Thom Geier
July 13, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Three decades ago, the basement of the famed Studio 54 was home to Halston, Liza, and a whole lot of disco-era debauchery. But in June, the underground lair reopened as 54 Below, a nightclub spotlighting Broadway vets like Patti LuPone, Ben Vereen, and Smash‘s Megan Hilty. The 160-seat venue, located beneath Roundabout’s Studio 54 theater, has been reimagined as a kind of hip Victorian bordello with leather-backed seats, fine wood moldings — and no disco balls in sight. ”You walk down those steps and you wonder what went on down there back in the day,” says Brian d’Arcy James, a Smash alum who just wrapped seven rock-heavy shows in the club. ”If they invite me back, I’m definitely performing Andy Gibb’s ‘Shadow Dancing.”’ (

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