Spotlight on the Theater
LGBT performers, directors, playwrights, and those in associated professions have had an enormous impact on the history of American theater and culture.
However, acceptance even in the theater world did not come without struggle; from 1927 to 1967, the New York Legislature-enacted Wales Padlock Law made it illegal for theaters to show plays that featured gay and lesbian characters (though some productions managed to get around this restriction).
This curated collection spotlights influential live theater venues from downtown Manhattan to Harlem as well as residences of theater notables. For Broadway venues, see our dedicated Broadway Theater District theme.
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Featured Historic Sites ( 21 )
Edna Thomas, one of the earliest Black actors of the New York stage, came to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance and was pivotal in the development of serious African American... Learn More
This 1831 house had a significant and colorful Off-Off-Broadway theatrical history from 1955 to 1967, reflecting its location on St. Mark’s Place during the cultural ascendancy of the East Village.... Learn More
The Louis N. Jaffe Art Theater, a former Yiddish theater, was the location of the Mafia-controlled Club 181 (1945-51), known for its lavish shows of “female impersonators” (a term used... Learn More
“First Lady of the Theater” Katharine Cornell and her husband, director-producer Guthrie McClintic, lived here from 1922 to 1951. Architect Paul Rudolph began renting here in 1961 and later converted... Learn More