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Today: 10am–8pm
214 West 43rd Street

Similar to many of its neighbors, the newly minted Lyric, nee Foxwoods, sits atop quite a bit of New York theatrical history. The theater was constructed in 1903 and began life by hosting Shakespeare plays, and in 1920 the Apollo Theatre was constructed adjacent to the original Lyric. Early Gershwin musicals at the Apollo dazzled, but both theaters were turned into cinemas in the 1930s, before the decades caught up to them and led to both being condemned in the 1990s and repossessed by the city. Demolition, renovation, and preservation of certain architectural aspects of the original theaters led to a reopening in the theater's current configuration, with E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime the first production showing in years in 1998. 2013 saw a name change to Lyric, honoring the space's rich history. The people behind the theater are looking forward to On the Town opening in the fall of 2014.

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The Actors' Temple

Ezrath Israel was originally established as a Jewish Community Center in 1917 by the West Side Hebrew Relief Association, a group of Orthodox Jewish shop owners. The area was known for its busy steamship ports, however, the entertainment business eventually became one of the biggest industries in this part of town. As show business grew, so did the number of congregants, and it became the place of worship for many prominent actors and performers, including Sophie Tucker and Shelley Winters. The Actors' Temple continued to thrive until shortly after WWII when people in the industry began journeying across the country to Hollywood. The synagogue then found its membership slowly decreasing. By 2005, there were only twelve members left in the congregation. A year later, when Jill Hausman became the rabbi, she found herself resuscitating what had once been a proud shul. Rabbi Hausman was pleased to report to us that in the eight years that she has been there, membership has increased to about 150, a marked improvement. Still, she has hope that the Actors' Temple will continue to grow. "We are a well-kept secret, " she says, "but we don't need to be. " To help maintain the synagogue, the sanctuary is shared with an Off Broadway theater company that performs on their "stage, " just a few feet in front of their sacred arc and collection of eleven torahs. Today, Rabbi Hausman welcomes all denominations of Judaism, even those who are "on the fringes of society. " She is a warm, sweet, bright woman who not only has her door open to everyone, but her heart as well. She emphasizes the importance of love and acceptance in her sermons and is adamant that the Actors' Temple is a "no-guilt synagogue. " People should come if they feel compelled to pray – Rabbi Hausman's only goal is to have them leave with a desire to return.

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