Samuel J. Friedman Theatre Capacity
The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre has a capacity of 626 seats. Section capacities are 402 Orchestra and 224 Mezzanine. Use our interactive seating chart to view 191 seat reviews and 183 photos of views from seat.
Known for much of its life as the Biltmore, the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre has changed ownership - and purpose - a number of times. With stints as a venue for news content and a TV and radio station, the theater eventually closed following a fire in the late 1980s. In the early 2000s, it was renovated and renamed by the not-for-profit Manhattan Theatre Club, who continue to operate the venue today.
The Samuel J. Friedman’s original interior, designed by the Chanin Brothers and architect Herbert J. Krapp, had been made a New York City landmark; after 14 years of fire and water damage, its restoration sought to reconstruct some of the classic features whilst updating the venue for a modern audience. With a reduced seat capacity, better facilities and a bright, elegant design, the theater is now often used for dramas rather than musicals.
Notable productions over the years include Hair (1977), Top Girls (2008), Venus in Fur (2011, for which Nina Arianda won a Best Actress Tony Award) and Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning one-act play, Wit (2012). In recent years, a number of West End transfers have been staged at the Samuel J. Friedman, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson opening Constellations (2015) and Deborah Findlay reprising her role in The Children (2017).
There are around 650 seats in the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, spread across the ground-level Orchestra and the Mezzanine above. The Orchestra is slightly larger than the Mezzanine, and is split into Left and Right sections. In the Mezzanine, seats are divided into a large Center section flanked by the Left and Right; the front two rows are also called the Premier Circle. Views of the stage are very good throughout the whole auditorium, with plenty of legroom and a decent rake to ensure sightlines at the back remain clear. Those sitting in the far corners will have slightly less desirable views, but with lower prices here and no truly bad seat in the house, they offer a very good value option for theatergoers on a budget.
• A limited number of lockers are available for storing extra bags
• Bars are on both levels and start serving 45 minutes before performances
• The Premier Circle Lounge is open to MTC’s Patron Program members
• Step-free access from the street into accessible seating
• An elevator serves every level of the theater
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Good value seats
Depending on your budget, there are various good value seating options at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Rows E to J in the Orchestra are cheaper than premium without feeling distant, whilst the Mezzanine’s excellent rake means even the very back rows have plenty to offer with their panoramic views of the stage.
The best seats in the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre are across the front rows of the Center Orchestra and Center Mezzanine. Rows A to D of the Orchestra are excellent for a close-up yet comfortable look at the stage, whilst the Premier Circle in the Center Mezzanine is unrivalled for its wide overhead sightlines.