So how big is a 500-seat theater? Or a 1,000-seat venue?
My piece today about the two groups competing to re-invent the former Armory in New Rochelle mentions that one proposal, from a city veterans’ group and a committee that lobbied to save the building from the wrecking ball, would use the core space under the barrel vaulted ceiling for performing arts. In one version of that proposal, a 500-seat theater would anchor the space with several small “black box,” or basic theaters around it.
The rival proposal, which focuses on creating a large market with restaurants in the East Main Street building on Echo Bay, would also include an arts space that could hold performances with 100 seats or more. The plan comes from a team called Good Profit.
A 500-seat theater would be nearly twice as large as the 275-seat Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck, for example. But even the larger, 1,000-seat incarnation would be dwarfed by the 1,835-seat Capitol Theater that is about to re-open in Port Chester.
The Capitol is scheduled to open next month “as Westchester’s new premiere rock palace” according to its website. Tickets are already on sale for its first few shows, starting with Bob Dylan and his band on Sept. 4.
On the smaller side, the Ossie Davis Theater in the New Rochelle Public Library offers about 145 seats.
That space has 300 seats. (Camille Coppola, artistic director of the opera company, said the shows typically fill the house, unless the weather is daunting.)
Typically, the biggest theaters and auditoriums in a community are in the schools.
In New Rochelle, the city’s largest school auditorium is the 970-seat Whitney Young Auditorium in New Rochelle High School.
Broadway theaters, by comparison, range in size from about 600 seats to more than 1,900 seats according to The Broadway League, an industry website.