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Architectural Historian, Columbia University
Jeffrey Eric Jenkins
Marc Bryan Brown
The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, originally named the Globe after Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, was built for Charles Dillingham, one of Broadway’s most successful producers of musical comedies.
His career spanned almost forty years and over 200 productions including Apple Blossoms, Fred and Adele Astaire’s first American musical. Best known for their Beaux-Arts buildings such as the New York Public Library, Carrère & Hastings designed this theater, the only one that survives. Dillingham wanted his theater to be luxurious for his patrons and efficient for his stars, and reflect his importance in the theater industry. It originally had a sliding roof—a large oval panel that opened when the weather permitted. Theatrical masks adorn the Beaux-Arts facade and the fan-shaped auditorium has excellent sight lines and acoustical properties. A victim of the Depression, the theater was turned into a movie house in 1932. In 1958, it reopened as a legitimate theater and was renamed the Lunt-Fontanne after Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, the husband and wife acting team who also starred in the theater’s opening production of The Visit. Now under the ownership of the Nederlander Organization, the theater has been home to The Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid among many other stellar productions.
The New York Public Library Archives, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, Tilden Foundations
John Merven Carrère was born in Rio de Janeiro and educated at the Institute Breitenstein in Switzerland and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
He met his longtime design partner, Thomas Hastings, at the École des Beaux-Arts. After graduating in 1882, Carrère moved to the United States and started working with the New York architecture firm McKim, Mead & White. In 1886 Carrère and Hastings started their own firm. They were often inspired by and borrowed from late French Baroque and American Georgian sources. The firm is best known for its design of the New York Public Library, the office buildings for the United States Senate and House of Representatives, and the Carnegie Institution. Carrère was also interested in city planning and helped create plans for Cleveland, Baltimore, and Atlantic City. Tragically, Carrère died in an automobile accident only two months before the New York Public Library's dedication.
Born in New York City, Thomas Hastings was the son of a prominent Presbyterian minister, Dr. Thomas Samuel Hastings. He started at Columbia University before completing his education at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
He graduated in 1882, returned to New York City, and joined the famous architectural firm McKim, Mead & White. In 1886 Hastings and John Carrère left the firm to start their own, which is best known for the design of the New York Public Library. After Carrère's early death in 1911, Hastings continued work under the firm’s name. He designed the Tomb of the Unknowns in the Arlington National Cemetery and the Frick Collection.
Vandamm Studio © Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Friedman-Abeles © The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
NY Daily News via Getty Images
NBC NewsWire via Getty Images
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