Demolished Broadway Theatres - P to S
Compiled by John Kenrick
(The images on this page are thumbnails – click on them to see larger versions.)
- Palmo's Opera House
- Park (1st)
- Park (2nd)
- Punch and Judy
- Sam H. Harris
- San Francisco Minstrels/Music Hall
- Schley Music Hall
- 63rd Street Music Hall
Palmo's Opera House
39-41 Chambers Street (between Broadway & Centre)
Also named: Burton's Chamber Street Theatre
History: Manhattan restaurant owner Ferdinando Palmo lost a fortune building this intimate opera venue, which went bankrupt in just two years. It passed through a succession of owners before actor-manager William Burton took over, filling the house with a mix of comedies and musicals from 1848 to 1856. It later served as a minstrel hall and even as a court house before its demolition in 1876.
21-25 Park Row (opposite City Hall Park)
Demolished: 1848 (fire)
Capacity: 2000 (approx.)
Architects: Joseph Mangin & Mark Isambard Brunel
History: Built at a cost of $30,000 on Chatham Street (now called Park Row), New York City's first world-class theatre attracted all levels of society, but developed a reputation for catering to its wealthier clientele. Over the proscenium was painted the Latin motto "Gnothi Seaution" -- "Know Thyself." The interior was redecorated in 1807 and 1809, with "patent" oil lamps replacing candlelight. The poor (and prostitutes) sat in the top gallery; benches in the pit (what we now call the orchestra section) were reserved for working class men, and wealthy patrons sat in four tiers of private boxes named for famous European playwrights. The largest box, called "Shakespeare," was usually reserved for critics and celebrities. The Park was out of fashion and facing hard times when a conveniently timed fire demolished it in 1848. This is currently the location of the main J&R Music World store.
- see the old Majestic West 58th St.
137 West 48th Street
Seats: 863 - increased to 994 in 1952
Architect: Charles Alonso Rich
Owners/Managers: William A. Brady (1911-1944), The Shuberts (1944-1969)
History: Although this theatre never housed a musical, it can be seen as the home of the fictional Springtime for Hitler in Mel Brooks' original screen version of The Producers (1969). Soon after the filming, the Playhouse was demolished to make way for the McGraw Hill skyscraper.
Fourth Avenue and Eighth Street
Also named: Union
Managed by actor John Poole, this was one of the first legitimate theatres to serve as a home for Yiddish Theatre in 1887. In 1891, it was renamed The Union, and served for a time as home for Jacob Adler's troupe.
- see Edyth Totten
104 West 39th Street
(NB: The same name was used by San Francisco Music Hall in 1902 and an off-Broadway 50th Street venue in the 1980s)
Also named: Lucille LaVerne, Assembly, Labor Stage
Architect: William Albert Swasey
Owners/Managers: The Shuberts and F. Ray Comstock (1913-1933), The International Ladies Garment Workers Union (1933-1955)
History: Built as a venue for drama, the Princess gave its name to a series of intimate Jerome Kern musicals produced in this house between 1915 and 1918. It was briefly renamed for actress Lucille LaVerne (1928-1929) and was called the Assembly when it served as the ILGWU's union meeting hall (1929-1937). Renamed the Labor Stage, it was home to the long running pro-labor revue Pins and Needles. A movie theatre in its final years, it was called Little Met (1948) and Cinema Verdi (1952) because of its proximity to the original Metropolitan Opera House.
Musicals: Very Good Eddie (1915), Oh Boy (1917), Oh Lady Lady (1918), Oh My Dear! (1919), Pins and Needles (1937)
Punch and Judy
153 West 49th Street
Later named: Charles Hopkins, Westminster, World, Embassy 49th Street
History: Actor Charles Hopkins built this as a home for experimental productions, and renamed it for himself in 1926. From 1933 on, this became a movie theatre under various names. Rockefeller Center purchased and demolished this structure to make way for another skyscraper.
Sam H. Harris
- see Candler
The Sam Harris Theatre (originally called the Candler) used the program cover seen here for a variety of productions. However, nothing about this fanciful scene has any connection to producer Harris or the physical appearance of the theatre.
San Francisco Minstrels/Music Hall
Broadway at 29th Street
Also named: The Jonah, Hermann's Gaiety (1890s), The Princess (1902)
A former billiard parlor, this small theatre became a minstrel house in 1875. Leased by the Shuberts, who renamed it The Princess in 1902. The building was converted to retail space in 1907.
- see Schley Music Hall
Schley Music Hall
112 West 34th Street
Later named: Savoy
Architect: Michael Bernstein
History: Eight months after opening, this theatre was renamed the Savoy for the London theatre where many of Gilbert and Sullivan's musicals premiered. The house had several owners over the years. As far as we can determine, no significant musicals ever opened here.
63rd Street Music Hall
22 West 63rd Street
Later named: Cort's 63rd Street, Daly's, Coburn, Park Lane, Experimental
Architect: Thomas Lamb; completed by Erwin Rossbach (1914)
History: Financial difficulties left this theatre unfinished for five years. After brief use as a showcase for religious events, producer John Cort staged a drama here and named the theatre for himself. The theatre reverted to its original name until 1922, when it was renovated and renamed for the late theatre manager August Daly. It was named for actor Charles Coburn in 1928, took the generic name Park Lane in 1932, Gilmore's in 1934, and the Experimental in 1936. Renamed Daly's in 1938, it sat unused from 1941 until its demolition sixteen years later.
Musicals: Shuffle Along (1921), Liza (1922), Keep Shuffling (1928)
- see Eagle
- see Wallack's (2nd)
- see Belasco