The Shuberts ended their relationship with the Riviera in the late 1920's. During the 1931 and 1932 seasons, the Chamberlain Brown players called the Riviera home. A former actor turned agent and producer, Chamberlain Brown claimed to have discovered Clark Gable, Helen Hayes, Alfred Lunt, Rudolph Valentino, Leslie Howard, Jeannette MacDonald, Jack Haley, Don Ameche, Preston Foster, Robert Walker, Glenda Farrell, Carlotta Monterey (eventually Mrs Eugene O'Neill), Conrad Nagel, Tallulah Bankhead, Helen Menken (the first Mrs. Humphrey Bogart), Harry K. Morton, Nita Naldi and many others. The Brown agency represented such theater notables as John Carradine, Mrs. Leslie Carter, Lon Chaney, Jr., Ruth Chatterton, Constance Collier, Glenda Farrell, Dorothy Gish, Hal Holbrook, Miriam Hopkins, Otto Kruger, Fritzi Scheff, Spencer Tracy, and Tom Ewell (once an agency employee) among others.
This is the mural on the sound board above the proscenium arch. Due to the terrible lighting it is hard to make out what it represents in this picture.
On March 9th 1932, a review appeared in the Columbia Spectator: "A talented actress named Kathryn Civney made her New York debut in "The Vinegar Tree" at the Riviera Theatre last Monday night and proceeded to make the audience forget that Mary Boland had ever had Gotham chuckling uproariously at her interpretation of the leading role in "The Vinegar Tree" last season". Other companies, as well as dance companies, used the theater during this era. Eventually economics would give way and the Riviera would become a the movie house we all knew and loved.
House right about to be house no more. So much original detail that survived the decades was about to be reduced to rubble only to be put into a landfill some where.
What was once an elegant entertainment complex, a mecca that could seat almost 5000 at any given moment was certainly a gift. The entire complex was designed by Thomas Lamb, whose career is slowly being obliterated in the name of progress.