overview

Opened in 1913, the Booth Theater has been associated with major LGBT performers and creators that include Jill Esmond, Noel Coward, Thornton Wilder, Elisabeth Marbury, Tennessee Williams, Montgomery Clift, Oliver Smith, and Alvin Ailey, among others.

The lesbian-themed play Girls in Uniform (1932) by Christa Winsloe was briefly staged here and told the story of a Prussian schoolgirl who grows attached to her teacher.

Header Photo
Credit: Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2022.

History

The Booth Theater opened in 1913. One lesbian-themed play attempted to open despite the Wales Padlock Law (1927), which forbade the depiction of “sex perversion” on stage. Girls in Uniform (1932) by Christa Winsloe told the story of a Prussian schoolgirl who grows attached to her teacher. It only played a dozen performances at the Booth due to the huge success of the German film version, Madchen in Uniform, that premiered before the play.

The biggest theater hits with LGBT associations here were:

 

Other productions by LGBT creators and with LGBT performers at the Booth included:

 

Entry by Jay Shockley, project director (June 2019, with multiple additions).

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Henry B. Herts
  • Year Built: 1912-13

Sources

  1. “The 1st List of: Gay/Lesbian/Bi Industry People, Both in Front and Behind the Camera,” www.imdb.com, May 31, 2013.

  2. 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.

  3. Booth Theater Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1987).

  4. Internet Broadway Database.

  5. Kaier Curtin, “We Can Always Call Them Bulgarians”: the Emergence of Lesbians and Gay Men on the American Stage (Boston: Alyson Publications, 1987).

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Curated Themes

44 Sites

Broadway Theater District

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