Location: New York, New York
Address: 220 W. 48th St.
Capacity: approx 1090
The Longacre Theatre was built in 1913 by the colorful New York City producer and businessman H.H. Frazee, a man who would later be remembered in Boston, Massachusetts, as the man who sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. The Longacre is located at 48th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue, and was named after Longacre Square, which we now know as Times Square. The performance hall, which was designed by architect Henry B. Herts, was a bit of a departure from the other venues built during the time period. The playhouse is decorated in Beaux-Arts architecture, which calls to mind the French interpretation of the splendor of ancient Rome. When the Longacre opened, it sat 1,400 people (later reduced to 1,090 in a 2008 renovation) making it the ideal spot for large-scale musicals. From its ornate facade, elegant plasterwork and expanded patron amenities, the Longacre has become a favorite spot for theatre buffs.
The Longacre opened its doors on May 1, 1913 with a comedy dubbed Are You a Crook? starring Marguerite Clark. Unfortunately, the theatregoers weren't exactly in stitches by the end of the show, and it faltered after only 12 performances. The Longacre has fulfilled its initial intent of being a venue that hosts raucous staged comedies, but its large seating capacity makes it ideal for musicals as well. With hundreds of shows in the books, the theatre has proved to be a versatile playhouse that can meet the whims of some of Broadway's most demanding directors.
The venue started off slow in its initial years, but soon started booking big-time talent during the Roaring Twenties. The Longacre attracted Broadway legend Ethel Barrymore for three productions, and George S. Kaufman's hit comedy The Butter and Egg Man, was a huge success for the theatre. The playhouse's longest-running production, Ain't Misbehavin', began in 1978 and would go on to become the theatre's biggest hit, running 1,604 performances. It would also bring great prestige to the theatre, as it won Best Musical of the season at the Tony Awards, New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and Drama Desk Awards.
The Longacre Theatre has become a favorite of theatre buffs for its immense size, accessibility and quality productions. The surprisingly intimate nature of the venue has enthralled audiences for decades and shows no signs of slowing down.
Longacre Theatre Ticket Information:
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