Casino Theatre

753 Seventh Ave. (W. 50th St.), New York, NY

Seats (approximate): 1025

George Keister (1923, 1931) and Joseph Babolnay (1931), architects. Built by Earl Carroll to stage revues. In 1930, he demolished it, bought the adjacent building for $4.5 million, and rebuilt it as a bigger theatre and movie palace--but the weekly running costs proved unsustainable. Foreclosure followed, and Ziegfeld acquired (and renamed) it. In 1933, it was a night club. By 1939, then owner Billy Rose had lost interest and closed the venue. Later replaced by Woolworth's, it was razed in 1990.

Built: 1922 Closed: 1939 Demolished: 1990

Theatre Names Named

Earl Carroll Theatre 1922

Earl Carroll Theatre 1931 Reopened August 27, 1931

Casino Theatre 1932 Opened May 19, 1932

French Casino Theatre 1933 Night Club

Casa Manana 1936

The Blue Kitten (Musical Comedy; 3 Acts; Book and Lyrics by Otto Harbach and William Cary Duncan. Based on the farce Le Chasseur de Chez Maxims by Gustave Quinson and Yves Mirande) Selwyn Theatre 13 January 1922; Earl Carroll Theatre 1 May 1922 (140 perfs)

Desire Under the Elms - 1924

Biography:  Earl Carroll

American showman, theatrical producer, and director, best known for his Earl Carroll's Vanities (1922-48), which were popular revues of songs, dances, and flamboyantly costumed ladies.

Famous for his slogan, "Through These Portals Pass the Most Beautiful Girls in the World."

In New York City he became successful as a songwriter (1912-17) and then as a producer and opened his first Earl Carroll Theatre in 1922; there and at a second Earl Carroll Theatre built in 1931 he produced 15 Vanities and two Sketch Book Reviews in the coming years.

In 1938 he built his restaurant (including a theatre) in Hollywood and put on 12 more Vanities.

Over the years he also produced or directed more than 60 Broadway and other plays and a few motion pictures.

He died in the crash of a commercial airliner.

The Plane crash

Earl Carroll

b. 16 September 1893, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 17 June 1948, Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, USA. A producer, director, author, and songwriter. In the '20s and early '30s, Carroll's glamorous revues, Featuring The Most Beautiful Girls In The World, rivalled other similar -although perhaps more up-market—productions such as the Ziegfeld Follies and George White's Scandals. Carroll was selling programmes in theatres when he was 10 years old, before working his way around the world while still in his teens. From 1912-17 he was a staff writer with the Feist music publishing company, and also contributed material to Broadway shows such as THE PASSING SHOW OF 1912, the ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1913, and PRETTY MISS SMITH (with composer Alfred Robyn) (1914). He wrote his first full scores for SO LONG LETTY (1916) and CANARY COTTAGE (1917). After serving as a pilot in World War II, Carroll worked with the composer Alfred Francis on THE LOVE MILL (1918), and then moved into management and production to such an extent that, in 1922, he was able to build his own Earl Carroll Theatre in New York. Between 1923 and 1932 (plus an extra version in 1940), he staged a series of ‘girlie’ revues under the title of the EARL CARROLL VANITIES, with the exception of 1929 and 1935 when the shows were presented as the EARL CARROLL SKETCHBOOK. They all had decent runs, but there were notable editions in 1929, when the show ran for 440 performances, and featured songs mostly by E.Y. ‘Yip’ Harburg and Jay Gorney, such as Kinda Cute, Like Me Less, Love Me More, and Crashing The Golden Gate; and in 1930, again with Harburg and Gorney's songs such as Ring Out The Blues and ‘I Came to Life’. In 1931, several of the numbers were written by Burton Lane and Harold Adamson, including Have A Heart, Goin To Town’, Love Come Into My Heart, and Heigh Ho, The Gang's All Here, plus interpolations from other songwriters such as Ray Noble, Reg Connelly and Jimmy Campbell with their Goodnight Sweetheart; and in 1932, when the VANITIESwas staged by the young Vincente Minnelli, Lilian Shade introduced Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues, which Jack Teagarden adopted as his theme tune. 1931 was also the year that the new Earl Carroll Theatre, ‘the largest legitimate theatre in the world’, opened on the site of the old one, with 3000 seats and a number of features that ranged from black velvet walls, to reconditioned air, to free soft drinks in the intermission. The naked girls and the onstage antics still had the critics fuming at what they considered to be ‘a monstrosity of bad taste’. Many famous names appeared in Carroll's shows during the years, including Joe Cook, Sophie Tucker, W.C. Fields, Lillian Roth, Jack Benny, Helen Broderick, Jimmy Savo, Patsy Kelly, William Mahoney, Milton Berle, and one of Britain's brightest stars, Jessie Matthews, who, in the 1927 edition, suffered the indignity of having coins thrown onto the stage by a dissatisfied audience. Carroll was also involved in other Broadway and Off Broadway shows such as MURDER AT THE VANITIES (1933), and in several movies, A NIGHT AT EARL CARROLL'S (1940), EARL CARROLL'S VANITIES (1945), and EARL CARROLL'S SKETCH BOOK (1946). One of Broadway's most flamboyant showmen, Carroll died in an air crash in June 1948