Central Park Theatre

932 7th Avenue,
New York, NY 10019

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Shubert Brothers Theater Company

Architects: Herbert J. Krapp

Previous Names: Jolson's 59th Street Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, Molly Picon Theatre, Jolson Theatre, Venice Theatre, New Century Theatre

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Central Park Theatre

Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp and built for the Shubert Brothers Theater Company, Jolson’s 59th Street Theatre opened on October 6, 1921. The theatre was named in honor of Al Jolson who starred in the opening live production of “Bombo”. In February of 1931, the Shubert Theatre Corporation leased the theatre to Leo Brecher for use as a movie theatre. Motion picture equipment was installed and the theatre was re-named the Central Park Theatre. The Central Park Theatre is listed in the 1932 Film Daily Yearbook with 1,800 seats.

Use as a motion picture theatre was short and the theatre reverted back to being a live theatre. This theatre underwent several name changes over the years with its final name being the New Century Theatre. In the 1950’s, the New Century Theatre was leased to NBC for use as a television studio. The theatre was demolished in 1962 and replaced by an apartment building.

Contributed by Ridgewood Ken

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

robboehm on January 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Mighty big bucks in those days. Wonder how long the aggregate rental was for.

vindanpar on March 7, 2021 at 2:35 pm

This theater housed the original Broadway production of Kiss Me Kate for a year and a half at which point it moved to the Shubert. Why such a big Cole Porter Broadway musical would play here so far uptown mystifies me. It didn’t keep it from being a smash it but still. Nothing else was available?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on March 7, 2021 at 4:03 pm

According to a published collection of Cole Porter’s letters, the Shuberts had only two theatres available for a musical of the size of “Kiss Me Kate”– the Broadhurst and New Century. The Broadhurst was much better situated on West 44th Street, but had only 1,150 seats. But the further uptown New Century had 1,700 seats, and those 550 additional seats were the deciding factor. Advance interest in “Kiss Me Kate” indicated SRO business and many “theatre party” bookings.

robboehm on March 8, 2021 at 11:02 am

In all my years of Broadway theatre going I cannot remember a musical ever playing the Broadhurst.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 8, 2021 at 11:55 am

Going back in time the Broadhurst Theatre did present occasional musicals from 1918. In more recent times: 1965 “Half a Sixpence”, 1972 “Grease”, “Godspell” and in 1973 Bob Fosse’s “Dancin'”.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 9, 2021 at 1:58 pm

Another big musical hit show which played up at Jolson’s Theatre was “The Student Prince” which opened in Dec. 1924. Music by Sigmund Romberg. This show toured for over 25 years, and I saw it at the old Boston Opera House (near Symphony Hall) in 1950 or 1951. I also attended a lavish production, which was excellent, by the NY City Opera in the NY State Theatre at Lincoln Center in the 1980s.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 10, 2021 at 1:22 pm

Further to my comment about “The Student Prince” at this theater in 1924-25: The composer, Sigmund “Siggy” Romberg worked for the Shubert brothers. “Siggy” is not to be confused with “Ziggy”, Florenz “Flo"Ziegfeld, who produced the famous annual "Ziegfeld Follies” revues, plus hit musicals such as “Sally” and “Show Boat”. Before he built the Ziegfeld Theatre on Sixth Ave, Ziggy’s shows played at the New Amsterdam Theatre. What characters these people were in those days !

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