|Address||222 West 51st Street|
New York City
|Opened||November 28, 1972|
The Gershwin Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 222 West 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan in the Paramount Plaza building. The theatre is named after brothers George Gershwin, a composer, and Ira Gershwin, a lyricist. It has the largest seating capacity of any Broadway theatre with 1,933 seats, host to large musical productions. The Gershwin has been home to the Tony Award-winning blockbuster musical Wicked since October 30, 2003.
History and architecture
Designed in an modernist Art Nouveau style by set designer Ralph Alswang, it is situated on the lower levels of a towering office complex built at an estimated cost of $12.5 million on the site of the historical Capitol Theatre. Escalators lead from the street level through-block passageway entrance to the expansive lobby, home to The American Theatre Hall of Fame. With a 65-foot wide adjustable proscenium arch and 80-foot wide stage, it is one of the largest Broadway stages, ideal for very large musical productions. A large orchestra with stadium seating, and mezzanine fill the expansive auditorium. It opened as the Uris Theatre on November 28, 1972 (named for the building developer Uris Buildings Corporation) with the musical Via Galactica starring Raul Julia. It proved to be an inauspicious start for the venue, with the first show to lose a million dollars closing after only seven performances. From 1974 to 1976 it served as a concert hall for limited engagements by a number of legendary pop music and jazz performers, before it began to host large musical productions with Porgy and Bess in 1976. The venue was host to the Tony Awards in 1983, 1984, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1999. During the 37th Tony Awards ceremony held June 5, 1983, the theatre was rechristened to honor the Gershwins. The Gershwin was heavily modified for the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Starlight Express in 1987, a massive production costing over $8 million. Starlight would go on to run nearly 800 performances at the Gershwin.
- 1972: Via Galactica
- 1973: Seesaw; Gigi
- 1974: Sammy Davis, Jr.; Andy Williams with Michel Legrand; Johnny Mathis; Anthony Newley with Henry Mancini; Queen (first Rock band to play Broadway, in support of Mott the Hoople); The 5th Dimension; Raphael
- 1975: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie
- 1975: Fonteyn & Nureyev on Broadway
- 1976: D'Oyly Carte Opera Company; Bing Crosby; Barry Manilow; Paul Anka; Al Green with Ashford & Simpson; Season of Gilbert and Sullivan
- 1976: Porgy and Bess, produced by the Houston Grand Opera
- 1977: The King and I
- 1979: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
- 1981: The Pirates of Penzance; My Fair Lady
- 1982: Annie
- 1983: Show Boat
- 1984: Shirley MacLaine on Broadway; Patti LaBelle on Broadway
- 1984: Cyrano de Bergerac; Much Ado About Nothing, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company
- 1985: Singin' in the Rain
- 1987: Starlight Express
- 1989: Barry Manilow Live on Broadway
- 1990: Meet Me in St. Louis; Fiddler on the Roof
- 1991: Moscow Circus
- 1993: Raffi
- 1995: Show Boat
- 1997: Candide; 1776
- 2000: Riverdance on Broadway
- 2002: Oklahoma!
- 2003—present: Wicked
Box office record
Wicked set a box office record for the Gershwin Theatre. The production grossed $3,201,333 over nine performances for the week ending December 29, 2013. This was also the highest one-week box office gross income made by any show in Broadway history, until that time.
- "Seating Chart". The Gershwin Theater. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
- "Theatre 101". The Theatre Development Fund. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- "At This Theatre". Nederlander Organization. Retrieved 2014-11-06.
- Turner, Adrienne; Barbara Janowitz (1999). Stage Specs: a technical guide to theatres. League of American Theatres and Producers. pp. 354–355. ISBN 978-0962584411.
- Lawson, Carol (June 6, 1983). "'Cats' And 'Torch Song Trilogy' Win Top Tonys". The New York Times. p. C11. Retrieved 2014-11-06.
- Rothstein, Mervyn (20 August 1988). "'Starlight Express' Out of the Tunnel?". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
- Moniuszko, Sara M. (June 29, 2020). "Broadway suspends performances through 2020 amid coronavirus, extends ticket refunds to 2021". USA Today. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
- Piepenburg, Erik (30 December 2013). "A Record-Setting Week on Broadway". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-11-06.