overview

Opened as the Theatre Masque in 1927 and renamed the John Golden Theater in 1937, this venue has staged multiple productions involving major LGBT creators and performers, including George Cukor, Jill Esmond, Vincent Price, Tommy Tune, Billy Barnes, and Michael Feinstein, among others.

The 1951 revival here of The Green Bay Tree (1933), about the spoiled ward of a gay foster-father, featured actor Denholm Elliott.

Header Photo
Credit: Evan Tuten/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2022.

History

Theatre Masque
Six LGBT-associated plays at the Theatre Masque were Young Love (1928-29), directed by George CukorBird in Hand (1929, opened at the Booth Theater), a big hit, with Jill EsmondTobacco Road (1933-34), an enormous hit, with Will GeerInvitation to a Murder (1934) by Rufus KingContinental Varieties (1935), with Leif Roschberg and Paal Roschberg (the Rocky Twins); and Russet Mantle (1936) by Lynn Riggs.

John Golden Theater
In 1937 it was renamed the John Golden Theater (not to be confused with the Royale Theater, which was named the John Golden Theater in 1934-36). The single biggest LGBT-associated hit here was Angel Street (1941-44) with Vincent Price. Other big hits included Look Back in Anger (1958, opened at the Lyceum Theater) with Alan BatesBeyond the Fringe (1962-64), a revue written and performed by Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore (Special Tony Award); A Day in Hollywood/ A Night in the Ukraine (1980), directed by Tommy Tune, and choreographed by Tune and Thommie Walsh (Best Choreography Tony Award); Crimes of the Heart (1981-83), with scenic design by John Lee BeattyFalsettos (1992-93) by William Finn and James Lapine (Best Book of a Musical Tony Award), with music and lyrics by Finn (Best Original Score Tony Award), and with actor Michael Rupert; and Master Class (1995-97) by Terrence McNally (Best Play Tony Award and Outstanding Play Drama Desk Award).

Other shows with LGBT associations at the John Golden Theater included The Green Bay Tree (1951), the first revival of Mordaunt Shairp’s 1933 play about the spoiled ward of a gay foster-father, with actor Denholm ElliottSpringtime for Henry (1951) with Edward Everett HortonEmlyn Williams as Charles Dickens (1952), starring Emlyn WilliamsMonique (1957) with Denholm ElliottBilly Barnes Revue (1959), with music and lyrics by Billy BarnesAfter the Rain (1967) with Alec McCowenBob and Ray – The Two and Only (1970-71), with scenic design by William RitmanKennedy’s Children (1975-76) by Robert PatrickDirty Linen/ New-Found-Land (1977) with Remak RamsayIt Had to Be You (1981), directed by Robert Drivas; Eastern Standard (1989) by Richard Greenberg, with costume design by William Ivey Long, and with actor Peter Frechette (Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Drama Desk Award); and Michael Feinstein in Concert: Piano and Voice (1990) starring Michael Feinstein.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Herbert J. Krapp
  • Year Built: 1926-27

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, Nov. 14, 2007.

  3. Internet Broadway Database.

  4. John Golden Theater Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1987).

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