Martin Markinson and Jeff Tick are pleased to announce that Monday, March 12th marks the 100th anniversary of the Little/Helen Hayes Theatre (240 West 44th Street), which opened on March 12, 1912 with John Galsworthy's play THE PIGEON. The theatre is currently home to the smash hit musical Rock of Ages. A private centennial celebration at the theatre is confirmed for Thursday, May 24, 2012. Owners and employees gathered after Monday's performance of ROCK OF AGES to celebrate the theatre's great accomplishment. Broadway World brings you photos below.
Helen Hayes Theatre (formerly the Little Theatre, New York Times Hall and Winthrop Ames Theatre) with 597 seats is the smallest Broadway theatre and is located at 240 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Since 1979, it has been privately owned and operated by Martin Markinson and Donald Tick.
The Helen Hayes Theatre was designed by the architect Harry Creighton Ingalls of the firm Ingalls & Hoffman, and built by Winthrop Ames. When it first opened, it was known as the Little Theatre, owing both to the theatre's small size (with a seating capacity of only 300), and also because the theatre's goal was to create small, intimate productions. The theatre in fact gave birth to what became known as the Little Theatre Movement in the early twentieth century.
The theatre opened on March 12, 1912 with John Galsworthy's play THE PIGEON. In the 1920s, Herbert J. Krapp redesigned the theatre to increase its seating capacity to 590 and to improve its acoustics. In 1931 the building was sold to the New York Times and converted into a conference hall named New York Times Hall.
CBS used the theatre as a radio studio for a time, but it was converted to television by ABC in 1958 and renamed the Little Theatre. THE Dick Clark SHOW originated there from February 1958 through September 1961. During this time ABC also broadcast the daytime show WHO DO OYU TRUST? with Johnny Carson from the theatre. It was briefly re-named the Winthrop Ames Theatre in 1964. From 1965 through 1983 it was again the Little Theatre. During the early part of that period, Westinghouse Broadcasting taped the popular syndicated Merv Griffin SHOW there and later, THE David Frost SHOW. The 1969-70 season of the game show BEAT THE CLOCK hosted by Jack Narz was also taped there. In April 2011, Colin Quinn's one-man show LONG STORY SHORT was recorded there as an HBO special.
The theatre was finally renamed for Helen Hayes in 1983 when the renowned actress' existing namesake theatre located on West 46th Street was demolished, along with the Morosco Theatre and the Bijou Theatre, in order to construct the New York Marriott Marquis. Hayes, known as the "First Lady of the American Theater," was still living at the time, and because of the unusual and embarrassing nature of her having outlived her monument, it was decided to rechristen the Little Theatre in her honor.
When not being used as a theatrical venue, the building also has been leased to CBS Radio and the Westinghouse Corporation.
Michele Mais, Andre Ward
Sheila Tick, Susan Myerberg, Alan Markinson, Jeffrey Tick, Sharon Fallon
Sheila Tick, Alan Markinson, Jeffrey Tick
Ryan Tick, Mikaela Tick, Sheila Tick, Jeffrey Tick, Debbie Tick
Sharon Fallon, Alan Markinson
Susan Myerberg, Dan Domenech, Jeffrey Tick
John Bianacamano, Frank Biancamano, Linda Maley, Alan Markinson