FROM LECTURE HALL TO VAUDEVILLE HOUSE TO THEATRE
The Historic Home of The New Phoenix Theatre was built in 1884, on land deeded to Buffalo by Ebenezer Johnson, Buffalo’s first mayor, and originally served as a lecture hall for Buffalo Seminary (some say the spirits of ladies from that period keep a warm, whimsical watch on our work today). Thereafter, it served as a “séance house,” a vaudeville house, and then a soup kitchen.
It was in that latter use, as a mission run by the American Rescue Workers, that it came to be abandoned and fell into disrepair.
A little over 100 years after the building’s construction, Richard Lambert moved to Buffalo from Brooklyn and into a new house he owned with his partner, the actor Maxim Mazumdar.
Mazumdar’s death found Lambert living alone in the new house and working as an actor. He gained entrance to 95 Johnson Park and sold the house in which he lived to purchase it, moving into the third floor and beginning renovations and restorations himself and later with the help of area foundations. He officially opened the New Phoenix Theatre on The Park - named after The Phoenix Theatre in Montreal, Canada, which Mazumdar operated - in 1996, later deeding responsibility for the mortgage - and ultimately ownership of the property - to the company.
A grant from the Joint Fund for the Arts has allowed us to convert much of the theatre's upper spaces into a rehearsal hall, Green Room, offices and studio spaces we share with other companies and visiting artists. The building at 95 has thus served as a stage not only for the New Phoenix Company but for a distinguished roster of organizations that has included Buffalo Ensemble Theatre (under Timothy C. White), Road Less Traveled, Subversive Theatre, Skeletons in the Closet Puppet Theatre, Red Thread Theatre, Folkloric Dance, the Second Generation Theatre and Post Industrial Productions, and more.
For the past many years, the New Phoenix has been the home for the renowned Frank Rossi Studio classes, featuring premium acting coaching for film and stage.
The generous support of funders like The Rupp Foundation, The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, The Western New York Foundation, NYSCA, Erie County, City of Buffalo, The Hahn Foundation, The Joint Fund for the Arts, Give for Greatness, Deborah Goldman and Grant Golden, and the M&T Charitable Trust (in whose honor we have planted several new trees in the Park), and who has been the sponsor of our long standing "M & T Pay What You Can Thursdays". These generous Foundations, Corporations, and Government agencies have helped with continued renovations and services to the community, such as free performances, summer productions in Johnson Park, and new chairs, our roof, and trees and sidewalks.
The New Phoenix Theatre eventually became outright owners of the building and is now the only theatre company in Buffalo that owns its home outright.
The New Phoenix Theatre on The Park is a proud member of The Theatre Alliance Of Buffalo.
All TAB theatres are handicapped accessible, in accordance with NY State law. For individual amenities, please contact The New Phoenix Theatre with any questions.
The New Phoenix Theatre on The Park is funded in part with public funds from the City of Buffalo and the County of Erie and is grateful to M&T Bank, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, the Rupp Foundation and the Hawn Foundation.
The New Phoenix is a proud member of The Johnson Park Association. Please join our friends on the web at
We are also happy to have Talking Leaves as a sponsor of The New Phoenix Theatre.
Meet The New Phoenix Theatre Staff
Board of Directors
Chairperson of the Board
Executive Director and Interim Artistic Director
Betsy Bittar, CPA, MBA
Managing Director/ Board Treasurer
Tom Lambert, Esq.
Richard Campbell, Esq.
Board Member Emeritus
In Memoriam: Timothy C. White