Shubert Theatre (New Haven)


Shubert Theatre (New Haven)

The Shubert Theatre is a 1600-seat theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, originally opened in 1914. It was designed by Albert Swazey, a New York architect, and built by the H.E. Murdock Construction Company. It is currently run as a non-profit organization by CAPA, the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.

Because it was an attractive and modern theatre in a metropolitan area outside of but not too far from New York City, the Shubert Theatre attracted many producers as a location to try out shows before bringing them to Broadway. Richard Rodgers arranged the premiers of many of the shows he wrote and co-wrote to run at the Shubert, including all five of the most famous shows written by Rodgers and Hammerstein. In 1947, "A Streetcar Named Desire" premiered in the Shubert, beginning both the play's and Marlon Brando's rises to fame. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Shubert continued to attract rising stars, playing a home to early appearances of such actors as Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Andy Griffith, Sidney Poitier, and even former first lady Nancy Reagan, among others.

The theater was immortalized in many films from that era, most famously in "All About Eve".

However, in the 1970s, the popularity of the Shubert began to decline. After the try-out performance of "Something Old, Something New" on November 13, 1976, the theater closed and was threatened with destruction. Instead, the city of New Haven purchased it and had it refurbished by the Fusco Corporation. Members of the local community created a non-profit corporation, the Shubert Performing Arts Center Inc., which operated it for the next eighteen years under lease. The theater reopened in December 1983 with a new facade and lobby. The reopening played a large part in the revival of downtown New Haven. Since then, the Shubert has been the venue for Broadway road companies, while also opening shows ranging from "Proposals" by Neil Simon, to Frank Wildhorn's musicals "Jekyll and Hyde" and "The Civil War". It also offers a variety of other types of performances, including dance and concerts, and has a number of education and outreach programs.

In 2001, New Haven engaged CAPA to oversee operations.

A selection of Shubert landmarks [Celebrating 90 Years! Shubert Theater, A Commemorative Supplement Produced by "The New Haven Register", 2004]

*"Hands Up", June 3, 1915, the first play by Cole Porter, a Yale University graduate.
*"The Greatest Nation", world premiere, January 19, 1916.
*"Robinson Crusoe, Jr.", world premiere starring Al Jolson, February 10, 1916.
*"The Passing Show of 1916" with the first Broadway show song by George Gershwin, lyrics by Harold Atteridge, June 15, 1916.
*"The Light", Oscar Hammerstein II's first play for the commercial theater, May 21, 1919.
*"Red, Hot and Blue" by Cole Porter, starring Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman and Bob Hope, October 19, 1936.
*"Leave It to Me", premiere October 13, 1938, with Sophie Tucker, Victor Moore and William Gaxton and the first appearance by Mary Martin. Gene Kelly was a member of the chorus.
*"Great Lady" with the first full score by Frederick Loewe and lyrics by Earle Croocker, November 15, 1938.
*"DuBarry Was a Lady" premiered November 9, 1939, with Ethel Merman, Bert Lahr, Betty Grable and Ronald Graham.
*"Oklahoma!" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, world premiere, March 11, 1943.
*"Carousel", with John Raitt and Jan Clayton, dances directed by Agnes de Mille, March 22, 1945.
*"Annie Get Your Gun", a world premiere with Ethel Merman, Ray Middleton and William O'Neal as Buffalo Bill, March 28, 1946. The real Buffalo Bill, William F. Cody, told stories of the Old West at the Shubert on February 21, 1916.
*"Brigadoon", with Agnes de Mille, February 6, 1947.
*"South Pacific", starring Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, March 7, 1949.
*"Call Me Madam", world premiere starring Ethel Merman and Paul Lukas, September 11, 1950.
*"The King and I", starring Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, February 26, 1951.
*"The Pajama Game", with dances by Bob Fosse, April 12, 1954, with Shirley MacLaine making her debut as a dancer in the chorus.
*"Damn Yankees", premiere, starring Gwen Verdon, Stephen Douglas and Ray Walston, April 2, 1955.
*"My Fair Lady", starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews, February 4, 1956. The musical was based on "Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw, written for Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who with her London company brought the play to the Shubert on November 22, 1915.
*"The Sound of Music", starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, October 3, 1959.
*"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", premiere by Stephen Sondheim, starring Zero Mostel, March 31, 1962.
*"Flora the Red Menace", featured the debut of Liza Minnelli in a Broadway production, April 3, 1965.

References

External links

* [http://www.capa.com CAPA]
* [http://www.capa.com/newhaven/venues/shubert_history.php History of the Shubert Theatre]


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