Location: New York, New York
Address: 250 W. 52nd St.
Capacity: approx 1400
The Neil Simon Theatre has been the home of some of the most popular musical comedies in Broadway history, and its massive size makes it one of the greatest venues of its time. Designed by famed Broadway architect Herbert J. Krapp in 1927, the theatre houses an opulent black marble lobby, three floors of offices and a modern single balcony that provides an ample view for attendees. The Neil Simon was known as the Alvin throughout much of its history, named after Alex Aarons and Vinton Freedley, who made their fortune producing musicals and decided to build their own playhouse on 52nd Street in Manhattan. The new performance hall was tailor-made for large-scale productions, and even today it exudes the same excitement and old world charm as the night it first opened its doors. The building was purchased by the Nederlander Organization in 1977, which refurbished and renamed the theatre in 1983 after writer and producer Neil Simon, whose productions enjoyed great success at the playhouse.
The venue's first production in 1927 featured some of the biggest names in Broadway history and became an instant success for the theatre. Funny Face, the result of the combined effort of George and Ira Gershwin, Paul Gerard Smith and Fred Thompson, featured on-stage talent such as Fred and Adele Astaire, Betty Compton, Victor Moore and Allen Kearns. The musical delighted audiences for 250 performances and laid the groundwork for a number of large-scale comedies that were soon to come.
The Neil Simon Theatre's first big hit came in 1934 with Cole Porter's charming musical Anything Goes, starring Ethel Merman and Victor Moore. The show became one of the most treasured productions of the 1930s and ran for 420 performances. In 1946, the theatre enjoyed multiple critical successes, including Jose Ferrer's Best Actor Tony Award for his leading role in Cyrano de Bergerac and Ingrid Bergman's Best Actress Tony for her fabulous work in Joan of Lorraine.
The playhouse received its new moniker shortly after hosting Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, the first of a trilogy of autobiographical plays. The theatre enjoyed years of success with productions such as The King and I, Annie and Company, but its biggest hit came in 2002 with the energetic musical Hairspray. The production would go on to win eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. With 2,642 performances, it became the longest-running show in the theatre's illustrious history.
The Neil Simon Theatre has hosted many milestones in Broadway history and continues to be a well-respected gem of the New York theatre district.
Neil Simon Theatre Ticket Information:
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