The Hudson Theatre Will Return To Broadway
Often Broadway landlords find there are never enough productions to fill their venues. With 40 legit Broadway houses spread across midtown from 41st street to 54th street, many times landlords have had to improvise to fill theatres when no shows sit ready to come to Broadway. For the first time in a long time, Broadway has found itself short in venues. While many have simply turned away from the problem, one company is seeking a way to fix that by bringing a old friend back into the family of Broadway theatres. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that The Hudson Theatre will return to use as a Broadway Theatre!
The Ambassador Theatre Group, a British-based theatre organization, has announced it has purchased The Hudson Theatre and will return the theatre to use as a Broadway house. Ambassador Theatre Group recently launched itself here in the United States purchasing Broadway’s Lyric Theatre on 42nd Street and several other well-known venues across the nation. It has been rumored for months the company was seeking to expanding its empire on Broadway. The theatre will officially become Broadway’s 41st theatre and will mark the fourth east of Broadway. Other houses east of Broadway include The Cort, The Lyceum (Broadway’s Oldest Operating Theatre) and The Stephen Sondheim. The work to restore the house to Broadway will be the first major construction since The Samuel J. Friedman was returned to Broadway in 2003 and The Henry Miller Theatre (Excluding the Facade) was demolished, rebuilt and later renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre (Pictured Above Right).
According to The Ambassador Theatre Group, $10 million dollars will be spent to renovate, restore and upgrade the theatre before it’s return to Broadway in the 2016-17 season. Some of the planned upgrades will include new seating, an Ambassador Lounge and increased/improve bathrooms for the women for front of house. Backstage, technical upgrades including new and expanded dressing rooms as well as a new fly system are all planned. While the theatre originally housed 1,050 seats, it is expected to hold just under 1,000 (950 exactly) following the renovation making it one of the smaller houses on Broadway. Despite falling through various ownerships over the decades, the theatre’s interior has remained intact. ATG hopes the renovations to the theatre will be complete by November 2016.
The Hudson Theatre was constructed and opened in 1903 by the firm Israels & Harder. Managed by theatre producer Henry B. Harris and his wife until their death on the Titanic, the theatre served as a Broadway house through 1930. The theatre was used as a television and radio study from 1930 through 1950 before becoming home to The Tonight Show with Steve Allen in 1954. The space was returned to a legit theatre in the 1960’s before becoming a movie house in 1974 as Broadway crumbled. The theatre’s decline continued into the 1980’s and the theatre was converted into a rock club. The theatre was slated for demolition as Times Square fought back to become a family friendly destination and the theatre’s landmark status saved the structure. It was purchased in 1995 by the Millennium Hotel which rose next door and converted the space into a conference center and auditorium. The space has been used as such since that time and is occasionally used for Comedy Central for stand up comedy performances. Mike Downstairs was the last Broadway production to play the theatre running for 4 performances from April 18th-20th in 1968.
Ambassador’s co-chief executive officers Howard Panter (Pictured Below Left) and Rosemary Squire expressed their gratitude and excitement for a new Broadway venue as ATG expands its New York arm saying;
“As one of the oldest and most beautiful theatres on Broadway, we are thrilled to restore and operate the iconic Hudson Theatre. It presents us with enormous opportunities to present and produce even more productions in New York and in North America and will be the perfect companion to our larger Broadway musical house, The Lyric. It is a source of constant delight to see ATG continue to go from strength to strength, and make its mark on the global stage. A second Broadway theater is another landmark achievement for the company we co-founded 23 years ago and we couldn’t be happier.”
Luner on Theatre is thrilled to welcome back The Hudson Theatre to Broadway! As mentioned above, the theatre will begin undergoing renovations and upgrades as it works to return to the Broadway market for the 2016-17 season! We will keep you updated as more news, photos and first looks of Broadway’s 41st theatre become available to us. We can’t wait to see this house return to life. For more information, visit The Ambassador Theatre Group’s Website, Facebook or Twitter. (Copyright Note;Unless noted, we do not own/claim ownership for any photos used in this post)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!