Into every NYC theatrical golden age, a little rain must fall. So comes the news that despite (or perhaps due to) the recent openings of well-received venues like Metrograph, Brooklyn's Alamo Drafthouse and a refurbished Quad Cinema, Soho's venerable Landmark Sunshine will close for good when its lease expires in January 2018. As reported by the New York Post, the theater struggled in its attempts to modernize by trying to acquire a drinks license (a petition denied in 2012 by the community board). Plans for dinner service were then scrapped. The theater will be converted to office space and retail—a slap to those who know the site's rich history stretching all the way back to 1909 as a destination for Yiddish vaudeville.
Sunshine's midnight program will be sorely missed—tonight they're playing the Roger Ebert-scripted sexploitation drama Beyond the Valley of the Dolls—but this represents a perfect opportunity for Metrograph and others to cater to that devoted late-night audience. Landmark's Sunshine was a cozy venue where directors and actors liked to launch their indies and do opening-night Q&As. Recently, the theater hosted a chat with Richard Gere in celebration of his indie triumph Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, moderated by yours truly. Meanwhile, all is not lost: Landmark plans to open a new theater at the swanky Via57 West residential tower at 625 W 57th St. The theater's opening date has been pushed a few times, but the latest update is still Spring 2017. It won't be the same, but it will be something.