Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
|Address||261 West 47th Street|
New York City
|Owner||Manhattan Theatre Club|
|Architect||Herbert J. Krapp|
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
|Built||December 7, 1925|
|Architect||Herbert J. Krapp|
|NRHP reference No.||04001203|
|Added to NRHP||2004|
Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp for impresario Irwin Chanin, the theatre opened on December 7, 1925, with the play Easy Come Easy Go. With a seating capacity of 903, it was one of Broadway's smaller venues.
The theatre was used by Federal Theatre's Living Newspaper project in the 1930s. CBS leased it for use as a radio and television studio from 1952 until 1961. The producer David Cogan acquired the Biltmore in 1958. In 1968, the groundbreaking rock musical Hair opened at the theatre.
In 1986, Cogan sold the Biltmore to developer Samuel Pfeiffer. In 1987, a fire struck the Biltmore. The blaze, which was later determined to be an act of arson, destroyed the interior. After the fire, the building sat vacant for fourteen years, suffering more structural damage from water and vandals. Most plans proposed for its future use – such as a showcase for "Best of Broadway" revues – were rejected since its New York City landmark designation required it to operate only as a legitimate Broadway house if renovated. In 1993, the Nederlander Organization and Stewart F. Lane acquired the Biltmore; after being unable to secure a deal with theatre unions, the theatre was sold to developer Joseph Moinian.
In 2001, the theatre was assumed by the Manhattan Theatre Club as a permanent home for its productions. Polshek Partnership Architects restored surviving sections of the original theatre and EverGreene Architectural Arts restored plasterwork and reconstructed missing parts. With 622 seats the new Biltmore has about two-thirds of the capacity of the old venue, although it now boasts modern conveniences such as elevators and meeting rooms. The Biltmore's landmarked features, such as the proscenium arch, dome, staircases and a vaulted second-floor gallery, were restored or replicated.
The theatre was renamed the "Samuel J. Friedman Theatre" in a dedication ceremony held on September 4, 2008. The new name honors Broadway publicist Samuel J. Friedman. The Manhattan Theatre Club took ownership of the Samuel J. Friedman in October 2008.
Biltmore Theatre in media
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The Biltmore Theatre is prominently featured in The Muppets Take Manhattan as the location of the Broadway show that the Muppets put on in the finale of the film.
- 1928: Pleasure Man
- 1940: The Unconquered; My Sister Eileen
- 1946: No Exit
- 1947: The Heiress
- 1951: Billy Budd (with Lee Marvin's stage-debut)
- 1961: Take Her, She's Mine
- 1963: Barefoot in the Park
- 1968: Loot; Staircase; Hair
- 1976: The Robber Bridegroom
- 1977: Hair
- 1978: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
- 1980: Nuts
- 1982: Deathtrap
- 1983: Doonesbury
- 2003: The Violet Hour
- 2005: After the Night and the Music
- 2006: Rabbit Hole
- 2007: LoveMusik, Mauritius
- 2008: Come Back, Little Sheba; Top Girls, To Be or Not To Be
- 2009: The American Plan; Accent on Youth; The Royal Family
- 2010: Time Stands Still; Collected Stories; The Pitmen Painters
- 2011: Good People; Master Class; Venus in Fur
- 2012: Wit; The Columnist; An Enemy of the People
- 2013: The Other Place; The Assembled Parties; The Snow Geese
- 2014: Outside Mullingar; Casa Valentina; The Country House
- 2015: Constellations; Airline Highway; Fool for Love
- 2016: Our Mother's Brief Affair; The Father; Heisenberg; Jitney
- 2017: The Little Foxes; Prince of Broadway; The Children
- 2018: Saint Joan; The Nap
- 2019: Choir Boy; Ink; The Height of the Storm
- 2020: My Name is Lucy Barton; How I Learned to Drive
- Lost Broadway Theatres by Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, Princeton Architectural Press (1997) ISBN 1-56898-116-3
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- "David Cogan, 'A Raisin in the Sun' Producer, Dies at 78". The New York Times. February 24, 2002. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- "Biltmore Theater's Owner Rejects $5.25 Million Offer". The New York Times. April 1, 1989. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- Dunlap, David W. (July 24, 1993). "Nederlanders and Partner Buy the Biltmore Theater". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- Foderaro, Lisa W. (April 18, 1997). "43-Story Hotel Planned Over Shuttered Biltmore Theater". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- Dunlap, David. W. (December 12, 2001). "Dawning of a New Age for the Biltmore". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- Dunlap, David W. (September 23, 2003). "For Venerable Theater, It's a Body Transplant". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-02.
Time was when the Biltmore reminded people of Hair, Barefoot in the Park, My Sister Eileen and Deathtrap; of George Abbott, a co-owner who used it as a showcase; Jean-Paul Sartre, whose No Exit was staged there; and Mae West, whose Pleasure Man brought in the police.
- Jones, Kenneth (September 4, 2008). "Broadway's Biltmore Becomes the Friedman on Sept. 4". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008.
- Robertson, Campbell (June 19, 2008). "Big News! Press Agent Gets Name in Lights". The New York Times.
- "Raid Mae West Play, Seize 56 At Opening". The New York Times. October 2, 1928. Retrieved 2011-05-02.
The entire cast of "Pleasure Man," fifty-five actors, actresses and musicians, was arrested on the stage of the Biltmore Theatre, Forty-seventh Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, last night immediately after the curtain fell on the first performance.
- Fool for Love at the Internet Broadway Database
- "Our Mother's Brief Affair". Playbill.
- "The Father". Playbill.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Biltmore Theatre.|
- Samuel J. Friedman Theatre at the Internet Broadway Database
- Friedman Theatre Broadway Theatre Guide listing
- "At This Theatre" at Playbill.com
- "A Midsummer Night's Renovation" by Iris Dorbian in Stage Directions, July 2004