Helen Hayes (originally Fulton) Theatre, circa 1980.
|Address||210 West 46th Street|
|City||New York City|
|Architect||Herts & Tallant|
|Opened||April 27, 1911|
|Reopened||October 20, 1911|
|Other names||Folies-Bergere, Helen Hayes Theatre|
The Fulton Theatre was a Broadway Theatre located at 210 West 46th Street in New York that was opened in 1911. It was renamed the Helen Hayes Theatre in 1955. The theatre was demolished in 1982. Since a new Helen Hayes Theatre now exists in Manhattan, the Fulton Theatre is now sometimes referred to as the First Helen Hayes Theatre.
Built by the architects Herts & Tallant for Henry B. Harris and Jesse Lasky, it was originally opened on April 27, 1911, under the name Folies-Bergere as a dinner theatre with vaudeville. The building featured three murals and a color scheme by leading American muralist William de Leftwich Dodge. Eighteen-year-old Mae West was discovered here by the New York Times at her Broadway debut on September 22, 1911. Closing after that, the theatre reopened on October 20, 1911, as the Fulton Theatre. The theatre was managed by Abraham L. Erlanger from 1921, until his death in 1930.
In 1955, the theatre was renamed the Helen Hayes Theatre in honor of the renowned actress Helen Hayes and re-opened under that name on November 21.
In 1982, the theatre was demolished, along with the Morosco, Bijou, Gaiety and Astor Theatres, to make way for the Marriott Marquis Hotel, which now houses the Marquis Theatre. Parts of the Helen Hayes Theatre were salvaged before the theatre's demolition and were used to build the Shakespeare Center, home of the Riverside Shakespeare Company on the Upper West Side, which was dedicated by Miss Hayes and Joseph Papp in September 1982.
Since Helen Hayes was still living at the time of the demolition of the theatre that bore her name, it was decided to rename the nearby Little Theatre at 240 West 44th Street in her honor.
The English actor Robert Morley played the title role in the play Oscar Wilde by Leslie and Sewell Stokes in 1938 at the Fulton. The play ran for 247 performances and the success launched Morley's career as a stage actor on both sides of the Atlantic.
- Maurice Leonard in Mae West Empress of Sex ISBN 0-00-637471-9 pp. 33-34 Times quote: "A girl named Mae West, hitherto unknown, pleased by her grotesquerie and snappy way of singing and dancing."
- Patricia O'Haire. "Dickens lends the Bard a Hand." The New York Daily News. Sep. 13, 1982.