overview

Opened in 1903, the New Amsterdam Theater has staged several productions involving major LGBT performers and creators, including Clyde Fitch, Erte, Patsy Kelly, the vaudeville team of Bert Savoy & Jay Brennan, Eva La Gallienne, and Marie Dressler, among others.

The theater became a movie palace in 1937 and, since 1997, has been a legitimate theater for Disney productions.

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

History

Productions by LGBT creators at the New Amsterdam Theater have included Her Own Way (1903) and Beau Brummell (1904-07) by Clyde FitchZiegfeld Follies of 1923, with costume design by Erte and others; Betsy (1926-27), with lyrics by Lorenz HartEarl Carroll’s Vanities (1930-31), with costume design by Vincente Minnelli, and with actor Patsy Kelly; and Murder at the Vanities (1933) by Earl Carroll and Rufus King. LGBT performers here have included Gareth Hughes in Margaret Schiller (1916), Lilyan Tashman in Ziegfeld Follies of 1916 and 1917Bert Savoy & Jay Brennan, a vaudeville team, in Ziegfeld Follies of 1918Peggy Fears in Ziegfeld Follies of 1925Clifton Webb in Sunny (1925-26), Eva Le GallienneAlla Nazimova, and Josephine Hutchinson in The Cherry Orchard (revival, 1933), and Libby Holman in Revenge with Music (1934-35).

At the New Amsterdam Rooftop, Marie Dressler appeared in The Boy and the Girl (1909), and Bert Savoy & Jay Brennan were in Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (1919) and Ziegfeld Nine O’Clock Review (1919).

It became a movie palace in 1937. Since 1997, it has been a legitimate theater for Disney productions.

Building Information

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

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, Nov. 14, 2007.

  2. Internet Broadway Database.

  3. “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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