214 West 42nd StreetNew York, NY
scroll down to view more
President, The New 42nd Street
Architectural Historian, Columbia University
President, Disney Theatrical/Producer
For tickets & showtimes,visit www.broadway.org
The New Amsterdam was the first theater designed by Herts & Tallant, who subsequently became great theater architects of the early twentieth century.
The partners met in Paris while studying at the École des Beaux-Arts. The New Amsterdam is a rare example of the art nouveau style in New York and one of the greatest examples of it in the country. The theater was built for producers Marc Klaw and A. L. Erlanger and became the home of the Ziegfeld Follies. At the producers’ request, the site incorporated two performing spaces with a ten-story office tower to house their varied theatrical interests. The theater originally featured a rooftop theater and Ziegfeld presented his Midnight Frolic, a nightclub revue, there. Very popular in its time, it afforded a spectacular view of New York. The interior of the theater was filled with oversized curvilinear designs of fruits, flowers, and vines that made the large theater feel more intimate. The architects also incorporated many innovative features including a sophisticated ventilation system for heating and cooling and a vacuum cleaning system. By 1937 the New Amsterdam was the last legitimate theater on 42nd Street. It later became a movie theater and fell into disrepair. In 1992, under the aegis of the New 42nd Street, a nonprofit organization responsible for the revitalization of theaters, the New Amsterdam attracted the attention of Michael Eisner, then the CEO of Disney, who purchased the theater and hired Hugh Hardy to restore it to its original state. It reopened in 1997 with The Lion King and what was once the rooftop theater now houses the offices of Disney Theatrical.
Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University
Born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 1869, Hugh Tallant received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Harvard University.
He attended the École des Beaux-Arts on Harvard's Kirkland Fellowship, where he won the 1896 Grande Médaille d'Honneur for graduating first in the class, and met his future partner, Henry B. Herts. They opened offices in Paris and New York in 1900. Tallant focused on the architecture and decorative design of their projects. Herts & Tallant are also known for the design of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. After the partnership dissolved in 1911, Tallant became a member of Lord, Hewlett & Tallant until 1916. He served as an army captain in World War I and worked on his own after the war, retiring to Savannah in the 1930s.
Henry B. Herts was known as a technical innovator and inventive designer. Born in New York, he was the son of Henry B. Herts of the Herts Brothers firm of decorators. He originally went to City College but left before graduation to work in the office of architect Bruce Price. Herts eventually graduated from Columbia University in 1893 then traveled to Europe to study architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts and the universities of Rome and Heidelberg.
Herts is best known for his partnership with Hugh Tallant. Although, Herts & Tallant were well-known theater architects, the partnership dissolved in 1912, and Herts continued designing with his assistant Herbert J. Krapp and on his own. Herts pioneered the use of steel cantilevers to eliminate the problem of blocked sightlines from pillars supporting the balcony. He also served as architect for the Playground Commission of New York City and helped improve fire codes.
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
back to top