Monday, 9 February 2009


The SoHo Playhouse, at 15 Vandam Street, Soho, is a beautiful, quaint Off-Broadway theater located just a few feet from the galleries, shopping and restaurants of SoHo. It stands on land that was once Richmond Hill, a colonial mansion that served as headquarters for General George Washington and later home to Aaron Burr. Purchased from Burr in 1817, the land was developed into federalist-style row houses by fur magnate John Jacob Astor.

During the late 1800's 15, Vandam Street, became a popular meeting place and night club (The Huron) for the Democratic Party. The turn of the century brought the Tammany Hall machine to the Huron Club and where it is claimed the Tea Pot Dome scandal was hatched, involving the alleged improper use of oil rights, that rocked the administration of the United States President Warren G. Harding. Prominent regulars included "Battery" Dan Finn and the infamous Jimmy "Beau James" Walker, known as "the night Mayor" due to his predilection for jazz clubs and chorus girls.

The main floor was transformed into a theater (above) in the 1920's, and in the 60's operated as the Village South, home to Playwrights Unit Workshop under the direction of Edward Albee.

More recently it has been under the new management of Darren Lee Cole and Faith Mulvihill, and the newly renovated SoHo Playhouse continues to serve the downtown theater community as an historic 199 seat Off Broadway venue. The Huron Club below is an intimate 55 seat cabaret and bar steeped in the history of Old New York.

Scene from "Ego" performed at the SoHo Playhouse May - June 2008

Simon Lovell's "Strange and Unusual Hobbies" at the Huron Club during 2009

The entire cast of "Room Service" a rip-roaring farce co-written in the 1920's by Edward Albee, which played a long run at the SoHo Playhouse in 2007.
I saw one of the performances of 'Room Service' and it more than equalled anything of the 'farce genre' that I have ever seen - and I have attended many. Everything about the show was top notch and how nice it was to be able to enjoy the evening in the intimacy and friendliness of this unique theater. I have also been to a 'Mentalist Show' by Sam Eaton in the Huron Club and again found that the intimacy of the venue made me feel like the performance was being skillfully performed just for me.

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