Monday, August 25, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (30)

Topic: New York City's Theatres Pre: 1911 #3

The Casino

The Casino, at the southeast corner of Thirty-ninth Street, was opened October 21, 1882, with "The Queen's Lace Hankerchief." The building is in the Moorish style, and has been, more than any other theatre in New York, the home of comic opera. Among its greatest successes were Erminie and Florodora, the latter of which seems to have been unfortunate for many of its participants, as several murders and numerous scandals in which Florodora girls were concerned filled the columns of the daily papers and set the town by the ears for some time during and after the run of the play.

The Rialto Section

A quarter of a century ago, the south side of Union Square was the lounging place of many actors seeking employment at the theatrical offices in that neighborhood; and the section was called the "Rialto". With the upward trend of the theatres and theatrical offices, the "Rialto" has moved to this section of Broadway; and in the "off" season, the sidewalks are crowded with actors and actresses seeking engagements.

The Metropolitan Opera House

Between Thirty-ninth and Fortieth streets on the west side, taking up the entire block to Seventh Avenue, is the Metropolitan Opera House, which opened October 22, 1883, with Henry E. Abbey as manager. The house has been devoted almost exclusively to grand opera, as it is too great in size to be an ordinary theatre. It has also been the scene of many great gatherings on patriotic occasions, of many public balls, and of concerts, as well as of several fairs. The history of the operas produced and of the great artists and singers who have appeared here would fill a book larger than this. Its interior was destroyed by fire in September, 1892, but was rebuilt in the following year.

The Empire Theatre

Opposite to it on the south side of Fortieth Street is the Empire Theatre, whose entrance is from Broadway. It was opened January 25, 1893, under the management of Charles Frohman, and has been famous, not only for its early stock company, but as the New York home of such actors as John Drew, Maude Adams, and similar stars.

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