Once described as a “regional attraction to rival Times Square,” downtown Brooklyn was a popular destination of shops, restaurants and theatres. After years of decline, it is now enjoying a revival with the BAM Cultural District, Polonsky’s Shakespeare Center, and the Alamo Draft House.
Starting at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, theatre historian Cezar Del Valle will lead tour-goers through downtown Brooklyn’s theatrical past, present and future. Sites include those of the legendary Paramount and Fox Theatres, the 14th and 15th largest movie houses built in America.
The walk will end at the Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky’s Shakespeare Center. Opened in 2013, it was the first major house for classical drama built in New York since Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater in 1965.
Who will enjoy this event? Those passionate about theatre, Students of early cinema and lovers of old movie houses, Fans of pop music, including show tunes, jazz, and rock (plus there will be a bit of opera). People who want to know more about Brooklyn’s history
*And anyone curious to know; “Who was that playing golf on the roof of the Paramount?” and how Suzanne Pleshette became one of the Andrew sisters.
I have 20 years of experience in developing and leading walking tours of New York’s theatrical and cultural districts. My tour of downtown Brooklyn is one of the most popular. It has been conducted for the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment, Theatre for a New Audience, Brooklyn Public Library Foundation Brooklyn Collection, and the Cinema Theatre Association (UK).
Meet in front of BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave
The walk ends at the Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky’s Shakespeare Center 262 Ashland Place at Fulton Street
Numerous subway stops within a short walk:
DeKalb Avenue— N, Q, R
Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center—2,4, D, N, Q, R
Theater Historian and Artist
An artist with over 100 exhibitions at galleries, museums and art centers, Cezar Del Valle is also a theatre historian offering series of popular theatre talks and walking tours. He has been described as “legendary” by Lower East Side Preservation Initiative. For Dick Zigun, at Coney Island USA, Del Valle is “one hell of an entertaining speaker.” While Hillsman Wright, executive director of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, calls Cezar Del Valle “a distinguished scholar and great friend of historic theatres.” Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society of America. Final volume published in September 2014. He is currently working on a major update of the first two volumes of the Index for what will be the third and final editions. These will be available in early 2017.