Neil Simon Theatre

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Neil Simon Theatre
Alvin Theatre[1]
Neil Simon Theatre NYC 2003.jpg
Neil Simon Theatre showing Hairspray, 2003
Address 250 West 52nd Street
New York City
United States
Owner Nederlander Organization
Type Broadway
Capacity Approx. 1,362
Opened Nov. 22, 1927
Architect Herbert J. Krapp

The Neil Simon Theatre, formerly the Alvin Theatre, is a Broadway venue built in 1927 and located at 250 West 52nd Street in midtown-Manhattan.

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.[2]


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.[1] With its address originally listed as 244-54 West 42nd Street,[1] 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;[3] in 1934, she appeared again in Cole Porter's Anything Goes[3] and again in 1936 in Porter's Red, Hot and Blue.[3] In 1935, the Gershwins' American folk opera Porgy and Bess had its world premiere at the venue.[4] 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.[5] In 1965, Liza Minnelli made her Broadway debut in Flora the Red Menace.[6] 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.[4][7] 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;[1] 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.[4] [4] 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.

The new musical Catch Me if You Can began previews on March 11, 2011 and opened on April 10, 2011.[8] On September 4, 2011 Catch Me If You Can closed after 32 previews and 170 regular performances.

A revival of Jesus Christ Superstar opened on March 22, 2012 at the theater and closed on July 1, 2012.[9]

Notable productions[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′46.5″N 73°59′3″W / 40.762917°N 73.98417°W / 40.762917; -73.98417