On March 26th, the Hammerstein Ballroom will become home to the first ever Comedy Awards, adding another milestone to its already vibrant historical tradition. This historic space is world-renowned for its impeccable acoustics and vital role in New York's cultural heritage.
Originally dubbed the Manhattan Opera House, the structure was constructed by Oscar Hammerstein I in 1906 with the noble, if charmingly antiquated, goal "to bring opera to the people." The venue quickly gained acclaim, attaining notoriety on par with the well-established Metropolitan Opera as a destination for star talent and packed houses. The competition was so stiff in fact, that in 1910 the Met offered the Manhattan Opera House $1.2 million to shutter its opera offerings for 10 years. The Manhattan obliged, and the stage soon became home to Vaudeville acts and concerts.
Since then, a hilarious series of owners, including The Freemasons and Reverand Sun Myung Moon's Unification church have owned the ballroom, and it's hosted a number of historical events, including the recording of the soundtrack for "Don Juan," the first ever movie with a synchronized, pre-recorded score, and the recording of live albums for bands like O.A.R. and Korn.