Named New York‘s Best Theater for Kids by New York Magazine, the New Victory Theater truly is a New York treasure. Each season the non-profit New Vic attracts people of all ages to its a11 professional productions of theater, dance, music, puppetry, new vaudeville and circus arts from around the world.
The December 11, 1995 opening and dedication of The New Victory – New York‘s oldest active theater – has marked a new era for 42nd Street.
For more than one hundred years, the theater has symbolized, and survived, the mercurial fortunes of this fabled street. Now as before, its reemergence – this time as a theater for young audiences – signals the next and newest wave of popular entertainment on the block.
Built as a legitimate theater in 1900 by Oscar Hammerstein, as the Theatre Republic, it helped establish 42nd Street as the City‘s new theater district. In his own words, Hammerstein described it as the perfect parlor theater...a drawing room of the drama dedicated to all that is best in dramatic and lyric art. Hammerstein‘s architects, J.B. McElfatrick and Sons, designed a Venetian facade with a grand exterior staircase on the front sidewalk, leading to the first of two balconies, and illuminated by cast and wrought iron lamps. Inside, the elaborately decorated interior was crowned by a large dome with plaster angels perched on its rim. The Republic‘s opening production, Sag Harbor, starred Lionel Barrymore.
For the past 100 years, Oscar Hammerstein‘s theater has remained a catalyst for change on 42nd Street. Under the direction of The New 42nd Street, The New Victory Theater launched 42nd Street as a premier destination, once again, for all of New York‘s citizens and visitors.