The Belasco Theatre is a Broadway theatre which opened in 1907 at 111 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Originally known as the Stuyvesant Theatre, it was designed by architect George Keister for impresario David Belasco. The interior featured Tiffany lighting and ceiling panels, rich woodwork and expansive murals by American artist Everett Shinn, and a ten-room duplex penthouse apartment that Belasco utilized as combination living quarters/office space.
Belasco Theatre c. 2002
|Address||111 West 44th Street|
Manhattan, New York City
|Owner||The Shubert Organization|
|Opened||October 16, 1907|
The theatre opened as the Stuyvesant Theatre on October 16, 1907, with the musical A Grand Army Man with Antoinette Perry. The theatre was outfitted with the most advanced stagecraft tools available including extensive lighting rigs, a hydraulics system, and vast wing and fly space. Like the neighboring Lyceum Theater, it was built with ample workshop space as well underneath the stage. Meyer R. Bimberg was the actual owner of the Stuyvesant/Belasco. He made his fortune selling political campaign buttons.
In 1910, Belasco attached his own name to the venue. After his death in 1931, Katharine Cornell and then playwright Elmer Rice leased the space. Marlon Brando had his first widely noticed success in this theater, in a production of Maxwell Anderson's Truckline Cafe, which opened on February 27, 1946. He played the small but crucial role of Sage MacRae. The play flopped, but the press celebrated Brando as a new genius actor.
The Shuberts bought the theater in 1949 and leased it to NBC for three years before returning it to legitimate use. In 2014, Hedwig and the Angry Inch opened its first Broadway production, which was the longest running show at the Belasco and features a joke about a fictional show that opened at the Belasco called Hurt Locker: The Musical.
This theater is the subject of an urban legend that David Belasco's ghost haunts the theater every night. Some performers in the shows that played there have even claimed to have spotted him or other ghosts during performances. It was also reported that after Oh! Calcutta! (a musical revue with extensive full frontal male and female nudity) played at the theater, the ghost of David Belasco stopped appearing. In Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hedwig briefly discusses the history of the Belasco and references the ghost of Belasco, claiming that if the ghost appears on your opening night then your show is blessed. She then asks audience members in one of the boxes to tell her if the ghost appears. On Neil Patrick Harris' final night playing Hedwig, a man dressed as the ghost appeared during curtain call.
- 1908: The Warrens of Virginia
- 1910: Just a Wife
- 1910: The Concert
- 1916: Seven Chances
- 1918: Daddies
- 1921: Kiki
- 1924: Laugh, Clown, Laugh (Starring Lionel Barrymore & Irene Fenwick)
- 1927: Hit the Deck
- 1928: The Bachelor Father
- 1935: Awake and Sing!; Dead End; Waiting for Lefty
- 1937: Golden Boy
- 1938: Rocket to the Moon
- 1940: Johnny Belinda
- 1941: Clash by Night
- 1945: Kiss Them for Me
- 1946: The Song of Bernadette; Flamingo Road; Truckline Cafe
- 1948: The Madwoman of Chaillot
- 1953: The Solid Gold Cadillac
- 1955: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
- 1956: Fanny
- 1958: Jane Eyre
- 1959: A Raisin in the Sun; Tall Story
- 1964: The Crucible
- 1966: The Subject Was Roses; The Killing of Sister George
- 1968: Don't Drink the Water
- 1971: Oh! Calcutta!
- 1975: The Rocky Horror Show
- 1977: American Buffalo
- 1979: The Goodbye People
- 1980: Your Arms Too Short to Box with God
- 1981: Ain't Misbehavin'
- 1983: Marcel Marceau On Broadway
- 1986: As You Like It/'Macbeth/Romeo and Juliet
- 1991: The Crucible
- 1992: The Master Builder
- 1995: Hamlet
- 1997: A Doll's House
- 1999: Ring Round the Moon
- 2000: James Joyce's The Dead
- 2001: Follies
- 2002: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
- 2003: Enchanted April
- 2004: Dracula, the Musical
- 2005: Julius Caesar
- 2006: Awake and Sing!
- 2007: Journey's End
- 2008: Passing Strange; American Buffalo
- 2009: Joe Turner's Come and Gone
- 2010: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
- 2011: Kathy Griffin
- 2012: End of the Rainbow; Golden Boy
- 2013: Twelfth Night/Richard III
- 2014: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
- 2016: Blackbird
- 2017: The Glass Menagerie; The Terms of My Surrender; Farinelli and the King
- 2018: Gettin' the Band Back Together; Network
- Anthony, Ellen. "Passing Strange Broadway Ghost". Broadway Magazine. Archived from the original on December 30, 2010.
- Peter Manso, Brando. The Biography (New York: Hyperion, 1994. ISBN 0-7868-6063-4), p. 167-173.
- Viagas, Robert (June 10, 2005). "The Ghosts of Broadway". Playbill. Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Stasio, Marilyn (April 22, 2014). "Broadway Review: 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Starring Neil Patrick Harris". Variety. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
- Daddies, Internet Broadway Database
- "The Stuyvesant Theatre. George Keister, Architect." Architects' and Builders' Magazine. Vol. 40 No. 2 (November 1907). pp. 85–9.
- "Warfield's Play a Page of Real Life". The New York Times. October 17, 1907.