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New Victory Theater

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Victory Theater
Theatre Republic, Belasco Theatre, Minsky's Burlesque, Victory Theater
New Victory Theater (48296064687).jpg
The New Victory Theater in 2019
Address209 W. 42nd Street
New York City
United States
OwnerCity and State of New York
OperatorNew 42nd Street
TypeFamily theater
OpenedSeptember 27, 1900
ReopenedDecember 11, 1995
ArchitectAlbert Westover
New 42nd Street

The New Victory Theater is an off-Broadway theater located at 209 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, in Midtown Manhattan. The New Victory presents work for children and family audiences year-round, programming a full season of theater, dance, puppetry, circus, opera, physical theater and other types of performance art from around the world. In 2012, The New Victory Theater received a special Drama Desk Award for “providing enchanting, sophisticated theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.”

Early history

Built by Oscar Hammerstein I in 1900 and designed by architect Albert Westover, the theater opened as the Theatre Republic [1][2][3] on September 27, 1900, with Lionel Barrymore in James Herne's play Sag Harbor.[4] It was the third theater built on West 42nd Street. Inside the theater, the elaborately decorated interior was crowned with a large dome that featured lyre-playing cherubs (or putti in Italian) perched on its rim. All of the original putti and one lyre still remain today.

Two years later the house was leased by David Belasco,[2][3] who renamed it the Belasco Theatre and made major renovations to both the house and the stage, which included wrought-iron stanchions with carved bees to the end of each row—an homage to his first initial "B".[5] Belasco produced a series of plays at the theater starring Mrs. Leslie Carter, George Arliss, Mary Pickford,[6] and Lillian Gish.

In 1910 the name became Republic Theatre[7] when Belasco renamed his Stuyvesant Theatre on West 44th Street for himself. The Republic's most famous tenant during this time was the play Abie's Irish Rose, which ran for 2,327 performances between 1922 and 1927.

Billy Minsky[2][3] converted the Republic into Broadway's first burlesque house in 1931, calling it Minsky's Burlesque. It remained as such until 1941. Minsky built a double runway down the middle of the auditorium for his strippers, the most famous of whom was Gypsy Rose Lee.

In 1942, it became a movie theater called The Victory, named to support the war effort during World War II.[2][3] In 1972, as the neighborhood gradually declined, it became the first theater on 42nd Street to exhibit XXX pornographic films.[1] In the early 1990s, the Victory returned to legitimate theater, using its stage space as a venue for offering plays by non-profit companies. It presented the En Garde Arts company's production of the play Crowbar in 1990 and in 1991 the Theater for a New Audience offered Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, followed by other productions.[8]

In 1990, New York City, together with the State of New York, jointly took possession of the Victory. In 1992, it was one of seven 42nd Street theaters to fall under the auspices of New 42nd Street, a non-profit corporation set up to oversee the redevelopment of these historic theaters and operate three projects: The New Victory Theater, The New 42nd Street Studios and The Duke on 42nd Street.

The Victory was the first theater to be restored in an effort to revitalize 42nd Street and Times Square by The New 42nd Street organization. Between 1994 and 1995 it underwent an $11.4 million renovation headed by the architectural firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates.[2] The restoration included rebuilding the original exterior double staircase that had been removed in 1911 for the widening of West 42nd Street,[9] and returning the rest of the theater to much the way it looked during the Belasco era.

On December 11, 1995, the refurbished theater, renamed The New Victory Theater, opened as New York's first and only off-Broadway theater for kids and families. Upon its reopening it became once more the oldest operating theater in New York City. The 499-seat theater presents up to 16 productions each year.


  1. ^ a b Theatre Republic (New Victory) at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. ^ a b c d e White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot; AIA Guide to New York City, 4th edition; New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Crown Publishers/Random House. 2000. ISBN 0-8129-3106-8; ISBN 0-8129-3107-6. p.256.
  3. ^ a b c d Kenneth T. Jackson, The Encyclopedia of New York City The New York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. P. 1170.
  4. ^ "Dramatic and Musical. Mr. Hammerstein's New Theatre Republic Opened Last Night" The New York Times 1900-09-28; "Good Company in Herne's New Play" The World (New York) 1900-09-28 Evening Edition, p. 7; and "The Drama. The New Theatre Republic" New-York Tribune 1900-09-28, p. 9 col. 2
  5. ^ "A Modern Dramatic Temple" The Sun (New York) 1902-09-28, Third Section, p. 4 col. 7 and "Belasco Theatre Opens," The New York Times, September 30, 1902
  6. ^ "Good Little Devil Gives Rare Delight" The New York Times 1913-01-09; "Mary Pickford and Earnest Truex, Image ID 2018025". NYPL Digital Gallery.
  7. ^ "The Easiest Way Ends at Republic" The New York Times 1911-04-30 (bottom of page); "Canopy for Republic Theatre" The New York Times 1911-08-25, col. 2; and "Good Little Devil Gives Rare Delight" The New York Times 1913-01-09
  8. ^ "The Victory Theater". New 42nd Street. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  9. ^ "M'Aneny Planning Changes in Streets" The New York Times 1910-12-12, paragraph 5; "Thoroughfares Are Now Being Widened" The New York Times 1911-03-26, paragraph 3; "The Easiest Way Ends at Republic" The New York Times 1911-04-30 (scroll down); and "Canopy for Republic Theatre" The New York Times 1911-08-25, col. 2

External links

This page was last edited on 1 October 2021, at 13:43
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