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Ambassador Theatre
History
The Shuberts built the Ambassador Theatre in 1921, one of four theatres they constructed on 48th and 49th Streets as part of their post-World War I rapid expansion. None of the other three (the Ritz, now the Walter Kerr; the Forrest, now the Eugene O’Neill; and the 49th St, now demolished) are currently operated by the Shubert Organization.

Productions
In its inaugural decade, the Ambassador was primarily a home to operettas and musical comedies. It’s first production was The Rose Girl (1921), followed the same year by Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly’s Blossom Time (1921), which became one of the theatre’s greatest hits of the time (592 performances), and one of the most successful Shubert operettas. Other early shows include The Lady in Ermine (1922), Queen High (1926), Angela (1928), Owen Davis’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby (1926), The Racket (1927) and Leo Tolstoy’s Redemption (1928).

The 1930s and 1940s saw few theatrical productions at the Ambassador. Two of note include Ayn Rand’s Night of January 16 (1935) and Danny Kaye’s Broadway debut in The Straw Hat Revue (1939). From 1936 through 1945, the theatre served primarily as a venue for radio broadcasts and motion-picture exhibition. From 1945 to 1950 it was used exclusively as a movie house, and in the 1950s was leased to the fledgling Dumont Television Network.

In 1956 J.J. Shubert reclaimed and refurbished the Ambassador for legitimate theatre, reopening with a production of The Loud Red Patrick (1956) starring Arthur Kennedy and David Wayne. Other shows of the time include Lawrence and Lee’s The Gang’s All Here (1959) with E.G. Marshall, Melvyn Douglas, and Arthur Hill; A Passage to India (1962) featuring Gladys Cooper and Donald Moffatt; Calculated Risk (1962) starring Joseph Cotten; Absence of a Cello (1964) with Ruth White and Charles Grodin; and The Lion in Winter (1966) featuring Robert Preston, Rosemary Harris, and Christopher Walken. One of the Ambassador’s biggest successes of the 1960s was You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running (1967), starring George Grizzard, Eileen Heckart, Matin Balsam, and Melinda Dillon, which was followed by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s Celebration (1969).

The 1970s were a slow time for the playhouse. Jim Dale played in a revival of Moliére’s Scapino (1974), Linda Hopkins starred in Me and Bessie (1976), and Gregory Hines reached stardom in Eubie! (1978). Other productions from the 1970s and 1980s include Godspell (1977), Miss Margarida’s Way (1977), the gospel musical Your Arms Too Short to Box with God (1980), A View from the Bridge (1983), a revival of Dreamgirls (1987) with Lilias White, the Shubert-produced Ain’t Misbehavin’ revival (1988) starring Nell Carter, and the revival of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (1999), featuring Roger Bart and Kristin Chenoweth. Recent shows include the Pulitzer-prize winning Topdog/Underdog (2002) by Suzan-Lori Parks, and the revival of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago (2003), which moved here from the Shubert Theatre.

Architecture
The plot of land for the Ambassador required that the auditorium be placed diagonally on its relatively small lot. This resulted in a lack of stage-wing space, and a uniquely shaped hexagonal auditorium. The exterior of the building is simple, with little ornamentation other than some brick patterning. The interiors, designed by architect Herbert Krapp, employ more elaborate Adam-style plasterwork in the decoration of the walls, ceiling, boxes, doorways and arches. The design motif was a favorite of Krapp’s.

Details on the Ambassador Theatre's Accessibility

Access Information
Theatre is not completely wheelchair accessible. There are two small steps into theatre from the main entrance from the sidewalk. The side entrance has no steps from the sidewalk, please alert Box Office upon arrival. Please be advised that where there are steps either into or within the theatre, we are unable to provide assistance.

Accessibility by Seating Section
Orchestra: Seating is accessible to all parts of the Orchestra without steps. Wheelchair seating is located in the Orchestra only.

Mezzanine(second level): 2 flights of stairs up 38 steps. Please note, once on the Mezzanine level there are approximately 2 steps per row. Entrance to Front Mezzanine is behind row E. Entrance to Rear Mezzanine is in front of row A.

Handrails: Available at the end of every stepped seat row in the Mezzanine.

Elevator/Escalator
None available.

Restroom
There is a wheelchair accessible restroom.

Ambassador Theatre Interior, Mezzanine
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Ambassador Theatre Interior, Mezzanine spacer
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Ambassador Theatre Ceiling Chandelier
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Ambassador Theatre Ceiling Chandelier spacer
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Ambassador Theatre Exterior, <em>Back to Methuselah</em>,1958
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Ambassador Theatre Exterior, Back to Methuselah,1958 spacer
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Architectural rendering, Ambassador Theatre Exterior, 1920
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Architectural rendering, Ambassador Theatre Exterior, 1920 spacer
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Ambassador Theatre Interior, Orchestra
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Ambassador Theatre Interior, Orchestra spacer
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Now Playing
Chicago
Chicago TicketsCome on, Babe! If you’re looking for razzle-dazzle entertainment… If you’re looking for a night out at the theater you’ll remember for years to come… If you're looking for pure Broadway… then look no further than Chicago!

A true New York City institution, Chicago has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz; one show-stopping-song after another; and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. No wonder Chicago has been honored with six Tony Awards®, two Olivier Awards®, a Grammy and thousands of standing ovations. It’s also no surprise that Chicago has wowed audiences all around the world, from Mexico City to Moscow, from Sao Paulo to South Africa.

But the hottest place to experience it is on Broadway. There’s always someone fabulous center stage. Whether you’re looking for your first Broadway musical… whether you’ve seen the Academy Award®-winning film and want to experience the show live on stage… or whether you’ve seen it before and want to recapture the magic, Chicago always delivers. 

Chicago is a classic. It’s the show you can always count on to give you the thrills and memories that only come from seeing a Broadway musical.

Here is what the critics have to say:

Chicago still glitters hypnotically. - Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Chicago remains a sizzler - one extremely sex-see experience! - Michael Sommers, Star-Ledger

The show is as crazy-fun as ever! - Jess Cagle, WCBS-TV/People Magazine

The most entertaining musical of the decade - Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press

Chicago cast recording Various Artists - Chicago - The Musical

Tickets and Access Information
Theatre Specs
Ambassador Theatre
219 West 49th Street
Between Broadway and 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
spacer Ambassador Theatre
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Year Builtspacer1921
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Seating Capacityspacer1088 Total
Orchestraspacer565
Front Mezzaninespacer264
Rear Mezzaninespacer251
Boxesspacer8
Pit (Add'l)spacer37
Wheelchairspacer7
Aisle Transfer Armspacer11
Standingspacer25
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Theatre Dimensions 
Proscenium Opening:44' 11"
Height of Proscenium:25' 3"
Depth to proscenium:28' 4"
Depth to front of stage:31' 2"
Stage Type:Proscenium
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Seating Map
Click on the chart to see a larger version.
Ambassador Theatre Seating Map
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