Gallo Opera House (1927)
Casino de Paree (1933)
WPA Federal Music Theatre (1937)
New Yorker Theatre (1939)
CBS Studio 52 (1942)
|Address||254 West 54th Street |
Manhattan, New York City
|Owner||Roundabout Theatre Company|
|Capacity||1,006 (519 orchestra/487 mezzanine)|
|Architect||Eugene De Rosa|
Studio 54 is a former nightclub and currently a Broadway theatre, located at 254 West 54th Street, between Eighth Avenue and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The building, originally built as the Gallo Opera House, opened in 1927, after which it changed names several times, eventually becoming CBS radio and television Studio 52.
A nightclub, music club or club, is an entertainment venue and bar that usually operates late into the night. A nightclub is generally distinguished from regular bars, pubs or taverns by the inclusion of a stage for live music, one or more dance floor areas and a DJ booth, where a DJ plays recorded music. The upmarket nature of nightclubs can be seen in the inclusion of VIP areas in some nightclubs, for celebrities and their guests. Nightclubs are much more likely than pubs or sports bars to use bouncers to screen prospective clubgoers for entry. Some nightclub bouncers do not admit people with informal clothing or gang apparel as part of a dress code. The busiest nights for a nightclub are Friday and Saturday night. Most clubs or club nights cater to certain music genres, such as house music or hip hop.
Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.
54th Street is a two-mile-long, one-way street traveling west to east across Midtown Manhattan.
In the late 1970s, at the peak of the disco dancing and music trend, the building was renamed after its location and became a world-famous nightclub and discotheque.The nightclub founders spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on professional lighting design and kept many of the former TV and theatrical sets, in the process creating a unique dance club that became famous for its celebrity guest lists, restrictive (and subjective) entry policies (based on one's appearance and style), and open club drug use. Founded and created by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager in 1977, it was sold in 1980 to Mark Fleischman, who reopened the club after it had been shut down following the conviction of Rubell and Schrager on charges of tax evasion. In 1984, Fleischman sold the club, which continued to operate until 1986.
Disco is a music genre and subculture that emerged in the 1970s from the United States' urban nightlife scene. The music, the fashion, many song lyrics and other cultural phenomena associated with disco were focused on having a good time on the dance floor of a discotheque to the loud sounds of records being played by a DJ, usually enhanced by coloured lighting effects.
A theatre lighting designer works with the director, choreographer, set designer, costume designer, and sound designer to create the lighting, atmosphere, and time of day for the production in response to the text, while keeping in mind issues of visibility, safety, and cost. The LD also works closely with the stage manager or show control programming, if show control systems are used in that production. Outside stage lighting, the job of a Lighting Designer can be much more diverse and they can be found working on rock and pop tours, corporate launches, art installation and on massive celebration spectaculars, for example the Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies.
Club drugs, also called rave drugs, or party drugs are a loosely defined category of recreational drugs which are associated with discothèques in the 1970s and nightclubs, dance clubs, electronic dance music parties, and raves in the 1980s to today. Unlike many other categories, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, which are established according to pharmaceutical or chemical properties, club drugs are a "category of convenience", in which drugs are included due to the locations they are consumed and/or where the user goes while under the influence of the drugs. Club drugs are generally used by teens and young adults. This group of drugs are also called "designer drugs", as most are synthesized in a chemical lab rather than being sourced from plants.
Since November 1998, it has served as a venue for productions of the Roundabout Theatre Company and retains the name Studio 54.A separate restaurant and nightclub, Feinstein's/54 Below, operates in the basement of the building.
The Roundabout Theatre Company is a leading non-profit theatre company based in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, affiliated with the League of Resident Theatres.
Feinstein's/54 Below is a cabaret and restaurant in New York City owned by Broadway producers Steve Baruch, Richard Frankel, Marc Routh and Tom Viertel. It has hosted shows by such performers as Patti LuPone, Ben Vereen, Marilyn Maye and Barbara Cook. It is located in the basement of Studio 54.
Designed by famed architect Eugene De Rosa, the venue opened in 1927 as the Gallo Opera House (soon revised to Gallo Theatre), named for its owner, Fortune Gallo. Beginning with a very large-scale production of La bohème which closed after three weeks, the Gallo was met with a succession of failed attempts to draw an audience, and was lost to foreclosure after only two years. It later reopened under new ownership as The New Yorker, but continued failing to attract sufficient crowds. It changed hands in the early 1930s, then in 1937 it became the WPA Federal Music Project of New York City's Federal Music Theatre/Theatre of Music,then it became the New Yorker Theatre in 1939, housing an all-black version of The Swing Mikado , originally from Chicago, for two months, when the production moved to the 44th Street Theatre to finish its run. The New Yorker Theatre saw its final production, Medicine Show, end in May 1940, following which the building remained vacant for three years.
Eugene L. De Rosa was an Italian American architect. He worked in New York City and specialized in the design of theatres.
Fortune Thomas Gallo was an Italian-born opera impresario. Gallo was owner and General Manager of the traveling San Carlo Opera Company from 1913 until its disbandment in the late 1950s.
La bohème is an opera in four acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere of La bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the 28-year-old Arturo Toscanini; its U.S. premiere took place the following year, 1897, in Los Angeles. Since then, La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide.
In 1943, CBS purchased the theatre, renaming it Studio 52. CBS named its studios in order of purchase; the number 52 was unrelated to the street on which it was located. During these years, CBS used the theater for radio broadcasts.
CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.
From the 1940s to the mid 1970s, CBS used the location as a radio and TV stage that housed such shows as What's My Line? , The $64,000 Question , Video Village , Password , To Tell the Truth , Beat the Clock , The Jack Benny Show , I've Got a Secret , Ted Mack and the Original Amateur Hour , and Captain Kangaroo .The soap opera Love of Life was produced there until 1975.
The original inventors of radio, from Guglielmo Marconi's time on, expected it to be used for one-on-one wireless communication tasks where telephones and telegraphs could not be used because of the problems involved in stringing copper wires from one point to another, such as in ship-to-shore communications. Those inventors had no expectations whatever that radio would become a major mass media entertainment and information medium earning many millions of dollars in revenues annually through radio advertising commercials or sponsorship. These latter uses were brought about after 1920 by business entrepreneurs such as David Sarnoff, who created the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and William S. Paley, who built Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). These broadcasting business organizations began to be called network affiliates, because they consisted of loose chains of individual stations located in various cities, all transmitting the standard overall-system supplied fare, often at synchronized agreed-upon times. Some of these radio network stations were owned and operated by the networks, while others were independent radio owned by entrepreneurs allied with the respective networks. By selling blocks of time to advertisers, the medium was able to quickly become profitable and offer its products to listeners for free, provided they invested in a radio receiver set.
Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in colour, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.
In 1976, CBS moved most of its broadcast operations to the Ed Sullivan Theater and the CBS Broadcast Center, and sold Studio 52. The Ed Sullivan Theater once had access to Studio 52 through an access door, which was concrete-blocked during the theater's 1993 renovation for Late Show with David Letterman .
When CBS began marketing the building in 1976, various parties in the art and fashion world expressed interest in seeing it converted into a nightclub. Male model Uva Harden tried to get gallery owner Frank Lloyd to finance the club, until Lloyd lost a $9 million lawsuit to the estate of the artist Mark Rothko, the Rothko Case.
In 1977, the theater was transformed into a nightclub called Studio 54 by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, with Jack Dushey as a financial backer. They operated the company as Broadway Catering Corp. It took only six weeks to transform the theater into a nightclub and cost $400,000 before its grand opening on April 26.
Rubell and Schrager hired Scott Bromley as architect, Ron Doud as interior designer and Brian Thompson as lighting designer. Jules Fisher and Paul Marantz, two well-known lighting designers, created the dance floor environment and created moveable theatrical sets and lights using the copious existing TV lighting circuits and fly system, which allowed for a dynamic, constantly-changing, environment. Where formerly all clubs had been very dark, at Studio 54 the crowd could be lit brightly.
Within a month of opening, the New York State Liquor Authority raided Studio 54 for selling liquor without a license, and closed it. The owners of the nightclub said the incident was a "misunderstanding". The next night the club reopened, serving fruit juice and soda instead of liquor. Prior to the raid, the nightclub had been using daily "caterers' permits", which enabled the nightclub to serve alcohol but were intended for weddings or political events.The State had denied the daily permit for the night and raided the nightclub. The nightclub had been using these permits while waiting for its liquor license to be processed.
Event planner Robert Isabell had four tons of glitter dumped in a four-inch layer on the floor of Studio 54 for a New Year's Eve party, which owner Ian Schrager described as like "standing on stardust" and left glitter that could be found months later in their clothing and homes.
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Actor Al Corley was a doorman during the late 1970s.
The band Chic wrote a song in 1978, "Le Freak", after being refused entry to the club on New Year's Eve 1977, despite being invited by Grace Jones.
In December 1978, Rubell was quoted in the New York newspapers as saying that Studio 54 had made $7 million in its first year and that "only the Mafia made more money". This got the attention of the IRS. Shortly thereafter the nightclub was raided and Rubell and Schrager were arrested for skimming $2.5 million.
Studio 54 closed with a final party in February 1980 when Diana Ross and Liza Minnelli serenaded Rubell and Schrager. Ryan O'Neal, Farrah Fawcett, Mariel Hemingway, Jocelyn Wildenstein, Richard Gere, Gia Carangi, Jack Nicholson, Reggie Jackson, and Sylvester Stallone were among the guests that night.Schrager and Rubell pleaded guilty to tax evasion and spent 13 months in prison.
On January 17, 2017, Schrager received a presidential pardon from President Barack Obama.
In 1981, Rubell and Schrager sold the building but opted to keep a lease. Later that year, the building was sold to Mark Fleischman with Rubell and Schrager staying on as consultants for six months afterward. [ citation needed ] Mark Fleischman published his memoir Inside Studio 54 in October 2017; many details of his years as owner are detailed as well as his experience buying the club from Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell while they were incarcerated.
Famed New York City doorman Haoui Montaug worked as a doorman at Studio 54.Paul Heyman was a photographer, producer, and promoter at the club in the mid 1980s.
From 1981 to April 1986, Studio 54 was under the ownership of Mark Fleischman. In April 1989, The Ritz nightclub, which had previously operated at 11th Street and Third Avenue from 1980 to 1987, moved into the former Studio 54 under the name The New Ritz. In 1990, the club changed the name back to that of its former location, The Ritz. The new owners, CAT Entertainment Corp operated the club primarily as a venue for new wave, punk, Eurodisco, and heavy metal artists and also offered it as a public venue available for rent.
In 1993, CAT Entertainment was acquired by Cabaret Royale Corporation, a nightclub operator based in Dallas. CAT Entertainment completed a renovation of the nightclub earlier abandoned because of a lack of funds, and resurrected both the nightclub and the Studio 54 trademark, which had never been properly registered by any of the prior owners or operators.The newly remodeled nightclub was operated as "Cabaret Royale at Studio 54" by CAT Entertainment until early 1995. The Pilevsky interests which owned the theater itself and the adjacent office building had several years earlier granted a mortgage on the properties to the Bank of Tokyo and, in an effort to resolve a large unpaid indebtedness of Pilevsky to the bank and to forestall foreclosure, a trustee had been appointed by Pilevsky and the bank and granted the right to sell those and numerous other properties owned by Pilevsky.
In late 1994, Allied Partners acquired the Studio 54 properties and, after protracted litigation, CAT Entertainment lost its lease on the nightclub and ceased operations.
In 1994, Allied Partners bought the building for $5.5 million. They restored much of the architectural detail that had been painted black or covered with plywood by Schrager and Rubell. The nightclub reopened with a live concert by disco stars Gloria Gaynor, Vicki Sue Robinson, and Sister Sledge. The building again went into bankruptcy in 1996 and Allied announced plans to demolish it and replace it with Cyberdrome, a virtual reality gaming venue, however, the project was never completed.
In July 1998, the collapse of a construction hoist blocked access to the Henry Miller Theatre on 43rd Street, where the successful revival of the Broadway musical Cabaret was playing.To keep the show accessible, the Roundabout Theatre Company agreed to move the performance to Studio 54. Roundabout later bought the building in 2003 from Allied for $22.5 million, and Cabaret played until 2004.
The second floor of the theater was used as a nightclub (on weeks when plays were not being staged) under the name Upstairs at Studio 54. The club was operated by Noel Ashman and Josh Hadar who was one of the Allied partners. Upstairs at Studio 54 performers included Mark Ronson, Samantha Ronson, Gloria Estefan, Jody Watley, and Newsical .
The building, which is still frequently referred to as the Studio 54 building, houses a variety of tenants, among them a theater venue, offices, and an educational facility called Mandl School, the College of Allied Health. This building also houses Olivtree Securities LLC. In 1965, the building housed Scepter Records's offices, warehouse space and a recording studio, where The Velvet Underground & Nico album was recorded in April 1966.
In the late 1970s, Studio 54 was one of the best-known nightclubs in the world, and it played a formative role in the growth of disco music and nightclub culture in general. Several franchises, notably in Las Vegas, have sprung up around the country.Additionally, multiple works of art, entertainment, and media refer to or are associated with the nightclub. Examples include:
Faith Prince is an American actress and singer, best known for her work on Broadway in musical theatre. She won the Tony Award as Best Actress in Guys and Dolls in 1992, and received three other Tony nominations.
Playbill is a monthly U.S. magazine for theatregoers. Although there is a subscription issue available for home delivery, most copies of Playbill are printed for particular productions and distributed at the door as the show's program.
Steve Rubell was an American entrepreneur and co-owner of the legendary New York disco Studio 54.
The Mudd Club was a nightclub in the TriBeCa area of New York City, USA, that operated from 1978 to 1983 as a venue for underground music and counterculture events. It was located at 77 White Street in downtown Manhattan and was opened by Steve Mass, art curator Diego Cortez and downtown punk scene figure Anya Phillips.
The Ed Sullivan Theater is a theater located at 1697–1699 Broadway, between West 53rd and West 54th, in the Theater District in Manhattan, New York City. The theater has been used as a venue for live and taped CBS broadcasts since 1936.
Ian Schrager is an American entrepreneur, hotelier and real estate developer, often associated with co-creating the Boutique Hotel category of accommodation. Originally, he gained fame as co-owner and co-founder of Studio 54.
Xenon was a popular New York City nightclub. Xenon was a popular disco in Manhattan in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was located at 124 West 43rd St in the former Henry Miller Theater which prior to Xenon had been renamed Avon-at-the-Hudson and was operating as a porn house. Xenon was the only nightclub popular enough to compete with Studio 54. The site is now the Stephen Sondheim Theater.
Stephen Sondheim Theatre, formerly Henry Miller's Theatre, is a Broadway theatre operated by Roundabout Theatre Company, located at 124 West 43rd Street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue, in Manhattan's Theater District.
The Palladium was a movie theatre, concert hall, and finally nightclub in New York City. It was located on the south side of East 14th Street, between Irving Place and Third Avenue.
Christine Andreas is an American Broadway actress and singer.
Nicky Siano is a former resident DJ at Studio 54.
Richie Kaczor was among the earliest DJs during Disco's infancy in the 1970s.
The Hudson Theatre is a Broadway theater located at 139–141 West 44th Street, between Times Square and 6th Avenue, New York City. Opened in 1903, it became a leading theatrical venue before also serving in later years as a network radio and television studio, a night club, a movie theater, and a corporate event space.
The Olympia Theatre, also known as Hammerstein's Olympia, was a theatre complex built by impresario Oscar Hammerstein I in Longacre Square, New York City, opening in 1895. It consisted of a theatre, a music hall, a concert hall, and a roof garden. It was later named the New York Theatre and Loew's New York.
A Night at Studio 54 is a compilation album issued by Casablanca Records in June 1979, featuring disco music played frequently at New York City's famous nightclub Studio 54. Conceived by the label and direct response television company I&M Marketing with the co-operation from Studio 54 founders Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, A Night at Studio 54 was also a double album, with its music segued between tracks by disc jockeys Marc Paul Simon and Roy Thode for continuous playing, reminiscent of the nightclub itself. The album was originally going to contain crowd noise recorded at the club too, but the idea was dropped before release as it brought a decrease in sound quality.
Sally Lee Mayes is an American actress and cabaret and concert singer.
Randy Weiner is an American playwright, producer and theater and nightclub owner. Weiner co-wrote the Off-Broadway musical The Donkey Show and, as one-third of EMURSIVE, produced the Drama Desk Award winning New York premiere of Punchdrunk's Sleep No More. He is co-owner of NYC "theater of varieties" The Box and The Box Soho.
Haoui Montaug was a doorman of the New York City nightclubs Hurrah, Danceteria, Studio 54 and the Palladium. Montaug also ran a roving cabaret revue called "No Entiendes", which showcased a young Madonna and early performances by the Beastie Boys.
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