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Theatre de Lys

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Theatre de Lys

Coordinates: 40°43′59.78″N 74°0′20.72″W / 40.7332722°N 74.0057556°W / 40.7332722; -74.0057556

Lucille Lortel Theatre
Address 121 Christopher Street
City New York City
Country USA
Owned by Lucille Lortel Foundation
Capacity 299
Type proscenium
Opened June 9, 1953
Other names Theater de Lys

The Lucille Lortel Theatre is an off-Broadway playhouse located at 121 Christopher Street in New York City's Greenwich Village. It was built in 1926 as a 590-seat movie theater called the New Hudson, later known as Hudson Playhouse. The interior is largely unchanged to this day.

In the early 1950s, the site was converted to an off-Broadway theater as Theater de Lys, opening on June 9, 1953 with a production of Maya, a play by Simon Gantillon starring Kay Medford, Vivian Matalon, and Susan Strasberg. It closed after seven performances. The phenomenon was "The Threepenny Opera," which opened March 10, 1954, with a cast that included Bea Arthur, John Astin, Lotte Leyna, Leon Lishner, Scott Merrill, Gerald Price, Charlotte Rae and Jo Sullivan. Because of an incoming booking, it was forced to close after 96 performances. Re-opening Sept. 20, 1955, with largely the same cast, "The Threepenny Opera" this time played until Dec. 17, 1961, a then record-setting run for a musical in New York City.[1]

In 1955, financier Louis Schweitzer acquired the building as an anniversary present for his wife, actress-producer Lucille Lortel. In 1981, the year of her 81st birthday, the theatre was renamed in her honor. After Lortel's death, the theatre was left to the Lucille Lortel Foundation.[2]

Notable productions

In popular culture

  • In 1970, the theatre was used in Season 1, Episode 3 of the McCloud TV series, in an episode called "Manhattan Manhunt". It used both interior and an exterior shots with the original marquee "Theatre de Lys".
  • The theatre was used for the filming of an episode of the TV comedy Friends as the location of one of Joey's plays in the episode "The One With The Screamer", which guest-starred Ben Stiller as Rachel's boyfriend Tommy.



External links

  • Official website
  • Template:Ibdb venue
  • Internet off-Broadway Database
  • 1981 photograph of Lucille Lortel in front of the theatre

Template:Off-Broadway theatres

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