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Theater Stories: RENT, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY and More About The Nederlander 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: RENT, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY and More About The Nederlander 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 Nederlander Theatre Built?

The Nederlander Theatre opened in 1921 as The National Theatre. The Nederlander was originally owned by The Shubert Organization until 1956, when it was purchased by Theatre owner/operator and producer Harry Fromkes. When Fromkes died, the theatre was sold to Billy Rose, who renamed it after himself - the Billy Rose Theatre. Theater Stories: RENT, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY and More About The Nederlander TheatreThe Nederlander Organization purchased the theatre in 1979 and renamed it the Trafalgar Theatre before changing the name to the David T. Nederlander Theatre in 1980. After the closure of Rent in 2008 - the theatre had undergone a transformation for Rent in 1996 to resemble a downtown New York night club - the theatre was restored, and during the restoration of the venue, it was reportedly discovered through records that the theatre was originally constructed as a carpenter's shop in 1920. This means that the Nederlander, the Broadway Theatre, and the Winter Garden Theatres are the only Broadway houses that were not originally built as a theatre - The Broadway theatre was originally a movie house, while the Winter Garden Theatre was originally the American Horse Exchange!

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

Productions to have played the Nederlander include: The Little Foxes (1939) starring Tallulah Bankhead, Patricia Collinge and more; Inherit the Wind (1955) starring Paul Muni, Ed Begley and Tony Randall; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) starring Uta Hagen, Arthur Hill, Melinda Dillon and George Grizzard; Rent (1996) starring Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jesse L. Martin, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Idina Menzel, Fredi Walker, and Taye Diggs; Guys and Dolls (2009) starring Oliver Platt, Lauren Graham, Craig Bierko and Kate Jennings Grant; Million Dollar Quartet (2010) starring Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Levi Kreis, Robert Britton Lyons and Hunter Foster; Newsies (2012) starring Jeremy Jordan, John Dossett, Kara Lindsay, Capathia Jenkins, Ben Fankhauser, Andrew Keenan-Bolger and more; Honeymoon in Vegas (2015) Tony Danza, Rob McClure and Brynn O'Malley; Amazing Grace (2015) starring Erin Mackey, Josh Young and more; Disaster! (2016) starring Kerry Butler, Roger Bart, Adam Pascal, Kevin Chamberlin, Rachel York, Seth Rudetsky, Max Crumm, Baylee Littrell, Faith Prince and more; War Paint (2017) starring Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole; Pretty Woman: The Musical (2018) starring Samantha Barks, Andy Karl, Orfeh, Eric Anderson, Jason Danieley, Tommy Bracco and more; Kristin Chenoweth: For The Girls (2019); Harry Connick Jr.: A Celebration of Cole Porter (2019) and more.

(War Paint, 2017)
(Pretty Woman: The Musical, 2018)

What is the Nederlander's longest running show?

The show with the longest run in the Nederlander Theatre was Rent! Rent opened at the Nederlander theatre on April 29, 1996 and closed on September 7, 2008 after 5,123 performances. Rent is the 11th longest-running show of all time, behind Beauty and the Beast at number 10, and in front of Jersey Boys at number 12. Rent features music, lyrics, and book by Jonathan Larson. The original production starred Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jesse L. Martin, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Idina Menzel, Fredi Walker, and Taye Diggs, and received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as four Tony Awards. Rent received Tony's for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Wilson Jermaine Heredia. Rent spawned multiple national tours, UK productions, an Off-Broadway revival, international productions, and a 2005 film adaptation starring most of the original Broadway cast.

What show was most recently performed in the Nederlander Theatre?

Theater Stories: RENT, PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY and More About The Nederlander TheatreThe show that most recently inhabited the Nederlander was The Lehman Trilogy. The Lehman Trilogy. The Lehman Trilogy began previews at the theatre on March 7, 2020. The show was set to open on March 26, 2020, but was unable to open due to the Broadway shutdown brought on by the ongoing pandemic. The Lehman Trilogy previously ran at London's National Theatre and New York's Park Avenue Armory, as well as an engagement in London's West End. The play was written by Stefano Massini, directed by Academy Award and Tony Award winner Sam Mendes, and for Broadway, was set to star its original cast of Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley, and Ben Miles. Weaving together nearly two centuries of family history, this epic theatrical event charts the humble beginnings, outrageous successes, and devastating failure of the financial institution that would ultimately bring the global economy to its knees. The Lehman Trilogy is the quintessential story of western capitalism, rendered through the lens of a single immigrant family. No official date has been announced for The Lehman Trilogy's return to Broadway.


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From This Author Chloe Rabinowitz