Monday, June 25, 2012

The Venue: Marquis Theatre Returns 'Evita' to Broadway

The new marquee for the Marquis Theatre along 46th Street which lead
to the street level box office and escalators to the auditorium on the
third floor.
The original marquee which remains along Broadway.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
The Marquis Theatre is the youngest of the official Broadway theatres having one of the best locations in the theatre district with one of the most comfortable auditoriums. Opened in 1986 as part of the massive Marriott Marquis hotel, the theatre was included in the hotel design as a concession for the destruction of five theatres that occupied the site: the original Helen Hayes, Morosco, Bijou, Astor and the Gaiety.

The theatre boasts some of the most state-of-the-art backstage facilities and the simple and sleek auditorium holds seats for over 1,600 patrons on two levels. The venue is home to mainly big budget musicals.

Despite being located on Broadway, the theatre’s marquee along Times Square is dwarfed by the billboards above it. Formerly the box office and theatre entrance faced Broadway and were designed in such an unremarkable way that patrons could not find either or walked by them.

A new box office and grander marquee was constructed along the 46th Street side of the Marriott Marquis hotel a couple of years ago. At this point a pedestrian breezeway runs under the hotel and connects to 45th Street. This breezeway now serves as the main entryway from street level to the theatre which is on the hotel’s third level and accessed by two sets of escalators in the ground floor lobby.
(story continued below)

Productions at the Marquis uses the pedestrian breezeway for advertising.
The breezeway runs beneath the Marriott Marquis and connects
45th and 46th Streets mid-block.
The entrance to the Marquis on the Mariott Marquis hotel's third level.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
Though glass walls outline the true lobby of the Marquis, the entire floor space on the hotel’s third level feels like an extension of the lobby and provides one of the largest spaces for a theatre crowd to congregate before show or at intermission without having to leave the building. Within this lobby, patrons can witness 12 glass elevators as they rise through the hotel’s 45-story atrium. Across from the theatre entrance at opposite corners are the restrooms on two levels.

The theater lobby itself boasts two grand circular stairways and matching curving accessible walkways that bookend a central wide stairway where at the bottom is the theatre bar flanked by the two entrances into the auditorium giving the feel of a cruise ship atrium. Above the bar are posters of some of the productions to have played the venue.

The seating layout on both levels is comprised of a center, left and right section accessed by two center aisles and two side aisles. Avoid seats at the extreme sides which can have limited views of the stage. Click HERE for seating chart.

The Marquis is currently home to the first revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Evita’ (2012) on Broadway. Previous productions include the ‘9 To 5’ (2009) musical stage adaptation of the hit Dolly Parton film; ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ (2006); Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Woman in White’ (2005); revival of ‘Annie Get You Gun’ (1999) starring Bernadette Peter; ‘Victor/Victoria’ (1995) starring Julie Andrews; and revival of ‘Damn Yankees’ (1994). The longest running tenant is ‘Me and My Girl’ (1986) which was the first show to open at the Marquis. That production opened on August 1986 and closed in December 1989 for a run of 1,420 performances.

In contrast the Marquis has also been home to some notable bombs in Broadway history: 'Nick & Nora' (1991) a musical based on "The Thin Man" characters which lasted for nine performances; 'Shogun, The Musical' (1990) based on James Clavell's sprawling novel closed after 72 performances; and Paul Simon's first foray in scoring a musical called 'The Capeman' (1998) which starred Marc Anthony that played only 68 performances.

One of two circular stairways leading to the mezzanine level.
A wide central staircase fronts the theatre bar above which is a display
of productions to have played the Marquis.
One of two sets of doors into the orchestra level of the auditorium.
One of the curving stairways viewed from the mezzanine lobby.
The theatre rests on the Marriott Marquis hotel's third level. From
this view is scene the two theatre's orchestra and mezzanine entrance/exit.
The sprawling third level serves as an extension of the Marquis theatre
lobby providing extra space to lounge before show or at intermission
without having to step outside. At right is the elevator core where twelve
glass elevators whisk hotel guests through the 45-story atrium.
Two sets of escalators whisk patrons from the hotel's ground lobby to
the theatre level.
In fron are the escalators accessed that lead to the theatre level.
Behind the wall of advertising is the current theatre box office.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
The Marquis Theatre stage and the 'Evita' set during a lighting master
class conducted at the venue.
(photo: Live Design)
The interior of the Marquis box office.
(photo: JRM Construction Management)
Marquis Theatre auditorium.
(photo: BroadwayWorld)


Tracey Wallace said...

Great article on the Marquis, well written and good pics. We saw Evita there when we went to the U.S last year. I'm piecing together a travel journal of our trip and there were a few "memory holes" that your blog helped me to "recover"

Thank you
Tracey from Queensland, Australia.

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