Pick up a copy of the NY Times today (Saturday, March 6.)
On the op-ed page (last page of the front section in the Chicago national edition.) there is a lovely illustrated tale of a young man and his first experience at the beautiful Lyceum Theatre in NYC. It is worth the $1.50, if you don’t already subscribe.
A little follow-up from a dear friend who e-mailed me:
There's a similar trap door in the ceiling of the Shubert Theatre, the top floor of which originally housed Sam Shubert's apartment and offices. I know, because I worked for many years with my dear friend, designer George Corrin, Jr., who was hired to restore those premises to their 1913 glory, in the process turning much of what had been the former apartment into a new reception area and conference, award and archive rooms, etc., all accomplished between 1989-91. When he first undertook the project, George had me meet him there, and he gave me the grand tour, at which time I also met the Shubert Organization's Chairman, Gerald Schonfeld, who could be quite imposing, but was actually very nice.
The Shubert Organization was still using the office spaces as such, but most of what had formerly been Sam Shubert's private apartment had been relegated to storage space - but what storage!! Along with rows of filing cabinets and boxes containing old paperwork, programs, posters, and contracts, etc., you could still see remnants of its former glory. George pointed out to me the trap door, which actually is placed in what had been Sam Shubert's bedroom. He even had a rather large ballroom, in the apartment, where he'd once held lavish parties. Over the office area was a large, central skylight that had been blacked out with paint during WWII, and which George also planned to restore as part of the project.
While touring the ballroom, George instructed me to look closely at what I'd assumed was faded, but very elaborate, early 20th Century wall-paper. Turns out that it was actually a very intricate 11-color hand stenciling, done by the many scenic artists in their employ whom Sam Shubert had used to decorate the apartment upon completion!
The restoration took almost 3 full years to complete, during which time I'd occasionally work on it, assisting an ancient theatrical Master Carpenter (then in his 80's, and also named George), who'd been brought out of retirement to personally oversee the installation of the elaborate woodworking which George had designed, using whatever info he could glean of the original. He even ordered recreations of turn-of-the century-hardware, using a Sears catalogue from the period, and the carpet mill which had woven the original 1913 carpeting, and which was still in business, was able to recreate those period patterns from swatches that my friend George C was able to either find in storage or salvage from remaining remnants found there.
Upon completion of the project, my friend presented all of those involved with a bound copy of many of his renderings, floor plans and working drawings. Attached, you'll find pdf copies of four of those - his cover piece, as well a floorplan and two of his interior renderings.
BACK TO ME:
My wife and I went to see Patti Lupone and Many Patinkin in their duo show last night at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago. It was...well, it was Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin. What else need be said? Their duo from Carousel was a Cliff's Notes of the entire show.
Anyway what gave my heart a thrill was there were about 6 late high school young women or maybe first or second year in college sitting behind us, and as the lights went down, one of them said, "I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE THIS!"