The newly restored Hudson Theatre opened its
doors last week, officially becoming Broadway’s 41st theatre.
The historic site, at 139-141 West 44th Street
in the heart of the Theatre District in Times Square, is now operated by Ambassador
Theatre Group (ATG) in association with Millennium Hotels &
The opening was marked with a special ribbon cutting
ceremony led by Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony
Award winner Annaleigh Ashford, the stars of the upcoming Broadway
revival of Sunday in the Park with George, which is the first
production to play the Hudson in nearly fifty years.
Gyllenhaal and Ashford were joined at
the celebration by Millennium Hotels Chairman Kwek Leng Beng and
New York City First Deputy Commissioner of The Mayor’s Office of
Media and Entertainment Kai Falkenberg.
Millennium Hotels Chairman Kwek Leng Beng said,
"The Hudson Theatre is one of the great historic landmarks in New
York City and we have always been proud of this gem asset in the
Millennium & Copthorne Hotel Group. Meeting the founder of ATG Sir Panter in 2014, with shared passion for theatre and art, a journey
of restoring this grand dame began. After an 18 months extensive
restoration, we are so excited with the rebirth of Hudson Theatre.
With continuing commitment to this revival, Mark Cornell, CEO of
ATG and his team together with Millennium Hotels around the globe,
we look forward to welcome audiences
to enjoy premier shows and celebrate the experiences with
producers, directors, actors, and creative individuals from great
theatre and entertainment."
Hudson Theatre's first
production, Cousin Kate starring Ethel Barrymore, took place on 19 October
1903, making it the oldest operational Broadway theatre.
the Hudson’s original owner, Henry B. Harris, and his wife Renee
embarked on the RMS Titanic where Henry met his fate. Mrs. Harris
survived, returning to New York where she took over operations of
Hudson and became the first female producer on Broadway. During
her tenure, numerous artists graced the stage including Louis
Armstrong, George M. Cohen, Douglas Fairbanks, Helen Hayes,
William Holden, Lena Horne, and Alfred Lunt, as well as world
premieres of works by George M. Cohen, George Bernard Shaw, and Henrik Ibsen. Mrs. Harris lost ownership of the
following the Great Depression, with CBS Radio operating the venue
in the mid-thirties and forties before returning as a legitimate
In 1950, NBC purchased Hudson Theatre and premiered
the first nationwide broadcasts of “The Price Is Right” and “The
Tonight Show”, then hosted by Steve Allen. “The Tonight Show”
continued to be filmed at Hudson Theatre when Jack Paar took over
as the host. The broadcast eventually became “The Jack Paar Show”
before moving to Rockefeller Center in the summer of 1957. While
at Hudson, “The Tonight Show” hosted a slew of guests early in
their careers including Milton Berle, Carol Burnett, Sammy Davis
Jr., Bob Hope, Bob Newhart, Elvis Presley, and Barbra Streisand in
her first televised performance.
Hudson Theatre briefly
re-opened as a legitimate theatre from 1960 to 1968, where it
played home to the award-winning production of Lillian Hellman’s
Toys in the Attic starring Jason Robards Jr. and Maureen
Stapleton, as well as other productions starring Burt Reynolds and
In the late sixties, Hudson was operated as a
burlesque theatre and a motion picture house where films of all
types were played. The theatre lay vacant for several years in the
seventies, before a rock promoter re-opened it as the Savoy Rock
Following several handovers, Hudson Theatre was eventually
sold to Millennium Hotels who did a large-scale renovation to the
venue in 2005, during which the Tiffany Mosaics along the
proscenium, boxes, dress circle, and balcony ledges were
discovered. Millennium used the theatre as a rental space for
special events, parties, weddings, and conferences.
Millennium’s Chairman Kwek met with ATG founder Sir Howard Panter
where the two exchanged their love for theatre and art, and the
vision of bringing one of the oldest Broadway theatres back to
life again. An official partnership between Millennium Hotels and
ATG ensued to give life back to Hudson Theatre as a top-class
theatre venue with much of its original beauty and design restored
in addition to introducing new and upgraded theatrical systems and
In 1987, the Landmarks
Preservation Commission designated both the exterior and interior
of Hudson Theatre as a historic landmark and in December of 2016,
the Hudson Theatre became a nationally registered landmark building.
Sunday in the Park
with George will play a strictly limited 10-week engagement.
Directed by Sarna Lapine, the play will open on Thursday, 23 February
and will continue through Sunday, 23 April.
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