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David H Koch Theatre at The Lincoln Center

The David H Koch theatre houses Lincoln Center's Nutcracker.

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David H Koch Theater

302 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036
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David H. Koch Theatre Location:
The David H. Koch Theater (formerly know as the New York State Theater) is located in the heart of The Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side in New York City. The theatre is on the south side of the main plaza. The theater is next to the Metropolitan Opera House and dead-opposite the former a Avery Fisher hall, now named the David Geffen Hall. The Theater is home to the NYCB New York City Ballet and the most popular show is the annual holiday show, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, which provides the funds that drive the ballet season for the rest of the year.

David H. Koch Theatre Design:

Designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson (known for his early success in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC) and opened April 23, 1964, the David H Koch Theatre at The Lincoln Center was built by NY State and is currently owned by the City of New York.
David H Koch Theater

Architect History:

Philip Johnson, an American architect who designed some of the most iconic buildings of the 20th century, designed the David H Koch theater in 1960, which was built in 1964 by the State of New York. Johnson is hailed as one of the great architects of all time and, died in 2005 at the age of 99. In addition to his amazing catalog of designs, Johnson is also remembered for two other, polar opposite, accolades. One being the most openly gay architect of the 20th Century and the other being his utter hatred of Jews and his support of the Nazi regime during the 2nd World War.

Auditorium Design:

The David H Koch theatre has 2,586 seats in total with an orchestra level (that seats over 1200) and five ring levels (the fifth ring comprises just 32 seats). The auditorium also has a huge chandelier centerpiece and an ornately paneled gold ceiling that tops off its luxurious design of luxury and excess.

Promenade Design:

Just Inside the theater there is a 7800 square-foot promenade area. This area comprises of inlaid imported Travertine marble floors, hanging crystal chandeliers and a dramatic forty-foot tall gold leaf ceiling. The promenade also has dramatic spiral staircases that connect it to and balconies for each of the rings that all overlook the fountain in the Plaza of Lincoln Center. The top ring may have the worst seats in the theatre, but, on the other side, they have the very best views of Lincoln Plaza. There is also an outside deck area for photos that is connected to the first ring entrance.

Theater Operation:
The day-to-day operations of this theater are managed by the City Center of Music and Drama, Inc. There have been many calls to sell the theatre to private enterprise due to the high operating costs. New York City provides the funds needed to keep the theater refurbished through an operating subsidy through the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Original Theater Construction:
The New York State Theater was built with funds from the State of New York as part of New York State's cultural participation in the 1964–1965 World's Fair. After the Fair, the State transferred ownership of the theater to the City of New York and the state fair became dilapidated and fell into disrepair.

How The NYCB Ballet Made This Theater Home:

This theatre was originally home to the New York City Opera, but when they moved into The Metropolitan Opera House in July 1966, the NYCB took residence at the David H Koch Theatre. The Metropolitan Opera is now located across the plaza at Lincoln Square, at the Metropolitan Opera House. Both buildings are now part of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Another early tenant of the David H Koch Theatre was the Music Theater of Lincoln Center. It was this entity which revived many Broadway musicals there in the late 1960s and was headed by Richard Rodgers.

Former Name:
The theater was originally named "The New York State Theater" from 1964 to 2007. In 2008, the theater was renamed David H Koch Theatre.

How The David H Koch Theater Got Its Name:

Originally named The New York State Theater (because they paid for it back in 1964) the theater ultimately ran out of operating funds and money for refurbishment. In 2008, after being rebuffed by the then-mayor Michael Bloomberg for funds, the theater approached David Hamilton Koch, an American businessman, philanthropist, political activist and Billionaire to bankroll the theater. Koch decided to cement his name in stone by having the theater renamed in his honor. He pledged $100 million over the next 10 years to renovate the theater, that expires in 2018. He also provided an operating and maintenance endowment. The theatre was renamed the David H. Koch Theater at the New York City Ballet Winter gala, Tuesday, November 25 in 2008.

Best Seats In The House:
The David H Koch Theater is a huge theater and has over 2500 seats in the auditorium. This being said, the best seats depend on what type of ballet is being shown. In the case of The Nutcracker, the best seats for the intricate first act are in the orchestra and the best seats for the larger chorus scenes are in the front of the first and second rings. Audio is good across the whole theatre as the large orchestra are literally seated in the orchestra section, way in front of the stage, so the music penetrates all areas of the theatre without a requirement for amplification.


You can hop on the A or C train towards 59th Street and Columbus Circle or the 1 train to 66th Street Lincoln Center and walk to 65th Street and Columbus Avenue. You can also get on the M104 bus to the Broadway and 63th Street bus stop.

Parking garages in this area are very expensive. We have negotiated special deals with parking garages that will save you both your wallet and your frustration of driving around trying to find a Parking garage that is reasonably priced.
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David H Koch Seating Chart and Map for The Nutcracker:

David H Koch Nutcracker Seating Chart