Hayes Theater

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Coordinates: 40°45′28″N 73°59′15″W / 40.75778°N 73.98750°W / 40.75778; -73.98750

Hayes Theater
Helen Hayes Theatre
Little Theatre
New York Times Hall
Hayes Theater in 2007, showing Xanadu
The Hayes Theater in 2007, showing Xanadu
Address240 West 44th Street
Manhattan, New York City, US
OwnerSecond Stage Theater
OpenedMarch 12, 1912
ArchitectHarry Creighton Ingalls

Hayes Theater (initially known as the Little Theatre and Helen Hayes Theatre) is a Broadway theatre located at 240 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan. With 597 seats, it is the smallest theatre on Broadway. It was an ABC Television studio from 1957 to 1963. Later the syndicated talk show The Merv Griffin Show, before it moved to Los Angeles in 1972, was taped at the theatre.


Little Theatre/New York Times Hall[edit]

The Little Theatre opened with John Galsworthy's play The Pigeon (1912)
The Little Theatre (1913)

The Little Theatre was designed by the architect Harry Creighton Ingalls of the firm Ingalls & Hoffman, and built by Winthrop Ames; its name was chosen due to both the theatre's small size (with a seating capacity of only 300), and its goal to create intimate productions.

The theatre opened on March 12, 1912, with John Galsworthy's play The Pigeon. Other plays opening that year included:[2]

In the 1920s, Herbert J. Krapp redesigned the theatre to increase its seating capacity to 590 and to improve its acoustics. The building was sold to The New York Times in 1931, and converted into a conference hall[3] named 'New York Times Hall'.[4]

Westinghouse Broadcasting used the theatre for the Merv Griffin Show during the 1960s.

Helen Hayes Theatre[edit]

In 1979, Martin Markinson and Donald Tick bought the theatre from Westinghouse for $800,000.[1]

The theatre was named for Helen Hayes in 1983 when the actress's existing namesake theatre on West 46th Street was demolished, along with the Morosco Theatre and the Bijou Theatre, to construct the New York Marriott Marquis. According to Playbill, "The tribute was deemed fitting by the theatrical community, since the first theatre bearing the name of Helen Hayes, on West Forty-sixth Street, had been torn down in 1982 to make way for the Marriott Marquis Hotel."[5]

Hayes Theater[edit]

In July 2008, it was announced that Markinson and the Tick family planned to sell the theatre to the Second Stage Theater company for an undisclosed price. It was announced on April 18, 2015, that the sale of Helen Hayes Theater to Second Stage had been completed. The sale price was $24.7 million. The first Second Stage production at the Hayes Theater was Lobby Hero, by Kenneth Lonergan, starring Michael Cera and Chris Evans, which opened in the spring of 2018, after renovations and upgrades.[6][7] Second Stage became one of only four nonprofit theater companies that own and operate theaters on Broadway.[8]

The theatre has been closed as of March 12, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not plan on opening until January 3, 2021.[9]

Markinson died on January 7, 2021, aged 89.[10]

Box office record[edit]

Rock of Ages achieved the box office record for the Helen Hayes Theatre. The production grossed $744,667 over nine performances for the week ending December 30, 2012.[11]

Selected productions[edit]

Radio and television studio[edit]

CBS used the theatre as a radio studio for a time, but it was converted to television by ABC in 1957[5] and renamed the Little Theatre. Dick Clark's Saturday night The Dick Clark Show originated there from February 1958 through September 1960. During this time, ABC also broadcast the daytime show Who Do You Trust? with Johnny Carson from the theatre. It was briefly renamed the Winthrop Ames Theatre in 1964.[5] From 1965 through 1983, it was again the Little Theatre. During the early part of that period, Westinghouse Broadcasting taped the syndicated Merv Griffin Show there and later, The David Frost Show. The 1969–70 season of the game show Beat the Clock hosted by Jack Narz was also taped there.

Colin Quinn's one-man show Long Story Short was recorded there as an HBO special; it had opened at the theatre in November 2010.[5]


  1. ^ a b Bloom, Ken (2004). Broadway: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 303. ISBN 978-0415937047.
  2. ^ "Helen Hayes Theatre". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  3. ^ Gordon, David. "Second Stage Theatre Buys Its Broadway Home" Theatermania.com, April 18, 2015
  4. ^ "New York Times Hall" Playbill accessed April 4, 2020
  5. ^ a b c d "Helen Hayes Theatre History" Playbill, accessed April 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Gioia, Michael (April 18, 2015). "Sold! Second Stage Completes Million-Dollar Purchase for the Helen Hayes, Adding Fourth Non-Profit to Broadway" Playbill.
  7. ^ McPhee, Ryan (April 20, 2017). "Chris Evans Will Make Broadway Debut Alongside Michael Cera in Lobby Hero" Playbill.
  8. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (July 17, 2008). Second Stage Will Set Up a Broadway Shop at Helen Hayes, The New York Times, retrieved November 11, 2014.
  9. ^ Moniuszko, Sara M (June 29, 2020). "Broadway suspends performances through 2020 amid coronavirus, extends ticket refunds to 2021". Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  10. ^ https://deadline.com/2021/01/martin-markinson-dead-obituary-broadway-torch-song-trilogy-helen-hayes-theater-rescuer-was-89-1234671125/
  11. ^ [1], Production Gross, Playbill.com

External links[edit]