Tribute to the New Amsterdam Theatre On Broadway


New Amsterdam Theatre Audience Broadway

Every Broadway theatre has a story, and not many are as elaborate as the story of The New Amsterdam Theatre.

The theatre opened in 1903, but became most famous for being the home of the Ziegfeld Follies. It operated the full show in the main theater, and a riskier show in a small theater above it. The theater itself was known as one of the most beautiful in New York City.

After the follies ended it would remain operating as a traditional theater before being forced closed by the Great Depression. It would end up operating for most of its life as a movie theater.

During this time it would fall into disrepair, with the theater boxes being removed for obscuring the screen as well as other significant damage throughout the entire building. The only legitimate theater the building saw was rehearsals in the old upstairs theater space, but even that was limited.

New York would make several attempts at restoring the space, but it was on the then dangerous 42nd street and no one wanted to make the investment at a location it would be difficult to get people to travel to.

New Amsterdam Theatre From the Mezzanine Broadway

Then came Disney, who would begin investing in the theater as they started to invest in Broadway. It would become their theater, with a long term lease, and they not only restored it, but the entire surrounding area to make it safer for the families they were going to attempt to attract.

Following a few smaller productions, the Broadway production of The Lion King would open here, becoming one of the most successful Broadway shows in history, eventually moving to another theater on Broadway.

It would become home to other Disney Broadway shows including Aladdin and Mary Poppins as well as holding many of the offices for Disney Theatrical Productions, the division that ran Disney's Broadway productions, taking over the upper theater that was now unusable for performances given the lack of care over the years.

This theater has held two mainstays on Broadway, Ziegfeld and Disney, and while going through some rough patches, it has never looked better than it does right now and with Disney guiding it, it surely has a bright future.