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Knickerbocker Theatre (Broadway)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Knickerbocker Theatre
Broadway theatres 1920.jpg
Broadway, 1920, looking north from 38th St., showing the Casino and Knickerbocker Theatres, a sign pointing to Maxine Elliott's Theatre, which is out of view on 39th Street, and a sign advertising the Winter Garden Theatre, which is out of view on 50th Street. All but the Winter Garden are demolished. The old Metropolitan Opera House and the old Times Tower are visible on the left.
General information
LocationManhattan, New York City

The Knickerbocker Theatre, previously known as Abbey's Theatre and Henry Abbey's Theatre, was a Broadway theatre located at 1396 Broadway (West 38th Street) in New York City. It operated from 1893 to 1930. In 1906, the theatre introduced the first moving electrical sign on Broadway to advertise its productions.


The 1500-seat theatre was designed by the architectural firm of J. B. McElfatrick & Co. It opened as Abbey's Theatre, named after Broadway theatre manager and producer Henry Eugene Abbey, on November 8, 1893 with a production of the melodrama The Countess Valeska. In the mid-1890s, Lillian Russell starred at the theatre, including in The Queen of Brilliants, a flop.

Following Abbey's death in 1896, Al Hayman and the Theatrical Syndicate group took control of the theatre and rechristened it the Knickerbocker. In its early years, the theatre hosted productions of Shakespeare's plays and Edwardian musical comedy. Several of Victor Herbert's operettas premièred there. In 1906, the theatre introduced the first moving electrical sign on Broadway with an advertisement for its production of Herbert's The Red Mill. Operettas by European composers, such as The Dollar Princess and The Merry Widow also played there.

In 1905, Variety opened its first office at the theatre.[1]

After World War I, the theatre continued to present a mixture of musicals, new plays and classics. Following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the theatre closed. It was demolished in 1930, along with the nearby Casino Theatre, to make way for the expanding Garment District.[2]

Advertisement for "The Merchant of Venice", starring Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, 1901
Advertisement for "The Merchant of Venice", starring Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, 1901

Notable productions


  1. ^ "Sime Silverman, founder of 'Variety,' Dies Suddenly in Hollywood at 60". Variety. September 26, 1933 p. 1
  2. ^ "Broadway and Off Broadway Theatres – A to L". World Theatres. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  3. ^ Parker, John (ed), Who's Who in the Theatre, 10th revised edition, London, 1947: 1430

External links

This page was last edited on 22 August 2021, at 12:35
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