The historic and beautifully restored El Teatro of El Museo del Barrio, formerly the Heckscher Theatre, is the only theatre of its kind on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Consisting of a proscenium arch stage and seating 599, it has been acknowledged as a Landmark Quality Interior venue for its remarkable series of 30-foot murals and stained glass roundels.
Intended primarily for children’s theatre, Teatro Heckscher was home to many Broadway tryouts during the 1930′s and was the original site for the Joseph Papp New York Shakespeare Festival. The theatre was the site for a special tribute to Tito Puente, as part of the 39th Annual GRAMMY awards and is now part of the New York City’s Historic Music Trail.
The Teatro Heckscher’s interior contains Scenes from Children’s Literature, a series of monumental murals designed in 1921 by the gifted illustrator and painter, Willy Pogany (1882-1955).
Rendered in oil on canvas, these invaluable murals range in size to approximately 16 feet by 25 feet, and depict legendary children’s tales including Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella. Other splendid treasures in the theatre include eight luminous circular stained-glass fixtures on the ceiling painted with children motifs and two charming chandeliers in the shape of castles.
The site consists of a lobby – which serves the building and El Museo – and the theatre. The theatre includes a vestibule, which serves as the primary entry/exit passageway, a box office, orchestra and balcony seating areas, an orchestra pit, two restrooms at the balcony level, one ADA compliant bathroom at Orchestra level, stage and fly space, and dressing and preparatory rooms.