254 West 54th StreetNew York, NY
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Architectural Historian, Columbia University
Artistic Director, Roundabout Theatre Company
William Ivey Long
Built by Fortune Gallo as the Gallo Opera House, it was intended to rival the Metropolitan Opera House; its lavish decorations include the 54th Street entrance, which is embellished with mirror, marble, and eighteenth-century plaster ornamentation.
The theater itself is actually located on 53rd Street, which creates a very long lobby entrance to 54th Street. It has been used for many types of productions: opera, theater, and television. In 1942, CBS purchased the space for the taping of many renowned television shows including Captain Kangaroo, What’s My Line?, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. CBS sold the space in the late 1970s, and the new owners transformed the space into the most legendary nightclub of the disco era, Studio 54. The club closed in 1986 and remained vacant until 1998, when the Roundabout Theatre Company moved its production of Cabaret into the theater. Today, it is the company’s permanent home.
Eugene DeRosa was born in Italy in 1894 and emigrated to New York City as a child. He began practicing architecture in 1918 and trained in Charles Lamb's office. He formed the firm DeRosa & Pereira in 1919.
Highly successful throughout the Roaring Twenties, the firm specialized in theaters and movie houses. However, the business was largely destroyed by the collapse of the theater market during the Depression. DeRosa moved to London and Naples during the 1930s. By 1944, DeRosa attempted to resurrect his career but died soon after the end of World War II.
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