124 West 43rd StreetNew York, NY
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Architectural Historian, Columbia University
Artistic Director, Roundabout Theatre Company
Jeffrey Eric Jenkins
Director / Choreographer
The theater was originally built in 1918 for Henry Miller, an actor, producer, manager, and sometime playwright, whose name is still visible on the theater’s facade.
Born in London, Miller came to New York in 1917 and decided to build a theater for himself. He hired architects Ingalls & Hoffman, and his friend Paul Allen to work with them. They designed the exterior to mimic an eighteenth-century New England building. After Miller’s death in 1926, his family continued to operate the theater until 1968, at which time it was sold. In the ensuing years it became a pornography theater and later converted into a night club. In 1998, it was reopened as a legitimate theater only to close again in 2004 when the interior was completely demolished to make way for an office tower. It was rebuilt by the firm of Cook + Fox below ground as a state-of-the-art venue, maintaining the original landmarked facade. On March 10, 2010, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s eightieth birthday, the theater was renamed in his honor.
F. Burrall Hoffman was born in 1882 to a wealthy New York City family.
He graduated from Harvard University and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. While in Paris, he studied under Henri-Adolphe-Auguste Deglane, one of the designers of the Grand Palais at the 1900 Exposition Universalle in Paris. After returning to New York, he served a two-year apprenticeship with the firm Carrère & Hastings. He started his own firm with Harry Creighton Ingalls in 1910. They specialized in the design of theaters and private residences. Hoffman's most well known project is the Villa Vizcaya of 1916, industrialist James Deering’s winter home in Miami. Hoffman was a captain with the Corps of Engineers in World War I and a lieutenant commander in the Navy in World War II. After Ingalls’s death in 1936, Hoffman continued to practice but only designed about one project a year in the aftermath of the Depression.
© Joan Marcus
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