Theaters of New York: Hudson Theatre

Not to get too Carrie Bradshaw on you, but sometimes in New York, you get presented with some really great opportunities. I was lucky enough to be in the first audience for the newly reopened Hudson Theatre, on 44th St., and it was a true privilege. The current production, Sunday in the Park with George, is a lovely one, but the theater itself is outright beautiful.

This exterior shot is blurry because when I took it, someone on the street said it was "a play about Renoir" and I started laughing.
This exterior shot is blurry because when I took it, someone on the street said it was “a play about Renoir” and I started laughing.

The Hudson, at its reopening, is the 41st theater opened on Broadway, making it the newest. But given that it opened approximately a week before the Lyceum, in 1903, it’s also the oldest theater on Broadway. In the thirties and forties, when it wasn’t being used as a theater proper, CBS used it for recording radio broadcasts. Then NBC bought it, converted it for television, and it was the home to Tonight Starring Steve Allen, the show that was the precursor to The Tonight Show. Jack Paar took that over in 1957, but the show moved out of the theater in 1959.

Ownership of the building changed hands again, and it became a legitimate theater again in the sixties, before becoming an adult filmhouse for a few years. In the nineties it was home for a few Comedy Central stand-up productions, but was used mostly as a conference center for the hotel next door that owns it. It received landmark status in 1987, and joined the National Register of Historic Places just last year, in 2016.

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My obligatory chandelier photo.
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The still under construction Ambassador Lounge.

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Bathroom situation! Our particular group, given the circumstances, was not allowed on the main floor, so I cannot at this time attest to the bathroom situation there. However, upstairs there are a few two-stall bathrooms, still smelling of paint. If you cut through the really lovely Ambassador Lounge, there are some less-paint-smelling and slightly fancier bathrooms through there.

(*Note: however, the website does mention “Ambassador packages”, increasingly fancy, so it’s decently possible you won’t be let in. If that is the case, ignore everything I said about it.)

Check yourself out dozens of times in the Ambassador bathroom.
Check yourself out dozens of times in the Ambassador bathroom.

-Casey

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1 thought on “Theaters of New York: Hudson Theatre”

  1. At least the bystander knew it was about a French painter. Didn’t Renoir’s friends call him George? 😛

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