18.09.2014 (AP THEATER)
The Admiralspalast can look back on a more than one hundred years old moving history, coined by different cultural influences and historical developments.
Whether Eisarena, Revuetheater or Operettenhaus – the Admiralspalast stood and stands always synonym for the cultural and amusement frenzy of Berlin.
In 1873, an artesian salt water spring is uncovered by chance in the middle of downtown Berlin during construction work at Friedrichstrasse 101/ 102, the grounds of the former Admiral’s Quarters. With its opening, the Admiralsgartenbad becomes one of Berlin’s first public baths. It is built by the architects Kyllmann and Heyden, who found a company specifically for the purpose, the Admiralsgartenbad Aktiengesellschaft.
1889/ 1890 The Admiralsgartenbad is expanded into a three-story bath facility designed by the government architect J. Gause. With its remodeling, the bath boasts being “Europe’s most modern” and one of the first in Berlin.
1911 After the Admiralsgartenbad is pulled down and a new building raised on the Friedrichstrasse 101 property, the Admiralspalast opens on April 20 as a “new, cosmopolitan etablissement.” Beneath the roof of the Admiralspalast – one of the very first amusement palaces – are now an ice skating rink, the 2,600 sq. meter exclusive Russian-Roman luxury thermal baths, opened day and night, a Roman café, four bowling alleys, and a plush cinema. Ice hockey games and boxing matches are also held in the great hall.
1913 The Admiralspalast is the world’s only ice palace.
1922 Conversion to“world vaudeville” in Art Déco style, designed by Oskar Kaufmann and Richard Wolffenstein.
1923 The operetta director Herrmann Haller is named the new director. The theater is remodeled as a revue theater and is given the name “Theater im Admiralspalast.”
1939 Fusion with the Metropoltheater in Behrenstrasse (today the home of the Komische Oper) under Heinz Hentschke.
1939 By order of Reichsminister Goebbels, remodeling of the theater into a “festively appealing recreation center” begins on December 20.
1941 A “Führer’s loge” is built into the center of the first balcony.
1944 On September 1, all Berlin theaters are closed by order of the NSDAP due to the declaration of “total war.”
1945 The “Deutsche Staatsoper” moves into the Palast and uses it as an interim location until 1955. On August 23, the first season is opened with a gala concert.
1946 During the “Party Union Congress” from April 21 – 22, the German Communist Party and the Socialist Democratic Party are forcibly merged to make the SED. The handshake between Otto Grotewohl and Wilhelm Pieck takes place in the Grand Hall.
1947 Yehudi Menuhin plays Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde on October 3 in the Grand Hall.
1948 Bertolt Brecht participates with Helene Weigel in a peace rally in the Admiralspalast sponsored by the Cultural Association of the GDR.
1950 With a formal ceremony in the Admiralspalast on March 24, the GDR founds the German Academy of Arts (DAK) in East Berlin.
1953 The cabaret “Die Distel” is opened in the former casino/cinema in the front house of the Admiralspalast.
1955 On December 21, the “METROPOL-Theater im Admiralspalast” is opened with Johann Strauss’ operetta Die Fledermaus. Besides classic operettas, the operetta and musical theater presents Broadway musicals.
The GDR ”Presse-Café” is installed in the Admiralspalast’s front building. It becomes the place for the GDR’s bohemia to meet.
1979 The Admiralspalast is entered in the GDR’s list of monuments as the site of the founding of the SED.
1990 The Admiralspalast is on the city senate’s “liquidation list.” The city wants to quickly lower its subsidy payments. The Admiralspalast is included in the pan-German list of protected monuments.
1995 The state-owned Metropoltheater is converted into the private “Metropol-Theater Betriebsgesellschaft GmbH” with René Kollo as general director.
1997 On July 31, the “METROPOL-Theater im Admiralspalast” closes and, with it, a part of Berlin’s history.
1999 Peter Bejach, former director of the Dresden State Operetta, starts an initiative to again revive the Admiralspalast, which fails due to insufficient funds. A new investor is sought.
2001 Stage Holding signs a sales contract as the new investor.
2002 The city senate decides to preserve the building complex as a cultural site.
2003 In July, Falk Walter, the operator of arena Berlin, together with four other associates, acquires the building from the State of Berlin’s property portfolio in competitive bidding.
2006 Following restoration that preserved the historic nature of the building, the new Admiralspalast Theater reopens on August 11, 2006, with the premiere of The Three Penny Opera. Shortly thereafter, Admiralspalast Studio and the concert and gallery rooms 101 are inaugurated. Further highlights are the celebrated Jan Delay concert, STOMP, and the various productions of the theater company, Familie Flöz.
2007 Max Raabe’s Palastrevue and Helge Schneider appear for the first time in the house to great acclaim, as do the Radio Fritz Nacht der Talente, the slam poetry show, Lokalrunde, and the improv theater, Theatersport Berlin. The long-running comedy, CAVEWOMAN, celebrates its premiere in the house, The Bar at Buena Vista delights audiences with Cuban rhythms, the Kästner reading, Als ich ein kleiner Junge war (When I Was a Little Boy) leaves audiences touched, and Jopi Heesters captivates the illustrious throng of invited guests on his 104th birthday with a medley of his greatest hits.
2008 Slava’s Snowshow and The Little Prince charm both young and old with poetic imagery. Swing Royal instantly becomes a must-see for both rockabillies and swing fans. Ute Lemper and Meret Becker bring the feeling of authentic cabaret to the Admiralspalast stage. My Fair Lady becomes another self-produced hit. The Rocky Horror Show attracts the city’s most oddball characters to the house. Rufus Wainwright, Shantel, Thomas D, and Death Cab For Cutie provide the concert highlights of the year.
2009 The 100 dancers and performers in Swan Lake wow audiences with their power and poetry. A number of comedians and cabaret artists like Cindy aus Marzahn, Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen, and Volker Pispers grace the house’s stage, and The Producers – Springtime for Hitler, the funniest musical of all time, is finally brought to Germany. Other musical highlights include Antony & The Johnsons, die R’n'R-Jungspunde Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Götz Alsmann, and Gayle Tufts.
2010 Rainald Grebe returns to the house with a new show as do Kurt Krömer and Otto. Ulrich Tukur rhapsodizes about the night, Randy Newman etches out life in song, and Derj Tankian presents symphonic works.
The current operators, Admiralspalast Produktions GmbH, are forced to declare bankruptcy.
2011 Following a transition period, the entertainment group located in Düsseldorf, Mehr! Entertainment, takes over of the Admiralspalast, thus launching a new era for the historic building. The original concept of a “department store of amusements” is revisited and brought forward into the 21st century with verve, elegance, and passion.
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