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 by LGBT creators and with LGBT performers at the Broadway Theater 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
  • Ballet Theater (1946), with scenic design by Oliver Smith and costume design by Irene Sharaff and Kermit Love, and with dancers Hugh LaingJerome RobbinsDick BeardAntony Tudor, and Harold Lang
  • Beggar’s Holiday (1946-47), with production design by Oliver Smith
  • As the Girls Go (1949-50; opened at the Winter Garden Theater), choreographed by Hermes Pan
  • 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 actor Harold Lang
  • The Girl Who Came to Supper (1963-64), based on a play by Terence Rattigan, and staged by Joe Layton, 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
  • Guys and Dolls (revival, 1976-77), directed and choreographed by Billy Wilson
  • 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. “The 1st List of: Gay/Lesbian/Bi Industry People, Both in Front and Behind the Camera,” Internet Movie Database, 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. Internet Broadway Database.

Do you have more information about this site?

This project is enriched by your participation! Do you have your own images of this site? Or a story to share? Would you like to suggest a different historic site?

Curated Themes

44 Sites

Broadway Theater District

Other Sites in the Neighborhood

219 West 42nd Street
Times Square Theater
Performance Venues
203-217 West 46th Street
Lunt-Fontanne Theater (originally Globe Theater)
Performance Venues
150 West 55th Street
Carl Van Vechten Residence
Residences