Fun Facts About All 41 Broadway Theatres
Get ready for a little Broadway Theatre History 101!
Situated in the heart of Times Square, just south of TKTS' famed red steps, is one of the greatest resources at the disposal of every tourist who walks by. They need only look down. Carved in granite and decorated with stainless steel, a 28-foot map of New York City's theatre district maps out all but one of the currently operating Broadway theatres.
What makes a Broadway theatre? Technically any venue with 500 seats or more, located along Broadway in New York City's Theatre District is a Broadway theatre, and the art that is produced in these special places is widely considered the highest form of theatrical entertainment in the world. Today, forty-one theatres are technically Broadway houses, each with their own rich history of ground-breaking shows and legendary performers. Below, we're giving you the scoop on the life of every one of them!
Al Hirschfeld Theatre
Previously known as the Martin Beck Theatre, the Hirschfeld opened in 1924 with a production of Madame Pompadour. The name was changed officially in 2003 in honor of the beloved Broadway illustrator as he approached is 100th birthday, though Hirschfeld died just months before the official renaming. The theatre is one of five operated by Jujamcyn Theatres and one of only two Broadway venues positioned west of 8th Avenue.
Where Is It? 219 West 49th Street
How Many Seats? 1125
First Show at the Ambassdor Theatre: The Rose Girl
This landmarked Shubert house is notably situated diagonally to the street- a unusual characteristic in New York theatre design. Currently home to the long-running revival of Chicago, this theatre first opened in 1921, was operated as a movie theatre throughout the 30s and 40s, and was reverted back to a Broadway theatre in 1956.
American Airlines Theatre
Where Is It? 227 West 42nd Street
How Many Seats? 740
First Show at the American Airlines Theatre: Information Please
Built in 1918, this historic Italian Renaissance-style space spent most of its life in the 20th century as movie theatre- first of standard Hollywood films, then grindhouse productions. After falling into disrepair, the theatre was restored in 1997 after falling under the protection of the New 42nd Street organization. Today, it serves as the home of Roundabout Theatre Company productions.
August Wilson Theatre
The August Wilson Theatre opened as the Guild Theatre in 1925, before being converted into a studio for WOR-Mutal Radio. In 1981, the space was purchased by Jujamcyn Theatres and renamed the Virginia Theatre after Board member Virginia McKnight Binger. Following the death of prolific playwright August Wilson in 2005, it was renamed in his honor. Jersey Boys is the longest running show in the theatre's history, having played 4642 performances in its 12 year run.
Where Is It? 111 West 44th Street
How Many Seats? 1018
First Show at the Belasco Theatre: A Grand Army Man
One of only six theatres positioned east of Broadway, the Belasco is also one of the oldest. Originally known as the Stuyvesant Theatre, the space opened in 1907 with A Grand Army Man, starring Antionette Perry. The theatre is infamously linked with theatre impresario David Balasco, whose ghost reportedly still haunts the building. Today, the space still features the Tiffany lighting and rich woodwork that set it apart from most other Broadway theatres.
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
One of six theatres in its block (known as George Abbott Way), the Jacobs was originally named the Royale Theatre when it opened in 1927. Producer John Golden renamed the theatre for himself when he took ownership in the 1930s, and the title remained until its neighboring theatre took the same name in 1937. The Shubert Organization restored the building in 1940 and later named it after its president in 2005.
Where Is It? 222 West 45th Street
How Many Seats? 766
First Show at the Booth Theatre: The Great Adventure
One of the Jacobs' Abbott Way neighbors, the Booth Theatre, which opened in 1913, was named after one of the 19th century's greatest stage actors, Edwin Booth- brother of John Wilkes Booth. Positioned back to back with the Shubert Theatre, the Booth is one of Broadway's more intimate venues and typically houses plays instead of musicals.
Where Is It? 235 West 44th Street
How Many Seats? 1186
First Show at the Broadhurst Theatre: Misalliance
The third Abbot Way theatre on this list, the Broadhurst was designed by Herbert J. Krapp (who designed 14 other currently operating Broadway theatres) and opened in 1917. The venue was named for dramatist George Howells Broadhurst, who worked closely with the Shubert brothers around the turn of the century.
Where Is It? 1681 Broadway
How Many Seats? 1761
First Show at the Broadway Theatre: The New Yorkers
The Broadway Theatre is one of only three theatres with an actual Broadway address. The fourth largest in size, the space first opened in 1924 as a film venue, debuting the very first Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, in 1928. It became a popular theatre for musicals of the Golden Age to transfer to before concluding their runs. Such shows to make stops at the Broadway Theatre included the original productions of South Pacific, The Music Man, Cabaret, Funny Girl, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
Originally called the Mansfield Theatre, this venue spent much of its early life as a CBS studio. It reverted to a legitimate theatre venue in 1960 and was renamed for New York Times Theatre critic Brooks Atkinson. Now, it is one of nine spaces operated by The Nederlander Organization.
Circle In The Square Theatre
Where Is It? 235 West 50th Street
How Many Seats? 840
First Show at the Circle in the Square Theatre: Mourning Becomes Electra
Perhaps one of Broadway's most versatile spaces, the Circle in the Square is one of just two theatres with a thrust design- allowing for the audience to be positioned almost entirely around the stage. The theatre as we know it today opened in 1970, when it and the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin Theatre) were built in place of the Capitol Theatre. Situated underground, the Circle in the Square lobby sits side-by-side with its sister theatre's- the Gershwin.
Where Is It? 138 West 48th Street
How Many Seats? 1084
First Show at the Cort Theatre: Peg O' My Heart
Named for Northwestern Theatrical Association founder John Cort, this theatre was designed by Thomas W. Lamb to resemble the Petit Trianon, a chateau on the grounds of Versailles. Built in 1912, it came into possession of The Shuberts in 1927 and from 1969 to 1972 was the home of the Merv Griffin Show.
Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Another Krapp/Shubert collaboration, the Barrymore opened in 1928 with The Kingdom of God, starring Broadway royalty Ethel Barrymore. She would go on to lead four other productions in the space over the following decade. Unlike most Broadway theatres, it's one of the only venues that remained in legitimate theatrical use since it opened. The Barrymore was the home of the original Broadway productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Pal Joey, and A Raisin in the Sun.
Eugene O'Neill Theatre
When The Shuberts opened it in 1925, the venue was christened the Forrest Theatre. Not until 1959 was it renamed after the celebrated American playwright. Today it is operated by Jujamcyn Theatres and has been home to such hit musicals as Big River, Spring Awakening, and its current tenant- The Book of Mormon.
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
Originally named the Plymouth Theatre, this Shubert house- another George Abbot Way neighbor- was renamed for Shubert Organization chairman Gerald Schoenfeld in 2005. Its very first production was the eighth revival of A Doll's House in 1918.
Where Is It? 222 West 51st Street
How Many Seats? 1933
First Show at the Gershwin Theatre: Via Galactica
Like its sister theatre, the Circle in the Square, the Gershwin was built on the site of the Capitol Theatre in 1972. It is currently the second largest theatre on Broadway and hosted The Tony Awards five times throughout the 80s and 90s. Since 2003, the Gershwin has been the home of Broadway's sixth longest-running show of all time, Wicked.
Where Is It? 240 West 44th Street
How Many Seats? 597
First Show at the Hayes Theatre: The Pidgeon
Broadway's smallest theatre was aptly named the Little Theatre when it opened in 1912. After being used as a conference space for the New York Times in the 1930s, it was converted to an ABC studio in 1957. After Helen Hayes' namesake 46th street theatre was demolished in 1983 to make space for the Marriott Marquis, it was renamed for her. Today, the theatre is operated by Second Stage Theater company and is known simply as the Hayes.
Where Is It? 141 West 44th Street
How Many Seats? 1050
First Show at the Hudson Theatre: Cousin Kate
Having originally opened in 1903, the Hudson is technically the oldest theatre on Broadway. Throughout most of its history, however, the space was used as a CBS radio studio, a NBC television studio, a movie theatre, and a night club. In 2017, the UK-based Ambassador Theatre Group officially reopened the theatre with Sunday in the Park with George.
The Shuberts and Herbert J. Krapp designed the Imperial specifically to accommodate musicals, and boy, has it. Since it opened in 1923, it has housed the original productions of Annie Get Your Gun, Gypsy, Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Pippin, Dreamgirls, and Les Miserables (just to name a few).
John Golden Theatre
Originally designed by Krapp as a part of a three-theater complex for Irwin Chanin in 1927, the Masque Theatre was renamed in 1937 when theatre impresario John Golden took ownership. Now a Shubert house, the theatre is one of the smallest on Broadway and typically houses plays.
Where Is It? 220 West 48th Street
How Many Seats? 1091
First Show at the Longacre Theatre: Are You a Crook?
When Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee needed some extra money for his new theatrical ventures, he sold Babe Ruth's contract to the Yankees and triggered a curse that some claim has haunted both baseball and Broadway ever since. Named for Longacre Square (the original name of Times Square) in 1912, the venue has been avoided by apprehensive producers over the years, who still believe the building to be cursed.
Where Is It? 205 West 46th Street
How Many Seats? 1519
First Show at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre: The Old Town
Originally named The Globe Theatre after London's Shakespearean counterpart, the Lunt-Fontanne officially opened in 1910. Unlike any other Broadway theatre, its original design called for a retractable ceiling that would allow for starlight, though there is no record of it ever actually opening. It was renamed for Broadway power couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in 1958, while they were both starring in The Visit at that very venue.
Where Is It? 149 West 45th Street
How Many Seats? 922
First Show at the Lyceum Theatre: The Proud Prince
The Hudson holds the title for Broadway's oldest theatre, but the Lyceum, which also opened in 1903, holds the title of oldest, continuously-operating, legitimate theatre space in New York. The theatre was also the first Broadway house to be landmarked in 1974. It is one of few Broadway theatres to keep its original name throughout the duration of its operation.
Where Is It? 214 West 43rd Street
How Many Seats? 1938
First Show at the Lyric Theatre: Ragtime
In 1996, construction began on the site of the former Apollo and Lyric Theatres, which mostly served as movie theatres and night clubs before eventually being condemned in the 1990s. They were saved by the New 42nd Street organization, which combined and drastically modified the two spaces to form the Ford Theater Center for the Performing Arts. Since then, the space has been renamed as the Hilton Theatre in 2005, then the Foxwoods Theatre in 2010. The venue returned to its original name in 2017 after another facelift- this time from Ambassador Theatre Group, who renovated it for the arrival of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
True to its name, the Majestic Theatre is one of Broadway's biggest houses and home to Broadway's biggest hit. It opened in 1927 and since then has been occupied by some of the greatest Broadway musicals, including: Carousel, South Pacific, The Music Man, The Wiz, and of course, Broadway's longest-running show, The Phantom of the Opera, which has been playing there since it opened in 1988.
For the Mariott Marquis Hotel to come to be in 1986, five theatres had to be demolished to make room- the original Helen Hayes, the Morosco, the Bijou, the Astor and the Gaiety. The condition? The architect was obligated to include a new theatre within the massive structure. This Nederlander property is generally a home for musicals.
Where Is It? 1515 Broadway
How Many Seats? 1710
First Show at the Minskoff Theatre: Irene
The second of three theatres on this list with an actual Broadway address, the Minskoff was built on the site of the old Astor Hotel and gets its name from Sam Minskoff & sons- the builders/owners of the high-rise. The theatre's first production in 1973 was Irene, led by Debbie Reynolds and today, it is home to Broadway's third longest-running show, Disney's The Lion King.
Music Box Theatre
Where Is It? 239 West 45th Street
How Many Seats? 1009
First Show at the Music Box Theatre: Music Box Revue 
This theatre is unique in that it was constructed by Broadway composer Irving Berlin specifically to host his Music Box Revues, which went on from 1921 to 1925. Though works by other writers began playing in the space by the mid-1920s, Berlin (and later, his estate) maintained ownership of the theatre until 2007, when The Shubert Organization took full control.
Where Is It? 208 West 41st Street
How Many Seats? 1235
First Show at the Nederlander Theatre: Swords
First known as the National Theatre, it opened in 1921, though records indicate that the space was designed as a carpenter's shop. This makes the Nederlander one of three Broadway theatres that were not originally intended to be entertainment spaces (the others are the Broadway Theatre and the Winter Garden Theatre). It was renamed the Billy Rose Theatre in 1959, the Trafalgar Theatre in 1979, and eventually the David T. Nederlander Theatre in 1980, after the founder of The Nederlander Organization. The Nederlander was famously home to Rent for the show's twelve-year Broadway run. It holds the distinction of being the southern-most Broadway theatre.
Neil Simon Theatre
Named after the space's original owners, producers Alex Aarons and Vinton Freedley, the Alvin Theatre opened in 1927. After the duo lost control during the Great Depression, the theatre served briefly as a CBS television studio before being purchased by The Nederlander Organization and be rechristened the Neil Simon Theatre after the great American playwright in 1983. Porgy and Bess premiered here in 1935 and a slew of beloved Broadway legends made their debuts here, including Ethel Merman, Lucille Ball, and Liza Minnelli.
New Amsterdam Theatre
Where Is It? 214 West 42nd Street
How Many Seats? 1747
First Show at the New Amsterdam Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream
One of the biggest and oldest theatres on this list, the New Amsterdam, which opened in 1903, was the home of the Ziegfeld Follies from 1913 to 1927. During the Great Depression, the space was converted into a movie theatre and parts of the building were used as rehearsal space for musicals like My Fair Lady and Camelot. Disney Theatrical Productions committed to restoring the dilapidated building in 1995 and it officially re-opened in 1997 with the premiere of The Lion King.
Where Is It? 1564 Broadway
How Many Seats? 1743
First Show at the Palace Theatre: Miss Civilization
Situated in the heart of Times Square, the Palace Theatre has perhaps attained the most legendary status of all of its Broadway sisters. Soon after opening in 1913, the massive venue became one of the most desired bookings amongst Vaudeville performers- most of whom considered the opportunity of playing there to be the highest measure of success. After several decades as cinema, the Nederlanders returned the theatre to legitimate use with the original production of Sweet Charity in 1965. The theatre is currently closed for renovations and expected to reopen in 2021.
Richard Rodgers Theatre
Originally known simply as the 46th Street Theatre, the Richard Rodgers opened in 1925 and was not renamed for the legendary composer until the Nederlanders renovated the space in 1990. Eleven shows from this theatre have won Tony Awards for Best Play or Best Musical- more than any other Broadway house. Today, the theatre is home to one of Broadway's most successful mega-musicals, Hamilton.
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Formally known as the Biltmore Theatre, this space also opened in 1925, and was later home to the ground-breaking original production of Hair in 1968. A fire in 1987 caused significant damage to the theatre's interior, and the vacant building fell into disrepair over the next fourteen years. Manhattan Theatre Club acquired the theatre in 2001 and renamed the restored space for famed publicist Samuel J. Friedman in 2008.
Where Is It? 225 West 44th Street
How Many Seats? 1460
First Show at the Shubert Theatre: Easy Come, Easy Go
The Shubert Theatre, which opened in 1913, is the only Broadway Theatre with its very own 'private road' leading to its sister theatre, the Booth. We know it today as Shubert Alley. Named after Sam S. Shubert, the venue is most famously known as the home of the original production of A Chorus Line, which ran there for 15 years. The Shubert hosted the Tony Awards eight times throughout the 60s 70s and 80s, more than any other Broadway theatre.
St. James Theatre
Where Is It? 246 West 44th Street
How Many Seats? 1709
First Show at the St. James Theatre: The Behavior of Mrs. Crane
Named for the St. James Theatre in London, this venue was built on the site of the original Sardi's Restaurant in 1927. Christened first after its original owner, Abraham L. Erlanger, it was renamed after his death in 1930. The St. James has been the home of some of Broadway's most enduring musicals, including Oklahoma!, Hello, Dolly!, The King and I, and The Producers.
Stephen Sondheim Theatre
Formerly known as the Henry Miller Theatre, the venue opened in 1918 and was notably the first air-conditioned theatre in New York City. The space acted as an adult film theatre and night club throughout the 1970s and 80s, until 1998, when it reopened as the Kit Kat Club- or the home of Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Cabaret. Roundabout officially took over the space in 2007 and rechristened it the Stephen Sondheim in 2010, shortly after the composer's 80th birthday.
Where Is It? 254 West 54th Street
How Many Seats? 1006
First Show at Studio 54: La Bohème
Before it was one of the most famous nightclubs in the world, the space that became Studio 54 was Gallo Opera House. It was converted at the height of disco in the 1970s, became known for its elite clientele and open drug use, but closed a decade later in 1986. Roundabout Theatre Company officially acquired the building in 2003. It is notably the only Broadway theatre without the word 'theatre' in its name.
Vivian Beaumont Theatre
Where Is It? 150 West 65th Street
How Many Seats? 1080
First Show at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre: Danton's Death
The only Broadway theatre farther north than Studio 54 is the Vivian Beaumont, which is situated over ten blocks away from its northern-most neighbor and twenty-four blocks away from the bottom of the theatre district. Located within the Lincoln Center complex, the venue opened in 1962 as the permanent home of Lincoln Center Theatre productions. The space is one of two Broadway theatre's that incorporates a thrust design.
Walter Kerr Theatre
For most of its existence, from 1921 to 1990, this theatre was known as the Ritz. Following a major restoration, it was renamed for Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times theatre critic Walter Kerr. Today, the theatre is known for its distinctly colorful marquee, which sets it apart from other Broadway exteriors.
Winter Garden Theatre
Where Is It? 1634 Broadway
How Many Seats? 1526
First Show at the Winter Garden Theatre: La Belle Paree / Bow-Sing / Tortajada
Originally built by William Kissam Vanderbilt to be the American Horse Exchange in 1896, The Shuberts purchased this building and opened it as a theatre in 1911. The building was given a distinctive redesign by Herbert J. Krapp in 1922, featuring a stage that is much wider than most other Broadway theatres. The Winter Garden was the home of Cats for the duration of its eighteen-year run.