Hollywood Theatre

237 W. 51st Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 26 - 50 of 112 comments

edblank on June 23, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Warren, Excellent post, but it does not apply to the Hollywood in the Pittsburgh suburban boro of Dormont. I believe you intended to assign your remarks to the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York, just around the corner from Broadway.

edblank on May 27, 2008 at 9:13 pm

When that church first took over the Mark Hellinger, I thought: “This won’t last long. It’s only because the ranks of incoming Broadway musicals are a little lean right now. It’ll change back before the lease even expires.” Can that church thrive at such a pricey location?

Darrel Wood
Darrel Wood on May 1, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Perhaps some new “categories”…….
Changed into a church (or other not-so-performing arts but not gutted) could be, for example, “converted” or something like that.
Something else could be used for when it’s been turned into retail or office, but not torn down—“gutted” might be appropriate. It would differentiate from a theater that is “closed” and just sitting there empty.

Bway on May 1, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I agree that that policy is a little curious, as not only are these former theaters that are churches very much open to the public, they are also in most circumstances very intact from the theater days, right down to the seats! Sometimes even the original organ functions. I don’t see why church theaters are labeled as “closed” as opposed to “open”, as most, in very little effort could be made a theater again. I can totally understand theaters like the old Meserole in Brooklyn, while intact, is used for retail, and all the seating was ripped out, as well as other alterations labled as closed. However, theaters like the Valencia, this one, and many of the intact with right down to the theater seating probably should be listed as “open”.
It’s a curious policy, however, it appears to be consistent, as I believe all the church theaters are labeled as “closed” if they don’t show movies or live.

kencmcintyre on April 1, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Here is a November 1942 ad from the NYT:

bruceanthony on November 17, 2007 at 9:30 am

The Disney Company was very interested in the Mark Hellinger but the Church would have to be interested in selling the theatre which they are not. The Mark Hellinger is very desirable for large scale Musicals due to its capacity of over 1500, there is a line waiting to bring musicals into New York due to the lack of Available theatres of this size. Most of the larger theatres are tied up in multi year runs such as the Winter Garden,Majestic,Broadway,Minskoff,Gershwin,Palace,Lunt-Funtanne,Neil Simon,New Amsterdam,Hilton,Shubert,Al Hirhsfield,Marquis and few others. The very desirable St James was suppose to have “Young Frankenstein” but the producers switched to the larger Hilton when the show playing at the Hilton closed early.Many times producers are forced to bring musicals into the smaller theatres such as the Shoenfield,Barrymore,August Wilson,Eugene o'Neil, Ambassador and a few others. Large scale musicals require seating capacity of at least 1400 to make economic sense. Disney was forced to open “Tarzan” at the Richard Rogers which seats less than 1400 due to the lack of available theatres. This has been a problem for the last few years. The Minskoff which was considered the ugliest theatre on Broadway had to due an extensive renovation before Disney would move “The Lion King” over, but had a seating capacity of over 1600. There is a huge demand for the “Mark Hellinger” but at what price and the church would have to be willing to sell.brucec

terrywade on November 17, 2007 at 8:17 am

The Shubert gang needs to work out a deal with the church and find them a new location and take over the Hellinger and bring back live theatre. Also if the Shuberts don’t have the cash let the Disney movie theatre division take it over like they have at The El Capitian in Hollywood CA. Bring in the Disney films with live stage shows with a pipe organ. The El Capitain is the best selling movie theatre in the USA many weeks out of the year.

AdoraKiaOra on November 17, 2007 at 12:24 am

I think everything should be done to encourage people on here to visit the Hellinger. It truly is a rare but beautiful palace in the middle of NY. I never miss a visit when im over from the UK.

bruceanthony on November 16, 2007 at 9:22 pm

The Hollywod(Mark Hellinger) is the most beautiful theatre still standing in Times Square. Im glad the church has taken such good care of this theatre. Despite being a legit theatre for so many decades it still looks like a movie palace.brucec

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 26, 2007 at 10:44 am

I agree. “Open” should be taken to mean “open to the public” – either as a cinema, live theatre, concert hall or place of public assembly. Churches would be covered in the latter category, but might also extend to an adaptive re-use such as the Times Square Visitors Center that exists in the former Newsreel/Embassy Theatre on B'way. In the case of the Newsreel/Embassy, while the seats have been ripped out and replaced with information kiosks, the ambience of the old theatre has been preserved largely intact and open for all to admire. By the way, the status on that page is also listed as “closed.”

I suppose a line would have to be drawn somewhere – leaving someone to make a judgment call. For example, I’d probably consider a former theatre building that has been gutted for retail use to be “closed” – even though the building itself is still “open” to the public – since all vestiges of its theatrical history have likely been demolished. But I wonder how we’ll feel about the issue when the new Ecko Unlimited store opens up in the former Times Square Theatre on 42nd Street? It will be modified for retail usage, but much (if not most) of the original theatrical decor will be restored and incorporated into the store design – and, indeed, might be a draw for visitors. Should that be considered “open” as well? I think I might say “yes” to that question.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 3, 2007 at 7:32 am

Hey Howard… The links in my first post were broken when I reorganized my entire Photobucket album some time ago. However, my Hollywood Theatre photo album is still alive and well.

I included the new link in a latter post, but it’s probably easy to sail past that brief comment.

Anyway, love the black & white shots in that first set of flickr photos!

HowardBHaas on October 2, 2007 at 12:05 pm

Unfortunately the links no longer work to Ed’s fantastic interior photos.

Here are others,
Set of 2005 interior photos:
View link

2006 Grand Lobby:

Sept 2007 exterior detail:
View link

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on July 26, 2007 at 10:36 am

“The Miller” is a sure thing and will be built as part of the “Bank Of America” tower which takes up the eastern portion of the block bounded by 6th Avenue, W. 43rd and W. 42nd Streets. Tha facade of the original theater was spared while the rest of the original structure was demolished. The entrance will remain on W. 43rd St. Some of the original details from the theater were removed and stored prior to demolition and will be incorporated into the new theater structure. I don’t know if it will keep the “Miller” name upon reopening. My guess is that they’ll sell the naming rights to the highest bidder.

I’m curious about the other two projects referenced above regarding the Schuberts and Disney. Can you provide any additional info?


William on July 26, 2007 at 10:05 am

The Shubert’s have one in the works on 8th. Ave. between 45th & 46th.. and there was a Disney project also in the works.

bruceanthony on July 26, 2007 at 9:53 am

William what are the two broadway theatre projects in the works? I think the Henry Miller is one but what is the other one?
Thanks Brucec

William on June 28, 2007 at 4:29 pm

You’re right the Hollywood Theatre is a true gem in Times Square. Two weeks ago I was on top of the Times building, wonderful view. Well soon the new project on 8th. Ave. between 45 & 45 streets will happen, as soon as the last leases are finished.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on June 28, 2007 at 4:18 pm

I totally agree on everything you just said. Nederlander made a HUGE mistake in selling. The Nederlander theater is a real dog on the least desireable street in the theater district. However, if the church was offered enough money they could still have a large enough space for their congragation and focus on spreading “the word”. In the meantime, they could renovate the Nederlander, which sorely needs it. By the time that’s done they’ll be sitting on another incredible asset as Times Square continues its incredible resuregence. The new New York Times headquarters down the block is almost complete. The new office building at 11 Times Square has just started construction at 41st and 8th. In addition, the Port Authority has just authorized construction of a major office tower over the Bus Terminal so the area will just continue to get more valuable. It would be a win win for everyone, but I don’t think it will happen. I would just rather see a show at the renovated Hollywood instead of a renovated Nederlander. The Hollywood is a much much better theater!

William on June 28, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Nederlander Theatre is a dog, it’s worn out. The church has spent their money wisely on the maintaining the old Hollywood Theatre. If the theatre was worth keeping as a Broadway Theatre. Nederlander should just kept leasing the theatre to the church, but not selling it to them. Nederlander made the mistake in selling it in the first place.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on June 28, 2007 at 3:55 pm

They would do it because their mission should be to help the poor and to reach out to people. Money makes this happen. They would still have another theater to use as their new church which they could then renovate to the same loving standards that they used for The Hollywood! It would be “The Christian” thing to do.

William on June 28, 2007 at 3:52 pm

Why would the church get rid of this jewel for a worn out theatre? Even with money thrown in , it would never happen. The church has offices in the building that fronts on Broadway where the old entrance was located. There are two Broadway theatre projects in the works now.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on June 28, 2007 at 3:31 pm

This theater is truly spectacular and is the single most promising theater to be returned to either legitimate or movie use. It is a travesty that this theater was sold to a church in the first place. However, the church that lovingly restored this jewel is not going to give it up without major money. I say the Nederlanders should trade their Nederlander theater on W. 41st Street with this theater with cash thrown in. The Church can then restore that theater. In the meantime, Broadway would get a superior house that could also host movie premieres on Monday nights when the house is dark.

William on June 27, 2007 at 12:43 pm

The art nouveau lobby entrance on Broadway was closed off in the late 40’s. By looking at the current building that lobby is long gone.

Hibi on June 27, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Does anyone know if the original lobby on Broadway still exists inside or has it been converted to other use?

AdoraKiaOra on June 26, 2007 at 3:49 am

Those pictures are simply stunning! Im a great lover of theatre arcitecture and im now convinced that is the most beautiful building ive ever seen. Im stunned! I dont remember it looking that amazing when i went in years back
The pros arch looks like a gat way to heaven (pun kind of intended!)

ERD on April 21, 2007 at 4:03 am

Ed, the pictures you took of the Hellinger are excellent. Thanks for letting us see them.