Brooks Atkinson Theatre Information
- Location: New York, New York
- Address: 256 W. 47th St.
- Capacity: approx 1100
- Opened: 1926
The Brooks Atkinson Theatre shares similar roots as many of the biggest venues on Broadway. The theatre opened in 1926 thanks to funding from the Chanin Brothers, who were construction tycoons during the Roaring Twenties, and was originally called the Mansfield Theatre. The building was designed by Herbert J. Krapp, who did a lot of work for the Shubert brothers as well as a number of notable structures still standing today. The theatre followed many of the conventions of the time with more than 1,000 seats, a single balcony, and an extremely wide auditorium to give audiences a clear view of the stage. With an expansive lobby bedecked with chandeliers and easy access to concessions and restrooms, the theatre offers a welcoming atmosphere.
The Mansfield Theatre opened its doors on February 15, 1926, to host the melodrama The Night Duel, written by Daniel Rubin and Edgar MacGregor. Unfortunately, the play wasn't able to catch on with audiences and lasted only 17 performances. While the theatre has hosted hundreds of plays and musicals over the years in seasonal intervals, it has predominantly been home to legitimate theatre productions and comedies as mainstays of its lineup.
The Brooks Atkinson Theatre has witnessed a number of successful productions over the course of its history. One of the venue's earliest successes was 1944's Anna Lucasta, which was written by Philip Yordan and originally premiered at the American Negro Theatre in Harlem. The play became a box office smash and ran for 957 performances. The theatre was also known for its impressive set design, as was the case for the 1983 Tony Award-winning K2, which told the story of two mountain climbers who were stuck on a ledge on the second-highest mountain in the world. In recent history, Atkinson played host to Rock of Ages, an exploration of '80s rock excess that was nominated for a number of Tonys and became a surprise Broadway hit.
It was in 1960 that the venue was renamed the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 1960 to honor the beloved New York Times theatre critic. Since then the gorgeous space has become one of the most popular performance halls in New York City. Its old-world charm and fabulous acoustics are sure to continue to capture the imagination of audiences for years to come.