Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Samuel J. Friedman (formerly the Biltmore Theatre) on West 47th Street had been vacant since 1987, when it suffered extensive structural and cosmetic damage which put its return to legitimate theatrical use in serious jeopardy.

Originally opened in 1925, the Biltmore was director George Abbott’s favorite venue in the 1930’s, housing his productions of ‘Brother Rat’ and ‘All That Glitters’, among others. The theatre subsequently presented many other distinguished plays and musicals, including My Sister Eileen (1940), The Heiress (1947), Barefoot in the Park (1963) and the landmark musical Hair (1968).

Following a two-year, $35 million dollar capital campaign by Manhattan Theatre Club, the theatre reopened in Fall, 2003. The renovated Biltmore has fewer seats (625, reduced from 1,000) which allowed FDA to design new seating layouts that create more aisle width, wider, more comfortable seats, and better sightlines. New stage lighting and rigging systems were also designed. Notably, Jules Fisher lit the original production of ‘Hair’ at the Biltmore in 1968, and Josh Dachs worked with Jules on the musical’s revival at the Biltmore in 1977.

The Biltmore Theatre won the 2004 Lucy G. Moses Award for Preservation from the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

  • Client: Manhattan Theatre Club
  • Architect: Polshek Partnership
  • Completion Year: 2003
  • Location: New York, New York
  • Acoustician: Jaffe Holden
  • Acoustics
  • Capacity: 625 seats


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