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 W. 44th St. (between 7th & 8th Avenues) in New York City. With 1,710 seats over three levels, it is one of the largest Broadway theaters, primarily home to large musicals.
The St. James was built in 1927 by Abraham L. Erlanger, theatrical producer and a founding member of the Theatrical Syndicate, 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 theater'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 Theater. Upon Erlanger's death in 1930, control of the venue was taken over by the Astor family, who owned the land on which the theatre stood. The Astors 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. The theater 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 and Shubert theaters, as well as the nearly 600 seat Hayes Theater.
In 2017, the St. James completed a renovation which extended its stage by 10 feet into the alley between the Hayes Theater and the St. James. The stage expansion accommodates the current Broadway run of the Disney musical Frozen.
Notable productions with opening dates
- Merry Malones (September 26, 1927) – Inaugural Production
- 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! (Dec 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)
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 is also referenced and used in NBC's Smash in a number of episodes.
- 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
- "13 NEW PLAYS SET FOR RURAL HOUSES - Next Week's Schedule Includes Large List of Tryouts for Monday Night PLANS OF LUTHER GREENE Cast Filled for Production of 'Walk into My Parlor' - Opening in October - Article - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
- Gordon Cox (June 28, 2016). "Broadway Real Estate: St. James Theater to Expand Stage as Helen Hayes Begins Renovations". Variety. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- "My One And Only". IBDb.com. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
- "Disney's New Musical Frozen Announces Broadway Opening Date at the St. James Theatre". broadway.com.
- Gelt, Jessica. "'Harry Potter' and 'Frozen' break records on Broadway". latimes.com.
- "FROZEN Broadway Grosses – 2018". www.broadwayworld.com.
- Ng, David (November 10, 2014). "In 'Birdman,' Broadway's St. James Theatre plays itself". L.A. Times. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
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