Historic Hudson Theatre on Broadway restored for 'Sunday in the Park with George' revival

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A piece of Broadway history will be revived this weekend when a classic theater inherits new life.

The Hudson Theatre has been restored and re-opened for audiences to experience Annaleigh Ashford and Jake Gyllenhaal starring in a revival of "Sunday in the Park with George."

The "Brokeback Mountain" and "Nightcrawler" star was on hand with a pair of oversize golden scissors to reopen the Hudson for the venue's first theatrical production in nearly 50 years.

"We feel the ghosts of those who were before us," Ashford said.

It seems appropriate the historical theater is back with a musical about "the art of making art."

"I think this is a perfect show to open the theater, because it's all about the process of creating and creation and all of the elements that go into making it what it is," Gyllenhaal said.

Photos: NYC's historic Hudson Theatre through the years

The stars are among the latest in a long line of performers dating back more than a century.

Louis Armstrong was a breakout at the theater in 1929, and Elvis Presley made one of his earliest TV appearances there a quarter of a century later.

"We're kind of picking up where they left off," Ashford said.

The Hudson Theatre was the first home of The Tonight Show during the "bad old days" of Times Square. Porn movies were shown there prior to the revival, and it barely escaped the wrecking ball a few times.

"It's intimidating, you know, to think about the origins of this space," Gyllenhaal said. "To think about our dressing rooms and all the people that prepared in there, and all of the energy that's here, it's intimidating and an honor."

The revival of "Sunday in the Park with George" starts previews 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."
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