Laurie Beechman Theatre
|Address||407 West 42nd Street|
|Location||New York City|
The Laurie Beechman Theatre (formerly the West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theater Bar) is an 80-seat dinner theater 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 theater is named for Laurie Beechman, who was a Broadway singer/actor and cabaret performer.
The theater was opened in 1983 by the West Bank Cafe owner Steve Olsen. The cafe/theater was in Manhattan Plaza, which had been specifically built to house people who are active in New York's theater scene. Bruce Willis was a bartender in the restaurant. Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Sean Penn were regulars.
Olsen experimented with the venue, offering it for jazz and cabaret. Lewis Black, Rand Foerster, and Rusty Magee proposed staging plays at what initially was called the West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theater Bar. Over the course of 14 years, Foerster was the Artistic Director, Black was the playwright in residence, and authored forty plays there, and Magee was the musical director. More than 1,500 one-act plays have been performed at the theater.
On August 27, 2014, Joan Rivers gave her final performance at the theatre. The following day, Rivers suffered a cardiac arrest resulting from complications during a procedure on her vocal cords, and died on September 4, 2014.
- "Open Table Profile". opentable.com. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
- "The West Bank Cafe - newyorkrestaurantinsider.com - July 2007". newyorkrestaurantinsider.com. Retrieved May 1, 2011.