14 Pages


GAIETY THEATER · 1547 Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets. Architects: Herts and Tallant. Opening: September 4, 1909; Th e Fortune Hunter. Klaw and Erlanger built the Gaiety for George M. Cohan, who shared in its management. Th e theater was noted for several architectural features. Th e audience area was built in what was known as the “mushroom” design, which refl ected its confi guration. Th e theater was also noted for the absence of pillars holding up the balcony, which in earlier theaters had drastically hampered sightlines. With cantilevered balconies, pillars became unnecessary. Another innovation featured in the new house was the orchestra pit. Prior to this, most orchestras were on the audience level and stages were raised accordingly. Th is “invisible orchestra” allowed the stage height to be lowered and the sight lines of the fi rst rows to be improved and brought forward.