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Theater Stories: A CHORUS LINE, The HELLO, DOLLY! Revival, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD & More About The Shubert Theatre

Whether a theater has a history that's a hundred years old or closer to forty, every Broadway theater tells a story, each one filled with fun facts you never knew!

Theater Stories: A CHORUS LINE, The HELLO, DOLLY! Revival, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD & More About The Shubert Theatre

It is impossible to walk into a Broadway theatre, or simply just think of a Broadway theatre, without immediately connecting a memory to it. Every Broadway theatre is filled with a rich and colorful history, brimming over with stories of the stars who graced its staged, legends that were made within its walls, and the feelings we all have of looking back and thinking "I saw a Tony winning performance in that theater" or "I wish I'd seen that performance in that theater."

Whether a theater has a history that's a hundred years old or closer to forty, every Broadway theater tells a story, each one filled with fun facts you never knew!

With our new series, Theater Stories, we're bringing you tidbits you may have never heard, tales you never thought to ask about and more, giving you a better look into the history of Broadway theatres, as well as a leg-up on your next theater-trivia night.


When was the Shubert Theatre Built?

Theater Stories: A CHORUS LINE, The HELLO, DOLLY! Revival, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD & More About The Shubert Theatre The Shubert Theatre was designed by architect Henry Beaumont Herts, who also designed the New Amsterdam Theatre, the Fulton (torn down in 1982), the Gaiety (torn down in 1982), the Lyceum, and more. The Shubert shares a Venetian Renaissance facade with the adjoining Booth Theatre, which was built at the same time, and with which it shares the private sidewalk/road 'Shubert Alley'. The Shubert Theatre was named after the second oldest of the three Shubert Brothers, Sam S. Shubert, who died in a train wreck in 1905 at the age of 26. The first show to be performed in the Shubert Theatre was Hamlet, starring Sir John Forbes-Robertson, which opened in 1913. This was followed by the 1913 opening of George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra.

What shows and stars have graced the stage of the Shubert Theatre?

Shows to have been performed at the Shubert Theatre include: Gay Divorce (1933, transfer from the Ethel Barrymore Theatre) starring Fred Astaire; Babes in Arms (1937) starring Mitzi Green, Ray Heatherton, and Alfred Drake and more; The Philadelphia Story (1939) starring Katharine Hepburn; Pal Joey (1941, transfer from the Ethel Barrymore Theatre) starring Gene Kelly, Vivienne Segal and June Havoc; Kiss Me, Kate (1950, transfer from the New Century Theatre) starring Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and more; Can-Can (1953) starring Gwen Verdon and more; The Pajama Game (1956, transfer from the St. James) starring John Raitt, Janis Paige, Eddie Foy Jr. and more; Bye Bye Birdie (1961, transfer from the 54th Street Theatre) starring Dick Van Dyke, Chita Rivera, Kay Medford and more; I Can Get It For You Wholesale (1962) starring Barbra Streisand and Elliot Gould.

Oliver! (1963, transfer from the Imperial Theatre) starring Bruce Prochnik, Georgia Brown, Barry Humphries, and more; The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd (1965) starring Anthony Newleyand more; Promises, Promises (1968) starring Jerry Orbach, Jill O'Hara and Edward Winter; A Little Night Music (1973) starring Glynis Johns, Len Cariou, Hermione Gingold and more; The Constant Wife (1975) starring Ingrid Bergman; A Chorus Line (1975) starring Robert LuPone, Donna McKechnie, Baayork Lee, Kelly Bishop and more; Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story (1990) starring Paul Hipp and more; Crazy for You (1992) starring Jodi Benson, Harry Groener, Bruce Adler, Beth Leavel and more; Chicago (1997, transfer from the Richard Rodgers Theatre) starring Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, Joel Grey, James Naughton and more; Gypsy (2003 revival) starring Bernadette Peters, John Dossett, Tammy Blanchard, Kate Reinders and David Burtka.

Spamalot (2005) starring Tim Curry, Michael McGrath, David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria, Christopher Sieber, Sara Ramirez and Christian Borle; Memphis (2009) starring Chad Kimball, Montego Glover, Derrick Baskin, James Monroe Iglehart, Michael McGrath and more; Matilda the Musical (2013) starring Bertie Carvel, Gabriel Ebert, Lesli Margherita, Taylor Trensch and more; Hello, Dolly! (2017 revival) starring Bette Midler, David Hyde Pierce, Gavin Creel, Taylor Trensch, Kate Baldwin, Beanie Feldstein, Will Burton, Melanie Moore, Jennifer Simard, and Kevin Ligon; To Kill a Mockingbird (2018) starring Jeff Daniels, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Gideon Glick, Stark Sands, LaTanya Richardson, Will Pullen, Gbenga Akinnagbe and more, plus many others!

(Matilda the Musical, 2013)
Theater Stories: A CHORUS LINE, The HELLO, DOLLY! Revival, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD & More About The Shubert Theatre
Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!, 2017
Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes
Theater Stories: A CHORUS LINE, The HELLO, DOLLY! Revival, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD & More About The Shubert Theatre
Jeff Daniels and Gbenga Akinnagbe in To Kill a Mockingbird, 2018
Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

What is the Shubert Theatre's longest-running show?

The Shubert Theatre's longest running show was A Chorus Line! A Chorus Line opened at the theatre in July 1975, featuring music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and a book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante. A Chorus Line was directed by Michael Bennett and co-choreographed by Bennett and Bob Avian. The show received twelve Tony Award nominations and won nine: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Lighting Design. The show also won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A Chorus Line starred Donna McKechnie, Sammy Williams, Robert LuPone, Kelly Bishop, Priscilla Lopez and more.

The show ran for 6,137 performances, from July 25 1975 to April 28, 1990. A Chorus Line is currently the seventh longest-running Broadway show in history, falling between Les Misérables at number 6, and Oh! Calcutta! (1976 revival) at number 8.

What show broke the box office record at the Shubert Theatre?

Hello, Dolly! broke the box office record for the Shubert Theatre! The production grossed $2,403,482 over eight performances, for the week ending October 22, 2017. The 2017 revival of Hello, Dolly began previews in March 2017, officially opening on April 20, 2017. The production was directed by Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, starring Bette Midler as Dolly Levi, David Hyde Pierce as Horace Vandergelder, Kate Baldwin as Irene Molloy, Gavin Creel as Cornelius Hackl, Jennifer Simard as Ernestina Money, Taylor Trensch as Barnaby Tucker, Will Burton as Ambrose Kemper, Melanie Moore as Ermengarde, and Beanie Feldstein as Minnie Fay, with Donna Murphy playing the role of Dolly at Tuesday evening performances as well as covering Midler's holiday dates.

The production won the Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actress in a Leading Role in Musical, Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, and Best Costume Design of a Musical. Bernadette Peters took over the role of Dolly in 2018. The production closed on August 25, 2018, with Midler returning to the role for the final performances.

What show is currently inhabiting the Shubert Theatre?

Theater Stories: A CHORUS LINE, The HELLO, DOLLY! Revival, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD & More About The Shubert Theatre
Jeff Daniels and Company
Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

To Kill a Mockingbird is currently in the Shubert Theatre! To Kill a Mockingbird, based off the Harper Lee novel, was adapted for the stage by Aaron Sorkin. The show opened on Broadway December 13, 2018 starring Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch.

The cast of characters includes Atticus's daughter Scout (Celia Keenan-Bolger), her brother Jem (Will Pullen), their housekeeper and caretaker, Calpurnia (LaTanya Richardson Jackson), their visiting friend Dill (Gideon Glick), and a mysterious neighbor, the reclusive Arthur "Boo" Radley (Danny Wolohan). The other residents of Maycomb, Alabama were originally brought to life on stage by Frederick Weller (as Bob Ewell), Gbenga Akinnagbe (playing Tom Robinson), Stark Sands (as prosecutor Horace Gilmer), Dakin Matthews (playing Judge Taylor), and Erin Wilhelmi (as Mayella Ewell). To Kill a Mockinbird was nominated for 9 Tony Awards, winning one for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play.

At the time that Broadway shut down, the show starred Ed Harris, Nick Robinson, Eliza Scanlen, Kyle Scatliffe, LisaGay Hamilton, Nina Grollman, Taylor Trensch, Manoel Felciano, Russell Harvard, M. Emmet Walsh, Patricia Conolly, Christopher Innvar, William Youmans, Rosalyn Coleman, Gene Gillette, Luke Smith, and Yaegel T. Welch.


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From This Author Chloe Rabinowitz