St. James Theatre
The St. James Theatre, 2006
|Address||246 W. 44th St|
New York City
|Architect||Warren and Wetmore|
The St. James Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 246 West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan. With 1,710 seats over three levels, it is one of the largest Broadway theatres. The St. James Theatre, named after the famed St James's Theatre in London, is owned and operated by Jordan Roth, President, and owner of Jujamcyn Theaters.
Abraham L. Erlanger, theatrical producer and a founding member of the Theatrical Syndicate, constructed the St. James on the site of the original Sardi's restaurant. Designed by architects Warren and Wetmore (one of two firms that designed Grand Central Terminal), the theatre's simple brick facade is dominated by a large cast iron loggia, masking the fire escapes from the auditorium over the expansive street front. The gilded, landmarked auditorium is ornate, with two balconies. It opened in 1927 as The Erlanger Theatre. Upon Erlanger's death in 1930, the Astor family, who owned the land on which the theatre stood assumed control of the venue and renamed it the St. James Theatre.
The theatre was taken over by the Shuberts in 1941. They were forced to sell it to William L. McKnight in 1957 following the loss of an antitrust case. McKnight renovated the St. James and reopened it in 1958. In 1970, McKnight then transferred the theatre to his daughter Virginia and her husband James H. Binger, who had formed Jujamcyn Theaters. After Binger's death in 2004, producer and president of Jujamcyn, Rocco Landesman, announced his plans to buy the company. Landesman purchased the group in 2005, and in 2009 he sold half his stake to up-and-coming theatrical producer, Jordan Roth. Shortly after, Landesman was asked to head the NEA and Roth and assumed control of the group. The theatre has been home to a number of long-running and Tony Award-winning musicals in its ninety-one-year history, including original productions of Oklahoma!, The King and I, Hello, Dolly!, The Who's Tommy and The Producers. Located on 44th Street in the Theater District, the St. James neighbors a handful of large musical houses including the Majestic, Broadhurst, Shubert, and the Hayes Theater.
In 2017, the St. James completed a renovation which extended its stage by ten feet into the alley between the Hayes Theater and the St. James. The stage expansion was to accommodate the Broadway run of the Disney musical Frozen.
Box office record
In April and May 2013, film director Alejandro González Iñárritu spent 30 days shooting his film Birdman almost entirely within the St. James Theatre and its environs. The film depicts the production of a Broadway show during its preview nights and premiere and utilizes the theatre's stage, lobby, and backstage areas. The theatre features in the opening montage of Woody Allen's Manhattan, his "love letter" to New York City. St. James Theatre is also shown in the season 4 finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry David and David Schwimmer star in the Broadway version of The Producers. There is also a scene on the street in front of the theatre in which Larry David gets into a confrontation with a tourist played by Stephen Colbert. The theatre has also appeared in several episodes of NBC's Smash and was featured in season 5 of the FOX Television series Glee as Lea Michele's Rachel Berry stars in the revival of Funny Girl staged at the theatre.
Notable productions with opening dates
- Merry Malones (September 26, 1927) – Inaugural Production
- Fine and Dandy (September 23, 1930)
- 1931–33, 1942 and 1951 seasons of Gilbert and Sullivan
- Thumbs Up! (December 27, 1934)
- Native Son (March 24, 1941)
- Oklahoma! (March 31, 1943)
- Where's Charley? (October 11, 1948)
- The King and I (March 29, 1951)
- The Pajama Game (May 13, 1954)
- Li'l Abner (November 15, 1956)
- Flower Drum Song (December 1, 1958)
- Becket (October 5, 1960)
- Do Re Mi (December 26, 1960)
- Hello, Dolly! (January 16, 1964)
- Two Gentlemen of Verona (December 1, 1971)
- Vieux Carré (May 11, 1977)
- On the Twentieth Century (February 19, 1978)
- Carmelina (April 8, 1979)
- Barnum (April 30, 1980)
- Rock 'N Roll! The First 5,000 Years (October 24, 1982)
- My One and Only (May 1, 1983)
- The Secret Garden (April 25, 1991)
- The Who's Tommy (April 22, 1993)
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (April 18, 1996)
- High Society (April 27, 1998)
- Swing! (December 9, 1999)
- The Producers (April 19, 2001)
- Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (November 23, 2007)
- Gypsy (March 27, 2008)
- Desire Under the Elms (April 27, 2009)
- Finian's Rainbow (October 29, 2009)
- American Idiot (April 20, 2010)
- Hair (July 5, 2011)
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (December 11, 2011)
- Leap of Faith (April 26, 2012)
- Bring It On: The Musical (August 1, 2012)
- Barry Manilow – "Manilow on Broadway: Live at the St. James" (January 29, 2013)
- Let It Be (July 24, 2013)
- Bullets Over Broadway (April 10, 2014)
- Side Show (November 17, 2014)
- Something Rotten! (April 22, 2015)
- Present Laughter (April 5, 2017)
- Frozen (March 22, 2018)
- List of New York City Designated Landmarks in Manhattan from 59th to 110th Streets
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Manhattan above 59th to 110th Streets
- "St. James Theatre". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
- Jones, Kenneth (January 22, 2013). "Jordan Roth Is Now Principal Owner of Broadway's Jujamcyn Theaters". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
- "13 New Plays Set for Rural Houses". The New York Times. July 19, 1941. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
- Cox, Gordon (June 28, 2016). "Broadway Real Estate: St. James Theater to Expand Stage as Helen Hayes Begins Renovations". Variety. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Gelt, Jessica (April 9, 2018). "'Harry Potter' and 'Frozen' break records on Broadway". Los Angeles Times.
- "FROZEN Broadway Grosses – 2018". BroadwayWorld.
- Ng, David (November 10, 2014). "In 'Birdman,' Broadway's St. James Theatre plays itself". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
- "My One And Only". IBDb.com. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
- "Broadway's Frozen Will Not Reopen Post-Pandemic". Playbill. 14 May 2020.
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