Bowery Theatre

New York Theatre, American Theatre, Bowery, Thalia Theatre, Fay's Bowery Theatre


A playhouse on the Bowery in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City. Although it was founded by rich families to compete with the upscale Park Theatre, the Bowery saw its most successful period under the populist, pro-American management of Thomas Hamblin in the 1830s and 1840s. By the 1850s, the theatre came to cater to immigrant groups such as the Irish, Germans, and Chinese. It burned down four times in 17 years, a fire in 1929 destroying it for good.The Bowery Theatre was built in 1826 and soon became a theater for the working man. Walt Whitman described the theater as "packed from ceiling to pit with its audience, mainly of alert, well-dressed, full-blooded young and middle aged men, the best average of American-born mechanics".Although the theatre's name changed several times (New York Theatre (1826) Bowery Theatre (1828) American Theatre, Bowery (c1840) Thalia Theatre (1879) Fay's Bowery Theatre (1929)), it was generally referred to as the "Bowery Theatre".

Opened, Oct 22, 1826
Opened, Aug 4, 1845
Burned, June 5, 1929

Related People
Bowery Boys,The Bowery Boys were known to frequent theaters in New York City. Richard Butsch in The Making Of American Audiences notes, "they brought the street into the theater, rather than shaping the theater into an arena of the public sphere". The Bowery Theatre, in particular, was a favorite among the Bowery Boys. Plays even began to appear in theaters frequented by the Bowery Boys with shows about Bowery Boys themselves, particularly, a character named Moses who many Bowery Boys deemed as "the real thing". It was not uncommon for men to drink, smoke, and meet with prostitutes in the theater. The Bowery Boys dominated the theater in the early 19th century and theater was considered to be a "male club"