Tada! Introducing The Davenport Theatre!

They say the American Dream is to own a house.

Well, I’ve had the same dream for a while.  But as you know, on Broadway and Off Broadway, we define house just a little differently.

A house = a theater.

And somebody should pinch me, because my American Dream just came true.  That’s right!  Woo-hoo!  I’ve got a theater!

I’m thrilled to announce the opening of The Davenport Theatre, located smack dab in the middle of the theater district, at 354 West 45th St.  And get this, there are actually two theaters in the building: one freshly renovated 150 seat theater (a size desperately needed in the area), and the other a 60 seat black box . . . that’s about to undergo a massive reno to expand to a 99 seater, for all those Equity Showcases out there.

And I know, I know, it looks like I tossed my own name on the marquee, but that’s not exactly true.  First, we don’t have a marquee.  Second, the only thing that makes me more proud than actually having a theater, is being able to name that sucker after my great-grandfather, Delbert Essex Davenport.

I’ve never really talked about Del (as he was called), but if you’ve ever been in my office, you’ve seen his photo staring at you from the bookshelf in front of my desk.  Delbert was a Producer, a Publicist, an Author, a Lyricist and just about everything else you can imagine back in the days of Ziegfeld (he was born in 1882 and passed away in 1966).  His biggest hit was a musical called Little Mary Mack from Hackensack that tried out in Philadelphia and had music by . . . get this . . . Sigmund Romberg.  He wrote and published his own books (he set up a printing press in his basement – this was long before the days of Kindle), founded a newsletter called The American Ambition Association, and was known for his publicity stunts for his shows (including dropping flyers out of planes).

And he was one of the inspirations for my career.

My mother gave me his scrapbook when I was in college.  And I remember being in awe of his business cards, the photos of him with Follies girls, and the published sheet music sold for songs like “Oh, You Girl!” that sold for a nickel.  In fact, the name of his company when he was coming up was Davenport Theatrical Enterprises, which is what I called mine.

And now, after 50 plus years, Del is alive and kicking in midtown . . . at the Davenport Theatre!  (I’m seriously hoping for his ghost to show up – now that would get some press!   See, I told you he inspired me.)

Who knows, maybe I’ll revive Little Mary Mack from Hackensack and do it in the space (concert version, anyone?).

We’ve got lots of fun stuff planned for the theater, and of course, both spaces are open for rental for your productions, readings and events.  I am proud to say that our very first tenant is going to be the funny-every-time Forbidden Broadway!  But if you’re looking for space for your Off Broadway show, click here and get in touch, and hopefully we can help you out.  Make sure you sign up so you can get an invite to our upcoming open house!  And if you want to get a sneak peak at the stage, come to our song writing contest performance this Thursday night!

And now, somebody please pinch me because I’m still a bit shocked that this came true.

Ouch.  Damn it, Ghost of Del.  I didn’t mean that literally.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

_ _

FUN STUFF:

-Win two tickets to Pageant.  Click here to enter and win.

– Attend the Davenport Songwriting Contest on 1/30.  Click here to read about the finalists and to get your tickets.

– Need money for your show?  Learn how to raise it at my next How To Raise Money Seminar.  Guaranteed.  Coming up on 2/1 in NYC! Only a few spots left! Sign up today.

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Comments
  • Awesome. Congratulations.

    • Joseph Corral says:

      CONGRATULATIONS! I am so happy for you. I know you will be doing great things. Can’t wait to get back to N.Y. to see your new house! Break a leg!

  • Felicia says:

    Congrats, Ken! You must be so excited. From your description of Del Davenport, it seems as if he was (is) quite a kindred spirit.

  • Cat says:

    Wow, this is such great news. I always think of theatres in that area as being “for the big guys,” and their owners unreachable. So wonderful to know that your dream is coming true, and that you’re opening your doors to others as well!
    Peace
    Cat

  • Mimi Sagadim says:

    I am so happy for you Ken,
    and extremely proud. You have worked non-stop to make your dream come true. I look forward to visiting your new theater soon! Love, Promma 🙂

  • Jeanie Balch says:

    Wow! This is exciting news. Can’t wait to visit and will look forward to hearing about all the programming going on there. Congrats on realizing your dream!

  • Janet says:

    WOW, this is amazing! Looking forward to seeing some great off-Broadway shows there! Excited for you – and for those of us who get to enjoy the offerings therein! Congrats!

  • Fantastic news, congratulations!! Enjoy your new ‘home’!

  • Tyler says:

    Congrats Ken! What an exciting time for you and your company. I know Del is looking down and smiling (maybe even from the fly rail…)

  • Gordon says:

    Ken,

    This is terrific news! Congratulations.

    -Gordon

  • Lou Ann K. Behan says:

    How thrilling to have your dream come true! Congratulations and best wishes. Bet Del Davenport is beaming with pride.
    -Lou Ann

  • Kristina says:

    Congrats Ken,

    Hard work does pay off and this is a prime example.
    I love that we both have grandpa’s (your a ‘great’) that inspired us and our businesses.
    Can’t wait to visit YOUR theatre on our next trip back east!

  • Cathie says:

    what wonderful news Ken. We are so happy for you! Looking forward to supporting the space and you!!

  • Lester says:

    Congrats. Thanks. A new space is such a welcome addition and glad you’re behind it.

  • Amazing Ken! Big Congratulations.
    Alexis.

  • Tzahalla says:

    Congratulations Ken! You deserve it!

  • Ryan S says:

    Congrats, Ken and DTE! What awesome news.

  • Wambui says:

    That’s fabulous news! I’m thrilled for you! –and, for all of us too! Congratulations!!!

  • Joyce Joseph says:

    Congrats! Wishing you much success in this new venture.

  • Elise says:

    Congrats!!!Love that your dream came true! And let me know if you do inherit any ghosts…I have a Hells Kitchen walking tour which includes Broadway ghosts and I always talk up the shows!

  • Ed Katz says:

    Wow- congratulations, Ken! I’m so happy for you.
    This is awesome!
    All the best with the theaters!

  • Fred Landau says:

    Very exciting news. Congratulations!

  • Michael Landman says:

    Well done! Congratulations! What an extraordinary homage to bestow upon your great grandfather.

  • Andrew says:

    Congratulations! Those nice new purple seats look quite comfortable. Now I’m quite curious about the history of the space you are using, such as what was there before, etc. Always like to see space in midtown “repurposed” in such a manner.

  • Eldonie says:

    Congrats! Love to see when dreams come true!

  • Kay says:

    Congratulations

  • Mark Nassar says:

    Big Huge Congratulations!

  • Arch says:

    Congratulations! Fantastic news, hope your new theater venture will be a fantastic success!

  • Pamela says:

    Years ago that space was known as the “No Smoking Theater.” Break a leg!

  • Victoria says:

    Congratulations!!!

  • janis says:

    Oh my gosh is this ever fantastic! And the timing couldn’t be better. Tomorrow I sign the papers for a “house” for the playwright/actor/singer group I formed 2 yrs. ago. Ours will seat 70 to 80 and it’s off Broadway too. No, not THAT Broadway.
    We don’t have a name yet, but I’m working on it. Maybe for my Dad who inspired me with music, stories and comedy from the day I was born.
    I can imagine how elated you must be. Elated and scared too. BREAK A LEG!!

  • Douglas Millar says:

    Well Congratulations to you and your Great-Grandfather! I wish you all the success in the world, you deserve it!

  • Victoria Medina says:

    Thank you for sharing your family history with us. Perhaps you may consider creating a video that will include your great grandfather’s story and his stunning memorabilia for us to view in the theater. Perhaps in the entrance. His history is so inspiring and how wonderful that you add to his legacy with your producing history. He is, I am sure, so proud of you. Again, congratulations!!!

  • Ben says:

    Congrats Ken!

  • Rich Mc says:

    Congratulations!! Would be a playwright’s dream to have a play performed at The Davenport Theater!

  • Clair Sedore says:

    What a coup for you! Congratulations and may the theatre have a very long run. Also delighted it is a “theatre” rather than a “theater.” I am now adding it to my website, under New York Theatres

  • Debbie Saville says:

    Congratulations Ken! May the best the everything come your way as you continue on your path!

  • Please accept strong compliments and wishes for success.

  • CJ says:

    Ken – I read your column every day and always find nuggets of wisdom or inspiration.

    This one was both moving and exciting. Thanks for sharing the stories about Del Davenport, and congratulations on your new venture!

  • John Ddvid says:

    Ken,
    What wonderful news!
    Congrats!
    You are making great things happen!
    John

  • Zanne Hall says:

    Wonderful news! Keep on keepin’ theatre alive. You’re certainly a chip off your ol’ great-granddaddy’s block!

  • David Merrick Jr. says:

    Good for you! I looked at that space a couple of years ago (formerly the home of Primary Stages) for my showcase and it was such a dump, I went to Theatre Row instead.

    I was amazed at how it was renovated recently and am glad it’s now in the hands of a pro.

    Good luck!

  • Ken: Thank you for sharing your interesting family history. I have some pretty interesting people in my family past and I certainly hope I can honor them someday the way you have been able to honor your great-Grandad, Del Davenport. ALWAYS enjoy your writing and insights.

  • John C. Luzaich says:

    Great Ken, now when you set it on stage at the end of the night, you’ll know who the ghost light is for!

  • Casey says:

    I got an email from playbill saying Forbidden Broadway was back and playing at the Davenport Theatre. I said to myself is that Kenneth’s theatre. Well, I guess it is. CONGRATS and much SUCCESS to you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Karen Campbell says:

    Congratulations! Looking forward to being there tomorrow! May there be many, many broken legs at your new theatre!

  • CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW THEATER and dream come true. Will you do a musical about your
    great grandfather ? Perhaps my musical HOLIDAY IN HEAVEN will play at your new theater.
    Looking forward to seeing it.
    Best of luck with it.

    Demetria Daniels

  • Jennifer says:

    Bravo!!!! This is very exciting news! Congrats on getting such a prime piece of real estate. Wishing you all the best in these new endeavors! Enjoy your new space “home owner”.

  • Walter Pancoe says:

    GREAT. Let us put on a show. I have an idea.

    Walter

  • Bob Stewart says:

    Wonderful! I love that there will be a 150 seater in midtown! Woo hoo!
    (I also loved the story about Del too. His theatrical legacy continues.) Well done!

  • Rita Rothstein says:

    Congratulations Ken! Where else can dreams come true?!

  • Glenn Felner says:

    Profound congratulations Ken, we both know theatre is your forte, NOT black jack

  • Mark Nassar says:

    Big Congrats, Ken. The theater has to be named Davenport. It’s a great brand. God Bless you and Del!!!

  • Oh Ken, this is fantastic!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! I’m a generation ahead of you, and knowing you’re out there with your incredible passion and dedication continues to fill me with joy and hope for the future of our profession.

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