42nd Street's Times Square Theatre Continues Search for Tenant

News   42nd Street's Times Square Theatre Continues Search for Tenant The Times Square Theatre, the only remaining historic theatre building on 42nd Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue which hasn't been reclaimed as a working theatre or reshaped as part of a commercial enterprise, remains a space in search of a future.

The current facade of the Times Square Theatre
The current facade of the Times Square Theatre Photo by Andrew Ku

The one-time home of the original productions of The Front Page and Private Lives was recently decorated with a banner entreating interested retail entities to call a realtor's number. Inside, construction crews prepared the former theatre for inspection and tours. Part of the process included the removal of the 42nd Street Development Project, the construction organization which had an office on the building's stage. Pest-infested seat cushions were also removed, though the decorative framework that held the rows of seat in place was preserved and put into storage.

A spokesperson for the New 42nd Street—the organization charged with the oversight of the Times Square, as well as the other historic theatres on the block (including the Victory, Selwyn, Lyric, Liberty, Empire and Apollo)—confirmed that the theatre is being marketed as a potential commercial space. However, the possibility remains that the location may be reclaimed as a theatre. The New 42nd Street's website states merely, "Plans for the Times Square theater are currently under consideration."

The Times Square was built in 1920 by the Selwyn brothers. The wide, colonnaded front was designed in the Adamesque style by architects de Rosa and Pereira. Important productions included The Enemy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Strike Up the Band. In 1934, the Times Square began showing movies.

The house, which once seated 1,057, has been eyed be a wide variety of suitors over the years. In the late '90s, the now defunct Canadian producing giant Livent was selected to build a 500-seat theatre, "first-class" restaurant and office space at the venue, beating out proposals by the World Wrestling Federation, the Laugh Factory comedy club, and entrepreneurs who wanted to open a restaurant with a Roman gladiatorial theme. Livent's subsequent legal problems and liquidation eventually killed those plans.