Lucille Lortel Theatre

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Coordinates: 40°43′59.78″N 74°0′20.72″W / 40.7332722°N 74.0057556°W / 40.7332722; -74.0057556

Lucille Lortel Theatre
Theater de Lys
Naked Pictures of Bea Arthur 0037.jpg
Address 121 Christopher Street
Manhattan, New York City
Owner Lucille Lortel Foundation
Type proscenium
Capacity 299
Opened June 9, 1953

The Lucille Lortel Theatre is an off-Broadway playhouse located at 121 Christopher Street in Manhattan's West Village. It was built in 1926 as a 590-seat movie theater called the New Hudson, later known as Hudson Playhouse. The interior is largely unchanged to this day.

In the early 1950s, the site was converted to an off-Broadway theater as Theater de Lys, opening on June 9, 1953 with a production of Maya, a play by Simon Gantillon starring Kay Medford, Vivian Matalon, and Susan Strasberg. It closed after seven performances. The phenomenon was "The Threepenny Opera," which opened March 10, 1954, with a cast that included Bea Arthur, John Astin, Lotte Leyna, Leon Lishner, Scott Merrill, Gerald Price, Charlotte Rae and Jo Sullivan. Because of an incoming booking, it was forced to close after 96 performances. Re-opening Sept. 20, 1955, with largely the same cast, "The Threepenny Opera" this time played until Dec. 17, 1961, a then record-setting run for a musical in New York City.[1]

In 1955, financier Louis Schweitzer acquired the building as an anniversary present for his wife, actress-producer Lucille Lortel. In 1981, the year of her 81st birthday, the theatre was renamed in her honor. After Lortel's death, the theatre was left to the Lucille Lortel Foundation.[2]

Notable productions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In 1996-1997, for the TV comedy Friends , the theatre was used for the filming of 3 episodes of season 3 : episode 19 ("The One with the Tiny T-Shirt") – episode 20 ("The One with the Dollhouse") – and episode 22 ("The One with the Screamer) , which guest-starred Ben Stiller as Rachel's crazy boyfriend Tommy
  • In 1970, the theatre was used in Season 1, Episode 3 of the McCloud TV series, in an episode called "Manhattan Manhunt". It used both interior and an exterior shots with the original marquee "Theatre de Lys".



External links[edit]