It was a two-story wooden structure, owned by merchant and former governor Rip Van Dam, and it opened on December 11, 1732, with a performance of The Recruiting Officer. The building was located at what is now 64–66 Nassau Street, between John Street and Maiden Lane.
In 1750, shortly after Van Dam's death, it hosted New York's first-known performance of a musical, The Beggar's Opera, presented by a London-based traveling troupe, Murray & Kean's. This was also the first record of professional actors in New York; previously all productions had been amateur affairs. In 1753, actor and director Lewis Hallam expanded the theatre, describing the new structure as "very fine, large and commodious." But only a few years later, in 1758, the building was converted to a German Calvinist church, and finally demolished in 1765 to be replaced by a more substantial building which remained on the same site until 1822.
- Wilmeth, Don Burton; Bigsby, Christopher, eds. (1998). The Cambridge History of American Theatre. Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 375. ISBN 9780521472043.
- Saerchinger, César (1920). "Musical Landmarks in New York". The Musical Quarterly. Vol. 6. p. 77-78.
- Maitland, Leslie (25 June 1976). "A Walk Down Ghostly Aisles". New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
- "The Past and Present Religious and Racial Conditions of "Oldest New York"". Federation. Vol. 3, no. 4. December 1904. p. 37.