The Hudson Theatre is a Broadway theater located at 139–141 West 44th Street,:1 between Times Square and 6th Avenue, New York City. Opened in 1903, it became a leading theatrical venue before also serving in later years as a network radio and television studio, a night club, a movie theater, and a corporate event space.
Hudson Theatre in 2003
|Address||141 West 44th Street|
New York City
|Owner||Millennium & Copthorne Hotels|
|Operator||Ambassador Theatre Group|
|Architect||J.B. McElfatrick & Son; Israels & Harder|
|NRHP reference #||16000780|
|Added to NRHP||November 15, 2016|
|Designated NYCL||November 17, 1987|
The Hudson Theatre reopened as a Broadway theater on February 11, 2017. The UK-based Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) signed a long term lease on the theater in 2015 and invested in a complete refurbishment of the venue, bringing it back into full-time use as a Broadway playhouse. The theater is owned by Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.
The architectural firm of J. B. McElfatrick & Son made initial drawings for the Hudson Theatre in 1902, but the firm of Israels & Harder took the project over by 1903.:9 When the Hudson opened, on October 19 of that year with Ethel Barrymore starring in Cousin Kate, it had a number of distinctive architectural features, including an unusually large foyer, a triple-domed ceiling, and a system of diffused lighting. Built by theatrical producer Henry B. Harris, the theatre was later managed by his wife Renee Harris following his death on the RMS Titanic.
From the 1930s through the 1940s the theater often served as a CBS Radio studio in between theatrical engagements. In 1950, NBC purchased the theater and converted it for permanent use as a television studio. Broadway Open House and The Kate Smith Hour were among the shows that originated there. In 1954, the Hudson became home to The Tonight Show which remained there, first with host Steve Allen and later Jack Paar, until 1959.
Developer Abraham Hirschfeld purchased the structure in 1956, and returned it to use as a legitimate theater from 1960 to 1968. It became a movie house for adult films in 1974. Then in 1980 it became the Savoy rock club.:14–5 In 1987, the building was granted landmark status by the City of New York.:1,18
When owner Henry Macklowe developed the surrounding lots into a new luxury hotel, the Macklowe Hotel, he incorporated the landmarked theater, using it as a conference center and auditorium. Millennium & Copthorne Hotels bought the hotel and the Hudson in 1995, renaming the hotel the Millennium Broadway. During its time as a conference center for the hotel. the Hudson Theatre was also the site of stand-up comedy shows which were taped for broadcast on the Comedy Central cable network.
In 2015 it was announced that the British-based Ambassador Theatre Group would assume management of the Hudson from the hotel and convert it back into a legitimate Broadway theater. Upon reopening in 2017, the Hudson became the 41st theater operating on Broadway and also the oldest, having originally opened slightly earlier in 1903 than the Lyceum and New Amsterdam Theatres. The Tony Awards Administration Committee ruled in October 2016 that the Hudson Theatre is deemed to be a Tony-eligible theatre, with "970 seats without the use of the orchestra pit and 948 seats when the orchestra pit is utilized by a production."
The Hudson reopened as a Broadway theater in 2017 with a revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George. The limited 10-week run featured Jake Gyllenhaal and opened February 11 for previews with an official opening on February 23, 2017. Gyllenhaal and his co-star Annaleigh Ashford participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the theater on February 8, 2017.
Notable theatrical and concert eventsEdit
- 1903: Cousin Kate
- 1905: Man and Superman
- 1907: The Lion and the Mouse
- 1908: Love's Comedy
- 1914: The Taming of the Shrew
- 1922: So This is London
- 1926: The Noose
- 1929: Hot Chocolate
- 1938: Who's Who
- 1941: Arsenic and Old Lace
- 1945: State of the Union
- 1947: The Voice of the Turtle
- 1949: Detective Story
- 1956: Elvis Presley's July 1, appearance on ABC TV's Steve Allen Show (40 million viewers)
- 1960: Toys in the Attic
- 1961: Becket
Reopened Hudson Theatre
- Hudson Theater Designation Report (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. November 17, 1987.
- Snow, Georgia (December 16, 2015). "ATG secures second Broadway theatre with reopening of historic Hudson".
- "National Register of Historic Places listings for December 9, 2016". U.S. National Park Service. December 9, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
- "The New Hudson Theatre". The New York Times. October 18, 1903.
- "Miss Ethel Barrymore in Cousin Kate". The New York Times. October 20, 1903.
- "The Hudson Theatre". Architects' and Builders' Magazine. Vol. 36 No. 5 (February 1904). p. 200. Online at HathiTrust.
- Roberts, Sam (August 4, 1990). "Hotel Is Macklowe's Bid for a Shinier Image". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Riedel, Michael (March 11, 2015). "Broadway's newest landlord is a colorful, 'Mormon'-loving Brit". New York Post.
- Viagas, Robert. "Hudson Theatre Will Be Reopened as Broadway House", Playbill, December 16, 2015.
- Viagas, Robert. "Tony Administration Committee Rules on Cats and Paramour", Playbill, October 14, 2016
- Paulson, Michael. "Sunday in the Park With George", The New York Times, December 13, 2016
- Viagas, Robert. "Broadway's Newest—and Oldest—Theatre Relights With the Help of Two Stars", Playbill, February 8, 2017
- "Genesis at the Savoy". New York Times. November 30, 1981. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- "King Sunny Ade" The New York Times, February 7, 1983
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hudson Theatre.|
- Official website
- Hudson Theatre at the Internet Broadway Database
- Hudson Theatre (New York, N. Y.), Museum of the City of New York website (pictures; click on magnifying glass icon for zoom feature)
- "The Hudson Theater – New York, NY". Scotty Moore website. Retrieved June 22, 2014.