Famous Broadway theaters in New York

When you think about theater in New York, the first thing that comes into your mind is Broadway. But what most people are not aware of is that Broadway actually refers to the performances presented in 41 different professional theaters located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan. Broadway is considered to be the highest level of commercial theater in the English-speaking world, and many tourists come to visit the Theater District. Here are some Broadway theaters and information about them:

Al Hirschfeld Theatre

Location: 302 West 45th Street in midtown Manhattan

Capacity: 1,424

Opening date: November 11, 1924

What you should know about it:

  • It was designed by architect G. Albert Lansburgh for vaudeville promoter Martin Beck
  • It was the only theater in New York owned outright without a mortgage
  • There are enough dressing rooms to accommodate 200 actors and it was one of the most opulent theaters at the time of its opening
  • Its original name was Martin Beck Theatre and it was renamed in 2003 to Al Hirschfeld Theatre in honor of the caricaturist famous for his drawings of Broadway celebrities

Al Hirschfeld Theatre

Broadway Theatre (53rd Street)

Location: 1681 Broadway

Capacity: 1761

Opening date: December 25, 1924

What you should know about it:

  • It opened as B.S. Moss’s Colony Theatre on Christmas Day 1924 – a venue for vaudeville shows and motion pictures
  • Over the years, names and owners have changed several times: Universal’s Colony Theatre, B.S. Moss’ Broadway Theatre, Earl Carroll’s Broadway Theatre, and Ciné Roma
  • It has been renovated extensively in 1956 and 1986 by the Shubert Organization, which bought the theater in 1939
  • The most successful productions at The Broadway Theater from the last years include Shrek The Musical; Promises, Promises; Sister Act, Cinderella, Doctor Zhivago, Fiddler on the Roof, Miss Saigon, and King Kong

Broadway Theatre

Cort Theatre

Location: 138 West 48th Street in the Theater District

Capacity: 1,082

Opening date: December 20, 1912

What you should know about it:

  • It was designated a New York City landmark on November 17, 1987
  • It is owned by Shubert Organization, the largest owner of Broadway theatres
  • It was named after John Cort (1861-1929), founder of the Northwestern Theatrical Association, who commissioned architect Thomas W. Lamb to design the theater.
  • The theater’s façade is modeled after the Petit Trianon in Versailles
  • Productions of the latest years include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, No Man’s Land, Waiting for Godot, The Cripple of Inishmaan, This is Our Youth, Fish in the Dark, Sylvia, Bright Star, and Indecent, M. Butterfly

cort theatre

Gershwin Theatre

Location: 222 West 51st Street in the Paramount Plaza Building

Capacity: 1,993, the largest seating capacity of any Broadway theatre

Opening date: November 28, 1972

What you should know about it:

  • It was designed in an Art Nouveau style by set designer Ralph Alswang
  • It opened on November 28, 1972 as the Uris Theatre with the musical Via Galactica starring Raul Julia. The first show closed after only seven performances and registered losses of one million dollars.
  • During 1974-1976 it was used as a concert hall for legendary pop music and jazz performances
  • Its lobby hosts the American Theatre Hall of Fame
  • The theater was rechristened during the 37th Tony Awards ceremony held on June 5, 1983, to honor the Gershwin brothers (composer George Gershwin and lyricist Ira Gershwin)
  • One of the most successful productions was Wicked, running between 2003 and 2013

gerswhin theatre

Lyric Theatre

Location: 214 West 43rd Street

Capacity: 1930, second largest Broadway theater after the Gershwin Theatre

Opening date: January 18, 1998

What you should know about it:

  • It was built on the site of the former Apollo and Lyric Theatres, which had gotten into a very bad shape by the early 1990s
  • Architectural elements and structures from the old theater buildings were incorporated in the new theatre due to being protected under landmark status
  • The theater’s original name was the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, and it opened in 1998 with a musical version of E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime. Several other names have been given to the organization over the years, and the current name dates from March 2014
  • Productions of the latest years are On the Town, Paramour, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, announced for 2018

lyric theatre

Nederlander Theatre

Location: 208 West 41st Street

Capacity: 1,232

Opening date: September 1, 1921

What you should know about it:

  • It was formerly known as the Billy Rose Theatre and National Theatre
  • Walter C. Jordan built the theatre at a cost of $950,000
  • It was owned by The Shubert Organization until 1956, when it was purchased by Harry Fromkes as part of the settlement of the Shubert antitrust case
  • For a while it housed the Times Square Church, and evidence that it had been constructed as a carpenter’s shop in 1920 was found
  • Lena Horne won a 1981 Tony Award for her performance at the Nederlander in her eponymous Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music
  • The highest gross registered at Nederlander Theatre was $1,042,449 at 90.5% capacity with an average ticket price of $123.24, for War Paint

nederlander theatre

Shubert Theatre

Location: 225 West 44th Street

Capacity: 1,460

Opening date: October 21, 1913

What you should know about it:

  • It was named after Sam S. Shubert, the second oldest of three brothers of the theatrical producing family
  • Its façade in Venetian Renaissance style is similar to the one of the adjoining Booth Theatre, but interiors are different. The two theaters are connected by a private road
  • The longest-running production was A Chorus Line, which ran for 6,137 performances from 1975 to 1990. It set the record for the longest running show in Broadway history
  • It has been designated a New York City landmark and the building’s auditorium and murals were restored in 1996

shubert theatre

Winter Garden Theatre

Location: 1634 Broadway between 50th and 51st Streets

Capacity: 1,526

Opening date: March 10, 1911

What you should know about it:

  • The structure’s original purpose was housing the American Horse Exchange (it was built by William Kissam Vanderbilt in 1896)
  • It was completely remodeled in 1922 by Herbert J. Krapp – the large stage is wider compared to those in most Broadway houses
  • The longest tenant was the production Cats, which ran 7,485 performances for almost eighteen years, starting with October 7, 1982
  • In 1974 Liza Minnelli appeared at the Winter Garden in a concert run – she would win a Tony Award for that performance

Winter Garden Theatre

These are just a few theaters on Broadway, and all of them are awaiting you for a unique experience!