The New Amsterdam Theatre is a Broadway theater located at 214 West 42nd Street in the heart of Times Square in New York City. It is operated by Disney Theatrical Productions, and is currently showing the musical Mary Poppins.
Construction and original run
The New Amsterdam, the first concrete example of architectural Art Nouveau in New York, was built in 1903 by the partnership of impresarios A.L. Erlanger and Marcus Klaw and designed in the Art Nouveau style by architects Herts & Tallant. Decorating was carried out by an extensive team of painters and sculptors that included George Gray Barnard, Robert Blum, the brothers Neumark, George Daniel M. Peixotto, Roland Hinton Perry and Albert G. Wenzel. At the time of construction, it was the largest theatre in New York, with a seating capacity of 1,702. Along with the Lyceum Theatre, also built in 1903, it is the oldest surviving Broadway venue.,
The New Amsterdam opened in November 1903 with a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For many years, it hosted the Ziegfeld Follies, showcasing such talents as Olive Thomas, Fanny Brice and the Eaton siblings. A racier sister show of the Follies, the Midnight Frolics, played in Read the rest of this entry
Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities—its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community. It may refer to theatre that is made entirely by a community with no outside help, or to a collaboration between community members and professional theatre artists, or to performance made entirely by professionals that is addressed to a particular community. Community theatres range in size from small groups led by single individuals that perform in borrowed spaces to large permanent companies with well-equipped facilities of their own. Many community theatres are successful, non-profit businesses with a large active membership and, often, a full-time professional staff. Community theatre is often devised and may draw on popular theatrical forms, such as carnival, circus, and parades, as well as performance modes from commercial theatre. Community theatre is understood to contribute to the social capital of a community, insofar as it develops the skills, community spirit, and artistic sensibilities of those who participate, whether as producers or audience-members.
Community theatre in Latin America
Partly inspired by Antonio Gramsci’s interpretation of culture, the seminal theatre practitioner Augusto Boal developed a series of techniques known as the Theatre of the Oppressed from his work developing Read the rest of this entry
Nineteenth-century theatre describes a wide range of movements in the theatrical culture of the 19th century. In the West, they include Romanticism, melodrama, the well-made plays of Scribe and Sardou, the farces of Feydeau, the problem plays of Naturalism and Realism, Wagner’s operatic Gesamtkunstwerk, Gilbert and Sullivan’s plays and operas, Wilde’sdrawing-room comedies, Symbolism, and proto-Expressionism in the late works of August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen.
Several important technical innovations were introduced between 1875 and 1914. First gas lighting and then electric lights, introduced in London’s Savoy Theatre in 1881, replaced candle light. The elevator stage was first installed in the Budapest Opera House in 1884. This allowed entire sections of the stage to be raised, lowered, or tilted to give depth and levels to the scene. The revolving stage was introduced to Europe by Karl Lautenschläger at the Residenz Theatre, Munich in 1896.
Romanticism in Germany and France
In Germany, there was a trend toward historic accuracy in costumes and settings, a revolution in theatre architecture, and the introduction of the theatrical form of German Romanticism. Influenced by trends in 19th-century philosophy and thevisual arts, German writers were increasingly fascinated with their Teutonic past and had a growing sense of nationalism. The plays of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, and other Sturm und Drangplaywrights, inspired a growing faith in feeling and instinct as guides to moral behavior. Romantics borrowed from the philosophy of Immanuel Kant to formulate the theoretical basis of “Romantic” art. According to Romantics, art is of enormous significance because it gives eternal truths a concrete, material form that the limited human sensory apparatus may apprehend. Among those who called themselves Romantics during this period, August Wilhelm Schlegel andLudwig Tieck were the most deeply concerned with theatre. After a time, Romanticism was adopted in France with the plays of Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Alfred de Musset, and George Sand. By the 1840s, however, enthusiasm for Romantic drama had faded in France and a new “Theatre of Common Sense” replaced it.
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Daly’s Theatre was a theatre in the City of Westminster. It was located at 2 Cranbourn Street, just off Leicester Square. It opened on 27 June 1893, and was demolished in 1937.
The theatre was originally built for American producer Augustin Daly by the English theatre manager George Edwardes. The architect was Spencer Chadwick, who was assisted by C. J. Phipps. The theatre was one of the first in London to be built using the cantilever system, and the Italian Renaissance and neo-classical facade was more elaborate than that of most London theatres. Likewise, the entrance hall and foyer were elaborately executed and decorated. The Victorian style to minimize colouring and design in the auditorium was abandoned, and instead bold designs and colours were used. It had a seating capacity of over 1,200 in three tiers.
The theatre opened with The Taming of the Shrew, with Daly’s star from his American company, Ada Rehan, playing Katharina. This was followed by Sheridan Knowles’s The Hunchback, with Violet Vanbrugh, and in 1894 by Twelfth Nightand As You Like It and the younger Dumas’s La Dame aux camélias, with Eleonora Duse.
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In America, the first original theatre piece in English that conforms to the modern conception of a musical, adding dance and original music that helped to tell the story, is generally considered to be The Black Crook, which premiered in New York on September 12, 1866. The production was a staggering five-and-a-half hours long, but despite its length, it ran for a record-breaking 474 performances.
The same year, The Black Domino/Between You, Me and the Post was the first show to call itself a “musical comedy.” Comedians Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart produced and starred in musicals on Broadway between 1878 (The Mulligan Guard Picnic) and 1885, with book and lyrics by Harrigan and music by his father-in-law David Braham. These musical comedies featured characters and situations taken from the everyday life of New York’s lower classes and represented a significant step from burletta, minstrel shows, music hall and burlesque, towards a more legitimate theatrical form. They starred high quality singers (Lillian Russell, Vivienne Segal, and Fay Templeton) instead of the ladies of questionable repute who had starred in earlier musical forms.
The length of runs in the theatre changed rapidly around the same time that the modern musical emerged. As transportation improved, poverty in London and New York diminished, and street lighting made for safer travel at night, the number of potential patrons for the growing number of theatres increased enormously. Plays could run longer and still draw in the audiences, leading to Read the rest of this entry