254 West 42nd Street / NYC
Wallack’s Theatre was opened on December 5th, 1904 by Oscar Hammerstein I.
It was Hammerstein’s 8th theatre and was originally known as the "Lew Fields Theatre",
a name Hammerstein gave it in recognition of his favourite comedian.
Built by J.M. McElfatrick and Co., it was a small theatre even during its time. With only 770 seats
it was eventually had to have an additional dressing room area built on the east of the theatre.
It Happened in Nordland was the successful opening production at the "Lew Fields' Theatre".
Starring Lew Fields and with music by Victor Herbert, the show ran for from December 5, 1904 to
April 29, 1905 and again from August 1, 1905 to November 25, 1905 for a total of 254 performances
- a high number in those days - but was the only production to run under the Fields name.
Hammerstein had lost control of the theatre and following the opening show it was turned over to
James K. Hackett. After Hackett’s management, it went on to be owned by William B. Harris in 1911 and
H. H. Frazee in 1920. Following Frazee’s ownership and a lack of success, the theatre was reopened
in 1924 by John Cort. He renamed the theatre “Wallack's” in honor of the original 19th-century playhouse
built by J. Lester Wallack at Broadway and 30th St. which had been razed for office buildings in 1915.
John Cort managed the theatre and kept it in business until the 1930’s, when the Great Depression
forced Wallack's to become a movie house. It underwent renovation and was renamed the Anco.
In the late 1980’s, the theatre was stripped to its bare brick foundation to rebuild the location for retail areas.
Programs available from this theatre:
Forget Me Not (1881)
Show Girl (1902)