overview

Opened in 1903, the Lyceum Theater has staged multiple productions involving major LGBT performers and creators, including Oliver Smith, Clyde Fitch, Katharine Cornell, Billy Barnes, Eva Le Gallienne, Thornton Wilder, Elsie de Wolfe, and Alan Bates, among others.

The two biggest hits at the Lyceum were The Gold Diggers (1919-21), with Lilyan Tashman, and Born Yesterday (1946-47), with Judy Holliday.

Header Photo
Credit: Sarah Sargent/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2019.

History

The Lyceum Theater opened in 1903. In the long history of LGBT-associated productions at the Lyceum Theater, the two biggest hits were The Gold Diggers (1919-21), with Lilyan Tashman, and Born Yesterday (1946-48), with Judy Holliday.

Other hits at the Lyceum included:

  • Look Back in Anger (1957-58), with Alan Bates
  • A Taste of Honey (1960-61), with production design by Oliver Smith
  • Your Arms Too Short to Box with God (1976-77), with music and lyrics by Alex Bradford
  • Morning’s at Seven (revival, 1980-81), with scenic design by William Ritman

 

Plays by LGBT creators at the Lyceum have included:

  • Granny (1904) by Clyde Fitch
  • The Truth (1907, opened at the Criterion Theater) by Clyde Fitch
  • Penelope (1909-10) by W. Somerset Maugham
  • Mrs. Dot (1910) by W. Somerset Maugham
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (revival, 1910) by Oscar Wilde
  • The Land of Promise (1913-14) by W. Somerset Maugham
  • Little Miss Bluebeard (1923-24), with costume design by Travis Banton and others
  • The Way Things Happen (1924), staged by Guthrie McClintic, with actor Katharine Cornell
  • A Hundred Years Old (1929), staged by James Whale
  • Bitter Oleander (1935) by Federico Garcia Lorca
  • I Want a Policeman (1936) by Rufus King and Milton Lazarus
  • The Gambler (1952), with costume design by Robert Mackintosh
  • Lullaby (1954) by Don Appell
  • Billy Barnes Revue (1959), with music and lyrics by Billy Barnes (opened at the John Golden Theater)
  • Goodbye, Charlie (1959-60), with scenic design by Oliver Smith
  • The Importance of Being Oscar (1961), a one-man show based on the works of Oscar Wilde, written and performed by Michael MacLiammoir
  • Nobody Loves an Albatross (1963-64), with costume design by Florence Klotz
  • Entertaining Mr. Sloane (1965) by Joe Orton, with scenic design by William Ritman
  • The Show Off (revival, 1967-68) by George Kelly
  • Exit the King (1968), with scenic design by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, and with actors Eva Le Gallienne and Richard Easton
  • Borstal Boy (1970) based on the autobiographical book by Brendan Behan (Best Play Tony Award)
  • The Trial of the Catonsville Nine (1971), with costume design by Albert Wolsky
  • Out Cry (1973) by Tennessee Williams
  • Zalman or The Madness of God (1976), with scenic design by William Ritman
  • As Is (1985-86) by William M. Hoffman, one of the first plays about AIDS, and with actor Jonathan Hadary
  • Our Town (revival, 1988-89) by Thornton Wilder
  • The Government Inspector (1994), with costume design by Lewis Brown
  • Night Must Fall (revival, 1999) by Emlyn Williams

 

LGBT performers at the Lyceum have included:

 

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

NOTE: Names above in bold indicate LGBT people.

Building Information

  • Architect or Builder: Herts & Tallant
  • Year Built: 1902-03

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. Lyceum Theater Interior Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1987).

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