Bijou Theatre (Manhattan, 1878)

Coordinates: 40°44′50″N 73°59′19″W / 40.74721°N 73.988584°W / 40.74721; -73.988584
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1239 Broadway
1239 Broadway
Map
General information
LocationManhattan, New York City
Opened1878
Demolished1915

The Bijou Theatre was a former Broadway theater in New York City that opened in 1878 as Theatre Brighton and was demolished in 1915. It also served as an opera house and silent movie venue throughout its history.[1][2] Located at 1239 Broadway between 30th and 31st Streets, had been converted from a drinking and gambling establishment into a theatre for variety, and opened August 26, 1878, with Jerry Thomas as proprietor.[3] The house had many changes and names until John A. McCaull, a Baltimore lawyer, and Charles E. Ford took charge of it. Considerable money was spent and when they reopened the house on March 31, 1880, as the Bijou Opera-house, it looked like a modern and well-regulated theatre.[3][4] In 1881 and 1882, Lillian Russell appeared in three different operettas.[5][6][7][8]

But the house proved too small to be profitable, so after the performance of July 7, 1883, preparations for tearing it down began.[9] R. E. J. Miles and Gen. W. B. Barton leased the premises for five years from its owner, Edward F. James. They agreed to advance sufficient funds to erect a new house, which was designed by J. B. McElfatrick & Son and opened December 1, 1883, as the Bijou Theatre.[10] The first production was Orpheus and Eurydice, an adaption by Max Freeman of Jacques Offenbach's Orfée aux enfers."[3][11][12]

Adonis, starring Henry E. Dixey, played its record-breaking run of 603 performances at the Bijou beginning September 4, 1884. Another long run was The Music Master, starring David Warfield, transferred from the Belasco Theatre on January 9, 1905,[13] and playing 511 performances, for a total at the two theaters of 635, before closing September 29, 1906. The next big hit was A Gentleman from Mississippi, starring Thomas A. Wise and Douglas Fairbanks, which opened September 29, 1908.[14] From June 29 to August 7, 1909, it played at the Aerial Gardens atop the New Amsterdam Theatre, with new scenery and costumes,[15] moving back to the Bijou August 9. After giving its 400th performance (counting the Aerial Gardens) on August 25, the play closed on September 18.[16][17]

The Bijou was later used as a silent movie house. It was demolished in 1915 and replaced by the present high-rise office building, which opened in 1917.[18]

Selected shows[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Demolished Broadway Theatres - A to B". www.musicals101.com. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  2. ^ "Advertisement for Theatre Brighton". The New York Sun. August 25, 1878.
  3. ^ a b c Brown, Thomas Allston (1903). A History of the New York Stage from the First Performance in 1732 to 1901. Dodd, Mead. pp. 272–287.
  4. ^ "Record of Amusements. Bijou Opera-House" (PDF). New York Times. April 1, 1880.
  5. ^ "Bijou Theatre" (PDF). New York Times. October 30, 1881. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  6. ^ "Bijou Opera-house" (PDF). New York Times. December 20, 1881. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  7. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (October 30, 1881). "The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, October 30, 1881, Image 5". The Sun. p. 5. ISSN 1940-7831. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  8. ^ "General Mention" (PDF). New York Times. June 6, 1882.
  9. ^ "General Mentions" (PDF). New York Times. July 29, 1883. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  10. ^ Real Estate Record. July 21, 1883
  11. ^ The Sun (New York). December 2, 1883
  12. ^ "Bijou Opera-House" (PDF). New York Times. August 19, 1883.
  13. ^ "Fire Scare at the Bijou". New York Times. January 10, 1905.
  14. ^ "New Comedy at Bijou; A Night of Laughter" (PDF). New York Times. September 30, 1908. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  15. ^ The Sun (New York). June 30, 1909
  16. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (August 22, 1909). "The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, August 22, 1909, Third Section, Image 30". The Sun. p. 6. ISSN 1940-7831. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  17. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (September 10, 1909). "The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, September 10, 1909, Image 9". The Sun. p. 9. ISSN 1940-7831. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  18. ^ "Busy Centre-Sixteen Story Business Structure to Replace Bijou Theatre" (PDF). New York Times. January 10, 1915. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  19. ^ Dearinger, Kevin Lane (2016). "The Climbers". Clyde Fitch and the American Theatre: An Olive in the Cocktail. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 540. ISBN 9781611479485.
  20. ^ New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division-First Department. 1903. pp. 18–20.

40°44′50″N 73°59′19″W / 40.74721°N 73.988584°W / 40.74721; -73.988584