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HISTORY & RESTORATION OF THE THEATRE

REVIVING THEATRE HISTORY

The Lyric Theatre (formerly Foxwoods Theatre) 43rd Street facade at the beginning and end of the construction and restoration process. Photo: Fiona Spaulding-Smith.

The Lyric Theatre (formerly Foxwoods Theatre), which opened in 1997 as the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, was designed to adhere to the guidelines for development established by The New 42nd Street to "promote the preservation, restoration and reconstruction of the historically significant elements of each theater".

The challenge was to find a way to take two theaters that had many magnificent design elements but were sadly deficient in most all areas required for a Broadway musical house (such as seating capacity, size of stage, proscenium opening, handicapped access, dressing rooms, lobby areas, and public toilets to name a few) and create a theater that adhered to the guidelines.

The product of collaboration between architects, engineers, craftsmen and designers, including Beyer Blinder Belle and the Roger Morgan Studio (now Sachs Morgan Studio), the design combines preservation with new and state of the art construction to create the spirit and character of a grand historical theater with the needs of a modern one.

The Lyric Theatre (formerly Foxwoods Theatre) incorporates many elements from the Apollo and Lyric theaters. These first include the Lyric's magnificent turn of the century 42nd and 43rd street facades which will be restored to their original grandeur.

Second, key historic interior elements of the Apollo are now used in the theater. These include the lobby, which was restored and is used as a lounge during intermission, as well as plaster elements, which were cut into sections, removed from the Apollo, restored, and reinstalled in the new theater. These elements consist of ceiling domes, the proscenium arch, sail vault, and side boxes. These latter elements were also expanded to fit the scale of the larger theater.

The theater's interior design theme is based on the reinstalled historic elements from the Apollo. The historic dome is set within a new second dome and washed with light to feature it as the theater's centerpiece. The dome, proscenium, and side boxes are painted and gilded to be the featured design elements. The side walls design of pilasters and scalloped panels were first established by the structural grid and acoustical considerations and then designed as supporting elements in a sympathetic manner and in a similar vocabulary to the historic elements. New murals were commissioned to form a frieze over the new side boxes in a Greek mythological theme recalling the original concept of the Apollo.

To read more about the history of these theaters, click on the links below.

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  © 2013 Ambassador Theatre Group
Photos by Fiona Spaulding-Smith except where indicated. Site by Simma Park.