Location: New York, New York
Address: 213 W. 42nd St.
Capacity: approx 1820
The Lyric Theatre is one of the great success stories of building restoration throughout the entire 20th-century. Originally conceived as the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, the Livent company proposed combining elements of two old theatres - the Apollo and the Lyric (both built in the 1900s) - to create a new structure featuring all the modern amenities and old world charm that larger New York playhouses could offer. The 1,839 seat theatre is one of the largest in New York City and combines architectural elements from both existing theatres including enlarging the halls' elliptical domes, rebuilding the side boxes and proscenium arches, while still maintaining the outdoor facade of each of the theatres. The theatre was sold to the media company SFX soon after its opening, before Live Nation took over the management of the theatre while the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut bought the naming rights to the venue.
The grand reopening of the theatre occurred on January 18, 1998 and featured the smash hit Ragtime, which boasted a stellar cast. The musical would go on to win a number of Tony awards and would run for 834 performances. Even the Drama League remarked that Ragtime was "one of the 20 greatest musicals of the 20th-century," which gave the new theatre a stellar reputation. Because of the building's immense size, the Lyric Theatre would go on to show a number of big-budget musicals and plays, but it has only hosted 10 shows in its brief history.
The theatre's longest-running play thus far was a revival of 42nd Street beginning in 2001, which earned a Best Actress Tony award for star Christine Ebersole and the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. The play reached a staggering 1,524 performances, one of the longest runs for a revival in Broadway history. The theatre would host a number of unique performances before it underwent a full-scale remodeling project to accommodate the Spider-Man original musical. With the impressive technology and stage design that went into the production, the Lyric Theatre's immense size made it a natural choice for the spectacle which took the stage in June 2011.
The Lyric Theatre is an extension of the rich history of performance art that has percolated in Manhattan since the early 1900s. It stands as a landmark of architecture and human ingenuity, and it will continue to wow audiences with its big-budget productions for many years to come.