Neil Simon Theatre
Neil Simon Theatre showing Hairspray, 2003
|Address||250 West 52nd Street
New York City
|Opened||Nov. 22, 1927|
|Architect||Herbert J. Krapp|
As of 2011, the record for its longest running show is held by the musical Hairspray, which opened August 15, 2002 and ran for 2,642 performances before closing on January 4, 2009.
On October 19, 2010, RAIN – A Tribute to The Beatles opened at the Neil Simon Theatre and ran through January 15, 2011 when it moved to the Brooks Atkinson Theater. The new musical Catch Me If You Can began performances at the theatre in spring 2011.
Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp, the developer, real estate mogul Alexander Pincus originally named it the "Alvin Theatre" as an amalgam of the names of producers ALex Aarons and VINton Freedley. With its address originally listed as 244-54 West 42nd Street, it opened on November 22, 1927 with George and Ira Gershwin's Funny Face starring Fred and Adele Astaire. In 1930 Ethel Merman made her Broadway debut in Girl Crazy; in 1934, she appeared again in Cole Porter's Anything Goes and again in 1936 in Porter's Red, Hot and Blue. In 1935, the Gershwins' American folk opera Porgy and Bess had its world premiere at the venue. Due to the Great Depression, Aarons and Freedley lost control of their venue in 1932. For a period of time it was used as a radio studio by CBS. In 1960, Lucille Ball appeared in her only Broadway show, the musical Wildcat. In 1965, Liza Minnelli made her Broadway debut in Flora the Red Menace. The original Broadway production of Annie opened in 1977 and ran for nearly six years, setting a record for the Alvin.
In 1977, the building was purchased by the Nederlander Organization, and was renamed in honor of American playwright Neil Simon on June 29, 1983 with the opening of his play Brighton Beach Memoirs. In 1985, its sequel Biloxi Blues also played at the theatre.
The building was designated a New York City landmark in 1985. Historical records show that its original seating capacity was 1,362; in 2002, it was expanded from 1328 to a potential 1467 (depending on usage of the facility, as the presence of an orchestra pit displaces 26 seats) after the May 27, 2002 closing of Elaine Stritch at Liberty.  Robin Williams was set to perform 5 shows from his latest comedy tour, Weapons Of Self-Destruction at this theatre in early October 2009, but this was scrapped in favor of the revival of Ragtime, which opened on November 15, 2009, but due to low advance ticket sales, Ragtime closed on January 10, 2010 after 28 previews and 65 regular performances.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Neil Simon Theatre.|
- Morrison, William (1999). Broadway Theatres: History and Architecture (trade paperback). Dover Books on Architecture. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. pp. 154–55. ISBN 0-486-40244-4.
- Catch Me If You Can Books Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre
- Ethel Merman at the Internet Broadway Database
- Jones, Kenneth (May 21, 2002). "Playbill News: A New 'Do: Capacity of Neil Simon Theatre Will Increase for Hairspray". Playbill.com. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
- Wildcat at the Internet Broadway Database
- Flora, the Red Menace at the Internet Broadway Database
- Nederlander Family Adds Alvin to Its Holings
- "Live in Living Color": Catch Me If You Can Lands on Broadway March 11
- It's Official! JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR to Open on Broadway March 2012!
- Fireworks! "Playbill News: Ragtime Will Return to Broadway Oct. 23". Playbill.com. Retrieved July 1, 2009.
- "Sting’s musical ‘The Last Ship’ finds port on Broadway". nydailynews.com. Daily News (New York). 12 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Official site
- Neil Simon Theatre at the Internet Broadway Database
- New York Theatre Guide: Neil Simon Theatre