Before the clock strikes 12: Midnight Theatre in Manhattan West brings evening magic, comedy, and Broadway

Midnight Theater Front (Brett Beyer Photography)

Mystery and intrigue are abound at the Midnight Theatre, where guests can explore a space part theatre and part salon, rub elbows and crack a wise one with Pete Davidson, or nab seats to a secret, sold-out show of a 1980s screening featuring Barbra Streisand on 16-millimeter film.

There will always be magic, comedy, and Broadway at the Midnight Theatre, promised founder Josh Cohen, who opened the theatre this past September. Cohen is no stranger to the arts and culinary scenes: He’s a proprietor of several North Brooklyn restaurants, including Williamsburg Italian restaurant Lilia and Saint Vitus Bar, a heavy metal club in Greenpoint.

The concept behind Midnight Theatre was to provide guests a night out under one roof, offering both an event venue and a dining room. 

“They both needed to stand on their own,” Cohen said. “We wanted to set a high bar.”

Several beats from Hudson Yards, Moynihan Hall, and Penn Station, Midnight Theatre is at a great location for prying eyes and inquisitive minds. The theatre is tucked alongside Hidden Leaf restaurant within Manhattan West, a mixed-use space in Midtown West that opened in 2021. 

Those who wander in will find Essex Pearl on the first floor with “probably the best lobster roll I’ve ever had,” Cohen said.

The second floor is the theatre and Hidden Leaf, a pan-Asian restaurant led by Executive Chef Chai Trivedi, of the Flatiron’s Pranna and Chelsea’s Buddakan. 

There, artists and the talent are the main foci, where they are to be less likely distracted by the seated space beyond. 

“We’ve chosen this venue because it’s not an open floor,” Cohen said. “It’s a box within a box, so that sound and light are isolated.”

A Reunion show at the Midnight Theatre. Photo courtesy of Sean Glass.

Upon opening, guests were treated to various one-off shows from film screenings, stand-up comedy, football club days, and psychic mediums. Guests can expect to routinely guffaw at jokesters on stage, and swing to the 14-piece Mingus Big Band.

“It’s true, variety theatre,” Cohen said.

There have been movie premieres with HBO and Paramount, and a red carpet rolled out for local funny boy-next-door, Pete Davidson. 

Independent filmmaker and Tribeca-based Sean Glass, who runs the Reunion film screenings at the Midnight Theatre, is drawn to the all-in-one space, but what really keeps him there is a “very social theatre where people laugh together and cry together.” 

“Theatre can be sterile,” Glass said. “For me, theatre is about the immediacy, about getting people out, and the cabaret vibes.” 

The 160-seater theatre has the capability of video and sound capture, live streaming, and 4K projectors, providing a different experience not only for guests, but also for talent.

“The Midnight Theatre was absolutely fabulous,” said Castrata, a drag queen who performed a New Year’s Eve special at Midnight Theatre. “The decor is stunning and the walls are all lined with digital screens that help create unique ambiance for the audience members.”

Midnight Theatre Creative Director Warren Adcock, who devised the venue’s name, envisioned a place that evoked the excitement of New York City nightlife.

“We wanted it to feel a bit mysterious and make people curious,” Adcock said. “We also are fascinated by the theme of time. For us, the content on stage is a break from time, from our daily lives. It’s escapism with live entertainment and fine food and beverage, which after a few years indoors, is what we all need.”

Midnight Theatre is located at 75 Manhattan West Plaza, New York, NY 10001. Visit the website for tickets and showtimes. Ticket prices from $25 to $99. Hidden Leaf is open Monday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed on Sunday. Menu prices from $16 to $54.