On Tuesday, April 6, 2010 I was able to take a look inside the New Amsterdam Theater on 42nd St. Mary Poppins is the headliner, but this theater has headlined numerous shows and has an enriching history & haunted tales.
A group of youth from the program “Becoming Producers” from the AllStars Project took a trip down the street, from their center between 10th & 11th Ave. to the New Amsterdam Theater to get an inside feel on what it takes to produce Disney Broadway!
The trip began with a tour of the theater and the tales of the rich history of the place and the unique architectural design of the place. It was amazing to say the least! VP of Operations, Dana Amendola was our tour guide. He was great! Funny, entertaining, and sure knew his knowledge on this wonderful theater’s history.
First opened in 1903, this 107 year old theater has come far from it’s beginning, but amazingly still standing with many of the original pieces from the 1900’s. Home to the Ziefeld Follies the theater is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Olive Thomas former Follie. I found a great NY1 News piece on it…
When you first enter the theater’s hallway where the Ushers stand to ask for your tickets you see 8 photographs of some of the greatest entertainers to strut the theater’s stage. Folks like Bert Williams, Doris Eaton, and Mr.Ziegfeld himself. Mr. Amendola gave us some back story information on each of the people on the wall.
For any Theater Performer, Goer, or those who have love & appreciation for it; The Amsterdam Theater is a must go! This was indeed a visually and mentally stimulating trip. Since Mid Summer Night’s Dream was the first play put on at the New Amsterdam theater, the design of the space is that of the woods or a forest. Carvings of squirrels, tree’s and deep autumn colors makes you feel like you’re in a Mid Summer Night’s Dream.
After our tour, we took the elevator upstairs to the Disney offices, and sat down with Michele Steckler- Senior Vice President/Senior Producer for Disney Theatrical Group. Ms. Steckler told us about her career in theater and how her path led her to a job at Disney Theatrical. She touched upon some of the responsibilities of a producer and some of the challenges Disney faces when figuring out the “right” formula to keep a long running show successful. We were able to ask her questions at the end and one of the things she said that stuck with me was: You gotta have some talent, a lot of Drive, and Luck definitely plays a part!
So Bravo & Thanks to Disney Theatrical for allowing us into your home and showing us the behind the scenes take on it.