Lyric Theatre (1998 New York City)
|Apollo Theatre, Lyric Theatre (predecessors)
Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Hilton Theatre, Foxwoods Theatre
43rd Street entrance
|Address||214 West 43rd Street, New York City, NY
|Owner||City and State of New York|
|Operator||Ambassador Theatre Group|
|Opened||January 18, 1998|
|New 42nd Street|
The Lyric Theatre (previously known as the Foxwoods Theatre, the Hilton Theatre and the Ford Center for the Performing Arts) is a Broadway theatre located at 214 West 43rd Street in Manhattan, New York City. The venue has a seating capacity of 1,930 making it the second largest house on Broadway (the Gershwin Theatre is just slightly larger).
The theatre was built in 1996–97 on the site of the former Apollo and Lyric Theatres. The Lyric was built in 1903 and hosted Shakespeare plays and such notable new shows as Cole Porter's Fifty Million Frenchmen, until it was converted to a movie theatre in 1934. The Apollo, constructed in 1920 by the Selwyn Brothers to a design by Eugene De Rosa, housed the Gershwin musicals Strike Up the Band and George White's Scandals, among other works, but was also turned into a film venue by the early 1930s. A brief return to use as a legitimate theatre in the late 1970s proved unsuccessful, and the venue ended its existence as a nightclub.
By the early 1990s, after being neglected and falling into serious disrepair, both theatres were condemned. They were among the 42nd Street theatres repossessed by the City and State of New York in 1990, and fell under the protection of the New 42nd Street organization in 1992. In 1996, the theatres were leased by Livent and demolished. However, certain major architectural elements and structures were protected under landmark status; these were carefully removed from the buildings, stored, and incorporated into the new theatre. Today, patrons visiting the theatre sit under the dome from the Lyric and proscenium arch from the Apollo, and pass through the ornate Lyric Theatre facades on 43rd and 42nd Streets. Above the 43rd street entrance, on the second floor, can be seen the busts of W. S. Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan and Reginald De Koven; the Lyric Theatre was originally intended to house De Koven's works.
The theatre opened as the Ford Center for the Performing Arts on January 26, 1998 with a musical version of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime. In 2005, the venue was completely renovated and renamed the Hilton for the US premiere of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
After the closing of Young Frankenstein on January 4, 2009, the theatre was vacant throughout 2009. The production of the new musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was anticipated to open in December 2010, but problems in financing the record-setting budget of the show (estimated at $65 million), and technical issues, postponed the opening. After securing funding, Spider-Man officially opened on June 14, 2011 following seven months of preview performances.
On May 20, 2013 it was announced that the UK-based Ambassador Theatre Group had acquired the lease to the Foxwoods Theatre for about $60 million. The New 42nd Street nonprofit organization remained as the landlord. In March 2014, the theatre was renamed the Lyric Theatre by ATG.
- 1998: Ragtime
- 2000: Jesus Christ Superstar
- 2001: 42nd Street
- 2005: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- 2006: Hot Feet; Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
- 2007: The Pirate Queen; Young Frankenstein
- 2010: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
- 2014: On the Town
Box office record
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark achieved the box office record for the Foxwoods Theatre (and the record for the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history, until that time). The production grossed $2,941,790.20 over nine performances at 100.02% capacity for the week ending January 1, 2012.
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