Vivian Beaumont Theater
|Address||150 West 65th Street
New York City
|Owner||Lincoln Center Theater|
|Operator||Lincoln Center Theater|
The Vivian Beaumont Theater is a theater located in the Lincoln Center complex at 150 West 65th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It is New York City's only Broadway-class theater (thus making its productions eligible for the Tony Awards) that is not located in the Theater District near Times Square.
The theater is named after Vivian Beaumont Allen, a former actress and heiress to the May Department Stores fortune, who donated $3 million for a building to house a permanent dramatic repertory company at Lincoln Center in 1958. Mrs. Allen died in 1962, and after several delays and estimated construction costs of $9.6 million, the Vivian Beaumont opened on October 21, 1965 with a revival of the 1835 play Danton's Death by Georg Büchner. The cast included James Earl Jones and Stacy Keach.
From 1965–66, the theater was operated by the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, under the direction of Jules Irving and Herbert Blau; Blau, who directed Danton's Death, resigned that first year, while Irving remained as sole director through 1972. From 1973 until 1977, it was managed by the New York Shakespeare Festival, under the direction of Joseph Papp. Following a three-year period of inactivity, it reopened in 1980 under the auspices of the Lincoln Center Theater Company, directed by Richmond Crinkley. He had the ad hoc assistance of a five-member directorate consisting of Woody Allen, Sarah Caldwell, Liviu Ciulei, Robin Phillips, and Ellis Rabb, with Edward Albee as the company playwright.
A contemplated $6.5 million interior reconstruction of the Vivian Beaumont led to its being closed between 1981 and 1983, but these plans, which would have changed its configuration from a thrust stage to a more traditional theater with a proscenium arch, were finally abandoned. However, other substantial improvements to the theater's acoustics and technical facilities have been made over the years.
Since 1985, the Vivian Beaumont has been operated by Lincoln Center Theater (now under the direction of André Bishop and Bernard Gersten).
In the lower level of the building is the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, originally known as the Forum and renamed in 1972, an intimate, 299-seat venue in which Lincoln Center Theater presents its Off-Broadway-style plays and musicals.
In 2012, Lincoln Center Theater opened the Claire Tow Theater on the Beaumont's roof, a new third stage that features work by emerging playwrights, directors and designers, and for which tickets are only $20 each. It operates with an annual budget of about $2 million and stages three to four productions a year. The auditorium is named for Claire Tow, whose husband, Leonard, a board member, donated $7.5 million.
The structure was designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen, and Jo Mielziner was responsible for the design of the stage and interior. The travertine-clad roof houses stacks of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, designed by Gordon Bunshaft.
Located on the Vivian Beaumont’s planted green roof, the Claire Tow Theater seats just 112 people in a fixed configuration. Designed by Hugh Hardy and built at a cost of $42 million, the two-story, 23,000-square-foot glass box has the same width as the glass base of the Beaumont and also houses rehearsal space, dressing quarters, offices, and a pocket lobby with a bar. The structure is wrapped inside a grille of aluminum louvers that help screen out the sun. In designing the interior, Hardy used simple materials, stained oak for the lobby floors and walnut for the theater’s sloping walls. The bar features Overture (2012), a sculpture by Kiki Smith.
- Carol Lawson (January 29, 1982), Design Dispute Holds Up Reopening Of Beaumont New York Times.
- Albin Krebs (June 30, 1989), Mitzi E. Newhouse, Who Donated $1 Million for Theaters, Dies at 87 New York Times.
- Robin Pogrebin (May 14, 2012), Lincoln Center Theater to Open a New Stage New York Times.
- Michael Kimmelman (July 15, 2012), A Glass Box That Nests Snugly on the Roof – Hugh Hardy’s Tow Theater at Lincoln Center New York Times.
- Robin Pogrebin (February 3, 2010), New Theater: Lincoln Center Raises the Roof New York Times.
- Paul Goldberger (June 14, 2012), Hugh Hardy’s New Lincoln Center Space, the Claire Tow Theater, Is Pleasing, Deferential—and Barely Visible Vanity Fair.
- Official Lincoln Center Theater website
- Vivian Beaumont Theatre at the Internet Broadway Database
- Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at the Internet off-Broadway Database
- Claire Tow Theatre at the Internet off-Broadway Database
- Lincoln Center history
- Vivian Beaumont Theater at newyorkcitytheatre.com
- Vivian Beaumont Theater seating chart