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Theater Stories: DEAR EVAN HANSEN, PIPPIN and More About The Music Box 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: DEAR EVAN HANSEN, PIPPIN and More About The Music Box 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 Music Box Theatre Built?

Theater Stories: DEAR EVAN HANSEN, PIPPIN and More About The Music Box TheatreThe Music Box Theatre opened in 1921, and was designed by C. Howard Crane, who designed 250 theaters in total throughout his career, with 62 of them located in the Detroit area. The Music Box Theatre was constructed specifically to house Irving Berlin's and Sam H. Harris's Music Box Revue, which ran for 440 performances.

The theatre housed only musicals until 1925 when it presented its first play - Cradle Snatchers, starring Humphrey Bogart. In 1926, the Maurine Dallas Watkins play 'Chicago', which the musical was based off of, opened at the theatre. The Music Box Theatre then presented a series of hits by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart from Once in a Lifetime to The Man Who Came to Dinner. The Music Box Theatre is one of the smaller Broadway houses, with a seating capacity of 1025 - for reference, the largest Broadway theatre, The Gershwin, seats 1,933.

What shows and stars have graced the stage of the Music Box Theatre?

Shows to have been performed in the Music Box Theatre include: Merrily We Roll Along (1934) starring Kenneth MacKenna, Walter Abel, Jessie Royce Landis & more; Summer and Smoke (1948) starring Tod Andrews, Margaret Phillips, Monica Boyar and Anne Jackson; Side by Side by Sondheim (1977) starring David Kernan, Ned Sherrin, Julia McKenzie, and Millicent Martin; Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1987) starring Lindsay Duncan and Alan Rickman.

A Few Good Men (1989) starring Tom Hulce, Megan Gallagher, and Stephen Lang; The Diary of Anne Frank (1997) starring George Hearn, Natalie Portman, Linda Lavin, Harris Yulin and Sophie Hayden; Amadeus (1999) starring David Suchet, Michael Sheen and more; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2003) starring Ashley Judd, Jason Patric, Ned Beatty and Margo Martindale; The Vertical Hour (2006) starring Bill Nighy, Julianne Moore and Andrew Scott; August: Osage County (2008) starring Ian Barford, Deanna Dunagan, Dennis Letts and more; One Man, Two Guvnors (2012) starring James Corden; Pippin (2013) starring Patina Miller, Matthew James Thomas, Terrence Mann, Charlotte d'Amboise, Andrea Martin, Rachel Bay Jones and more.

(Pippin, 2013)
Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed (2016) starring Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon and Billy Porter; Dear Evan Hansen (2016) starring Ben Platt, Rachel Bay Jones, Laura Dreyfuss, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Michael Park, Mike Faist, Kristolyn Lloyd and Will Roland, plus many more!
(Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed)

What show is currently housed in the theatre?

The show that is currently inhabiting the Music Box Theatre is Dear Evan Hansen! Dear Evan Hansen began previews on Broadway on November 14, 2016 and officially opened on December 4.

The production features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, book by Steven Levenson, direction by Michael Greif, and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire. The original cast of Dear Evan Hansen featured Ben Platt, Rachel Bay Jones, Laura Dreyfuss, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Michael Park, Mike Faist, Kristolyn Lloyd and Will Roland. The production was nominated for 9 Tony Awards, winning 6: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for Ben Platt, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for Rachel Bay Jones, and Best Orchestrations Alex Lacamoire. The Dear Evan Hansen cast album won Best Musical Theater Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards.

How many shows to have played the Music Box Theatre also have film adaptations?

There are many shows to have played the Music Box Theatre that also have well-known film adaptations! Les Liaisons dangereuses (on Broadway in 1987) was adapted for the screen multiple times including a Dangerous Liaisons (1988) starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, Peter Capaldi, Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman, and Cruel Intentions (1999) starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Philippe, and Reese Witherspoon.

(Dangerous Liaisons 1988)

A Few Good Men (on Broadway in 1989) was adapted for the screen in 1992 featuring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, J. T. Walsh, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Kiefer Sutherland. Amadeus (which opened on Broadway in 1980 at Broadhurst Theatre, and was revived at the Music Box Theatre in 1999) was adapted for the screen after the play's original run on Broadway, in 1984, starring F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce. August: Osage County (on Broadway in 2008) was adapted for the screen in 2013 starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson and Sam Shepard. Dear Evan Hansen (now at the Music Box Theatre) is currently being adapted into a film starring Ben Platt, Amy Adams, Kaitlyn Dever, Nik Dodani, Julianne Moore, Danny Pino, Colton Ryan, and Amandla Stenberg.

(August: Osage County film 2013)


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