In December 1934, the refurbished Earl Carroll Theatre on 7th Avenue and 50th Street opened as the French Casino. It was an art deco showpiece, with walls draped in black velvet. The first show at the French Casino was Revue Folies Bergères, about which the New York Times noted: “The production of it definitely sets a high-water mark in elaborate, expensive and spectacularly varied cabaret entertainment in New York since the repeal of Prohibition.” Indeed, for nearly three years the French Casino dominated New York City’s nightclub business.
Ultimately, economic forces of the Great Depression would shutter the doors of the French Casino. The club closed abruptly in November 1937, leaving around 350 people out of work.
Below are some recently digitized images of shows at the French Casino, part of the archives of the Lucas-Pritchard and Lucas-Monroe Studios. Additional exciting, rarely seen images from the museum’s theater collection will be making an appearance on this blog soon!