121 W. 48th Street,
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Architects: Eugene DeRosa
Previous Names: Norworth Theatre, Theatre Parisien, Cinema 48
Opened by producer/actor/director Jack Norworth on January 28, 1918, this relatively small playhouse seated just over 500, and featured a Venetian Renaissance façade, complete with a pair of large bronze lanterns on each side of the arch window over the marquee. Its understated interior featured a single balcony and just a set of boxes on each side of the proscenium arch.
The decor was Neo-Classical style, featuring oak paneling, several kinds of marble and elegant plasterwork. The Norworth Theatre’s architect was Eugene DeRosa.
Norworth opened his theatre with a comedy called “Odds and Ends” which was moved from the Bijou Theatre, where he was starring in it. After the failure of this show (it ran for eight weeks), Norworth lost the theatre just four months after opening it. New owners took over continuing legitimate theatre and it was renamed the Belmont Theatre.
In 1919, the theatre was briefly renamed the Theatre Parisien when French dramas played there until 1920, when its next owners renamed it the Belmont Theatre, and straightforward legitimate theatre returned.
By 1933, with the Depression on, and having had a long string of unsuccessful shows, the Belmont Theatre was shuttered. It was reopened in 1937, but only for a week, when the play bombed. Later in the same year, it was reopened as a movie theatre, playing Yiddish & foreign features, although the occasional live performance was staged at the Belmont Theatre as well.
It was closed by 1951, and was demolished that year.
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