In the mid-90s, Times Square was undergoing massive redevelopment. Some of our first salvage finds were from well-known Times Square venues, including the Rialto, Lamb, and Ford Theaters.
Now, almost 25 years later, Times Square is undergoing more changes, and Olde Good Things is on the job for another theatre salvage. But this time, rather than raze a building to the ground, developers plan to raise the theatre up!
Playing the Palace
Located in the heart of Times Square at W. 47th Street and Broadway, the Palace Theatre first opened in 1913. Designed by Milwaukee architects Kirchoff and Rose, it is one of the largest theaters on Broadway, with three levels of seating and tiered, parquet-style boxes accommodating over 1,700 patrons. The New York Landmarks Conservancy designated its famous baroque interior as an Interior Landmark in 1987.
The Palace was a vaudeville center from its 1913 opening through the early 1930s; actor Jack Haley called it “the epitome of the more than 15,000 vaudeville theaters in America.” Performers dreamed of “playing the Palace,” and its stage was graced by such legends as Ethel Barrymore, the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Mae West, and Fred Astaire.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the Palace struggled to find its niche as a venue, serving mostly as a movie house as ticket sales for live performances dwindled. Notably, in 1941 the Palace was the site of the world premiere of Citizen Kane.
In the 1960s, the Palace was renovated and transformed into a full-fledged Broadway theater. Its first show was Sweet Charity, starring Gwen Verdon and choreographed by Bob Fosse (both well-known to viewers of the new FX series Fosse/Verdon). More recently, the Palace housed productions of Beauty and the Beast, Aida, and An American in Paris.
Moving on Up
In 2018, after a final run of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, the Palace closed down as part of a massive building renovation called TSX Broadway. This unusual project includes plans to raise the Palace interior three stories (nearly 30 feet!), in order to add 10,000 square feet of retail space underneath and to accommodate a new, giant wraparound billboard. The renovation also features a new lobby, dressing rooms, and other amenities for Palace Theatre patrons. Construction is expected to be completed by 2021.
The $50 million Palace Theatre rehabilitation includes updates to its famous interior – so not only is the Palace moving up in the world, it’s also getting a facelift! While the theatre’s historic ornamental plasterwork will stay in place, other design elements are being replaced.
Enter Olde Good Things to salvage some of the historic treasures from this old landmark. We were able to reclaim much of the vintage and antique lighting, including exquisite crystal chandeliers and Art Deco style flush and semi-flush mount fixtures. Some of these fixtures appear to date from the 1965 renovation.
Longing to bask in the lights of Broadway? Take a look at just a few examples online and come see many more in our New York locations. We promise the ghosts of the Palace Theatre won’t follow you home.