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Theater Stories: TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, Broadway's Most Iconic Stage Couple & More About The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

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Learn history, fun facts & more about the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

Theater Stories: TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, Broadway's Most Iconic Stage Couple & More About The Lunt-Fontanne 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 Lunt-Fontanne Theatre Built?

The Lunt-Fontanne originally opened in 1910 as The Globe Theatre, in honor of The Globe in London, with a musical entitled The Old Town. The theatre was designed by Carrère and Hastings, who also designed the interior of the Metropolitan Opera House, the Century Theatre, Arlington Memorial Amphitheater, the Standard Oil Building and more! The theatre housed Ziegfeld Follies, No, No, Nanette and other successful shows in the early 1900s, before succumbing to the stock market crash in 1929 and being converted to a movie theater, which it operated as for around 30 years. The theatre was renovated in 1957 and renamed the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, reopening in 1958 with Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Visit, starring none other than the theatre's new namesakes, famed theatrical couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.

Who were Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne?

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, who were married in 1922, were Broadway's pre-eminent acting couple in the 1900s. Lunt received two Tony Awards, an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for 1931's The Guardsman and an Emmy Award for the Hallmark Hall of Fame's production of The Magnificent Yankee. Fontanne also won an Emmy Award for The Magnificent Yankee, and was given a special Tony Award alongside Lunt in 1970. Together, the couple starred in more than twenty plays, three films, multiple radio dramas and several television productions. On stage, they starred in Robert Sherwood's Reunion in Vienna, Noël Coward's Design for Living and more. On screen, they starred together in Second Youth, The Guardsman, and more. The pair were featured on a postage stamp, honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and are represented in the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

What other notable stars have graced the stage of the theatre?

Other shows performed on the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre stage that featured iconic stars are: The Sound of Music with Mary Martin (1959); Marlene Dietrich in concert (1967); Hello, Dolly! revival with Carol Channing (1978); Peter Pan revival with Sandy Duncan (1980); Beauty and the Beast with Susan Egan and Terrence Mann (1994); Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway (2016); Mel Brooks on Broadway (2019); Regina Spektor: Live on Broadway (2019); Dave Chappelle Live on Broadway (2019) and many more!

How many jukebox musicals have played the Lunt-Fontanne?

The Lunt-Fontanne has housed many jukebox musicals! The jukebox musicals that have been performed in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre include: Beatlemania (1977) featuring the music and story of The Beatles, starring Joe Pecorino (rhythm guitar, John), Mitch Weissman (bass guitar, Paul), Les Fradkin (lead guitar, George), and Justin McNeill (drums, Ringo); Motown: The Musical (2013) featuring the music of Motwon's biggest stars, starring Brandon Victor Dixon, Bryan Terrell Clark, Charl Brown, Valisia LeKae, Wonder Raymond Luke Jr., Jibreel Mawry, and Leon Outlaw, Jr.; Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (2018) featuring the music and story of Donna Summer, starring LaChanze, Ariana DeBose, Storm Lever and more; and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (2019) featuring the music and story of Tina Turner, starring Adrienne Warren, Daniel J. Watts, Dawnn Lewis, Ross Lekites, Charlie Franklin, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Steven Booth, Jessica Rush, Mars Rucker, David Jennings, Gerald Caesar, Matthew Griffin, Robert Lenzi, and Jhardon DiShon Milton.

What show is currently in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre?

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 7 2019 after debuting in the West End. The musical stars Adrienne Warren in the title role, Daniel J. Watts, Dawnn Lewis, Ross Lekites, Charlie Franklin, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Steven Booth, Jessica Rush, Mars Rucker, David Jennings, Gerald Caesar, Matthew Griffin, Robert Lenzi, and Jhardon DiShon Milton. The musical features direction by Phyllida Lloyd, book by Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar, and Kees Prins, and choreography by Anthony Van Laast. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is currently nominated for 12 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations.


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