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Orchid Show: Broadway in Bloom

Inspired by iconic Broadway theaters, such as the Walter Kerr Theater and the New Amsterdam, the annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden opens Saturday, March 5 with some dazzling orchid stars and performances.

Just 25 minutes away by car, the garden is hosting a Broadway-style spectacle, featuring  the divas of the plant world–orchids in the thousands in all shapes and sizes.  Of special interest is the first stunning display that you see when entering the show, an orchid-covered stage whose architectural design is modeled on  the Walter Kerr Theater’s  proscenium arch and curtain.

Orchid display based on Walter Kerr Theater Proscenium Arch
Orchid display based on Walter Kerr Theater Stage

The display, like a stage set, is about 16 feet high and is mounted in a reflecting pool that shows off hundreds of “dancing lady” orchids in bright yellows and oranges.

For locals, The Walter Kerr Theater is named after long-time Larchmont resident and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times theater critic, Walter Kerr who, until his death in 1996, lived in a rather distinctive house in Manor Park.

His  famous wife, author and playwright Jean Kerr, wrote the book “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.” The house with its amazing chimneys and decorative features is located at the foot of Larchmont’s Beach Avenue, with views facing Long Island Sound.

The theatrical and architectural themes for the orchid show this year are a “new approach”, says the curator of the orchid collection, Marc Hachadourian. His favorite creation is the huge, three- dimensional orchid chandelier designed to reflect the fancy theater lighting at the old Eltinge Theater on 42nd Street.

Chandelier design from the old Eltinge Theater on 42nd Street.
Chandelier design from the old Eltinge Theater on 42nd Street.

“It took an incredible amount of time to design and build the chandelier  balancing the colors, patterns, and lighting,” said Hachadourian, “but the effect is amazing.”

The show is lit up in the early evenings and also features Broadway show tunes wafting through the galleries for a multi-sensory experience.

Tickets and information about the orchid show at

Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.
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