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Theater Stories: Parties With Cher, Dolly Parton & Diana Ross, The Long-Running CABARET Revival, and More About Studio 54!

Every Broadway theater tells a story, each one filled with fun facts you never knew!

Theater Stories: Parties With Cher, Dolly Parton & Diana Ross, The Long-Running CABARET Revival, and More About Studio 54!

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 Studio 54 built?

Studio 54 was originally built as the Gallo Opera House in 1927, named after its owner, opera impresario Fortune Gallo. The opera house did not find immediate success, and was lost to foreclosure in 1929. The theater underwent many changes, reopening at a later date under new management as The New Yorker, but it was still unable to find its audience. In 1937, the theater again changed hands, becoming the WPA Federal Music Project of New York City's Federal Music Theatre/Theatre of Music, and then the New Yorker Theatre in 1939. The theater closed in 1940, and remained vacant for three years before being purchased by CBS who converted it into a television studio. Renamed Studio 52, the space housed shows including What's My Line?, The Jack Benny Show, Password and more. CBS sold Studio 52 in 1976.

What's the history behind the iconic Studio 54 nightclub?

In 1977, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager transformed the theater into the legendary Studio 54 nightclub. Studio 54 left an indelible imprint on history and culture, cementing itself as the ultimate entertainment and nightlife hotspot and leaving a legacy that is still discussed with awe and wonder today. Known for its open-minded, lavish, outrageous parties, the nightclub welcomed a long line of art and entertainment industry icons including Cher, Mikhail Baryshnikov, John Belushi, Leonard Bernstein, Salvador Dalí, Divine, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Eartha Kitt, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Freddie Mercury, Al Pacino, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor and many more. The Studio 54 nightclub closed in 1980.

What show ushered in the new era of live performances at the venue?

After operating as a nightclub under various names and managements in the 1980s and 90s, the Roundabout Theatre Company moved its production of Cabaret from the Henry Miller Theatre- which had become inaccessible due to the collapse of a construction hoist- to Studio 54, and bought the building in 2003. Cabaret is Studio Theater Stories: Parties With Cher, Dolly Parton & Diana Ross, The Long-Running CABARET Revival, and More About Studio 54!54's longest running production, running from early 1998 to January 2004 for a total of 2,377 performances. Cabaret is Studio 54's longest running production and the third longest-running revival in Broadway musical history. The production starred Alan Cumming as the Emcee, opposite Natasha Richardson as Sally, John Benjamin Hickey as Cliff, Ron Rifkin as Herr Schultz, Denis O'Hare as Ernst Ludwig, Michele Pawk as Fräulein Kost, and Mary Louise Wilson as Fräulein Schneider, and many more. Cabaret won four Tony Awards, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for Cumming, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Richardson, and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Rifkin, as well as the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical.

What other shows and stars have graced the stage of Studio 54?

Shows include Assassins (2004) starring Neil Patrick Harris, Marc Kudisch and Michael Cerveris; The Apple Tree (2006) starring Kristin Chenoweth and D'Arcy James; Sunday in the Park With George (2008) starring Michael Cumpsty, Jessica Molaskey and more; Pal Joey (2008) starring Stockard Channing, Martha Plimpton, Robert Clohessy and more; The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) starring Jim Norton, Stephanie J. Block, Betsy Wolfe, Will Chase, Chita Rivera, Gregg Edelman, Andy Karl, Jessie Mueller and more; Cabaret (2014) starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams; She Loves Me (2016) starring Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski, Gavin Creel, Byron Jennings and Michael McGrath; The Lifespan of a Fact (2018) starring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale; Kiss Me Kate (2019) starring Will Chase, Kelli O'Hara, Corbin Bleu and others, plus many more!

What show was set to hit the Studio 54 stage next?

Caroline, or Change was set to begin performances at Studio 54 on March 13, 2020 and open on April 7, 2020. However, that date has been pushed due to the Broadway shutdown. The production is currently set to open in fall 2021. The cast includes Theater Stories: Parties With Cher, Dolly Parton & Diana Ross, The Long-Running CABARET Revival, and More About Studio 54!Olivier Award winner Sharon D Clarke, Alexander Bello (Joe Thibodeaux), John Cariani (Stuart Gellman), Arica Jackson (Washing Machine), Tamika Lawrence (Dotty Moffett), Caissie Levy (Rose Stopnick Gellman), Harper Miles (Radio 3), Jonah Mussolino (Noah Gellman), Nya (Radio 2), Chinua Payne (Jackie Thibodeaux), Nasia Thomas (Radio 1), Stuart Zagnit (Grandpa Gellman) and Chip Zien (Mr. Stopnick). Caroline, or Change features a Book & Lyrics by Tony Kushner, Music by Jeanine Tesori, Direction by Michael Longhurst, Choreography by Ann Yee, Musical Supervision by Nigel Lilley and Musical Direction by Chris Fenwick.


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