Shubert Theatre

513 9th Street NW,
Washington, DC 20004

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DavidZornig on April 25, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Circa 1959 photo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Here is an informative article about the Gayety Theatre by John DeFerrari. There are several photos of the Gayety and nearby theaters and restaurants.

kencmcintyre on November 29, 2008 at 2:05 pm

So there are two burlesque places practically across the street from each other called the Gayety. This is a 1945 Life photo that I will post here, but if it’s the other one let me know.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 3, 2007 at 1:38 pm

rivjr’s description of a burlesque show at this theatre in the 1950s is totally different from my experiences watching “burley” during the same time period in Boston. We had 2 old theatres, the Old Howard and the Casino; both showed 2nd-run movies in between stage shows. The shows on Fri. and Sat. nights (around 8PM) and the Midnight shows that followed were often sold out. The striptease dancers were mostly young, some in their late-teens, and they ended up nearly nude, and after 1960, totally nude. There were low-brow comedy acts in front of colorful backdrops. There were 3 to 5 musicians in the orchestra pit. The Old Howard was closed by police action in Nov. 1953 and the Casino was closed by Urban Ruin-all in May 1962. I loved these shows and did not have the negative impressions in Boston that rivjr had in Washington.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 28, 2007 at 7:27 pm

If the plans of the Washington Stage Guild come to fruition, the site of the Gayety/Shubert will once again house a legitimate theatre; a 250 seat house scheduled to open in the spring of 2008.

rlvjr on October 27, 2005 at 2:48 pm

Younger people might not believe what BURLESQUE was really like in the ‘50’s. There were usually no more that 3 strippers, normally mature and overweight, who slowly stripped to almost-nude. There was a band of no more than two musicians, and a really dreadful MC who also served as comedian and also hawked a few things they sold. The audience, in a theater like this which had over 1000 seats, was seldom more than 50, often as few as 15. It was a pathetic site, born losers (like me) pretending to enjoy a sex show which was as sexless as watching grass grow. Later when the Sexual Revolution and The Pill came along circa 1960, pretty young girls became strippers, but in night clubs, not burlesque. Burlesque was dead, and who cares?

rlvjr on October 3, 2005 at 3:32 pm

I also saw Two for the Seesaw with Henry Fonda and Anne Bancroft here, as well as 3 other Broadway shows. It was nice to have two legit houses in DC for a few years in the ‘50’s.
Concerning the theater’s longer-term use as the GAYETY BURLESQUE, please check this cite for the CENTRAL theatre, Washington, DC —– the final resting place of burlesque in DC.

allanb on June 25, 2005 at 12:40 pm

As I remember it, the Shubert was closed due to a fire (not sure when). I attended plays there in the 50s, including the pre-Broadway tryout of Two for the Seesaw with Henry Fonda and Ann Bancroft. Bookings were rather scarce, while the National, as the only other D.C. house at that time for Broadway tours and tryouts, was almost always occupied. 9th Street was filled with pinball and tatoo parlors, and another theatre across the street and perhaps a block away featured “Burlesk.”