Hayes Theater

The Hayes Theater (formerly the Little Theatre, New York Times Hall, Winthrop Ames Theatre, and Helen Hayes Theatre) is a Broadway theater at 240 West 44th Street in the Theater District of Midtown Manhattan in New York City. Named for actress Helen Hayes, the venue is operated by Second Stage Theater. It is the smallest Broadway theater, with 597 seats across two levels. The theater was constructed in 1912 for impresario Winthrop Ames and designed by Ingalls & Hoffman in a neo-Georgian style. The original single-level, 299-seat configuration was modified in 1920, when Herbert J. Krapp added a balcony. The theater has served as a legitimate playhouse, a conference hall, and a broadcasting studio throughout its history.

Hayes Theater
Helen Hayes Theatre
Little Theatre
New York Times Hall
The Hayes Theater in 2022
The theater seen in 2022
Address240 West 44th Street
Manhattan, New York City
United States
Coordinates40°45′28″N 73°59′16″W
OwnerSecond Stage Theater
ProductionThe Thanksgiving Play
OpenedMarch 12, 1912
Years active1912–1941, 1963–1965, 1974–present
ArchitectHarry Creighton Ingalls
DesignatedNovember 17, 1987[1]
Reference no.1346[1]
Designated entityFacade
DesignatedNovember 17, 1987[2]
Reference no.1347[2]
Designated entityLobby (foyer and emergency-exit space), auditorium interior

The facade and parts of the theater's interior are New York City landmarks. The facade is made largely of red brick. The main entrance is through an arch on the eastern portion of the ground-floor; the rest of the ground floor is taken up by emergency exits, shielded by marquee. The main entrance connects to a box-office lobby, as well as a foyer with a vaulted ceiling and staircases. The auditorium is decorated with ornamental plasterwork, with Adam-style design elements; it has a sloped orchestra level, one balcony level, and a flat ceiling. There are other spaces throughout the theater, including lounges.

Ames had intended for the Little Theatre to show new plays, but lack of profits led him to expand the theater within a decade of its opening. Ames leased the theater to Oliver Morosco in 1919 and to John Golden in 1922. The New York Times bought the theater in 1931 with plans to raze it, but the Little continued hosting plays until 1941, when it was converted into a conference hall. The theater became an ABC broadcasting studio in 1951. The Little briefly hosted legitimate shows from 1963 to 1965, when it became a Westinghouse studio, taping shows such as the Merv Griffin Show. The Little again became a legitimate theater in 1977, and it was then sold to Martin Markinson and Donald Tick, who renamed the theater for Helen Hayes in 1983. Second Stage bought the theater in 2015 and reopened it in 2018, removing Hayes's first name from the theater.

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Hayes Theater, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.