overview

Opened in 1910 as the Globe Theater, this venue has staged multiple productions involving major LGBT performers and creators, including Barbara Stanwyck, Lorenz Hart, Oliver Smith, Mary Martin, Robert Mackintosh, Jerry Herman, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Marlene Dietrich, among others.

In 1957, the building was renamed the Lunt-Fontanne Theater for actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, a Broadway couple who had one of the most famous “lavender marriages” (in which one or both partners in a marriage are gay) of their time.

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

History

Globe Theater
This venue opened as the Globe Theater in 1910. The Globe had a number of plays with LGBT associations:

  • The Harp of Life (1916-17), with actors Laurette Taylor and Lynn Fontanne
  • Out There (1917), with actors Laurette Taylor and Lynn Fontanne
  • Jack and Jill (1923), with actor Clifton Webb
  • Keep Kool (1924), with actor Ruby Stevens (who later changed her name to Barbara Stanwyck) in the ensemble
  • No Foolin’ (1926), with actor Peggy Fears
  • She’s My Baby (1928), with lyrics by Lorenz Hart, and with actors Beatrice Lillie and Clifton Webb
  • George White’s Scandals (1923), with costume design by Erte and Cora MacGeachy
  • Three Cheers (1928-29), with actor Patsy Kelly

 

Lunt-Fontanne Theater
The Globe served as a movie house from 1932 to 1957. In 1957, the venue was named the Lunt-Fontanne Theater, becoming one of several Broadway theaters that have been named after LGBT persons. Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were a Broadway couple who had one of the most famous “lavender marriages” (a marriage in which one or both partners are gay) of their time.

Productions with LGBT associations that were huge hits at the Lunt-Fontanne included:

 

Other shows by LGBT creators and with LGBT performers at the Lunt-Fontanne included:

  • The Visit (1958), with actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne
  • Much Ado About Nothing (revival, 1959), with actor John Gielgud
  • Little Me (1962-63), based on a novel by Patrick Dennis (Edward Everett Tanner III)
  • Ben Franklin in Paris (1964-65), with scenic design by Oliver Smith
  • Bajour (1965; opened at the Shubert Theater), with scenic design by Oliver Smith, and costume design by Freddy Wittop
  • Skyscraper (1965-66), with actor Charles Nelson Reilly
  • Walking Happy (1966-67), with actor George Rose
  • Marlene Dietrich (1967), with actor Marlene Dietrich in her Broadway concert singing debut
  • How Now Dow Jones (1967-68), with scenic design by Oliver Smith, and costume design by Robert Mackintosh, and with actor Tommy Tune
  • You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running (1968), with scenic design by Ed Wittstein, and with actor George Grizzard (opened at the Ambassador Theater)
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (revival, 1972), with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
  • 6 Rms Riv Vu (1973), with scenic design by William Ritman (opened at the Helen Hayes Theater)
  • The Sunshine Boys (1974), with costume design by Albert Wolsky (opened at the Broadhurst Theater)
  • My Fair Lady (revival, 1976-77), with production design by Oliver Smith, and costume design by Cecil Beaton, with W. Robert LaVine as special costume assistant, and also with actor George Rose (Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award) (opened at the St. James Theater)
  • Hello, Dolly! (revival, 1978) by Michael Stewart based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, scenic design by Oliver Smith, and with actor Lee Roy Reams
  • Peter Pan (revival, 1979-81), with actor George Rose
  • Sophisticated Ladies (1982), with actor Maurice Hines
  • Private Lives (revival, 1983) by Noel Coward
  • The Corn is Green (revival, 1983) by Emlyn Williams, and with scenic design by William Ritman
  • Uptown… It’s Hot (1986), with actor Maurice Hines
  • Smile (1986-87) by, directed by, and lyrics by Howard Ashman, and with costume design by William Ivey Long
  • 3 Penny Opera (revival, 1989), directed by John Dexter
  • Hello, Dolly! (revival, 1995-96) by Michael Stewart, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, directed and choreographed by Lee Roy Reams, scenic design by Oliver Smith (his last Broadway production), and costume design by Freddy Wittop

 

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

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Carrere & Hastings
  • Year Built: 1909-10

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. Lunt-Fontanne Theater Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1987).

  4. “The 1st List of: Gay/Lesbian/Bi Industry People, Both in Front and Behind the Camera,” www.imdb.com, May 31, 2013.

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