NEW YORK (AP) – Visitors to the latest posh hotel to open in New York’s Theater District can easily walk to any Broadway show – or they can stay inside and celebrate.
Civilian – a 203-room hotel with bars, lounges and a bistro – is packed with hundreds of Broadway artwork, including sketches, set models, costumes, photographs and artifacts that show the past and the present of the theater.
âI think people don’t realize this neighborhood is just like a walking story of so many things,â said award-winning architect and stage designer David Rockwell during a tour of the hotel, he helped manufacture. âSo I think it deserves to have a place dedicated to it. ”
The 27-story building – at 305 W. 48th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues – is owned by Sixty Collective hotelier Jason Pomeranc, who says the goal is to immerse visitors in a theatrical experience. The Civilian opens November 24.
Almost every inch of the Civilian has been designed with a theatrical touch, from marquee-inspired lighting, dramatic curtains, stage elements to the rough industrial materials of backstage life.
Scale models of shows are on display – such as “Hadestown” designed by Rachel Hauck and “Slave Play” by Clint Ramos – and sketches of “Chicago” designed by John Lee Beatty. The hotel plans to recycle new items every year or so.
The wall coverings on the guest rooms and elevators are taken from abstract costume details of Isabel and Ruben Toledo (“After Midnight”) and William Ivey Long (“Beetlejuice” and “Hairspray”). The creators hope this is a chance for the talent off the stage to shine.
âI’m always amazed when I work on a project and there’s a point in the show where you realize 25 people are touching that moment to make it work. So in some ways it’s a chance to be exposed to all these different people, âRockwell said.
A mural area features artwork by 20 artists and students who came up with artwork inspired by a quote – “It’s a city of strangers / Some come to work / Some to play” – from the musical ” Company “. A piano – on loan from Rockwell himself – will become the center of impromptu performances, the hotel’s creators hope.
There is also a private library finished in royal blue hues and signature bulbs where visitors can find replica pistols and a crown from “Hamilton”, the original model from “Company” as well as red boots from “Kinky. Boots “and a pink shrug of” Cabaret. ” âIt really looks like a locker room,â says Rockwell.
Upstairs, the bedrooms – one comfortable for two or one spacious for 4 – have one of two color combinations – dark blue or burgundy – hand-painted details, canopy beds, upholstered benches and framed costumes and set sketches. High-end design meets user-friendliness.
On the beds are pillows with abstract patterns by costume designers Jeff Mahshie and David Zinn. Luggage fits under the bed and the bathrooms with porcelain enamel sinks have heated floors.
âEven though the rooms are smaller than what we’ve done in the past, I don’t think the guest should have to sacrifice anything on a visual or textual experience, whether it’s the rich velvets of the fabrics or the tiling in the bathroom or the quality of the sheets, linens and pillows, âexplains Pomeranc. âThe level of quality should not decrease because of the size of the room. “
Visitors enter through a hall that resembles a stage door and into a vestibule with an abstract interpretation of marquee lighting embedded in the ceiling. A bank of theater seats rescued from an upstate theater sit along a brick wall, and visitors climb a metal spiral staircase past a curtain to the bar, lounge and dining room. second floor library.
“Do you feel like entering some sort of fly loft you’ve always wanted to enter?” Rockwell asks and, of course, there is a strong impression of “The Phantom of the Opera”.
There are photos everywhere, starting in the lobby with black-and-white photos of Little Fang, the husband-and-wife team known for their opening night portraits. Each floor will have framed artwork in the hallways grouped around a theme. The fourth floor, for example, is dedicated to rehearsal plans, with photos of Michael Bennett in “Dreamgirls” and the cast of “Miss Saigon”.
In the restaurant, 41 custom round sconces feature sketches of Broadway theaters by decorators such as Derek McLane, Es Devlin, Scott Pask, Tony Walton, Mimi Lien and Rockwell. A roof terrace to open in the spring will have a closed lounge and bar.
Pomeranc hopes to create a series of different types of public space experiences, ranging from a living room where people can work and communicate during the day, to a space filled with music at night to relax. âIt really speaks to the journey of the guest seeking a truly New York City experience,â he said.
Part of the proceeds of the civilian will be donated to the American theater wing, who also provided the hotel with images from its photographic archive. Wing President and CEO Heather Hitchens said a watering hole for the theater community is badly needed.
âA gathering place for people in the theater that also showcases and celebrates the work of those who don’t always get the attention they deserve is a welcome addition,â she says.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits