New York City Landmark Guide | Belasco Theater

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Belasco Theater

 

 

New York City Landmark Guide

Belasco Theater


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Belasco Theater

111 W 44th Street
between 6th & 7th Avenues

Completed 1907

Architect George Keister

Theaters became smaller after the turn of the century; many people who were dependent on less expensive, upper-balcony seats for their weekly entertainment turned to the new, even cheaper, movie houses. Impresarios such as David Belasco saw this as an opportunity to present drama in intimate spaces. The auditorium's drawing-room theme is carried out in a Tiffany-bedecked neo-Georgian style, complemented by 18 Everett Shin murals surmounting the proscenium. Reinforcing the 'at home' style is the domesticity of the colonial revival exterior. In contrast to the apparent intimate simplicity of the theater, Belasco was a 'man of the century,' incorporating a new sophisticated lighting system, an elevator stage and a special effects studio behind the scenes

The theater's premier production as the Stuyvesant, on October 16, 1907, featured William Warfield and Antoinette Perry in A Grand Army Man. Belasco renamed the theater for himself in 1910. Except for a brief span in the early '50s when it was used as a radio studio by NBC, the Belasco has remained a legitimate Broadway house 

1908 William J Hurlbut's drama The Fighting Hope stars Blanche Bates

1909 Frances Starr stars in The Easiest Way, by Eugene Walter

1914 Leo Ditrichstein and Laura Hope Crews star in Ferenc Molnar's comedy The Phantom Rival

1915 Arthur Byron and Martha Hedman are on the boards in the smash comedy hit The Boomerang. It runs for 522 performances

1916 Guy Bolton wrote the lyrics to go with George Middleton's music for David Belasco's production of Polly With a Past

1919 People hear a lot more of George Abbott as a director in future years, for now he's on the boards with Jeanne Eagels in John Hubble's comedy Daddies

1920 Who's Frederick Bickel? He makes his debut in the strangely-named drama Deburau. He'll become a star as Fredric March

1921 Kiki, the Belasco-written comedy, stars Lenore Ulric

1922 David Warfield is back at the Belasco in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice

1926 Lenore Ulric takes a dramatic turn in Edward Sheldon's and Charles McArthur's Lulu Belle

1927 Hit the Deck! Vincent Youmans wrote the music for this musical. It includes Louise Groody, Charles King and a young Brian Donlevy in the cast

1929 Humphrey Bogart appears with Mildred McCoy and Harlan Briggs in It's a Wise Child, a comedy by Laurence Johnson

1935 Clifford Odet's Awake and Sing features Stella Adler, Morris Carnovsky and John Garfield

1935 All the Dead End Kids are here for Dead End, which includes Sidney Lumet in the cast and features Dan Duryea's Broadway debut

1937 If you're going to make a Broadway debut, you may as well make it with a cast that includes Morris Carnovsky, Frances Farmer, Luther Adler, Lee J Cobb, Howard Da Silva and Phoebe Brand. Karl Malden does just that in Clifford Odet's Golden Boy

1940 John Barrymore has been away from Broadway for awhile, 18 years in fact. He returns to star in the Catherine Tunney-Jerry Horwin comedy My Dear Children

1948 As The Madwoman of Chaillot, Martita Hunt receives a Tony for outstanding performance in a play

1953 The Solid Gold Cadillac is playwright George S Kaufman's last Broadway enterprise

1955 Throw Jayne Mansfield and Tina Louise together with Orson Bean and Walter Matthau and you get George Axelrod's comedy Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

1957 Noel Coward writes. Noel Coward directs. Noel Coward stars in Nude with Violin, along with Morris Carnovsky

1960 Tad Mosel's Pulitzer Prize winning All the Way Home features Colleen Dewhurst, Arthur Hill and Lillian Gish. Dewhurst receives her first Tony for this performance

1966 Beryl Reid is Tony's best actress for her performance in Frank Marcus' The Killing of Sister George

1975 Folks aren't lining up at midnight to throw toast. They aren't lining up at all to see Tim Curry in 45 performances of The Rocky Horror Show

1995 The play's title is one word: Hamlet. The Tony title is: best performance by a leading actor in a play. It goes to Ralph Fiennes

1997 Anthony Page directs Janet McTeer and Owen Teale in this Tony-winning revival of Ibsen's The Doll House. They all receive Tonys

 

 

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