs were “Gemini” from May 1977 and “Torch Song Trilogy” from October 1983.
In July 1983, following the demolition of the Helen Hayes Theatre on W. 46th Street in 1982, it was renamed Helen Hayes Theatre. On November 17, 1987 it was declared a landmark building by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
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