Proctor's 5th Ave. Theatre

1185 Broadway at 5th / New York City

"...the Fifth Avenue Theatre
(located, illogically, at Broadway and Twenty-eighth Street.)"

No Applause, Just Throw Money by D. Travis Stewart

Built in 1868, it was managed by Augustin Daly in the mid-1870s.
In 1877, it became the first air-conditioned theatre in the world.
In 1879, it presented the world premiere of The Pirates of Penzance
by Gilbert and Sullivan and the New York premiere of H.M.S. Pinafore,
followed by other Gilbert and Sullivan operas throughout the 1880s.

- 5th Ave. Theatre; 1899 -

The theatre continued to present both plays and musicals through the end of the century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the theatre presented English classics and then
vaudeville (through Keith & Proctor) and later films, as well as plays and musicals.

It was demolished in 1939.

- Proscenium Arch -

July 18, 1909 / New York Times:

"Louise Dresser, the singing comedienne, will head the bill at Keith & Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theatre this week.
She will appear in a budget of new songs. Others on the list are Al Jolson in an original singing, dancing and talking
black face act; Frank Nelson and company in a sketch by Sewll Collins entitled "Thirty Dollars"; the Klein family of
singers and bicyclists; the Phantastic Phantoms in acrobatic and dancing feats; Ancilotti and his mind-reading dogs,
Nonette, the violinise, and the Van der Koors in burlesque magic."

- Stairs and Balcony -

(from Much Ado About Me by Fred Allen:

"The 5th Avenue Theatre was on Broadway at Twenty-eighth Street.
Why a theatre on Broadway should be called the 5th Avenue is one
of the myriad things that didn't make sense in show business.

The Fifth Avenue played split weeks and was a 'show house.'
New acts and other acts attempting to get better booking or
more money 'showed' their acts there at cut salaries.
The Keith bookers attended the shows and, at weekly meetings,
graded the acts, determining their future salaries
and what dates could be arranged for them."

Programs available from this theatre:

  • Romeo and Juliet (1877)
  • Refined Vaudeville program (1901)
  • Refined Vaudeville program (1909)

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