OK, I’m taking liberties here. The Biltmore Garage immortalized in Frank Loesser’s The Oldest Established had nothing to do with the Biltmore Theatre, but I can’t help hearing the song in my head whenever that theatre is mentioned.
Well, soon we probably won’t be hearing the name, “Biltmore Theatre” being spoken of all that often. Today it was announced that the historic venue (which has undergone several dramatic transformations and is currently the home of the Manhattan Theatre Club) would be renamed the Samuel J. Friedman Theater in honor of the legendary press agent (courtesy of a large donation from The Dr. Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman Foundation).
We’re somewhat ambivalent about the mania for renaming theatres (and other historic structures). But who knows, if the trend continues, the next thing you know they could be renaming theatres after archivists.
Image credit: Charles Dalton as Darius III and Jessie Royce Landis as Statira in the production, Young Alexander (1929, Biltmore Theatre); NYPL Digital Gallery Image ID #1158019