Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (formerly the Biltmore Theatre) is a Broadway theatre at 261 West 47th Street in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City.

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Biltmore Theatre
W 47 St Nov 2021 18.jpg
Address261 West 47th Street
Manhattan, New York City
United States
Coordinates40°45′37″N 73°59′12″W / 40.76035°N 73.98677°W / 40.76035; -73.98677Coordinates: 40°45′37″N 73°59′12″W / 40.76035°N 73.98677°W / 40.76035; -73.98677
OwnerManhattan Theatre Club
TypeBroadway theatre
ArchitectHerbert J. Krapp
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
NYC Landmark No. 1320
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre is located in New York City
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre is located in New York
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre is located in the United States
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
BuiltDecember 7, 1925
ArchitectHerbert J. Krapp
NRHP reference No.04001203[1]
NYCL No.1320
Significant dates
Added to NRHP2004
Designated NYCLNovember 10, 1987


A crowd of people standing on the sidewalk in front of the theatre (1935)

Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp for impresario Irwin Chanin, the theatre opened on December 7, 1925, with the play Easy Come Easy Go. With a seating capacity of 903, it was one of Broadway's smaller venues.

The theatre was used by Federal Theatre's Living Newspaper project in the 1930s. CBS leased it for use as a radio and television studio from 1952 until 1961. The producer David Cogan acquired the Biltmore in 1958.[2] In 1968, the groundbreaking rock musical Hair opened at the theatre.

In 1986, Cogan sold the Biltmore to developer Samuel Pfeiffer.[3] In 1987, a fire struck the Biltmore. The blaze, which was later determined to be an act of arson, destroyed the interior. After the fire, the building sat vacant for 14 years, suffering more structural damage from water and vandals. Most plans proposed for its future use – such as a showcase for "Best of Broadway" revues – were rejected since its New York City landmark designation required it to operate only as a legitimate Broadway house if renovated. In 1993, the Nederlander Organization and Stewart F. Lane acquired the Biltmore; after being unable to secure a deal with theatre unions, the theatre was sold to developer Joseph Moinian.[4][5]

In 2001, the theatre was assumed by the Manhattan Theatre Club as a permanent home for its productions.[6] Polshek Partnership Architects restored surviving sections of the original theatre and EverGreene Architectural Arts restored plasterwork and reconstructed missing parts. With 622 seats, the Biltmore has about two-thirds of the capacity of the old venue, but it includes modern conveniences such as elevators and meeting rooms. The Biltmore's landmarked features, such as the proscenium arch, dome, staircases and a vaulted second-floor gallery, were restored or replicated.[7]

The theatre was renamed the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in a dedication ceremony held on September 4, 2008. The name honors Broadway publicist Samuel J. Friedman.[8] The Manhattan Theatre Club took ownership of the Samuel J. Friedman in October 2008.[9]

On March 12, 2020, the theater was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It reopened on September 14, 2021, with previews of Ruben Santiago-Hudson's Lackawanna Blues.[10]

Notable productionsEdit



  • Lost Broadway Theatres by Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, Princeton Architectural Press (1997) ISBN 1-56898-116-3


  1. ^ "National Register Information System – (#04001203)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "David Cogan, 'A Raisin in the Sun' Producer, Dies at 78". The New York Times. February 24, 2002. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "Biltmore Theater's Owner Rejects $5.25 Million Offer". The New York Times. April 1, 1989. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  4. ^ Dunlap, David W. (July 24, 1993). "Nederlanders and Partner Buy the Biltmore Theater". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (April 18, 1997). "43-Story Hotel Planned Over Shuttered Biltmore Theater". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Dunlap, David. W. (December 12, 2001). "Dawning of a New Age for the Biltmore". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  7. ^ Dunlap, David W. (September 23, 2003). "For Venerable Theater, It's a Body Transplant". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2011. Time was when the Biltmore reminded people of Hair, Barefoot in the Park, My Sister Eileen and Deathtrap; of George Abbott, a co-owner who used it as a showcase; Jean-Paul Sartre, whose No Exit was staged there; and Mae West, whose Pleasure Man brought in the police.
  8. ^ Jones, Kenneth (September 4, 2008). "Broadway's Biltmore Becomes the Friedman on Sept. 4". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008.
  9. ^ Robertson, Campbell (June 19, 2008). "Big News! Press Agent Gets Name in Lights". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Ruben Santiago-Hudson's 'Lackawanna Blues' Sets September Broadway Opening". May 17, 2021.
  11. ^ "Raid Mae West Play, Seize 56 At Opening". The New York Times. October 2, 1928. Retrieved May 2, 2011. The entire cast of "Pleasure Man," fifty-five actors, actresses and musicians, was arrested on the stage of the Biltmore Theatre, Forty-seventh Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, last night immediately after the curtain fell on the first performance.
  12. ^ Fool for Love at the Internet Broadway Database
  13. ^ "Our Mother's Brief Affair". Playbill.
  14. ^ "The Father". Playbill.

External linksEdit