Laurie Beechman Theatre

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The Laurie Beechman Theatre (formerly the West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theatre Bar) is an 80-seat[1] dinner theatre in the basement of the West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd Street in the Manhattan Plaza apartment complex just west of Times Square.

The theatre is named for cabaret performer Laurie Beechman.

The theatre opened in 1983 by West Bank Cafe owner Steve Olsen. The Cafe/theatre was in Manhattan Plaza that had been built specifically to house those active in New York's theatre scene. Bruce Willis was a bartender in the restaurant. Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Sean Penn were regulars.[2]

Olsen experimented with the venue offering it as jazz and cabaret. Lewis Black, Rand Foerster, and Rusty Magee proposed staging plays at what was then called initially the West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theatre Bar. Over a course of 14 years Black was the playwright in residence and would author 40 plays there and Magee was the musical director. More than 1,500 one-act plays have been performed at the theatre.[2]

Initially the theatre was strictly drinks only. However it has evolved to include dinner before the show. Joan Rivers and Karen Finley often perform there.


  1. ^ "Open Table Profile". Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "The West Bank Cafe - - July 2007". Retrieved May 1, 2011. 

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Coordinates: 40°45′31″N 73°59′34″W / 40.75866°N 73.992842°W / 40.75866; -73.992842