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

History

Theatre Masque
This venue opened as the Theatre Masque in 1927. LGBT-associated productions at the Theatre Masque included:

  • Young Love (1928-29), directed by George Cukor
  • Bird in Hand (1929, opened at the Booth Theater), a big hit, with actor Jill Esmond
  • Tobacco Road (1933-34), an enormous hit, with actor Will Geer
  • Invitation to a Murder (1934) by Rufus King
  • Continental Varieties (1935), with actors Leif Roschberg and Paal Roschberg (the Rocky Twins)
  • Russet Mantle (1936) by Lynn Riggs

 

John Golden Theater
In 1937, this venue was renamed the John Golden Theater (not to be confused with the Royale Theater, which was named the John Golden Theater in 1934-36).

Big hits by LGBT creators and with LGBT performers at the John Golden included:

  • Angel Street (1941-44), the single biggest hit here, with actor Vincent Price
  • Look Back in Anger (1958, opened at the Lyceum Theater), with actor Alan Bates
  • Beyond 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 Beatty
  • Falsettos (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
  • 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 Elliott
  • Springtime for Henry (1951), with actor Edward Everett Horton
  • Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens (1952), starring Emlyn Williams
  • Monique (1957), with actor Denholm Elliott
  • Billy Barnes Revue (1959), with music and lyrics by Billy Barnes
  • After the Rain (1967), with actor Alec McCowen
  • Bob and Ray – The Two and Only (1970-71), with scenic design by William Ritman
  • Kennedy’s Children (1975-76) by Robert Patrick
  • Dirty Linen/ New-Found-Land (1977), with actor Remak Ramsay
  • It Had to Be You (1981), directed by Robert Drivas
  • Eastern Standard (1989) by Richard Greenberg, with costume design by William Ivey Long, and with actors Peter Frechette (Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Drama Desk Award) and Kevin Conroy
  • Michael Feinstein in Concert: Piano and Voice (1990), starring Michael Feinstein
  • Side Man (1998-99; opened at the Criterion Center Stage Right Theater), directed by Michael Mayer

 

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

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

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, November 14, 2007.

  3. Internet Broadway Database.

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

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Broadway Theater District

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