[bold] The long-dark Times Square Theater is - finally! - getting a multimillion-dollar makeover [/bold]
Naughty, bawdy 42nd Street is in for a touch of classy.
After standing vacant for 20-odd years, the historic Times Square Theatre at 217 W. 42nd St. will soon become Broadway 4D — a permanent musical attraction managed by a trio of accomplished entertainment executives, The Post has learned.
Climaxing a long effort to find the right user for the 1920s-vintage colonnaded venue, landlord New 42nd Street has signed a long-term lease with Broadway 4D Theatres. What the company calls Broadway Sensation — a 4D Musical Spectacular is expected to launch by late spring or early summer 2013.
No one would discuss terms, but a source estimated the project’s launch cost at around $60 million.
New 42nd Street President Cora Cahan hailed “a very exciting tenant dedicated to restoring the Times Square Theatre as a place to celebrate Broadway musicals of the past, present and future.”
Cushman & Wakefield’s Brad Mendelson and Alan Schmerzler brokered the lease for New 42nd Street. Mendelson — who’s been involved at the location since the days when Warner LeRoy proposed a Venetian-canals fantasy restaurant — said the venue had been in great demand “by four other major entertainment uses, and also by brokers for Duane Reade and TGI Friday’s.”
New 42nd Street previously adapted seven of the once crime-ridden block’s eight neglected theaters between Seventh and Eighth avenues to new uses.
Only the Times Square, opened as a stage venue and later converted to a cinema, stubbornly remained a 100-foot-long dark hole on the gaily-lit “Deuce.”
Broadway 4D is the brainchild of Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer Robert Kory, who also manages singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. (A huge ad for Cohen’s latest album currently adorns the theater façade.)
When sportswear designer Marc Ecko defaulted on a lease at the site a few years ago, Kory assembled a team of investors and a trio of high-profile impresarios.
Broadway 4D is described as “a 3D film enhanced show incorporating in-theater special effects” — such as the use of scents, climatic changes and extravagant sound. Songs from Broadway musicals by the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Weber will be performed by stars of Hollywood and the Great White Way.
“Creative principal” Gary Goddard has done everything from producing Broadway’s 2009 Tony-winning revival of “Hair” to pioneering “4D” technology at venues such as the “Terminator 2” and “Spider-Man” rides at a Florida theme park.
The executive producers are Bryan Singer, who’s produced , directed and/or written big-budget movies including “The Usual Suspects” and “Superman Returns,” and former CBS and Sony honcho Jeff Sagansky, who’s backed films including “The Adventures of Tintin.”
Architects John Sergio Fisher and Associates have come up with a “schematic” redesign of the theater based on the original. The next step is up to the Historic Preservation Committee.
Among other guidelines, the Times Square must retain its domed ceiling and the stage proscenium arch.
Producer and theater owner Jimmy Nederlander, who’s not involved at the site, termed it “a great project that will only expand the audience for Broadway.”