55th Street Playhouse

154 55th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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55th Street Playhouse

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Previously a horse stable, this opened as the 299-seat 55th Street Cinema on May 20, 1927. This was a tiny cinema of some reputation that for decades showed first run art house features and special programs.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 91 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 11, 2012 at 6:57 am

There were two David’s and neither was the 55th Street Playhouse.

astrojeepie on July 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Mr Alvarez is correct. There was a David on West 55th St—-which wasn’t the 55th St Playhouse. And later on there was a New David Cinema—-which was down the block from Studio 54. Both Davids were strictly porno

NYer on May 20, 2013 at 8:50 am

There was a discussion of a lost film here called “Him” and if it actually played here. I’ve been doing research trying to find a lost documentary I know I saw as a kid about the space program. Anyway, I have been going through all the Village Voices from the 70’s which are available on line and not only did “Him” play here, it played three separate multi-week engagements thru ‘73 –'75 with big half page ads to boot.

garycom on April 1, 2015 at 10:35 pm

Does anybody know when the photo of the 55th St. Playhouse at the top of this page was taken?

Mikeoaklandpark on April 3, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I lived in NYC from 75-83 and it was the marquee then Garycom.

garycom on April 6, 2015 at 1:03 am

Thanks hdtv27. I’m aware of the Canby review. It’s dated 6 May 1969, the day after Lonesome Cowboys opened.

I’ve done a bit of research. An ad for Lonesome Cowboys at the 55th St. Playhouse that appears in the 31 July 1969 Village Voice announces the return of Flesh – opening Monday.

The previous week’s ad, 24 July, only listed Lonesome Cowboys at the 55th Street Playhouse (with Blue Movie at the New Andy Warhol Garrick)

The next issue’s ad, 7 August, only advertises Flesh playing at 55th Street. On September 11 this changes with both Flesh and Cowboys playing “Now Together.” The ad for the previous week, the 4th of September, only had Flesh playing at 55th Street.

So the beginning of the double bill was between 4-11 September, probably the 8th as the films at 55th Street usually changed on a Monday.

In regard to when the double bill finished, on 16 October 1969 an ad appears saying that the two films are finishing on Sunday at 55th Street. Then On 30 October an ad appears advertising Flesh at “Trump Village” – a venue I’m not familiar with.

So, it would appear that the double bill opened at the 55th Street Playhouse between 4-11 September (probably Monday, 8 September) and closed Sunday 19 October, 1969.

Mikeoaklandpark – thanks for info. I lived in NYC from about 1980-1986.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on January 14, 2016 at 11:25 am

The theatre was originally known as the 55th Street Cinema and opened on May 20th, 1927, under the management of a new company called Art Cinema League. The building had previously served as a horse stable, with the fa├žade preserved for its architectural importance. The gutted interior became a 299-seat auditorium in Spanish mission style.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on January 15, 2016 at 8:26 am

The pioneer art cinema was a contemporary of the Roxy Theatre, which had opened in March of that same year.

David DeCoteau
David DeCoteau on April 10, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Interesting article about this theatre….


AMovieADayKeeps on March 28, 2017 at 11:49 pm

This is the theater that debuted Viktor Und Viktoria, the German language original that was remade into First A Girl and much later, Victor/Victoria. It debuted there in January of 1935.

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