overview

Opened in 1927, the Majestic Theater has staged multiple productions involving major LGBT performers and creators, including Mary Martin, Adrian, Irene Sharaff, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Cyril Ritchard, Florence Klotz, Oliver Smith, and Arthur Laurents, among others.

A number of iconic musicals with LGBT associations also played here, including CarouselSouth PacificThe Music ManCamelotA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumFunny GirlFiddler on the RoofThe Wiz, and 42nd Street.

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

History

The Majestic Theater opened in 1927. Big hits, all musicals, several of which have become iconic, by LGBT creators and with LGBT performers at the Majestic included:

 

Other productions at the Majestic by LGBT creators and with LGBT performers included:

  • Rufus LeMaire’s Affairs (1927), with actor Peggy Fears
  • Behold the Bridegroom (1928; opened at the Cort Theater) by George Kelly, and with actor Judith Anderson
  • A Night in Venice (1929; opened at the Shubert Theater), with costume design by Erte, George Barbier, and Ernest Schrapps
  • A Wonderful Night (1929-30), with costume design by Orry-Kelly and Ernest Schrapps, and with actor Archie Leach (who later changed his name to Cary Grant)
  • Nina Rosa (1930-31), with costume design by Orry-Kelly
  • Strike Me Pink (1933), with actor Hope Williams
  • Murder at the Vanities (1933-34; opened at the New Amsterdam Theater) by Earl Carroll and Rufus King
  • At Home Abroad (1936; opened at the Winter Garden Theater), staged by and scenic design by Vincente Minnelli, with actors Beatrice Lillie and Ethel Waters
  • On Your Toes (1936-37; opened at the Imperial Theater) by George Abbott, Lorenz Hart, and Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Hart, and costume design by Irene Sharaff, and with actor Monty Woolley
  • Babes in Arms (1937, opened at the Shubert Theater) by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Hart
  • Three Waltzes (1937-38) by Rowland Leigh and Clare Kummer, and with actor Earl McDonald
  • Porgy and Bess (1942 revival), and with actor Georgette Harvey
  • Dream with Music (1944), with costume design by Miles White
  • Alice in Wonderland (1947, opened at the International Theater) by Eva Le Gallienne (who also acted in it) and Florida Friebus
  • Me and Juliet (1953-54), with costume design by Irene Sharaff
  • By the Beautiful Sea (1954), with costume design by Irene Sharaff
  • Happy Hunting (1956-57), with costume design by Irene Sharaff
  • Jennie (1962), with costume design by Irene Sharaff, and with actor Mary Martin
  • Hot Spot (1963), with scenic and costume design by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, and with actors Judy Holliday and George Furth
  • The School for Scandal (revival, 1963), with actors John GielgudRalph Richardson, and Richard Easton
  • The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (1967), with costume design by Lewis Brown
  • Mack & Mabel (1974) by Michael Stewart, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, and lighting design by Tharon Musser, and with actor James Mitchell
  • The Act (1977-78) by George Furth, with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and costume design by Halston, and lighting design by Tharon Musser
  • First Monday in October (1978), with scenic design by Oliver Smith
  • Ballroom (1978-79), choreographed by Michael Bennett and Bob Avian (Best Choreography Tony Award), directed by Bennett, and with lighting design by Tharon Musser
  • I Remember Mama (1979), a musical based on the play by John Van Druten
  • One show that met with a hostile reception and only played nine performances, but later became a cult favorite, was Anyone Can Whistle (1964) by Arthur Laurents, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

 

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

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