Helen Hayes Theatre


Helen Hayes Theatre
The Helen Hayes Theatre, 2006.
The Helen Hayes Theatre showing Xanadu, 2007.
Helen Hayes Theatre (left) and St. James Theatre (right), 2007.

Helen Hayes Theatre (formerly the Little Theatre, New York Times Hall and Winthrop Ames Theatre) with 597 seats is the smallest Broadway theatre and is located at 240 West 44th Street in midtown-Manhattan.

Since 1979 it has been privately owned and operated by Martin Markinson and the late Donald Tick. In July 2008 it was announced that Markinson and the Tick Family planned to sell the theatre to the Second Stage Theatre Off Broadway company for an undisclosed price. Second Stage said it needs to raise $35 million to then possibly buy the theatre, which would likely be renamed. [1]Second Stage's first season is targeted for 2013.

Contents

History

Little Theatre

The Helen Hayes Theatre was designed by the architect Harry Creighton Ingalls of the firm Ingalls & Hoffman, and built by Winthrop Ames. When it first opened, it was known as the Little Theatre, owing both to the theatre's small size (with a seating capacity of only 300), and also because the theatre's goal was to create small, intimate productions. The theatre in fact gave birth to what became known as the Little Theatre Movement in the early twentieth century.

The theatre opened on March 12, 1912 with John Galsworthy's play The Pigeon.

In the 1920s, Herbert J. Krapp redesigned the theatre to increase its seating capacity to 590 and improve its acoustics.

New York Times Hall

In 1931, the building was sold to the New York Times and converted into a conference hall renamed New York Times Hall. CBS used the theatre as a radio facility for a time, but it was reconverted by ABC into a legitimate theatre in 1958, once again as the Little Theatre. Dick Clark's Saturday night The Dick Clark Show originated from there from February 1958 through September 1961.

During this time, ABC also broadcast the daytime hit Who Do You Trust? with Johnny Carson from the theatre. It was briefly re-named the Winthrop Ames Theatre in 1964. From 1965 through 1983 it was again the Little Theatre. During the first half of that period, Westinghouse Broadcasting taped the popular, syndicated Merv Griffin Show at the theatre and later, The David Frost Show. The 1969-70 season of the game show Beat the Clock hosted by Jack Narz was taped there.

Helen Hayes Theatre

The theatre was finally renamed for Helen Hayes in 1983 when the renowned actress' existing namesake theatre located on West 46th Street was demolished, along with the Morosco Theatre and the Bijou Theatre, in order to construct the New York Marriott Marquis. Hayes, known as the "First Lady of the American Theater," was still living at the time, and because of the unusual and embarrassing nature of her having outlived her monument, it was decided to rechristen the Little Theatre in her honor.

When not being used as a theatrical venue, the building also has been leased to CBS Radio and the Westinghouse Corporation.

Notable productions

References

External links

Coordinates: 40°45′28″N 73°59′15″W / 40.75778°N 73.9875°W / 40.75778; -73.9875


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