Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (29)

Topic: New York City's Theatres Pre: 1911 #2

The Brighton Theatre

The Brighton theatre at 1239 Broadway opened with a variety show on August 26, 1878; and after many changes of names, became the Bijou Theatre, December 1, 1883.

The Manhattan (or Eagle) Theatre

The Manhattan (or Eagle) Theatre stood on the west side of Broadway between Thirty-second and Thirty-third streets. It was opened with a variety show October 18, 1875; later, it became the Standard Theatre, becoming the Manhattan again August 30, 1897. It was the first house in New York to present Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore which became so popular that it was played at over half a dozen theatres at the same time; that was before the days of international copyright. Towards the end of its career, it was about the only theatre of prominence the city outside of the theatrical trust. At the last it became a moving-picture house, and was torn down in 1909 to make way for Gimbel Brothers' big department store.

The Herald Square Theatre

At the northwest corner of Thirty-fifth Street a building called the Coliseum was opened with a panorama in 1873 and was run until the following year, when it was taken down and removed to Philadelphia during the Centennial Exposition. October 11, 1876, the New York Aquarium took its place with a theatre, and later, a circus attached. The place was very popular until 1883, when it was torn down and the New Park Theatre was erected, opening on October fifteenth. Harrigan took possession and opened on August 31, 1885, after the destruction of his New Theatre Comique. It was called Harrigan's Theatre and was successful, but the rent ate up the profits and Harrigan was obliged to give it up. It then became the Herald Square Theatre on September 17, 1895, and has retained that name until the present.

The Knickerbocker

After the destruction of his Park Theatre at Twenty-second Street, Henry E. Abbey had no house that he could call his own until 1893, when he opened the theatre at the northeast corner of Thirty-eighth Street, where he introduced Irving, Bernhardt, and other foreign actors of high rank, opening with the first named on November 8, 1893. On September 14, 1897, the house was opened as the Knickerbocker, a name that it still retains.



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