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A History Of New York Theaters

New York City has a great and important history as for the culture of musicals and plays. Over the decades, many theaters were refurbished, many demolished to be rebuilt – rising as phoenix from its ashes, and many demolished, never to rise again. Many demolished theater played a very important role in the theatrical history of New York City.

The Demolished Theaters

A look at some of the demolished New York theaters:

Academy of Music – It was located on 14th Street between 3rd Avenue and Irving Place. Built in1854, it was one of the top theater and opera venues of its time. A fire here in 1866, created accidental theater history when a French troupe, stranded because of it, wound up at Niblo’s Garden where they performed The Black Crook, considered as the first musical on Broadway. The Academy was rebuilt, and was finally demolished in 1926.

Astor, Bijou, Gaiety, Helen Hayes, & Morosco – Astor, built in 1906 at 1537, Broadway; Bijou, built in 1917 at 209 West 45th Street; Gaiety, built in 1908 at 1547 Broadway near 46th Street; Helen Hayes, built in 1911 as Follies Bergere at 206 West 46th Street; and the Morosco, built in 1917 at 217 West 45th Street were demolished in 1982 to make way for the Marriott Marquis Hotel, which houses the Marquis Theater on its third floor.

John Street Theater – Located at 15-21 John Street, East of The Great White Way, it was built in 1767 by David Douglass and was New York’s 5th formal theater. It was an unattractive wooden structure and was for three decades the city’s main center of performance. It existed during the times when professional theater was evolving in New York. In 1796, it performed The Archers, which some claim was the first musical on Broadway. The theater was demolished in 1798.

Lyceum (Old) – Located at 312-316 Fourth Avenue, north of 24th Street, this theater was built in 1885. This was the first theater in New York to be entirely lighted by electricity, whose installation was personally supervised by Thomas Alva Edison. One of the most elegant theaters of its time, it was demolished in 1902.

Nassau Street - Located at 64-66 Nassau Street, between Maiden Lane and John Street, this was built in 1732 and was the first formal theater in New York City. Also known as the Theater on Nassau Street, its noteworthy musical was John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, which was performed on December 3, 1750. It was demolished in 1765.

Broadway Show Tickets

These are some of the few theaters that were demolished after leaving a mark on New York's theatrical history. The theaters in New York, today, with their excellent performances have no equal anywhere else in the world.

No wonder that the Broadway show tickets are always available at a premium. Musical and play tickets of popular shows and musicals are booked months in advance and the popularity of theater in New York City continues with it's ongoing legacy.

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