Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Theater Stories: HAIR, VENUS IN FUR, CHOIR BOY, MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON & More About the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Learn history, fun facts and more about Broadway's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre!

Theater Stories: HAIR, VENUS IN FUR, CHOIR BOY, MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON & More About the Samuel J. Friedman 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 Samuel J. Friedman Theatre built?

Theater Stories: HAIR, VENUS IN FUR, CHOIR BOY, MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON & More About the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre was designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp and opened as the Biltmore Theatre with the play Easy Come Easy Go in 1925. The theatre was used by Federal Theatre's Living Newspaper project in the 1930s, and CBS leased the theatre for use as a radio and television studio from 1952 until 1961. It then returned to use as a legitimate theatre. In 1987, the building caught fire and sat vacant for 14 years. In 2001, the theatre was assumed by the Manhattan Theatre Club, and was renamed the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in 2008 after Broadway publicist Samuel J. Friedman.

What stars and shows have graced the stage of the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Shows to have been performed at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre include No Exit (1946) starring Claude Dauphin, Peter Kass, Ruth Ford, and Annabella; The Heiress (1947) starring Wendy Hiller, Basil Rathbone, and Peter Cookson; Barefoot in the Park (1963) starring Robert Redford and Elizabeth Ashley; Hair (1968) starring James Rando, Gerome Ragni Ragni, Lynn Kellogg, Sally Eaton, Shelley Plimpton and more; Nuts (1980) starring Anne Twomey, Richard Zobel and more; Rabbit Hole (2006) starring Daniel Sullivan, Cynthia Nixon, John Slattery, Tyne Daly, John Gallagher, Jr. and Mary Catherine Garrison; Venus in Fur (2011) starring Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy;

(Venus in Fur, 2011)
The Assembled Parties (2013) starring Judith Light, Jessica Hecht, Jonathan Walker, and Mark Blum; Jitney (2017 starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon J. Dirden, Andre Holland and more; The Little Foxes (2017) starring Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon;

(The Little Foxes, 2017)

Prince of Broadway (2017), starring Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Bryonha Marie Parham, Emily Skinner, Brandon Uranowitz, Kaley Ann Voorhees, Michael Xavier, Tony Yazbeck, and Karen Ziemba; Choir Boy (2019) starring Jeremy Pope, Austin Pendleton and more; My Name is Lucy Barton (2020) starring Laura Linney, plus many more!

(Choir Boy, 2019)

What show most recently played at the theatre?

Theater Stories: HAIR, VENUS IN FUR, CHOIR BOY, MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON & More About the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre My Name is Lucy Barton opened January 15, 2020 and closed on February 29, 2020. Laura Linney starred in this solo play adapted by Rona Munro from the bestselling novel by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout. For her performance, Linney is currently nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play.

Linney played Lucy Barton, a woman who wakes after an operation to find - much to her surprise - her mother at the foot of her bed. They haven't seen each other in years. During their days-long visit, Lucy tries to understand her past, works to come to terms with her family, and begins to find herself as a writer.

What show was set to open at the theatre next?

The Broadway premiere of How I Learned to Drive was originally set to open on April 22, 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic. Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive was set to reunite the two original stars with their award-winning director for a new production. Tony Award winner Mary-Louise Parker (Proof) and Tony nominee David Morse (The Iceman Cometh) are set to star in this memory play about a woman coming to terms with a charismatic uncle who impacts her past, present and future life.

Related Stories

From This Author - Chloe Rabinowitz

Interview: Kyla Stone & Patti Murin Give an Inside Look Into Starring as 'Elle' and 'Paulette' in LEGALLY BLONDE at The Muny
July 25, 2022

The Muny's production of Legally Blonde The Musical beings performances July 25 and is set to run through July 31. Read BroadwayWorld's interview with leads Kyla Stone (Elle Woods) and Patti Murin (Paulette) here!

Interview: The Broadway Sinfonietta Founder Macy Schmidt Talks Bryant Park Performance, Being an Industry Trailblazer & More
July 22, 2022

Macy Schmidt is the founder and Music Director of The Broadway Sinfonietta, the trailblazing, all female-identifying and majority BIPOC orchestra. The Broadway Sinfonietta is presenting a free outdoor concert at 7 pm for Bryant Park Picnic Performances as part of Carnegie Hall Citywide. Read BroadwayWorld's interview with Schmidt here!

Interview: Richard E. Waits & Jimmy Brewer Talk 'Lola' & 'Charlie' in Reimagined KINKY BOOTS at Bucks County Playhouse
July 18, 2022

Bucks County Playhouse is presenting an all-new production of Kinky Boots, running through July 30. BroadwayWorld spoke with Richard E. Waits and Jimmy Brewer about the magic of Kinky Boots, their favorite parts about Lola and Charlie, performing at the historic Bucks County Playhouse, and more! Read the interview here!

Interview: Brian Watkins Talks New Play EPIPHANY, OUTER RANGE on Amazon Prime Video & Writing for TV Vs. Theatre
June 28, 2022

Brian Watkins is the writer of Epiphany, which just opened at Lincoln Center Theater. He is also the creator, and showrunner, and executive producer of Outer Range on Amazon Prime Video, and has a film project in the works. Read BroadwayWorld's interview with Watkins about Epiphany, the differences in writing for theatre vs. television, and more. 

Interview: Creators of QUINCE, Camilo Quiroz-Vázquez and Ellpetha Tsivicos, Discuss the Immersive Queer Latino Comedy
June 23, 2022

QUINCE, the story of a 15 year-old Chicana confronting her queer identity, family and religion, is now extended through June 26 at The Bushwick Starr, and is set to be presented as part of Lincoln Center's Summer for the City on July 17. Read BroadwayWorld's interview with QUINCE's creators, Camilo Quiroz-Vázquez and Ellpetha Tsivicos, here!