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Designing Modern AmericaBroadway to Main Street$
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Christopher Innes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300108040

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300108040.001.0001

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Stage and Screen

Stage and Screen

(p.59) 4 Stage and Screen
Designing Modern America

Christopher Innes

Yale University Press

This chapter describes theater buildings as the most openly theatrical of all public spaces. Created by Urban and Bel Geddes themselves, they exhibited a fusion of design, architecture, and fashion. The spectators, many of whom might well have been wearing dresses inspired by Urban, gathered to watch his shows, which promoted the new lifestyle he was defining, surrounded by the decor and even architecture he had created—total immersion in a flattering and deeply scenic ambience. By far the most striking of these buildings was the new theater Florenz Ziegfeld commissioned Urban to build in 1927. As Urban explained in his book Theatres, the project expressed “in every detail the fact that here was a modern playhouse for…the most successful form of theatrical production in the busiest and gayest city in the world.”

Keywords:   theater buildings, public spaces, new lifestyle, Florenz Ziegfeld, modern playhouse

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