Samuel J. Friedman Theatre for Manhattan Theatre Club

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Samuel J. Friedman Theatre for Manhattan Theatre Club

The transformation of the long-neglected and deteriorated Biltmore Theater entailed careful restoration of historic finishes and reconstruction of historic details, reduction in the volume of the poorly-planned audience chamber and introduction of advanced technologies to create an ideal venue for a prominent theater company.

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In 1999, Barry Grove, Executive Producer of the Manhattan Theatre Club, contacted me to help them find a Tony-eligible Broadway venue. Standing outside at the intermission of The Iceman Cometh, I looked across 47th Street and saw the shuttered Biltmore Theater. I knew instantly it was perfect for MTC.

Duncan Hazard, Management Partner
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Moving the back wall toward the stage eliminated an overly deep balcony and undesirable seats beneath it; the stage was lowered, orchestra floor increased and balcony reconfigured with fewer seats.

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The resulting intimacy (600 seats from the original 1,000) directly supports MTC’s mission to present new and often-experimental theater in a venue that intensifies the theater experience.

Commodious and comfortable amenities were introduced in the "found" spaces created by moving the rear of the auditorium forward and in a new lower level space excavated from the rock. These include: lower and upper level lobby spaces, expanded and accessible restrooms and lounges – a patrons' lounge overlooking the street on the mezzanine level and lounges on the lower level and at the top of the balcony.

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Details

Year
2003
Location
New York, NY
Size
25,451 GSF
Program
600-seat Theater, Lounge/Bar, Patrons Lounge, Public Restrooms

Team

Management Partner
Duncan Hazard
Design Partner
James S. Polshek
Project Designer
Stephen P-D Chu
Project Manager
M. Gregory Clawson
Project Architect
Lloyd DesBrisay
Interiors
Charmian Place
Design Team
Ghiora Aharoni, Chris Andreacola, Marlon Aranda, Ray Brown, Nina Cooke-John, Paul Golden, Brad Groff, Karl Hirschmann, Marisa Kurtzman, Alex Leung, Sally Leung, Jane Lin, Brian Masuda, Peter Mullan, Craig Mutter, Hans Walter, Yvonne Yang

Awards

  • 2004
    • Rehabilitation Award of Merit, Best of 2004, New York Construction
    • Municipal Art Society MASterwork Award for Outstanding Commercial Restoration Project
    • Reconstruction/Preservation Grand Award, Building Design & Construction Magazine
    • Lucy G. Moses Award for Preservation, New York Landmarks Conservancy

Consultants

Structural
Severud Associates
Structural Sitework
Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.
MEP
WSP Flack + Kurtz, Inc.
Geotechnical
Schnabel Engineering Associates
Theater
Fisher Dachs Associates
Lighting
Brandston Partnership, Inc.
Acoustics
Jaffe Holden
Graphics
Poulin + Morris, Inc.
Security
Ducibella Venter & Santore
Specificiations
Robert Schwartz & Associates
Code/Life Safety
Jerome S. Gillman Consulting Architect, P.C.
Exterior Envelope
James R. Gainfort Consulting Architects, P.C.
Elevator
Iros Elevator Design Services, Inc.
Historic Preservation
Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, LLC, Jay Cardinal Consultants, Inc., Li Saltzman Architects
Photography
Whitney Cox, Jeff Goldberg/Esto