News on your favorite shows, specials & more!

Theater Stories: The COMPANY Revival, the Record-Breaking Production of ONCE & More About Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre

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

By: Nov. 14, 2020
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

Theater Stories: The COMPANY Revival, the Record-Breaking Production of ONCE & More About Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre  Image

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 Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre built?

The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, designed by famed architect Herbert J. Krapp, opened as the Royale Theatre on January 11, 1927. The first show to be performed in the theatre was a musical called Piggy, starring vaudeville comedian Sam Bernard. The theatre was built as a three theater complex, alongside the The Majestic, the Theatre Masque, and the Lincoln Hotel. Producer John Golden leased the theatre Royale and renamed it John Golden Theatre from 1932 to 1937 before The Shubert Organization assumed ownership of the theatre. The Shubert Organization leased it to CBS Radio for a time, and then restored it to its use as a theatre for Broadway productions, renaming it back to its original Royale. In 2005, the theatre was renamed for The Shubert Organization's president Bernard B. Jacobs.

Who was Bernard B. Jacobs?

Bernard B. Jacobs was president and co-executive chief officer of The Shubert Organization until his death at the age of 80 in 1996. Jacobs, alongside longtime business partner Gerald Schoenfeld, grew within The Shubert Organization under the leadership of the Shubert brothers, Lee Shubert and Jacob J. Shubert (the third Shubert brother, Sam, died in a train accident at the age of 26), before eventually taking over the theater empire - Jacobs became president of The Shubert Organization in 1972. The Shubert empire consists of seventeen Broadway theaters, plus theaters in Philadelphia, D.C. and Los Angeles. In addition to owning and operating the Broadway theaters, The Shubert Organization produced (and co-produced) shows including Cats, Sunday in the Park with George, Dreamgirls, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Amadeus, Children of a Lesser God, The Grapes of Wrath, Ain't Misbehavin', Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Lucky Guy, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Spamalot, and much more. At the time of Jacobs death, he was also president of the Shubert Foundation and vice president of the League of American Theaters and Producers.

What notable stars and productions have graced the stage of the theatre?

Well-known productions include: Diamond Lil (1928) starring Mae West; The Glass Menagerie (1946- a transfer from the Playhouse Theatre) starring Eddie Dowling, Laurette Taylor, Julie Haydon, and Anthony Ross; The Boy Friend (1954) starring Julie Andrews; The Matchmaker (1955) starring Ruth Gordon and Loring Smith; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1982) starring Laurie Beechman and Gordon Stanley; God of Carnage (2009) starring Yasmina Reza, Jeff Daniels, James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, and Hope Davis; Once (2012) starring Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti; The Color Purple (2015 revival) starring Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, and Jennifer Hudson; Bandstand (2017) starring Laura Osnes, Corey Cott and Beth Leavel; Company (2020 revival) starring Katrina Lenk, Patti LuPone, Jennifer Simard, Christopher Sieber, Rashidra Scott, Greg Hildreth, Nikki Renée Daniels, Christopher Fitzgerald, Matt Doyle, Etai Benson, Terence Archie, Claybourne Elder, Bobby Conte Thornton, and Kyle Dean Massey & many more!

What's Show is currently inhabiting the theatre?

The show that is currently in the Bernard B. Jacobs is Company, [cast mentioned just above!] This revival of Company first opened in the West End in 2018 before being brought over to Broadway in 2020. This iteration of the classic show, featuring music and lyrics Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth, includes many updated changes to the production, most notably the swapped the genders of many of the leading characters. This production began previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on March 2, 2020 and was scheduled to open at the theatre on March 22, but was unable to make it to opening night due to the Broadway shutdown brought on by the ongoing global health crisis. At this moment in time, Company is planning to open once the Broadway shutdown is lifted, which is planned for May 31, 2021.

What show broke the box office record at the theatre?

The show to break the box office record at the Bernard B. Jacobs was Once! Once grossed $1,447,598 for the theatre over nine performances, for the week ending December 30, 2012. The show, based on the 2007 film of the same name, premiered on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on March 18, 2012. The show features music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, and a book by Enda Walsh, and starred Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti. The production received eleven Tony Award nominations, and won eight, including Best Musical!