Off-Broadway's Union Square Theatre to Be Demolished

News   Off-Broadway's Union Square Theatre to Be Demolished
NY's legendary Tammany Hall, a one-time political headquarters, has been used as an Off-Broadway theatre.
Tammany Hall - 1929
Tammany Hall - 1929 Ewing Galloway

A political landmark that is also a theatre landmark will be demolished, according to a report in The New York Times.

Tammany Hall, the limestone and red brick building that has stood on the east side of Manhattan's Union Square at 17th Street since 1929, is being remodeled by its owners as “a retail and office mixed-use project.” The development involves demolishing the building's auditorium, which served two lives, most recently as the Off-Broadway Union Square Theatre. The building's landmarked marble and brick facade will be preserved.

It was built in 1929 as a new headquarters for the Tammany Society, which had become synonymous in the 19th century with the Democratic Party machine, which ruled New York municipal government for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, and became synonymous with corruption. In the 1960 musical Fiorello!, which tells the story of Republican Fiorello H. LaGuardia's challenge to the party, the word "Tammany" is used as an epithet. “Tammany spells tyranny like R-A-T spells rat!” goes Sheldon Harnick's lyric.

However, after its power was diminished from the inside by Democratic Governor (and later President) Franklin Roosevelt, the building was sold to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. It was also, for a time, the headquarters of the New York Film Academy.

The space turned to theatrical use 1985-2016 as the Off-Broadway Union Square Theatre, home to La Soiree, Wit, Murder Ballad, The Laramie Project, Vita & Virginia, Neil Simon's London Suite, Visiting Mr. Green and Bat Boy: The Musical. The space was also home to the Roundabout Theatre Company in an early stage of its development. The Union Square Theatre's last production was a revival of The 39 Steps, which closed January 3, 2016.

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