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
This venue opened as the Theatre Masque in 1927.

Six LGBT-associated plays at the Theatre Masque were:

  • Young Love (1928-29), directed by George Cukor
  • Bird in Hand (1929, opened at the Booth Theater), a big hit, with Jill Esmond
  • Tobacco Road (1933-34), an enormous hit, with Will Geer
  • Invitation to a Murder (1934) by Rufus King
  • Continental Varieties (1935), with 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). The single biggest LGBT-associated hit here was Angel Street (1941-44) with Vincent Price.

Other big hits at the John Golden included:

  • Look Back in Anger (1958, opened at the Lyceum Theater), with 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 Edward Everett Horton
  • Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens (1952), starring Emlyn Williams
  • Monique (1957), with Denholm Elliott
  • Billy Barnes Revue (1959), with music and lyrics by Billy Barnes
  • After the Rain (1967), with 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 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 actor Peter Frechette (Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Drama Desk Award)
  • Michael Feinstein in Concert: Piano and Voice (1990), starring Michael Feinstein

 

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, Nov. 14, 2007.

  3. Internet Broadway Database.

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

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

43 Sites

Broadway Theater District

Other Sites in the Neighborhood

209 West 42nd Street
New Victory Theater (originally Theatre Republic)
Performance Venues
481 Eighth Avenue
Magnus Hirschfeld at the Hotel New Yorker
Residences
220 West 43rd Street
New York Area Council of the Mattachine Society, Inc. at Avlon Studios
Organization & Community Spaces