The Martin Beck Theater survives today as one of the historic theaters that symbolize American theater for both New York and the nation. It was designed for Martin Beck, one of America’s great vaudeville producers, by G. Albert Lansburgh, a prominent theater designer who considered it his finest work. Beck and Lansburgh created an an unusual and exotic design based on Byzantine motifs, making the Beck architecturally unique among the Broadway theaters. Among its outstanding characteristics is its double-height stone-faced arcade with elaborately carved capitals.
For over half a century the Martin Beck has served as home to countless numbers of the plays through which the Broadway theater has come to personify American theater. Its presence helps visually to define the Broadway theater district, the largest and most famous concentration of legitimate stage theaters in the world.
Among the most notable design features of the interior are a triple-domed lobby with murals, and an auditorium with spiral-ribbed proscenium arch and fan vaults. Its exotic painted domed ceiling is the work of Albert Herter, a noted American muralist.
STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society