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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New York, NY
25,451 GSF
600-seat Theater, Lounge/Bar, Patrons Lounge, Public Restrooms


Management Partner
Duncan Hazard
Design Partner
James S. Polshek
Project Designer
Stephen PD Chu
Project Manager
M. Gregory Clawson
Project Architect
Lloyd DesBrisay
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


  • 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


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