Nightclubbing as theater

Hammerstein bows the Box this spring

Simon Hammerstein is wary of interviews; he doesn’t want his new nightspot to get the wrong label, or put in the wrong box, as it were.

Sure, when it officially opens this spring, the Box will be in hipster territory down on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. And yes, there will be food, drinks and beautiful people (the preopening private parties featured Hammerstein’s business partners and buddies like Jude Law and Josh Lucas) late into the night, but don’t jump to conclusions.

“It is not a club, there is no dance floor,” emphasizes this Off Off Broadway director. “This is a theater.”

But this 5,000-square-foot space is not a traditional theater that his grandfather, the legendary musical writer Oscar Hammerstein II, would recognize; nor is it something his great-great-grandfather, opera impresario and uptown theater builder Oscar Hammerstein I, would have gone for.

No, this unique theater harkens back to great-grandfather Willie Hammerstein, a king among vaudeville producers — as the man who put Helen Keller onstage and supposedly invented the pie-in-the-face routine, he’d be right at home in the Box.

“We want to bring back the variety theater, the dinner theater, the concert hall saloon,” Hammerstein says. “There’s no room for subtext and there’s no fourth wall. When you’re trying to captivate 400 people who are talking, eating and drinking, there’s no room for pretext. You have to engage the audience. And you better be damn good.”

More Film

  • (L to R) Owen (CHRIS PRATT),

    'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Tops $700 Million Worldwide

    Simon Hammerstein is wary of interviews; he doesn’t want his new nightspot to get the wrong label, or put in the wrong box, as it were. Sure, when it officially opens this spring, the Box will be in hipster territory down on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. And yes, there will be food, […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Feasts on $150 Million Opening

    Simon Hammerstein is wary of interviews; he doesn’t want his new nightspot to get the wrong label, or put in the wrong box, as it were. Sure, when it officially opens this spring, the Box will be in hipster territory down on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. And yes, there will be food, […]

  • NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 23: (L-R)

    How Long Will TV and Film's Boom Market for Female Stories Last?

    Simon Hammerstein is wary of interviews; he doesn’t want his new nightspot to get the wrong label, or put in the wrong box, as it were. Sure, when it officially opens this spring, the Box will be in hipster territory down on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. And yes, there will be food, […]

  • 'Ideal Home' Review: Steve Coogan, Paul

    Film Review: 'Ideal Home'

    Simon Hammerstein is wary of interviews; he doesn’t want his new nightspot to get the wrong label, or put in the wrong box, as it were. Sure, when it officially opens this spring, the Box will be in hipster territory down on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. And yes, there will be food, […]

  • 'Calibre' Review: A Terrific, Intensely Terrifying

    Edinburgh Film Review: 'Calibre'

    Simon Hammerstein is wary of interviews; he doesn’t want his new nightspot to get the wrong label, or put in the wrong box, as it were. Sure, when it officially opens this spring, the Box will be in hipster territory down on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. And yes, there will be food, […]

  • Leung Chiu-wai

    Tony Leung Breaks With Wong Kar-wai’s Jettone (Reports)

    Simon Hammerstein is wary of interviews; he doesn’t want his new nightspot to get the wrong label, or put in the wrong box, as it were. Sure, when it officially opens this spring, the Box will be in hipster territory down on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side. And yes, there will be food, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content