Apollo Theatre (42nd Street)
Forty-second Street entrance (left) to Apollo Theatre and Times Square Theatre. Latter house occupies center and right, with Apollo invisible behind it. (1922)
|Address||223 W. 42nd Street
Manhattan, New York City
|Current use||Lyric Theatre|
|Opened||November 17, 1920|
|Architect||Eugene De Rosa|
The Apollo Theatre was a Broadway theatre whose entrance was located at 223 West 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York City, while the theatre proper was on 43rd Street. It was demolished in 1996 and provided part of the site for the new Ford Center, now known as the Lyric Theatre.
The Apollo was built in 1920 by the Selwyn Brothers as one of a pair of theatres designed by Eugene De Rosa with a unified facade on West 42nd Street incorporating both theatres' entrances. The other, called the Times Square Theatre, occupied the rest of the 42nd Street frontage, while the Apollo was behind it, on 43rd Street. To the east of them stood the Lyric Theatre. The Apollo was initially a musical theatre venue for such works as the Gershwin musical Strike Up the Band and George White's Scandals. As in many other playhouses of the 1920s, movies often played the Apollo during its run as a "legitimate" house; in 1922, for example, Silver Wings, Around the World With Burton Holmes, and two D. W. Griffith films, Orphans of the Storm and One Exciting Night, had engagements.
By the early 1930s the Apollo had been turned into a film venue exclusively. It returned to serving as a theatre in the late 1970s, but this venture failed and the Apollo ended its existence as a night club. The building was neglected, fell into disrepair, and was condemned. In 1990 it was among the 42nd Street theatres repossessed by the City and State of New York and in 1992 came under the protection of the New 42nd Street organization. It was demolished in 1996.
Some of the theatre's architectural features, including the Proscenium arch, which were protected by landmark status, were removed and later incorporated into the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, now the Lyric Theatre, which was built on the sites of the Apollo and former Lyric.
- Cinema Treasures and Internet Broadway Database websites, in External Links section.
- "'Jimmie' Opens the Apollo" The New York Times (November 18, 1920)
- Building age and national builder, vol. 47, issues 7-12 (1925), p. 82
- "The Screen" The New York Times (January 4, 1922) (review of Orphans of the Storm); "The Screen" The New York Times (April 25, 1922) (review of Around the World with Burton Holmes); "The Screen" The New York Times (May 18, 1922) (review of Silver Wings); "The Screen" The New York Times (October 24, 1922) (review of One Exciting Night)
- Marks, Peter. "Turning Two Historic Theaters Into One Big One" The New York Times (January 17, 1996)
- Van Hoogstraten, Nicholas, Lost Broadway Theatres (Princeton Architectural Press, 1997), ISBN 1-56898-116-3
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Apollo Theatre (42nd Street).|
- Cinema Treasures website. Brief history and many photographs.
- Internet Broadway Database website. Listing of legitimate productions.
- Museum of the City of New York. Photographs and artwork. Photograph of the Apollo's 43rd Street side, mislabeled as the Times Square Theatre (which never had a 43rd Street side), same source. At right, the vertical sign of the Selwyn Theatre, adjacent to the Apollo, can be seen.
- New 42nd St. website. "Our Projects & Theaters" page.
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