Village East by Angelika

181 2nd Avenue,
New York, NY 10003

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Related Websites

Angelika Film Center (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Angelika Film Centers

Previously operated by: City Cinemas

Architects: John W. Averitt, Harrison G. Wiseman

Firms: Averitt Associates

Functions: Movies (First Run), Movies (Independent)

Styles: Moorish

Previous Names: Yiddish Art Theatre, Yiddish Folks Theatre, Century Theatre, Stuyvesant Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Louis N. Jaffe Art Theatre, Eden Theatre, Casino East Theatre, Gayety Theatre, Entermedia Theatre, 12th Street Cinemas, Second Avenue Cinemas

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 212.529.6998

Nearby Theaters

Village East by Angelika

City Cinema’s beautifully restored Village East was once the home of Yiddish theatre in its original auditorium which had 1,252 seats in orchestra & balcony levels. Legend has it that Walter Matthau began his show business career here as a young boy working at the concession counter.

Built in 1925 and opening in 1926, its past is still evident in the Moorish style designs that adorn the outside of the theatre and inside, which are the work of interior designer William Pogany. The ticket lobby has an ornate ceiling and the main lobby that has a concession stand is very ornate, including the ceiling and has Yiddish writing in the decoration. The ornate decorations extend to the exits to the outside, and there are two grand stairways which lead to the balcony of the auditorium where a large Star of David in the domed ceiling further infuse atmosphere into the historic building. By the late-1930’s it was operating as a movie theatre, named Century Theatre (listed as closed in 1941 & 1943). Then reopened as a Yiddish theatre until 1945. By 1950, it had reopened as a movie theatre renamed Stuyvesant Theatre, with a seating capacity for 1,082.

In 1971 a short run ‘off-Broadway’ production of “Grease” was performed here before transferring to Broadway where it ran for 9 years (3,388 performances). On November 18, 1981 until January 24, 1982 a pre-Broadway production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” was performed at the then renamed Entermedia Theatre prior to its Broadway transfer to the Royale Theatre where it ran for 747 performances and winning several Tony Awards.

The movie theatre also hosted dance, concerts & movies until it closed as a single auditorium in 1988. It reopened as the Village East Cinema on February 21, 1991 as a 7-screen movie theatre. Today in the basement below the original ornate auditorium and lobby, four screening rooms have been added in what was originally the orchestra seating area. Seating here is provided in Screen 2;187, Screen 3;179, Screen 4;130 and Screen 5;66. A further two screens have been added on the former stage area of the theatre, which are stacked one on top of the other, Screen 6;145 & Screen 7;174. The screen on top has wonderful stadium seating, a decent size screen, and is a very nice theatre in itself, with exposed brickwork and some character. However, it is not as beautiful as the main 440-seat Screen 1 auditorium which is located in the former balcony, with stairs down to a lower floor inserted over the circle void where there are 40 seats. As of 2017 this auditorium has 365 seats.

With New York City’s lack of a still-operating historic movie palace, the Village East is the closest thing around. The theatre is listed on both the State & National Historic Registers and its fa├žade and interior, including the lobby and domed auditorium, are designated New York City Landmarks. In 2015 the historic main auditorium’s magnificent plaster ceiling was restored.

In February 2021 it was renamed Village East by Angelika.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 165 comments)

moviebuff82 on July 27, 2020 at 6:43 pm

Wonder if Tenet will play here in 70mm as part of select cities on Labor Day weekend before opening at more cinemas in the weeks ahead.

ridethectrain on July 27, 2020 at 11:29 pm

only if the governor allows the theatre to open

ridethectrain on September 17, 2020 at 11:38 pm

Please update, total seats 1183 based on City Cinemas Reserved Seat ticketing system

ridethectrain on February 25, 2021 at 11:52 pm

please update theater name Village East by Angelika. Angelika Fil Center just phase ouy City Cinema name is being phased out by Angelika. Reading still owns the theaters

ridethectrain on February 26, 2021 at 6:46 pm

Tenet will be shown Friday in 70MM on March 5. Tickets on sail

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 2, 2021 at 9:23 am

A 70mm experience at the Village East at Angelika on 30/11/201 by Howard B. Haas

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 2, 2021 at 10:14 am

Nice piece, Howard!

HowardBHaas on June 13, 2022 at 8:45 am

Thanks, Ed. In March of this year, I returned for the 70mm screening of “Murder on the Nile” and I posted photos in the photo gallery, of this beautiful theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 15, 2023 at 12:21 am

Hal: According to this web site, yes, the Village East, then known as the Gayety, did play the role of Minsky’s in that film.

Shawn Charles
Shawn Charles on January 16, 2023 at 12:32 pm

I was the manager of this venue from 1978-1985. Many plays and concerts during my time there. Best Little Whorehouse, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, etc. Talking heads, Wilson Picket, etc. Also, many films and commercials shot there. The Fan (with Betty BaCall) 3 Dr. Pepper spots (Mickey Rooney) etc.

Many superstitions in theatre, including the ghost light on stage set out overnight for roaming spirits. We set our ghost light for a couple roaming spirits, including Burt. Burt Lahr passed away about halfway through the filming of the “The Night They Raided the Minsky’s” in 1967. Light also set out for Montgomery Clift, who passed in ‘66. He appeared in “The Seagull” on our stage in '56.

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