American Airlines Theater (interior) (originally Selwyn Theater)
after opening as the Selwyn Theater in 1918, this site was renamed the American Airlines Theater in 2000
Opened as the Selwyn Theater in 1918, this venue staged multiple productions involving major LGBT performers and creators, including, among others, W. Somerset Maugham, Beatrice Lillie, Noel Coward, and Cole Porter, during its brief history as a legitimate theater.
After becoming a movie theater in 1934, the venue was renovated and reopened as the American Airlines Theater in 2000.
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This venue was originally known as the Selwyn Theater. During its brief history as a legitimate theater, the Selwyn enjoyed success with a number of LGBT-associated productions with major figures:
- The Circle (1921-22) by W. Somerset Maugham
- Andre Charlot’s Revue of 1924 (opened at the Times Square Theater), with actor Beatrice Lillie
- Charlot Revue (1925-26), with actor Beatrice Lillie
- This Year of Grace (1928-29), with book, music and lyrics by Noel Coward, scenic and costume design by Oliver Messel and others, and with actors Coward and Beatrice Lillie
- Wake Up and Dream! (1929-30), with music and lyrics by Cole Porter
- Three’s a Crowd (1930-31), with actors Libby Holman and Clifton Webb
- Walk a Little Faster (1932-33), with actor Beatrice Lillie (opened at the St. James Theater)
In 1934, the Selwyn became a movie theater. Between 1997 and 2000, the theater interior was renovated and many of its original features were restored; during that time, the historic front façade collapsed.
Entry by Jay Shockley, project director (June 2019, with multiple additions).
NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.
- Architect or Builder: George Keister
- Year Built: 1918
Adam Hetrick, “The Work of Broadway’s Gay and Lesbian Artistic Community Goes on Display Nov. 14 When the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation Gallery Presents ‘StageStruck: The Magic of Theatre Design’,” Playbill, November 14, 2007.
Internet Broadway Database.
“The 1st List of: Gay/Lesbian/Bi Industry People, Both in Front and Behind the Camera,” www.imdb.com, May 31, 2013.
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