A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 07, 2020
Fabulous Invalid (Broadway nickname)

The Fabulous Invalid is the title of a play by George S. Kaufman (1889-1961) and Moss Hart (1904-1961) that opened on Broadway on October 8, 1938 at the Broadhurst Theatre and ran for 65 performances. The play is about a fictitious Broadway theater, the Alexandria, in the 30-year period between 1900 and 1930.
“The fabulous invalid” soon became a term for Broadway itself—a performing art always threatened into extinction by movies, radio, television and the internet. Broadway theaters closed in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the term “fabulous invalid” was popular again.
Wikipedia: The Fabulous Invalid
The Fabulous Invalid is a 1938 stage play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart that follows the oscillating fortunes of a fictitious Broadway theater, the Alexandria, in the 30-year period between 1900 and 1930. The play’s title has since entered the vernacular as a synonym for the theater.
Kaufman and Hart coined the phrase “the fabulous invalid” to describe the resilience of the theater despite continual pronouncements of its demise. In 1940, The New York Times referred to it as “a fond phrase that will probably stick,” and the phrase has indeed entered the vernacular. In his 2001 biography of Hart, Steven Bach wrote that the play’s title was “the most enduring thing about it.”
11 June 1938, Windsor (ON) Daily Star, “The Theatre and Its People” by Annie Oakley, third sec., pg. 4, col. 3:
RETURNING to George S. Kaufman )the New Yorker), he and Moss Hart have christened their new play “Fabulous Invalid.” It deals with the theatre between 1900 and 1930. In fact, the story is not only about the theatre but the action is laid in various parts of a playhouse.
21 April 1940, New York (NY) Times, “Fabulous Invalid,” pg. 8E, col. 3:
The theatre is always ailing. “The fabulous invalid,” George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart once dubbed it, in a fond phrase that will probably stick.
Google Books
17 October 1949, Life magazine, pg. 159, col. 1:
As a result more than half of Broadway’s 77 legitimate theaters that flourished 20 years ago have been torn down, closed or turned over to movies or radio (map, below. Only a few hardy producers are still in the regular running (next pages), taking what steps they can to keep the fabulous invalid alive.
OCLC WorldCat record
Toronto’s fabulous invalid : the theatre arts
Author: Globe Magazine.
Publisher: 1970.
Edition/Format:   Manuscript   Archival Material : English
OCLC WorldCat record
Fabulous Invalid Rallies: Broadway 1995–96
Author: Glenn Loney
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: New Theatre Quarterly, v12 n48 (199611): 387-390
Google Books
A Novel Approach to Theatre:
From Adams to Zola

By Linda Sarver and Tom Markus
Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press
Pg. 102:
The Fabulous Invalid is doing very well today, despite a century- long onslaught from a succession of would-be successors to the crown of performing art.
OCLC WorldCat record
The fabulous invalid : checking in with the perpetually terminal diva
Author: Charles McNulty
Edition/Format:   Article : English
Publication: Theater, Vol. 35, nr. 3 (2005), str. 41-51
OCLC WorldCat record
Life support for the fabulous invalid : if not-for-profit can do it, why can’t we?
Author: James Edward Forshaw; Columbia University. Theatre Arts Division.
Publisher: 2009.
Dissertation: M.F.A. Columbia University 2009
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Google Books
Reviewing the Arts
Third Edition
By Campbell B. Titchener
New York, NY: Psychology Press
Pg. 84:
For more than half a century the phrase “the fabulous invalid” has been applied to New York theater. It refers to the belief that the product is terminally ill, and may well soon disappear altogether.
OCLC WorldCat record
Show and tell : the new book of Broadway anecdotes
Author: Ken Bloom
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, [2016] ©2016
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : English
Show and Tell: The New Book of Broadway Anecdotes is a lively, funny and sometimes touching look at the adventures of some of Broadway’s most colorful practitioners. From authors, directors, actors, producers and designers to the myriad other folk involved keeping the fabulous invalid alive, Far from a dry repetition of names, facts, and figures, Show and Tell offers up a history of Broadway shows and its practitioners from a skewed prospective in all their idiosyncratic glory
Peter Marks
A deep dive by @MarkHarrisNYC into the prognosis for the Fabulous Invalid. Based on my conversations, I have to say that I’m less worried about the prospects for Broadway’s long term recovery than I am about the future for large regional theaters.
How Can Broadway Recover From This Pandemic?
Lower ticket prices? Reconfiguring the theaters for social distanced entertaining? When will the tourists return?
11:06 AM · Apr 9, 2020·Twitter Web App
Beverly Bullock
Replying to @PattiMurin
There’s a reason they call Broadway “The Fabulous Invalid”. It WILL be back.
11:10 PM · May 19, 2020·Twitter Web App
P. Brennan
Replying to @BebeNeuwirth
The Fabulous Invalid has seen some tough times in the past.  These times now are really stressful. Can’t tap our troubles away that easily this time.
6:24 PM · Jul 23, 2020·Twitter Web App

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Friday, August 07, 2020 • Permalink

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