213 West 42nd StreetNew York, NY
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President, The New 42nd Street
C.O.O. Lyric Theatre, LLC, General Manager
The largest and newest theater on Broadway, the Lyric was built in 1997 on the site of the former Apollo and original Lyric theatres and combined architectural elements from both to create a pastiche of old and new.
The Lyric and the Apollo (built in 1903 and 1920 respectively) were demolished in 1996 but major architectural elements were protected under their landmark status. The facades from the original Lyric, and the proscenium arch, lobby, and ceiling domes from the Apollo were painstakingly removed, stored, and incorporated into the new theater. The historic dome was set within a new dome and the sidewalls, designed with pilasters and scalloped panels, were reminiscent of the theaters’ original architecture. Newly commissioned murals with a Greek mythological theme that recalls the Apollo’s original concept form a frieze over the side boxes. The new theater was created to present spectacles and large-scale productions such as Ragtime, the 1998 opening show.
John Belle was born in Cardiff, Wales. He graduated from the Architectural Association of London.
Belle moved to the United States in 1959 and worked with architects Jose Luis Sert and Victor Gruen before founding the New York firm Beyer Blinder Belle. Three of his projects—Ellis Island, Grand Central Terminal, and the Delaware Aqueduct—have won the prestigious Presidential Design Award, the nation's highest design award for public architecture. Belle continues to focus on projects in urban sites and highly visible public architecture. A popular lecturer both in the United States and abroad, Belle also served a term as a member of the Commission of Fine Arts in Washington, DC. Belle still practices with Beyer Blinder Belle.
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