Opening of Berlin’s first market hall – a huge building that quickly proves to be unprofitable.
The building is converted into a 5,000 seat circus arena: In the ensuing decades, the Salamonsky, Renz and Schumann Circus delight Berliners with its acrobats and sensational acts.
Max Reinhardt stages the first theatre performances in the market hall that had been converted into a large arena.
Reconstruction by architect Hans Poelzig into a 3,500-seats theatre. Reinhardt is the principal shareholder and director until 1920. In December, Reinhardt’s “Schall und Rauch” (sound and smoke) cabaret venue opens in the former stables in the basement.
Erik Charell becomes the director until 1930. He stages modern revues and brings stars like La Jana or the Comedian Harmonists to the house. To date, his revues stand for the Berlin of the “Golden Twenties”.
Immediately after his last premiere on March 1 at the Deutsches Theater (Hofmannsthal’s “Das Salzburger Große Welttheater”), Max Reinhardt leaves Berlin and will never return to Nazi Germany. He died in 1943 in New York. In April, the “Große Schauspielhaus” had to close for financial reasons.
On January 8, renamed by the new operator – Goebbels Reich Propaganda Ministry and the ‘German Labour Front (DAF)’ – into the “Theatre of the People”. After failures with “proper art” recourse is taken to the operetta. Paul Lincke’s “Frau Luna” is making a comeback and enjoys 400 sold-out shows. In 1936, it becomes a venue for major performances hosted by the Nazi organisation “Kraft durch Freude” (“Strength through Joy”) during the Olympic Games in Berlin.
Some of the building’s interior architecture is regarded as “degenerate art”, so portions are dismantled and rebuilt by Hans Poezig (in particular, the dome and stalactites in the hall).
Because of the war, the building is closed in 1944.
In March bombs destroy the tower on the stage. After the war ends, artist Marion Spadoni reopens the building in May 1945. It is now called the Palace Variety and has 3,500 seats.
International performers bring a variety of numbers to the stage – mainly acrobatics. A children’s ensemble stands on the stage for the first time.
A transition to municipal ownership. Nicola Lupo becomes the artistic director. The Programs are given more dance elements and a greater revue character.
A new stage tower is built. On November 1, it is renamed to Friedrichstadt-Palast.
The new general director, Gottfried Herrmann, introduces the conceptual form of today’s revue theatre.
World-famous ensembles, such as Bolshoj Ballet, the Indian National Ballet and the Moscow State Circus, are doing guest performances.
For the first time, big “storyline revues” are presented. World stars, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Juliette Gréco and Gilbert Bécaud, are presenting their soloist programmes.
In October 1963, Wolfgang E.Struck starts as the successor of Gottfied Herrmann.
The first episode of “Kessel Buntes” (“A Kettle of Color”) is broadcast for GDR television from here. The moderator team initially consisted of the “3 dialecticians”.
Das Moderatorenteam bestand anfangs aus den “3 Dialektikern”.
The Old Friedrichstadt-Palast is closed because it is structurally unsound.
The final applause in the former building.
On April 27, the New Friedrichstadt-Palast opens. It is the last, large grandiose building of the slowly deteriorating GDR: a show palace with state-of-the-art technical equipment and 1,895 seats.
Moderator O.F. Weidling makes “critical jokes” in front of SED state heads, so part of his moderation is cut from the TV broadscast of the opening event. He subsequently gets a stage ban.
The old palace building is torn down.
Fall of the Berlin Wall: the ensemble as well as the public are feeling insecure about the cultural and political development of the house, which results in a drop of the amount of visitors.
Alexander Iljinskij becomes the new general director until 2004, and leads the house back into a more prosperous era.
The theatre becomes a state-owned GmbH (it is fully owned by the Berlin state government).
The city of Berlin and the Friedrichstadt-Palast honor Marlene Dietrich with a show celebrating her 100th anniversary.
Thomas Münstermann and Guido Herrmann become the theatre’s joint head.
60the anniversary of: “Children perform for children”
November 1: The name “Friedrichstadt-Palast” celebrates its 60the anniversary. On the same day, Dr. Berndt Schmidt becomes the theatre’s director. His vision: To bring the revue into the 21st century as great show entertainment.
The new Friedrichstadt-Palast celebrates its 25th anniversary. On the same site that used to house the Palace’s old building, work is done to prepare the plot for a chic apartment complex designed by architect Philippe Starck.
Friedrichstadt-Palast sells the most tickets it has ever sold in its long history (subsequent years are better). The trend in ticket sales is now reversed.
The opening of the permanent exhibition on the theatre’s history and on the histroy of the Friedrichstraße theatre district. Curator: Roland Welke.
The building is updated: The outside areas and the foyer are made more attractive.
The theatre decided to go back to using its former spelling from November 1, 1947: Friedrichstadt-Palast (in between it had been Friedrichstadtpalast). On December 2 opening of the world’s first sky lounge in a theatre.
For over a hundred years the theatre has been known as Berlin’s first address for big show entertainment. Max Reinhard first began putting on performances at the old palace, which was originally built as a market hall and, at the time, still located directly beside the Schiffbauerdamm canal, back in 1910. Renowned modernist architect Hans Poelzig designed a grand theatre on Max Reinhardt’s orders when the latter took over as owner in 1919. From 1924, the newly appointed artistic director, Erik Charell Revuen, created the revues that characterize the reputation and aesthetics of the “Golden Twenties” in Berlin to this very day. In 1980, the old Friedrichstadt-Palast had to be closed due to major subsidence and structural damage to the building. On 27 April 1984, the new Friedrichstadt-Palast opened at Friedrichstraße 107 as the last major grand construction project of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which was already beginning to near its end at the time.
Werner Hoffmann created the big hall with 1,895 seats, a main-, side-, fore- and backstage, an ice rink, water basin and podiums. Werner Schön designed the stage area with the 32-metre-high tower and Herbert Knopf designed the façade, which is made out of story-high prefabricated building elements. Horst Meyer designed the foyer.
At Friedrichstraße 107, the great revue tradition lives on. Big names in show business have also stood on stage at this legendary theatre. To name just a few: Shirley Bassey, Joe Cocker, Phil Collins, Udo Jürgens, Hildegard Knef and Liza Minnelli.