overview

Opened in 1917, the Broadhurst Theater has staged multiple productions involving major LGBT performers and creators, including the play The Green Hat (1925-26), staged by Guthrie McClintic, starring Katharine Cornell, and featuring a closeted gay character.

A sampling of other LGBT names associated with the Broadhurst include Vincent Price, Beatrice Lillie, Oliver Smith, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Eva La Gallienne, and Barbara Stanwyck.

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

History

One fairly successful gay-themed play appeared at the Broadhurst Theater prior to the Wales Padlock Law (1927), which forbade the depiction of “sex perversion” on stage. Michael Arlen’s The Green Hat (1925-26), staged by Guthrie McClintic, and with actor Katharine Cornell, featured a closeted gay character.

The Broadhurst over the decades has had a large number of hit plays with LGBT associations:

 

Productions by LGBT creators and with LGBT performers at the Broadhurst included:

  • Lord and Lady Algy (revival, 1917), with actor Eva La Gallienne
  • 39 East (1919) by Rachel Crothers
  • Topics of 1923 (1923-24), with costume design by Erte
  • Beggar on Horseback (1924), with actor Spring Byington
  • Dixie to Broadway (1924-25), a musical revue, with actor Florence Mills
  • The Merchant of Venice (revival, 1928), with actor Spring Byington
  • Hold Everything (1928-29), with actor Ona Munson
  • America’s Sweetheart (1931), directed by Monty Woolley, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart
  • The Man Who Reclaimed His Head (1932), with actor Jean Arthur
  • Tattle Tales (1933), with actor Barbara Stanwyck
  • Men in White (1933-34), with actor Sanford Meisner
  • L’Aiglon (1934), with actor Eva La Gallienne
  • Let Freedom Ring (1935), with actor Will Geer
  • Streets of Paris (1939-40), with costume design by Irene Sharaff
  • Night Music (1940), with actor Sanford Meisner
  • Boys and Girls Together (1940-41), with costume design by Irene Sharaff
  • Two On an Island (1940), with actor Earl McDonald
  • Old Acquaintance (1941) by John Van Druten (opened at Morosco Theater)
  • High Kickers (1941-42), with actor Sophie Tucker
  • Uncle Harry (1942), with actor Eva La Gallienne
  • Early to Bed (1943-44), with costume design by Miles White
  • A Lady Says Yes (1945), with actor Earl McDonald
  • Three to Make Ready (1946), with sketches by Nancy Hamilton, and with actors Harold Lang and Carleton Carpenter
  • Happy Birthday (1946-48), with actor Musa Williams
  • Lend Me An Ear (1949), with scenic, costume and lighting design by Raoul Pene Du Bois (opened at the National Theater)
  • Along Fifth Avenue (1949), with scenic design by Oliver Smith
  • Romeo and Juliet (revival, 1951), with scenic and costume design by Oliver Messel
  • The Prescott Proposals (1953-54), with actor Katharine Cornell
  • Sail Away (1961-62), with book, music, and lyrics by Noel Coward, scenic and costume design by Oliver Smith, and with actor Grover Dale
  • Bravo Giovanni (1962), with costume design by Ed Wittstein
  • No Strings (1962-63; opened at the 54th Street Theater), directed and choreographed by Joe Layton (Best Choreography Tony Award)
  • 110 in the Shade (1963-64), with scenic design by Oliver Smith, and with actor Will Geer
  • Weekend (1968) by Gore Vidal, with scenic design by Oliver Smith
  • Private Lives (revival, 1970) by Noel Coward, with actor Brian Bedford (opened at the Billy Rose Theater)
  • Four on a Garden (1971), with scenic design by Oliver Smith
  • 70, Girls, 70 (1971) by Fred Ebb and Norman L. Martin, and with music and lyrics by John Kander and Ebb
  • Twigs (1971-72) by George Furth
  •  A Matter of Gravity (1976), with actor Katharine Hepburn
  • The Heiress (revival, 1976, based on the novel Washington Square by Henry James), with scenic design by Oliver Smith
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night (revival, 1986), with scenic design by Tony Straiges
  • Private Lives (revival, 1992) by Noel Coward, with costume design by William Ivey Long
  • The Tempest (revival, 1995), directed by George C. Wolfe, and with actor Mario Cantone
  • Once Upon a Mattress (revival, 1996-97), co-authored and lyrics by Marshall Barer, with scenic design by John Lee Beatty, and lighting design by Pat Collins
  • Proposals (1997-98), directed by Joe Mantello, and with scenic design by John Lee Beatty
  • The Judas Kiss (1998), about the life of Oscar Wilde, with scenic and costume design by Bob Crowley

 

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

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Herbert J. Krapp
  • Year Built: 1917-18

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. Broadhurst 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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