Location: New York, New York
Address: 1634 Broadway
Capacity: approx 1490
The Winter Garden Theatre is one of the oldest continually-operating venues on Broadway and has been owned by the Shubert Brothers longer than any of their illustrious theatres. The building sits on the site of the American Horse Exchange, built by William K. Vanderbilt in 1896. As horses gave way to motorized transportation, the Shuberts saw an opportunity and leased the building and converted it into a theatre in 1911. With a seating capacity of 1,526, the performance hall designed by architect William Albert Swasey was built to resemble an English garden with latticework, leaves and garland adorning the box fronts and proscenium arch. It was later revamped in 1922 by the Shuberts' preferred architect Herbert J. Krapp, who would adorn the space with the Adamsesque style of the brothers' other venues. While the theatre had brief runs as a movie house during the late '20s and mid-40s, it has since become one of the most popular playhouses on Broadway that is tailor-made for big-budget productions.
The Winter Garden's first performance in 1911 was La Belle Paree, a two-part show that combined Chinese opera and a vaudeville musical segment. While the production didn't last long, it brought singer Al Jolson to the big stage, and he would become one of the Winter Garden's biggest performers and begin a long line of quality musicals and revues.
The playhouse built its reputation on hosting grandiose musicals and large-scale spectacles over its history, and it has seen some of the biggest productions in Broadway history. West Side Story debuted in 1957 and became an instant hit before transferring to the Broadway Theatre in 1959 (it would briefly return to Winter Garden a few months later). In 1960, Tammy Grimes would win a Tony Award for Best Actress for her fabulous performance in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and the show was followed by another musical triumph, Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand. The Winter Garden continues to be known as the setting for one of the longest-running productions in Broadway history, Cats. Andrew Lloyd Webber's award-winning musical became the second-longest running show in Broadway history and the longest in the history of the Winter Garden with a jaw-dropping 7,485 performances.
The Winter Garden Theatre has continued to enthrall audiences with its dazzling musical spectacles since opening in 1911. Its large size and inspired aesthetics make it one of the preeminent musical venues in New York City.
Winter Garden Theatre Ticket Information:
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