Belasco Theatre

111 W. 44th Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Belasco Theatre

The Stuyvesant Theatre was opened on October 16, 1907 with a play “A Grand Army Man” written by David Belasco. The theatre was built for and operated by producer, director, playwright David Belasco. On September 3, 1910 it was renamed Belasco Theatre when the original Belasco Theatre on W. 42nd Street reverted back to its original name of Republic Theatre (now New Victory Theatre). The Belasco Theatre 3-level auditorium has seating provided in orchestra, mezzanine and balcony. The auditorium walls have rich walnut paneling, ornamental Tiffany lamps and 18 mural panels painted by Everett Shinn. There is a huge elevator stage and above the auditorium was Belasco’s 10-room duplex apartment.

Although it had its fair share of ‘flops’, there were some notable hits along the way: The musical “Hit the Deck” opened on April 25, 1927, Humphrey Bogart in “The Wise Child” on August 6, 1928 and “Tonight or Never” starring Melvyn Douglas opened on November 18, 1930, which was the last production under David Belasco. He died on May 14, 1931.

Katherine Cornell took over the lease followed by Mrs Hazel Rice until late-1934 when it was taken over by The Group Theatre. On October 28, 1935 “Dead End” was an immediate hit and was followed by “Golden Boy”. Other plays were “Johnny Belinda”, “Trio” (a play about lesbianism), Judy Holiday & Richard Widmark in “Kiss Them For Me” on March 20, 1945, Martita Hunt & Estelle Winwood in “The Madwoman of Chaillot” on December 27, 1948 ran for 368 performances.

In 1948 it was purchased by the Shubert Brothers and in 1949 they leased the Belasco Theatre to NBC and it became a NBC Radio Theatre. It returned to legitimate use on November 5, 1953 when the hit comedy “The Solid Gold Cadillac” was followed on October 13, 1955 with Jayne Mansfield in “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”. The next hit was Lilian Gish in “All the Way Home” from November 30, 1960. Two productions from London, UK’s West End then hit the stage: Nicol Williamson in “Inadmissable Evidence” followed by the original London cast headed by Beryl Reid in “The Killing of Sister George” which ran for 205 performances. From February 26, 1971 the Off Broadway musical “Oh! Calcutta!” caused a sensation on its long run, ending on August 12, 1972 (1,314 performances). The theatre was then used by the Shubert Organisation as a moveover house for hit shows, which included the musical “Ain’t Misbehavin'. "The Rocky Horror Show” had a short run here, before it became a cult hit.

In 1987 the Belasco Theatre was given Landmark designation by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commision which cited both the exterior & interior of the theatre. The theatre was renovated in 2010.

In October 2019 it was announced that the Belasco Theatre would be leased to Netflix for a month from November 1 to December 1, to showcase the new Martin Scorsese movie “The Irishman” starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino & Joe Pesci. The movie had premiered on September 27, 2019 as part of the New York Film Festival.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 8, 2019 at 11:46 am

To add this to the website is sheer lunacy, just because a single movie will have a special month’s engagement there by arrangement with the “legit” management. Several news reports claimed that the Belasco has no previous history with films, which could be true.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 8, 2019 at 11:48 am

P.S. Could it be because, as this website claims, there are no theatres within 30 miles? That’s a joke, folks!

HowardBHaas on October 8, 2019 at 11:53 am

In my opinion, it is very exciting to have a movie showcased at a gorgeous, historic theater like this one! And, a movie by an extremely well acclaimed director who rightfully points out the lack of proper venues since the Ziegfeld and Paris closed.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 9, 2019 at 6:45 am

The Royale (now Bernard B. Jacobs) played the movie Gigi for six months and earned a spot on this website.

Any other one-offs anyone can think of…?

Trolleyguy on October 9, 2019 at 7:08 am

There are high school auditoriums on here that only played a movie once or twice. This one certainly deserves inclusion.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 9, 2019 at 10:13 am

The more venues in this data-base, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

robboehm on October 9, 2019 at 6:11 pm

Henry Miller’s (subsequently demolished except for the landmark facade and rebuilt as the Stephen Sondheim) had a porn run. The current Walter Kerr (formerly RFK and Ritz)also had a limited film history as did the now demolished Bijou on 45th Street.

vindanpar on October 10, 2019 at 7:38 am

I do think it’s fun that he’s mimicking when films played at legitimate theaters early in the 20th century. The odd thing is that there will be 8 performances a week rather than 10 or 14(I’d love to see a sign out front (Two Performances Daily.)Will there be reserved seats,a film program? One thing I object to very strongly is the pricing. There are no tiered prices and $15 is a very paltry sum for a roadshow run. A mezz as well as orchestra ticket should be at least $40. Because it’s a drama. A musical would be more.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 10, 2019 at 8:37 am

Damn boy, don’t give him any ideas about hiking up the prices ha ha.

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