With 'love and joy', Jake Gyllenhaal opens Broadway theatre

With 'love and joy', Jake Gyllenhaal opens Broadway theatre

Broadway welcomed a new theatre on Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Jake Gyllenhaal.

The Brokeback Mountain and Nightcrawler star was on hand with a pair of oversized golden scissors to reopen the Hudson Theatre with Sunday In The Park With George, the venue’s first theatrical production in nearly 50 years.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to have joy in this world and that’s what this space is and that’s what this show is all about. It’s all about love and joy, so I hope people will come and experience that with us.”

Jake Gyllenhaal, left, and Annaleigh Ashford
Jake Gyllenhaal, left, and Annaleigh Ashford (Charles Sykes/AP/PA)

Jake helped cut a green ribbon with co-star Annaleigh Ashford, and his name will adorn a plaque commemorating the event.

The ornate, refurbished theatre wasn’t quite ready for its close-up, with rubbish bins still in plastic in the lobby and signs still needing to be hung.

Opened in 1903 — a week before the New Amsterdam Theatre — the Hudson becomes both Broadway’s oldest theatre and its newest. It’s the first new Broadway theatre in almost 20 years and becomes the 41st such venue.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford
Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford (Charles Sykes/AP/PA)

The Hudson sits just off Times Square — east of Broadway on 44th Street. The theatre opened in 1903 with a production of Cousin Kate starring Ethel Barrymore. It was built by producer Henry B. Harris, who died aboard the Titanic. It was lost to foreclosure in 1933 and sold at auction for $100,000 (£79,780).

Jake and Annaleigh will share the stage that once was used by performers such as Laurence Olivier, Louis Armstrong, Jane Fonda and Barbra Streisand.

“We are outrageously honoured to be reopening this special space with this special piece of art,” said Annaleigh. “We feel the ghosts of those that were before us, living and breathing and inspiring us.”

The revival of Sunday In The Park With George starts previews this Saturday. The Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical imagines what the 19th-century French painter Georges Seurat went through to create his pointillist masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.