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Theater Stories: The OKLAHOMA! Revival, FUN HOME, AMERICAN BUFFALO & More About the Circle in the Square 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 kne

Theater Stories: The OKLAHOMA! Revival, FUN HOME, AMERICAN BUFFALO & More About the Circle in the Square 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 Circle in the Square Theatre Built?

The Circle in the Square Theatre was founded in 1951. It was originally located at 5 Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, and featured performances including Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke starring with Geraldine Page, and Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, starring Jason Robard. In 1960 the company moved to the Circle in the Square Downtown, at 159 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. The current Circle in the Square Theatre in midtown was built in 1970. The theatre's first Broadway production was a revival of Mourning Becomes Electra in 1972. The theatre operated as a non-profit, subscription supported producing house for the following 25 years, before filing for bankruptcy in 1997. The theatre reopened in 1999, operating as an independent commercial receiving house, with profits from the operation of the used to support the Circle in the Square Theatre School.

What is the Circle in the Square Theatre School?

The Circle in the Square Theatre School is the drama school associated with Circle in the Square Theatre. It offers two 2-year full-time programs: a Professional Theatre Workshop, and a Professional Musical Theatre Workshop, and serves to train those who are looking to have a professional career in the theatre. The school was founded by Theodore Mann in 1961 with 15 students - it now trains around 75 students, and allows them to see shows at the theatre for free. The Circle in the Square Theatre School alumni includes Viola Davis, Benicio Del Toro, Lisa Edelstein, Lady Gaga, Gina Gershon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Winnie Holzman, Idina Menzel, Thomas Sadoski, and more.

What shows and stars have graced the stage of the Circle in the Square Theatre?

Shows to have been performed at the Circle in the Square Theatre include: The Glass Menagerie (1975 revival) starring Maureen Stapleton, Pamela Payton-Wright, Rip Torn, and Paul Rudd; A Streetcar Named Desire (1988 revival) starring Aidan Quinn, Blythe Danner, and Frances McDormand; Sweeney Todd (1989 revival) starring Bob Gunton, Beth Fowler, Jim Walton, Eddie Korbich and more; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2005) starring Derrick Baskin, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Dan Fogler, Sarah Saltzberg, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jose Llana and more; Godspell (2011) revival starring Hunter Parrish, Wallace Smith, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Celisse Henderson, Telly Leung, George Salazar, Morgan James, Uzo Aduba, Nick Blaemire, and Lindsay Mendez; Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (2014) starring Audra McDonald; Fun Home (2015) starring Beth Malone, Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas, Emily Skeggs and more; In Transit (2016) starring Margo Seibert, James Snyder, Erin Mackey, Justin Guarini and more; Once on This Island (2017) Broadway revival starring Hailey Kilgore, Isaac Cole Powell, Alex Newell, Quentin Earl Darrington, Lea Salonga, Merle Dandridge, and more; Oklahoma! (2019 revival) starring Rebecca Naomi Jones, Damon Daunno, Ali Stroker, James Davis, Will Brill, Patrick Vaill, and Mary Testa; plus many more!

(Fun Home, 2015)

(In Transit, 2016)

(Once on This Island, 2017)

What show was most recently performed in the theatre?

The show that was most recently performed in the Circle in the Square Theatre was the 2019 revival of Oklahoma! The revival of Oklahoma! began previews on March 19, 2019 and officially opened on April 7, running through January 19, 2020. The production, starred Rebecca Naomi Jones as Laurey, Damon Daunno as Curly, Ali Stroker as Ado Annie, James Davis as Will Parker, Will Brill as Ali Hakim, Patrick Vaill as Jud and Mary Testa as Aunt Eller. The production, a new, stripped-down darker take on the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic directed by Daniel Fish, was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning Best Revival of a Musical and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Ali Stroker.

What show was up next to be performed in the theatre?

Theater Stories: The OKLAHOMA! Revival, FUN HOME, AMERICAN BUFFALO & More About the Circle in the Square TheatreAmerican Buffalo was set to begin previews at the Circle in the Square Theatre on March 24, 2020, with an official opening on April 14, 2020. The show was unable to open due to the Broadway shutdown. The Broadway revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo, was set to star Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Laurence Fishburne (Thurgood, The Matrix), Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards, Fosse/Verdon), and Emmy winner Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Hedwig), under the direction of Neil Pepe (Tony-winning Artistic Director of Atlantic Theater Company). In June 2020 it was announced that American Buffalo will officially open at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, exactly one year after its originally scheduled opening date.


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