- Built in 1909 on Central Park West at 62nd Street in New York, this magnificent structure, designed by Carrere and Hastings and underwritten by prominent New Yorkers, was intended by director Winthrop Ames to be a "people's theatre." No expense was spared in creating a beautiful interior design and lavish comforts, marred only by poor acoustics. The inaugural production, Antony and Cleopatra, starring Julia Marlowe and E. H. Sothern, was deemed slow-paced, perhaps even weighted down by production values and by inflated expectations. The plan to present classical plays in repertory could not be long sustained, for the theatre's location well outside the Broadway theatre district meant that "the people" did not attend in sufficient numbers. Renamed the Century Theatre in 1911, it was operated with little success by various managers, including Charles Dillingham. In 1920, the Shuberts acquired the building. It was there that Norman Bel Geddes created a Gothic cathedral for Max Reinhardt's The Miracle in 1924. In her biography of Eleonora Duse, who performed there in 1923, Eva Le Gal-lienne referred to the Century Theatre as "the vast auditorium built in 1909 to house the ill-fated New Theatre Company, nicknamed 'the Millionaires' Theatre'" (1973, 65). The theatre was razed in 1930.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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