302 West 45th StreetNew York, NY
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House Electrician, Al Hirschfeld Theatre
Jeffrey Eric Jenkins
President, Jujamcyn Theaters
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Michael Dominic Tedescov
In 1924, when theater impresario Martin Beck was forced out of management of the Orpheum Theatre circuit, he built the Martin Beck, now the Al Hirschfeld.
He hired architect G. Albert Lansburgh, a native San Franciscan known for his elaborate West Coast movie palaces, to design the theater. Lansburgh incorporated Byzantine, Moorish, and Islamic elements into much of his work, including this theater’s façade, a long, three-story Moorish arcade that was very three dimensional. The ornate interior was decorated with stained glass doors, mosaics, and murals. In 2003 the theater’s owner, Jujamcyn Theaters, renamed it the Al Hirschfeld in honor of the great Broadway caricaturist whose drawings appeared weekly in the New York Times until his death that same year. This is the only Broadway theater that was built west of 8th Avenue. Its large seating capacity has proven ideal for presenting musical productions including such hits as Bye Bye Birdie and Man of La Mancha.
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
Born in Panama to Polish parents, G. Albert Lansburgh grew up in San Francisco and primarily worked on the West Coast designing elaborate movie palaces.
Lansburgh studied at University of California, Berkeley and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After graduating from the École des Beaux-Arts in 1906, he returned to San Francisco following the earthquake. For the first two years of his career, he partnered with Bernard Julius Joseph to design many buildings for the recovering city. Lansburgh went on to build many lavish theaters for the Orpheum Theater Circuit and RKO. His buildings were influenced by classical details as well as Moorish, Byzantine, and Islamic architecture. The Al Hirschfeld, originally the Martin Beck, is his only New York City theater.
Museum of The City of New York
Jeffry Photograph (MS Thr 416) © Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Jeffry Photograph (MS Thr 416) © Harvard Theatre Collection,
Houghton Library, Harvard University
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