Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Biltmore Theatre

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Address 261 West 47th Street
New York City
United States
Coordinates 40°45′37″N 73°59′12″W / 40.76035°N 73.98677°W / 40.76035; -73.98677
Owner Manhattan Theatre Club
Type Broadway theatre
Capacity 650
Production Heisenberg
Architect Herbert J. Krapp
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Built December 7, 1925
Architect Herbert J. Krapp
NRHP Reference # 04001203[1]
Added to NRHP 2004
A crowd of people standing on the sidewalk in front of the theatre (1935)

The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (formerly the Biltmore Theatre) is a Broadway theatre located at 261 West 47th Street in Midtown Manhattan.


Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp for impresario Irwin Chanin, it opened on December 7, 1925, with the play Easy Come Easy Go. With a seating capacity of 903, it was one of Broadway's smaller venues.

The theatre was used by Federal Theatre's Living Newspaper project in the 1930s. CBS leased it for use as a radio and television studio from 1952 until 1961. The producer David Cogan acquired the Biltmore in 1958.[2] In 1968, the groundbreaking rock musical Hair opened at the theatre.

In 1986, Cogan sold the Biltmore to developer Samuel Pfeiffer in 1986.[3] In 1987, a fire struck the Biltmore. The blaze, which was later determined to be an act of arson, destroyed the interior. After the fire, the building sat vacant for fourteen years, suffering more structural damage from water and vandals. Most plans proposed for its future use – such as a showcase for "Best of Broadway" revues – were rejected since its New York City landmark designation required it to operate only as a legitimate Broadway house if renovated. In 1993, the Nederlander Organization and Stewart F. Lane acquired the Biltmore; after being unable to secure a deal with theatre unions, the theatre was sold to developer Joseph Moinian.[4][5]

In 2001, the theatre was assumed by the Manhattan Theatre Club as a permanent home for its productions.[6] Surviving sections of the original theatre were restored by Polshek Partnership Architects (plasterwork restored by EverGreene Architectural Arts), and missing parts were reconstructed. With 622 seats the new Biltmore has about two-thirds of the capacity of the old, although it now boasts modern conveniences such as elevators and meeting rooms. The Biltmore's landmarked features, such as the proscenium arch, dome, staircases and a vaulted second-floor gallery, were restored or replicated.[7]

The theatre was renamed the "Samuel J. Friedman Theatre" in a dedication ceremony held on September 4, 2008. The new name honors Broadway publicist Samuel J. Friedman.[8] The Manhattan Theatre Club took ownership of the Samuel J. Friedman in October 2008.[9]

Biltmore Theatre in media

The Biltmore Theatre is prominently featured in The Muppets Take Manhattan as the location of the Broadway show that the Muppets put on in the finale of the film.

Notable productions




  1. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. David Cogan, 'A Raisin in the Sun' Producer, Dies at 78
  3. Biltmore Theater's Owner Rejects $5.25 Million Offer
  4. Nederlanders and Partner Buy the Biltmore Theater
  5. 43-Story Hotel Planned Over Shuttered Biltmore Theater
  6. Dawning of a New Age for the Biltmore
  7. David Dunlap (September 23, 2003). "For Venerable Theater, It's a Body Transplant". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-02. Time was when the Biltmore reminded people of Hair, Barefoot in the Park, My Sister Eileen and Deathtrap; of George Abbott, a co-owner who used it as a showcase; Jean-Paul Sartre, whose No Exit was staged there; and Mae West, whose Pleasure Man brought in the police.
  8. Jones, Kenneth."Broadway's Biltmore Becomes the Friedman on Sept. 4",, September 4, 2008
  9. Big News! Press Agent Gets Name in Lights
  10. "Raid Mae West Play, Seize 56 At Opening. Police Arrest Entire Cast of "Pleasure Man" After Last Act at Biltmore Theatre. Indecency Is Charged. Law Hits Actress-Author a Second Time. Playhouse Is Surrounded After Show. No Theatre Attaches Held. Police Guard Exits. Arrest Order Treated Lightly. Author Freed on Bail. 21 Seized in Raid on "Sex"". The New York Times. October 2, 1928. Retrieved 2011-05-02. The entire cast of "Pleasure Man," fifty-five actors, actresses and musicians, was arrested on the stage of the Biltmore Theatre, Forty-seventh Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, last night immediately after the curtain fell on the first performance.
  11. Fool for Love at the Internet Broadway Database
  12. Our Mother’s Brief Affair, Playbill
  13. The Father, Playbill
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Biltmore Theatre.

Coordinates: 40°45′37″N 73°59′12″W / 40.76035°N 73.98677°W / 40.76035; -73.98677

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