overview

Opened in 1924 as a motion picture/vaudeville house, the Broadway Theater began presenting legitimate theater in 1930. Major LGBT performers and creators associated with this venue include Raoul Pene Du Bois, Jerome Robbins, Mary Martin, Arthur Laurents, Irene Sharaff, Joel Grey, Linda Hopkins, and Yves Saint-Laurent, among others.

The theater’s historic front facade was covered in 1991, but its large historic interior survives.

Header Photo
Credit: Interior of the Broadway Theater. Source: Spotlight on Broadway.

History

The Broadway Theater was opened in 1924 as a motion picture/vaudeville house, and began to present legitimate theater in 1930.

Over the decades this theater has had a large number of hit plays with LGBT associations, many of which were transferred here after opening at other theaters:

 

Other shows here with LGBT creators and performers included:

  • The New Yorkers (1930-31), with music and lyrics by Cole Porter
  • Earl Carroll’s Vanities (1932), with scenic and costume design by Vincente Minnelli
  • Too Many Girls (1940), with lyrics by Lorenz Hart, and costume design by Raoul Pene Du Bois, and with actor Van Johnson (opened at the Imperial Theater)
  • Lady in the Dark (revival, 1943), with costume design by Irene Sharaff and Kermit Love
  • Ballet Theater (1946), with scenic design by Oliver Smith and costume design by Irene Sharaff, and with dancers Hugh LaingJerome RobbinsDick BeardAntony Tudor, and Harold Lang
  • Beggar’s Holiday (1946-47), with production design by Oliver Smith
  • Oklahoma! (revival, 1951), based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs (1931) by Lynn Riggs, and with costume design by Miles White
  • The Green Pastures (revival, 1951), with an all-Black cast and Hall Johnson as choral musical director
  • The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954-55), with music, lyrics and libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti
  • Mr. Wonderful (1956-57), with scenic design by Oliver Smith and costume design by Robert Mackintosh
  • Kean (1961-62), staged and choreographed by Jack Cole, and with scenic and costume design by Ed Wittstein
  • I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962), with Harold Lang
  • The Girl Who Came to Supper (1963-64), based on a play by Terence Rattigan, and with music and lyrics by Noel Coward, scenic design by Oliver Smith, and costume design by Irene Sharaff
  • Tovarich (1963), with dancer Tommy Abbott
  • Zizi (1964-65), with costume design by Yves Saint-Laurent
  • Baker Street (1965), with scenic design by Oliver Smith
  • The Devils (1965-66), with scenic design by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, and with actor James Coco
  • The Happy Time (1968), with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, costume design by Freddy Wittop, and with actor Michael Rupert
  • Zorba (revival, 1983-84), with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb

 

The historic front façade of the Broadway Theater was covered in 1991, but the large historic theater interior survives.

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

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Eugene DeRosa
  • Year Built: 1924

Sources

  1. 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.

  2. Internet Broadway Database.

  3. “The 1st List of: Gay/Lesbian/Bi Industry People, Both in Front and Behind the Camera,” Internet Movie Database, May 31, 2013.

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