Opened in 1920, the Times Square Theater staged a number of productions involving major LGBT performers and creators, including Katharine Cornell, Tallulah Bankhead, Laurence Olivier, and Noel Coward, among others.
Operating relatively briefly as a legitimate theater, the venue became a movie theater in 1933 and the interior was demolished in 1996.
Credit: Sarah Sargent/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2019.
Katharine Cornell in A Bill of Divorcement, 1921. Photo by White Studio. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.
The Exciters poster, 1922. Source: tallulahbankhead.weebly.com.
Beatrice Lillie in Andre Charlot's Revue of 1924. Photo by White Studio. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.
Laurence Olivier and Noel Coward in Private Lives, 1930. Source: www.thestage.co.uk.
Tallulah Bankhead and Ilka Chase in Forsaking All Others, 1933. Photo by Vandamm. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.
Apollo and Times Square Theaters. Photo by Wurts Bros, 1921. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.
The Times Square Theater was constructed with a neo-Classical style façade that it shared with the Apollo Theater. During its brief history as a legitimate theater, it enjoyed success with a number of LGBT-associated productions with major figures. These included Honors Are Even (1921) by Roi Cooper Megrue; A Bill of Divorcement (1921-22), with Katharine Cornell (opened at the George M. Cohan’s Theater); The Exciters (1922), with Tallulah Bankhead; Andre Charlot’s Revue of 1924, with Beatrice Lillie; Private Lives (1931) by Noel Coward, with Coward, Laurence Olivier, and Jill Esmond; and Forsaking All Others (1933), with Tallulah Bankhead and Anderson Lawlor.
In 1933 it became a movie theater. The theater’s interior was demolished in 1996 and portions were used in the Ford Center.