The Shuberts built the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (formerly the Plymouth) along with the contiguous Broadhurst in 1917. The playhouse was initially leased to producer Arthur M. Hopkins who achieved much success in booking it. It was renamed the Gerald Schoenfeld in 2005 to honor the late chairman of the Shubert Organization.
The Schoenfeld's inaugural production was A Successful Calamity (1917), followed by a trio of Ibsen plays: The Wild Duck (1918), Hedda Gabler (1918) and A Doll’s House (1918). John Barrymore then starred in Tolstoy’s Redemption (1918). In the post-war period, Hopkins staged What Price Glory? (1924), significant for its boldly realistic depiction of soldiers at war. Other highlights of the 1920s were Burlesque (1927) starring Barbara Stanwyck and two Hope Williams vehicles: Holiday (1928) and Rebound (1930).
The 1930s, 1940s and 1950s included a number of notable productions and Pulitzer Prize winners. Tovarich (1936) was followed by Rachel Crother’s Susan and God (1937) which featured Gertrude Lawrence in a standout performance. Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938) and Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth (1942) starring Tallulah Bankhead both won the Pulitzer Prize. Bankhead returned to the Schoenfeld in Noel Coward’s Private Lives (1948). Eva Gabor played in The Happy Time (1950), followed by Dial M for Murder (1952), and The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1954). Harry Belafonte starred in the musical Three for Tonight (1955).
The racy musical Irma La Douce (1960) kicked off the 1960s. In the second half of the decade, the house played host to a string of plays by Neil Simon: The Odd Couple (1965) starring Art Carney and Walter Matthau, The Star-Spangled Girl (1966) featuring Anthony Perkins, Plaza Suite (1968) with George C. Scott and Maureen Stapleton, and The Gingerbread Lady (1970), again starring Maureen Stapleton.
A number of British plays premiered at the Schoenfeld in the 1970s and 80s. Dudley Moore and Peter Cook’s Good Evening (1973) was followed by Peter Shaffer’s Equus (1974) with Anthony Hopkins. The Shuberts co-produced a dramatic version of Charles Dickens’s The Life & Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1981). David Hare’s Plenty (1983) starred Kate Nelligan and Edward Herrmann. Next was another Shubert co-production, Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing (1984), featuring Jeremy Irons and Glenn Close, directed by Mike Nichols.
Other distinguished productions of the 1980s and 90s include Lily Tomlin’s one-woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (1985) and Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles (1989) starring Joan Allen. Irish playwright Brian Friel had three premiers at the Schoenfeld in the 1990s: Dancing at Lughnasa (1991), Wonderful Tennesee (1993) and Translations (1995). The Shuberts co-produced the Stephen Sondheim musical Passion (1994). A revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (1996) and Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll & Hyde (1997) followed.
An acclaimed revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2003) starring Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Dennehy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Robert Sean Leonard; Taboo (2003), a musical by Boy George; a revival of A Chorus Line (2006); a revival of All My Sons (2008); A Steady Rain starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig; and Martin McDonagh’s A Behanding in Spokane (2010) with Christopher Walken all shared the stage at the Schoenfeld.
Recent productions include a A Life in the Theatre (2010) with Patrick Stewart, The Mother****** with the Hat (2011) with Chris Rock, the musical Bonnie and Clyde (2011) and revivals of The Best Man (2012) and Glengarry Glen Ross (2012).
The Schoenfeld was the architect Herbert Krapp’s first independent commission. The interior design motifs, including the Adamsesque detailing, subtly reflect those of the somewhat more ornate Booth and Shubert.
Details on the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre's Accessibility
Theatre is not completely wheelchair accessible. There are no steps into the theatre from the sidewalk. 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 Location: Seating is accessible to all parts of the Orchestra without steps. There are no steps to the designated wheelchair seating location.
Mezzanine Location: Located on 2nd level, up 1 flight of stairs (31 steps). Please Note: On the Mezzanine level, there are approximately 2 steps down per row. Entrance to Mezzanine is behind row K.
Handrails: Available at the end of every stepped seat row in the Mezzanine.
Located in lobby. Accessible at 54".
A wheelchair accessible restroom (unisex) is located on the main level.
Located in restrooms.