The Hudson Theatre might just be Broadway’s next anticipated “reboot.”
The now-shuttered venue off New York City’s Times Square will reopen and operate as part of Ambassador Theatre Group, bringing the total number of officially designated Broadway theaters to 41.
ATG has entered a long-term lease for the space, from a subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. The two companies will restore the landmark venue to its former status as a Broadway playhouse as part of a multimillion-dollar project.
With just under 1,000 seats, the 44th Street theater will be equipped with slate-of-the-art technical upgrades as well as new seating, lounge service and restroom improvements, plus expanded dressing rooms and new fly systems. The project is anticipated to wrap in time for the 2016-17 season, making it a welcome addition, given the constant crush of productions looking for available houses, and the growing number of theaters tied up with long-running shows.
Built by producer Henry B. Harris, the Hudson first opened in 1903 with a production of Cousin Kate starring Ethel Barrymore. Though it was lost to foreclosure in 1933 and changed hands often, it was the home of the first nationwide broadcast of The Tonight Show starring Steve Allen and has served as a studio for CBS Radio, a burlesque venue, a movie house and a special-events space. The last Broadway production listed there was a 1968 play called Mike Downstairs.
It’s the second Broadway theater for the Ambassador Theatre Group, following the 2013 purchase of the Lyric Theatre, which has since housed On the Town and now Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games. The company, co-founded by Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, has 46 venues throughout the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.
The Hudson Theatre will be the first new or newly reopened theater to increase the Broadway count since the Henry Miller’s Theatre reopened in 2009. That venue has since been renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, where Beautiful: The Carole King Musical now plays.