Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Originally named the Biltmore, this theatre 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. In 1968, the groundbreaking rock musical Hair opened at the theatre. 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. The theatre’s ownership changed hands several times between 1987 and 2001.
In 2001, the property was purchased by the Manhattah Theatre Club as a permanent home for its productions. The Biltmore’s landmarked features, such as the proscenium arch, dome, staircases and a vaulted second-floor gallery, were restored or replicated. 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.
261 W 47th St
New York, NY 10036