NYC Highlights: The Shubert Theater

Balcony view of the Shubert’s stage

The Shubert Theatre is a Broadway Theatre at 225 West 44th Street in the Theatre District of Midtown Manhattan in New York City. The Shubert opened October 2, 1913, with a revival of Hamlet. The theatre was designed by Henry Beaumont Herts in the Italian Renaissance style and was built for the Shubert brothers. The facade is made of brick and terracotta, with sgraffito decorations designed in stucco. Three arches face south onto 44th Street, and a curved corner faces east toward Broadway. The auditorium contains an orchestra level, two balconies, and a flat ceiling. The space is decorated with mythological murals throughout.

Lee and J. J. Shubert had named the theatre in memory of their brother Sam S. Shubert, who died in an accident several years before the theatre's opening. It has 1,502 seats across three levels. The facade and interior are New York City landmarks.

Along with the rest of the nation, Shubert was impacted by the Great Depression. With some difficulty, Lee and J.J. continued to produce, and throughout the 1930s and 1940s they presented a number of well-known musicals and revues, including the later editions of the  Ziegfeld Follies, Life Begins at 8:40 (1934), At Home Abroad (1935), The Show is On (1937), Hellzapoppin' (1938), Streets of Paris (1939) and Sons o' Fun (1941) . Shubert stars at that time included Fanny Brice, Bob Hope, Bert Lahr, Bea Lillie, Ray Bolger, Bobby Clark, Imogene Coca, Olsen & Johnson, Gypsy Rose Lee, Ruth Gordon, and Carmen Miranda.

Although the company was minimally involved in theatrical production in the 1950s and 1960s, the Shuberts returned to producing full time in the 1970s with many outstanding and award-winning shows to its credit, including The Act (1977), The Gin Game (1977), and Ain't Misbehavin' (1978). Children of a Lesser God (1980), Amadeus (1981), The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1981), Angels Fall (1983), Glengarry Glen Ross (1984), A Moon for the Misbegotten (1984), The Real Thing (1984), As Is (1985), Big Deal (1986), City of Angels (1989), A Few Good Men (1989), and The Secret Rapture (1989) were 1980s productions. The Grapes of Wrath (1990), The Most Happy Fella (1992), An Inspector Calls (1994), and on June 19, 1997, Cats surpasses the longest-running musical on Broadway with over 6000 shows and ended its run with over 7000 shows on Broadway (and even more in Japan).

The Shubert Theatre had some other great runs as well. A Chorus Line ran from 1975 to 1990. Chicago was another 1997 success. Since then, Amour (2002), Spamalot (2005-2009), Oliver (2012), Matilda (2013-2017), Hello Dolly (2017-2018), To Kill a Mockingbird (2018-2022), POTUS (2022), and Some Like it Hot (2022) have been home to the Shubert Theatre.

Street view of the Shubert, circa 2006
View of the audience seating from the Shubert’s stage

Today, the Organization owns and operates seventeen Broadway theatres in New York City—the Ambassador, Barrymore, Belasco, Booth, Broadhurst, Broadway, Cort, Golden, Imperial, Bernard B. Jacobs, Longacre, Lyceum, Majestic, Music Box, Gerald Schoenfeld, Shubert, and Winter Garden.