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Question: What is the address of the Stage Door Canteen on West 44th Street? —Michael Manning, New York, NY
The Stage Door Canteen — the famous World War II-era Times Square haven for soldiers temporarily stationed in New York City — opened March 2, 1942, at 216 W. 44th Street. The location was a space underneath the Fourth-Fourth Street Theatre formerly occupied by the Little Club. The Little Club was opened in 1917 as a members-only after-theatre hangout and dance club. It was the scene of many raids and arrests during Prohibition, not all of them having to do with liquor violations.
Actresses Selena Royle and Jane Cowl were co-chairs of the Canteen Committee. The idea was simple, but ingenious. The acting community would do everything. Certainly, they would perform; that would be the primary attraction of the Canteen — not just songs and comedy bits, but compressed versions of the plays and musicals then playing on Broadway. Actresses also did duty as hostesses and dancing partners. Actors worked as waiters, busboys, dishwashers and dancing partners. At the initial recruiting event for canteen volunteers, 700 actors and actresses showed up.
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