Broadway's 41st theater will be the Hudson Theatre

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2015 4:59 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway will soon have a new place to play — its 41st theater.

The Ambassador Theatre Group said Wednesday it will reopen and operate Broadway's Hudson Theatre, slated to happen by the 2016-2017 Broadway season. It comes as producers enjoy record profits and grumble about a lack of Broadway stages.

It's the second Broadway theater for the Ambassador Theatre Group, which bought The Lyric Theatre in 2013. The company, co-founded by Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, has 46 venues in Britain, the United States and Australia.

The group said it will spend millions "restoring the landmark venue to its former glory as a Broadway playhouse." In a statement, it said: "The venue will receive significant front-of-house improvements to better serve its patrons including all new state-of-the-art seating."

It will have just under 1,000 seats, making it one of the smaller theaters on Broadway but above the 500-seat requirement for inclusion as a Broadway theater and for Tony Awards.

The Hudson sits just off Times Square — east of Broadway on 44th Street. The theater opened in 1903 with a production of "Cousin Kate" starring Ethel Barrymore. It was built by producer Henry B. Harris, who died aboard the Titanic.

It was lost to foreclosure in 1933 and sold at auction for $100,000.

The Hudson changed hands many times and was a studio for CBS radio. It was the home for the first nationwide broadcast of "The Tonight Show" starring Steve Allen. It later became a house for burlesque and then a movie house in 1968.

In recent years, the theater has been operated by the Millennium Hotels and Resorts and was an elegant special events space. The building was granted landmark status in 1987.