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Theater Stories: GYPSY, EVITA, THE COLOR PURPLE, the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Revival, & More About The Broadway 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: GYPSY, EVITA, THE COLOR PURPLE, the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Revival, & More About The Broadway 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 Broadway Theatre built?

Theater Stories: GYPSY, EVITA, THE COLOR PURPLE, the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Revival, & More About The Broadway TheatreThe Broadway Theatre opened in 1924, and was designed by architect Eugene De Rosa, who also designed the former Times Square Theater, the Apollo on 42nd Street and Klaw Theatres. The Broadway Theatre was formerly titled Universal's Colony Theatre, B.S. Moss' Broadway Theatre, Earl Carroll's Broadway Theatre, and Ciné Roma, and during its time as the Colony in 1928, it debuted the first Mickey Mouse cartoon ever, Steamboat Willie! The theatre was used as a venue for vaudeville shows and films before becoming a legitimate theater, entitled the Broadway Theatre, in 1930. The legitimate theatre opened with a production of The New Yorkers by Cole Porter. The Shubert Organization bought the theater in 1939, and it has often been a house to showcase musicals, due to its large stage and seating capacity of 1,761.

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

Productions to have been staged at the Broadway Theatre include This Is The Army (1942) starring Burl Ives and more; Oklahoma! (1951 revival) starring Ridge Bond, Patricia Northrop and more; Kiss Me, Kate (1952 revival) starring Holly Harris and Robert Wright; South Pacific (1953 transfer from the Majestic Theatre) starring Myron McCormick; The Most Happy Fella (1957 transfer from the Imperial Theatre) starring Robert Weede, Jo Sullivan and more; Gypsy (1959) starring Ethel Merman, Sandra Church, Lane Bradbury, Jack Klugman and more; The Music Man (1960 transfer from the Majestic) starring Robert Preston, Barbara Cook and more; My Fair Lady (1962, transfer from the Broadhurst Theatre) starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews; Funny Girl (1966) starring Barbra Streisand; Cabaret (1968 transfer from the Imperial) starring Joel Grey, Jill Haworth, Bert Convy and more; Fiddler on the Roof (1970 transfer from the Majestic Theatre) starring Zero Mostel, Bea Arthur, Austin Pendleton and more; Guys and Dolls (1976 revival) starring Robert Guillaume, Norma Donaldson, James Randolph, and Ernestine Jackson; The Wiz (1977 transfer from the Majestic Theatre) starring Stephanie Mills, André DeShields and more; Evita (1979) starring Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin; Miss Saigon (1991) starring Lea Salonga, Jonathan Pryce and more; The Color Purple (2005) starring LaChanze, Brandon Victor Dixon, Felicia P. Fields, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and more; Shrek The Musical (2008) starring Brian d'Arcy James, Sutton Foster, Daniel Breaker, Christopher Sieber, John Tartaglia and more; Promises, Promises (2010) starring Sean Hayes, Kristin Chenoweth, Brooks Ashmanskas, Katie Finneran, and Tony Goldwyn; Sister Act (2011) starring Patina Miller, Victoria Clark, Fred Applegate and more; Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (2013) starring Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana; Fiddler on the Roof (2015 Broadway Revival) starring Danny Burstein, Jessica Hecht, Alexandra Silber, Samantha Massell, Melanie Moore, Adam Kantor, Ben Rappaport, Jessica Vosk and more; Miss Saigon (2017 revival) starring Eva Noblezada, Alistair Brammer Jon Jon Briones, Katie Rose Clark, and more; King Kong (2018) starring Christiani Pitts and more; West Side Story (2019 revival) starring Shereen Pimentel, Isaac Cole Powell, Amar Ramasar, Thomas Jay Ryan and Yesenia Ayala as Anita, plus much more!

(Shrek The Musical, 2008)
(Sister Act, 2011)

(Fiddler on the Roof, 2015)

(King Kong, 2018)

What show is currently in the Broadway Theatre?

The show that is currently inhabiting the Broadway Theatre is West Side Story. West Side Story opened at the Broadway Theatre on February 20, 2020, running for around a month before being put on hold due to the Broadway shutdown brought on by the pandemic. The re-imagined revival is directed by Ivo van Hove, and features Theater Stories: GYPSY, EVITA, THE COLOR PURPLE, the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Revival, & More About The Broadway Theatrechoreography by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. Marked by a record-setting 33 Broadway debuts, the cast of West Side Story includes Isaac Powell as Tony, Shereen Pimentel as Maria, Yesenia Ayala as Anita, Amar Ramasar as Bernardo, Dharon E. Jones as Riff, Marissa Brown (debut), Gabi Campo, Adolfo Mena Cejas (debut), Daniel Ching (debut), Audrey Collette (debut), Lorna Courtney, Marc Crousillat (debut), Stephanie Crousillat (debut), Roman Cruz (debut), Kevin Csolak, Alexa De Barr (debut), Israel Del Rosario (debut), Jordan Dobson (debut), Tyler Eisenreich (debut), Armando Eleazar (debut), Marlon Feliz (debut), Satori Folkes-Stone (debut), Zuri Noelle Ford (debut), Ui-Seng François (debut), Yesy Garcia (debut), Carlos E. Gonzalez, Jennifer Gruener(debut), Jacob Guzman, Matthew Johnson (debut), Dharon E. Jones (debut), Jarred Manista (debut), Michaela Marfori (debut), Ilda Mason (debut), Michelle Mercedes (debut), Paul Morland (debut), Daniel Oreskes, Pippa Pearthree, Mia Pinero (debut), Gus Reed (debut), Thomas Jay Ryan, Michael Seltzer (debut), Ahmad Simmons, Corey John Snide, Sheldon True (debut), Ricky Ubeda, Madison Vomastek (debut), Tony Ward, Bridget Whitman (debut), Danny Wolohan, and Kevin Zambrano (debut).

What show broke the Box Office Record at the Broadway Theatre?

On December 30, 2019, producers Scott Rudin, Barry Diller, and David Geffen announced that West Side Story had broken the all-time Broadway Theatre house record for a single week, with a gross of $1,807,025.94. In 7 performances the previous week, West Side Story broke the record (with a gross of $1,497,319) held by Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella ($1,479,889.97, established on 12/29/13, for an 8-performance week). This new record also represented an all-time box office high in the 62-year life of West Side Story on Broadway.


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From This Author Chloe Rabinowitz