American Airlines Theatre

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American Airlines Theatre
Aa-theatre.jpg
Address 227 West 42nd Street
City New York City
Country United States
Owned by City and State of New York
Leased by New 42nd Street
Operated by Roundabout Theatre Company
Capacity 740
Type Broadway
Opened 1918
Reopened June 30, 2000
Other names Selwyn Theatre
Production Violet

The American Airlines Theatre, originally the Selwyn Theatre, is a historic Italian Renaissance style Broadway theatre in New York City built in 1918. It was designed by George Keister and built by the Selwyn brothers. Used for musicals and other dramatic performances it was eventually converted for film. It was used briefly as a visitor's center but stood vacant for years until a 1997 renovation and restoration. It is located at 227 West 42nd Street.

History[edit]

Design[edit]

Originally named the Selwyn Theatre, it was designed by the architect George Keister and constructed by the Selwyn brothers, Edgar and Archie, in 1918.[1] It was one of three theatres they built and controlled on 42nd Street, along with the Apollo and the Times Square Theatre. It was decorated in the style of the Italian Renaissance, and originally had 1,180 seats.[2] At the time of its opening, the design had several innovations. Its most novel feature was separate smoking rooms for men and women.[2] Additionally, each dressing room was equipped with a shower and telephone.[2]

Productions[edit]

The venue initially hosted major musical and dramatic productions, including Cole Porter's Wake Up and Dream, and in October 1930 Clifton Webb appeared there in Three's a Crowd,[3] but eventually became a cinema. It would return to legitimate theatre several times over the next six decades, but eventually fell into disrepair. It was used briefly in the early 1990s as a home for the Times Square Visitors Center and for a limited production of Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape, but for the most part, stood vacant.

Renovation[edit]

The City and State of New York took possession of the Selwyn in 1990. In 1992, it was one of six 42nd Street theatres to fall under the protection of the New 42nd Street organization. The Roundabout Theatre Company committed to renovating the Selwyn in 1997. It was restored to its former grandeur (albeit now with just 740 seats), renamed the American Airlines in honor of its principal sponsor, and reopened on June 30, 2000. The American Airlines Theatre, which is still informally known by its former name among many theatre fans, currently serves as the home of the Roundabout and houses its major dramatic productions.

Productions since June 30, 2000[edit]

Show Opening day Closing day Notes
The Man Who Came to Dinner July 27, 2000 October 8, 2000 Revival
Betrayal November 14, 2000 February 4, 2001 Revival
2001 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play nominee
Design for Living March 15, 2001 May 13, 2001 Revival
Major Barbara July 12, 2001 September 16, 2001 Revival
The Women November 8, 2001 January 13, 2002 Revival
An Almost Holy Picture February 7, 2002 April 7, 2002
The Man Who Had All the Luck May 1, 2002 June 30, 2002 Revival
The Boys from Syracuse August 18, 2002 October 20, 2002 Revival
Tartuffe January 9, 2003 February 23, 2003 Revival
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg April 3, 2003 June 1, 2003 Revival
2003 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play nominee
Big River July 24, 2003 September 21, 2003 Revival
2004 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical nominee
The Caretaker November 9, 2003 January 4, 2004 Revival
Twentieth Century March 25, 2004 June 6, 2004 Revival
After the Fall June 25, 2004 September 12, 2004 Revival
12 Angry Men October 28, 2004 May 15, 2005 2005 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play nominee
The Constant Wife June 16, 2005 August 21, 2005 Revival
2006 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play nominee
A Naked Girl on the Appian Way October 6, 2005 December 4, 2005
The Pajama Game February 23, 2006 June 17, 2006 Revival
2006 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical
Heartbreak House October 11, 2006 December 17, 2006 Revival
Prelude to a Kiss March 8, 2007 April 29, 2007 Revival
Old Acquaintance June 28, 2007 August 19, 2007 Revival
Pygmalion September 21, 2007 December 16, 2007 Revival
The 39 Steps January 10, 2008 March 16, 2008 2008 Best New Play Nominee
Les Liaisons Dangereuses May 1, 2008 July 6, 2008 Revival
2008 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play Nominee
A Man for All Seasons October 7, 2008 December 14, 2008 Revival
Hedda Gabler January 25, 2009 March 28, 2009 Revival
The Philanthropist April 26, 2009 July 5, 2009 Revival
After Miss Julie October 22, 2009 December 6, 2009 Broadway Premiere
Present Laughter January 21, 2010 March 21, 2010 Revival
Everyday Rapture April 19, 2010 July 11, 2010 Broadway Premiere
Mrs. Warren's Profession October 3, 2010 November 28, 2010 Revival
The Importance of Being Earnest January 13, 2011 July 3, 2011 Revival
Man and Boy October 9, 2011 November 27, 2011 Revival
The Road to Mecca January 17, 2012 March 4, 2012 Broadway Premiere
Don't Dress for Dinner April 26, 2012 June 17, 2012 Broadway Premiere
Cyrano de Bergerac October 11, 2012 November 25, 2012 Revival
Picnic January 13, 2012 February 24, 2013 Revival
The Big Knife April 16, 2013 June 2, 2013 Revival
The Winslow Boy October 17, 2013 December 1, 2013 Revival
Machinal January 16, 2014 March 2, 2014 Revival
Violet March 28, 2014 April 20, 2014 Revival

References[edit]

  1. ^ Henderson, Mary C., The City and the Theatre: New York playhouses from Bowling Green to Times Square (1973), p. 275: "SELWYN THEATRE 229 West Forty-second Street, Standard house. Architect: George Keister. Opening production: October 2, 1918, Information Please."
  2. ^ a b c Bianco, Anthony (2004). Ghosts of 42nd Street: A History of America's Most Infamous Block. New York: Harper Collins. p. 82. ISBN 0-688-17089-7. 
  3. ^ Parker, John (ed), Who's Who in the Theatre, 10th revised edition, London, 1947: 1430

External links[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Broadway Theatres: History and Architecture, William Morrison, 1999, Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-40244-4
  • Lost Broadway Theatres, Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, Princeton Architectural Press, 1997, ISBN 1-56898-116-3

Coordinates: 40°45′23.4″N 73°59′15.8″W / 40.756500°N 73.987722°W / 40.756500; -73.987722