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American Airlines Theatre (New York, USA)

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American Airlines Theatre

American Airlines Theatre

The American Airlines Theatre, originally the Selwyn Theatre, is a historic Italian Renaissance style Broadway theatre in New York City built in 1918. It was designed by George Keister and built by the Selwyn brothers. Used for musicals and other dramatic performances it was eventually converted for film.

It was used briefly as a visitor's center but stood vacant for years until a 1997 renovation and restoration. It is located at 227 West 42nd Street.

The venue initially hosted major musical and dramatic productions, including Cole Porter's Wake Up and Dream in 1929, and Three's a Crowd starring Clifton Webb in 1930–31,[4] but eventually became a cinema. In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s the theatre featured double features of standard Hollywood films. Beginning in the 1960s, until the theatre closed, the theatre featured grindhouse programs. It would return to legitimate theater several times over the next six decades, but eventually fell into disrepair. It was used briefly in the early 1990s as a home for the Times Square Visitors Center and for a limited production of Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape, but for the most part, stood vacant.

The City and State of New York took possession of the Selwyn in 1990. In 1992, it was one of six 42nd Street theatres to fall under the protection of the New 42nd Street organization. The Roundabout Theatre Company committed to renovating the Selwyn in 1997. It was restored to its former grandeur (albeit now with just 740 seats). During the restoration, the Selwyn office building (adjacent to the auditorium) collapsed on December 30, 1997, just before the Times Square Ball drop. The Selwyn was renamed after its principal sponsor, American Airlines, in March 2000, and the theater reopened on June 30, 2000. It serves as the home of the Roundabout and houses its major dramatic productions.

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