The Music Hall is a 686-seat theater built in 1892, making it the second oldest music hall in New York City after Carnegie Hall.
Remaining true to the Greek Revival tradition, the Music Hall features mighty ionic columns and harmonious architectural elements. However, due to its round-arched doorways and windows, second-story bands of windows, and the articulation of wall surfaces, the Music Hall design could be more accurately described as Beaux-Arts or Renaissance Revival.
The interior of the Music Hall encourages a marriage between an ancient Roman architectural tradition, the proscenium arch, and the Greek myth of Orpheus. The proscenium arch has a dual nature that is both functional and decorative. Functionally, the arch restricts viewers from seeing behind the scenes. Decoratively, the arch tells the story of Orpheus, the mythological Greek poet, musician, or “father of songs.
In spring 2019, Snug Harbor broke ground on a transformative $20 million project to enable greater access to the hall’s stage and orchestra pit for full ADA compliance. A new Annex building designed by Studio Joseph Architects through the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s Design Excellence Program will also house new union-compliant dressing rooms and a new community room for public events and gatherings. Altogether, the upgrades will allow the Music Hall to accommodate larger-scale modern performances and events.
The project was fully funded by $19.5 million from the City of New York, including support from City Council by NYC Councilmember Debi Rose and the NYC Mayor’s Office through the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), and overseen by the NYC Department of Design & Construction (DDC). The architect for the project is Wendy Joseph of Studio Joseph Architects. The landscape design won an Award for Excellence in Design from the Public Design Commission in 2016.
The new Annex will have the following improvements:
Basement of annex:
• Dressing rooms designed to comply with ADA and Actors Equity specifications
• Two chorus dressing rooms with a capacity of ten people each
• One VIP dressing room with a capacity of two people
• One flex space that can be used as an additional dressing room, a warm up room, or a greenroom
• Access between the addition and the Music Hall at both the stage and basement levels
• Equipment storage room
Street level of annex:
• A new loading dock
• A new stage door
• Equipment storage room
• Two offices
• A restroom
• A sound and light lock between the stage and loading dock
• A community room for meetings and receptions
• A pantry
• Backstage restroom
• Extra wing-space stage right
In addition to the annex, the basement of the Music Hall will have ADA compliant access to the orchestra pit, leading from the annex through the existing basement. Additionally, the entire building’s fire alarm and suppression system will be brought to modern day fire code compliance.
The project will bring incredible improvements to the quality and quantity of productions staged at Snug Harbor for the community. Snug Harbor’s Music Hall will be fully compliant with Actors Equity standards, allowing the facility to host Equity showcases and productions for the first time in its history. The building will also be substantially more ADA accessible than ever before, with the entire new annex, main floor, stage, and orchestra pit all planned with ADA compliant amenities. This will make the Music Hall more viable and appealing to diverse artists and larger, more modern productions. The Snug Harbor community and visitors will have an improved experience attending and performing in the facility, with so many improved amenities under one roof.