Location: New York, New York
Address: 249 W. 45th St.
Capacity: approx 1435
In 1923, the Imperial Theatre became the fiftieth theatre built by the Shubert brothers, and once again they enlisted the services of renowned architect Herbert J. Krapp to design their new performance hall. The massive theatre boasted a seating capacity of 1,650 people (which has been reduced to around 1,400) and was designed to be a musical comedy venue. The theatre has a unique aesthetic that is far wider than it is deep, allowing audiences to feel much closer to the stage. The venue incorporated many of Krapp's design motifs such as floral and geometric shapes on the ceiling and plasterwork and ornate chandeliers illuminating the auditorium and lobby areas. The building has been considered by many to be the Shubert's crowning achievement and it has housed some of the most successful Broadway productions in history.
The Imperial Theatre got off to an impressive start on Christmas night in 1923 with the musical Mary Jane McKane, starring Mary Hay, composed by Vincent Youmans and Herbert P. Stothart with lyrics written by Oscars Hammerstein II and William Carey Duncan. The show ran for 151 performances, a significant accomplishment for any opening act. Because the immense size of the theatre lends itself beautifully to the production of big-budget musicals and ballet performances, these productions have been a mainstay at the venue since its inception.
The playhouse had a number of musical hits in the '30s and '40s - opening nights at the Imperial Theatre were considered some of the hottest tickets in town, even during the Depression. The landmark Fiddler on the Roof got its start at the Imperial in 1964 and went on to become one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history. One of the theatre's biggest successes took place in 1972 with the opening of Stephen Schwartz' Pippin. The show would go on to wow audiences for 1,944 performances. Soon thereafter the Imperial would experience another hit with Dreamgirls, produced by Michael Bennett. The musical, which ran from 1981 to 1985, eventually garnered six Tony Awards. The space would later also become home to the classic musical Les Miserables, which would run from 1990 to 2003 and elicit praise from musical theater aficionados from around the world. More than 5,000 performances of the Claude-Michel Schönberg-scored show took place at the Imperial, allowing it to become longest-running musical to ever grace the stage at the playhouse.
The Imperial is one of the crown jewels of the New York theatre scene and it continues to awe audiences with its amazing productions and timeless style.
Imperial Theatre Ticket Information:
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