Is Broadway Getting A Brand New Theatre?
As the fall 2014 season kicks off, many are looking forward to all of the new productions, casts, teams and features Broadway has in store this season! However, word has broken that Broadway may be getting something new that no one saw coming; a new Broadway theatre! Most of the playhouses used today on Broadway were constructed during a theater building boom in the 1920’s and 30’s in New York. However, Broadway has seen it’s additions built since that time but it has been sparse to none. But that all may be changing! As the demand for Broadway grows and a new wave of technology invades, Broadway may be looking to the future with a brand new playhouse. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that The Shubert Organization is considering building a brand new state-of-the-art Broadway Theatre!
While the term Broadway is singular, Broadway is actually made up of 40 theaters located in Midtown Manhattan. All of these theaters are owned by separate organizations that maintain the building, run the facility and are in charge of booking what productions appear there. The three major Broadway landlords are The Shubert Organization, The Nederland Organization and Jujamcyn Theatres. The Shubert Organization is the largest owning and operating 17 Broadway Theatres. The Nederlander’s are second owning and operating 9 Broadway Theatres while Jujamcyn owns and operates 5. The rest of the theatres are run by separate organizations such as Manhattan Theatre Club, Disney, Lincoln Center, Roundabout Theatre Company and several independent owners.
Word has managed to leak out that the Shubert Organization is considering building a brand new 1,500 seat state-of-the-art theatre in Midtown Manhattan. The new theatre would be located close to 8th Avenue between 45th and 46th street. On this land currently is a lot set up with small tents and structures simply selling merchandize to tourists. When asked about such project, the Shubert Organization would only say that it was currently “in negotiations”. This lot was recently home to the specially built tent used for housing Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. The last major construction the Shubert Organization did when it came to building a theater was in 2002 when the organization built The Little Shubert Theater Off-Broadway on 42nd Street. (The site is pictured above with the Natasha Pierre Tent)
Broadway’s last major construction of an actual playhouse was in 1986 when the Nederlander’s Marquis Theatre appeared in Times Square inside the Marriot Marquis Hotel built there. However, let’s not forget Broadway saw the loss of FIVE ORIGINAL THEATERS in order to build that hotel and playhouse. The original Helen Hayes, the Morosco, the Bijou, the Astor and the Gaiety theaters all disappeared.
Despite a lack of building construction, Broadway has been getting major makeovers and renovations since 1986. Jujamcyn Theater’s restored all 5 of their houses in the 1990’s spending literally millions of dollars to return their venues to their original designs. Livenet turned the original Lyric and the Apollo Theatres (Pictured Right) into The Ford Performing Arts Center (Also known as The Hilton Theatre, The Foxwoods and now finally The Lyric) in 1998. Roundabout Theatre Company also revamped the original Selwyn Theatre into the American Airlines Theatre in 2000 and then went on to practically start from scratch rebuilding the Henry Miller Theatre in 2010, which is now known as the Stephen Sondheim.
But the real question despite all this talk is; Would it be good for Broadway to have another theatre? Of COURSE it would be! Currently, the demand for theaters on Broadway and the amount of shows that would like to bow on The Great White Way sometime soon is not in proportion in the good way. That means, there are currently more shows looking for a home than there are theaters looking for productions. Of course, there is always going to be times when houses sit empty waiting for their next production. However, through smart booking and well run management, Broadway landlords have either managed to minimize this time or simply eat money waiting for their next production they believe is worth the cost. Theatre real estate is so incredibly important when it comes to the life of a production.. A brand new 1,500 seat theatre on Broadway would be nice as it is larger than your average houses used for plays but is also not a monster to attempt to fill night after night. I could easily see plays and musicals being brought to life at this house if it does proceed. Also, I didn’t even mention all the jobs it would bring! Onstage, backstage, in the house and beyond. Work for theatre people in a brand new venue on Broadway would not only be historic but beyond exciting.
Only time will tell if Broadway should expect a new playhouse in Midtown Manhattan sometime soon! If you’re wondering what it would cost to build a brand new theater, experts have estimated such a project would cost somewhere around $150 million dollars. Luner on Theatre is looking forward to hearing if the Shubert Organization decides to move forward with such a plan and more details on this exciting new project. For more information on Broadway real estate, visit The Shubert Organization’s Website, The Nederlander Organization’s Website or Jujamcyn Theater’s Website. And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!