The Longacre, named for Longacre Square (now Times Square), was built by producer/manager H.H. Frazee (also known as the owner of the Boston Red Sox who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees). After Frazee fell into financial difficulties, the theatre changed hands many times before being sold to Astor Theatre Incorporated, a Shubert subsidiary, in 1919. WOR leased it from 1943-1953 as a radio and television playhouse.
Among Frazee’s notable early productions at the Longacre were Kick In (1914), starring John Barrymore and Katherine Harris, A Pair of Sixes (1914), and Nothing But the Truth (1916), with William Collier. Leave It to Jane (1917), by Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, and Jerome Kern also had a successful run here. In the 1920s, Ethel Barrymore made three appearances at the playhouse in Rosie Bernd, Romeo and Juliet, and Laughing Lady, while George S. Kaufman premiered his hit comedy The Butter and Egg Man (1925). Some notable future stars graced the stage at this time: Jessica Tandy in The Matriarch (1930) and Clark Gable in Hawk Island (1929).
The Group Theatre took up residence in 1935, offering three productions by Clifford Odets: Waiting for Lefty, Till the Day I Die, and Paradise Lost. The casts featured Odets, Elia Kazan, Bobby Lewis, Stella Adler, Morris Carnovsky, and Sanford Meisner.
After a decade in radio and television, the Longacre reopened as a theatrical venue in 1953 with Dorothy Parker’s The Ladies of the Corridor. Star turns at the Longacre included Julie Harris in Mademoiselle Colombe (1954) (also featuring Robert Redford), The Lark (1955), and Little Moon of Alban (1960); Zero Mostel in Rhinoceros (1961); Ossie Davis in Purlie Victorious (1961); and Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight (1966).
Some other significant shows of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s were A Case of Libel (1963), Lorraine Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window (1964), Robert Anderson’s I Never Sang for My Father (1968), Terrence McNally’s The Ritz (1975), Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land (1976) starring John Gielgud, a revival of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (1977) featuring Al Pacino, and the Shubert-produced hits Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1978) and Children of a Lesser God (1980).
The Longacre was also the home to Diana Rigg’s Tony-winning turn as Medea (1994), David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child (1998), and Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam (2002). The Longacre housed four noteworthy revivals: Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff? (2005) with Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin, Talk Radio (2007) starring Liev Schreiber, and Tony Award-winning revivals of Boeing-Boeing (2008) andLa Cage aux Folles (2010). More recently the Longacre showcased Chinglish (2011), Magic/Bird (2012) and Mike Tyson's one man show, Mike Tyson: Undiputed Truth (2012).
Henry B. Herts designed the Longacre, one of four currently operating Shubert playhouses that he designed. It boasts a French Neo-classical-style exterior and a Beaux Arts-style interior, but lacks some of the individuality and flair which characterized Herts’ other designs.
In 2007-08, architect Michael Kostow oversaw a multimillion dollar restoration of the theatre, restoring the original plasterwork and architectural detail, expanding patron amenities, improving sightlines and repairing and cleaning the neo-French Classical exterior facade.
Details on the Longacre Theatre's Accessibility
Theatre is not completely wheelchair accessible.
Accessibility by Seating Section
Seating is accessible to all parts of the Orchestra without steps. Wheelchair seating in Orchestra Only.
Second level - Up 2 flights of stairs.
Third level - Up 4 flights of stairs from the Orchestra.
Handrails: Available at the end of every stepped seat row in the Mezzanine and Balcony.
None Available. No steps into theatre.
Located in the lobby. Accessible at 54".
Wheelchair accessible (unisex) restroom located on the Orchesta level.
Located in restrooms.