Ethel Barrymore Theatre Information
- Location: New York, New York
- Address: 243 W. 47th St.
- Capacity: approx 1090
- Opened: 1928
The Ethel Barrymore Theatre was designed by renowned architect Herbert J. Krapp and is named after the famed Broadway actress of the same name. The Shubert brothers lured the performer from a rival production and offered to name the playhouse after her. This theatre was the last one that the Shubert brothers would build, and the architecture was inspired by the public baths of ancient Rome. The performance hall draws on a number of design styles, but one of its most impressive features is its sunburst mural over a portico on each one of the theatre's balcony boxes. The theatre can seat 1,058 people and has hosted many significant productions in Broadway's illustrious history.
The first show to take place at the playhouse featured the star power of Ethel Barrymore in Kingdom of God, which premiered in December 1928. She would go on to headline The Love Duel, Scarlet Sister Mary, and a revival of The School for Scandal before her Shubert contract expired. The venue went on to host many comedies, dramas, and small-scale musicals with some of the biggest names in entertainment gracing the stage.
After Barrymore's departure, the theatre enlisted some well-known talent and presented landmark productions in the 1930s and '40s with such acts as Gay Divorce, starring Fred Astaire, and the incredibly successful A Streetcar Named Desire with Jessica Tandy and Marlon Brando. The 1947 production of Streetcar went on to become one of the most acclaimed productions in the history of Broadway, netting a Pulitzer Prize and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play of the season. It is also one of the longest-running acts to ever grace the stage at the Barrymore with over 855 performances before the curtains closed. The second half of the 20th-century proved to be just as groundbreaking for the theatre, as it became home to a number of successful revivals and original productions that have become a part of Broadway lore.
The Ethel Barrymore is a gem of the Broadway world and holds the unique distinction of never changing its name or its owner over the course of its storied history. The 47th Street theatre has become a fixture of downtown Manhattan and is still one of the most impressive playhouses in New York City.