The Majestic Theatre was originally built in 1927 by real-estate magnates, the Chanin Brothers, as part of a three-theatre complex that also included the Royale (a mid-sized house) and the Theatre Masque, now the John Golden (a small house). The Majestic, a large musical house, complemented the other two venues, enabling producers to move shows based on their ticket sales to the most appropriately-sized venue. In 1930, the Chanins transferred ownership of all three houses to the Shuberts.
The Majestic's inaugural production was a revue, Rufus LeMaire’s Affairs (1927), which was followed by a Sigmund Romberg operetta, The Love Call (1927). Romberg was the composer responsible for the music in the Shubert annual revue, The Passing Show. Stars of the 1920s who performed at the theatre include John Gielgud in The Patriot (1928), and Cary Grant (then known as Archie Leach) in A Wonderful Night (1929).
In the 1930s, the Majestic was home to a series of notable, but short-lived, productions. A new edition of the popular annual revue Artists and Models (1930) was followed by George and Ira Gershwin’s Pardon My English (1933) and Strike Me Pink (1933) starring Jimmy Durante. At the end of the decade, Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante led the cast of Stars in Your Eyes (1939), a show which counted Jerome Robbins among its chorus.
Rodgers and Hammerstein enjoyed a nearly decade-long run in the Majestic Theatre, with four musicals premiering consecutively: Carousel (1945) with Jan Clayton and John Raitt, Allegro (1947), South Pacific (1949) starring Mary Martin and winning that year's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize, and Me and Juliet (1953).
The playhouse continued to house significant productions throughout the 1950s and 1960s. By the Beautiful Sea (1954), written by Herbert and Dorothy Fields and Arthur Schwartz, starred Shirley Booth. Ethel Merman played in Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s Happy Hunting (1956), and Meredith Wilson’s now-classic The Music Man (1957) turned Robert Preston into a star. Julie Andrews, Richard Burton and Robert Goulet premiered Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s Camelot in 1960, followed by Stephen Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle (1964), with Angela Lansbury, Lee Remick and Harry Guardino, and Golden Boy (1964) starring Sammy Davis Jr.
The 1970s at the Majestic saw a constant stream of hits and stars. Sugar (1972) with a score by Jule Styne was followed by Jerry Herman’s Mack and Mabel (1974) starring Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters. The Wiz (1975) transferred to the Broadway Theatre to make room for Liza Minnelli in The Act (1977), directed by Martin Scorsese. In 1981, 42nd Street moved here from the Winter Garden. The theatre was then renovated to house Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera (1988), which continues its historic run to this day--the longest-running musical on Broadway.
The Chanins commissioned Herbert Krapp to design the theatre complex in what he called a “modern Spanish” style, complete with terra-cotta base and Spanish brick-wall ornamentation, and arched windows. The Majestic's exterior also includes a stylized Palladian motif above the entrance. The interior features the Adam-style detailing common in many Shubert houses. Decades before the current vogue for stadium seating in movie theaters, Krapp had conceived of a similar concept for the theatre's orchestra. With its steep rake, it offers ideal sight lines for audience members. Another forward-thinking aspect of the design was the creation of a single large balcony rather than two smaller ones—today’s producers are hesitant to book two-balcony houses because second-balcony seating is less desirable to modern audiences.
Details on the Majestic 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: There are steps to the Orchestra beginning with row I. There are no steps to the designated wheelchair seating location. No steps to rows AA - H.
Mezzanine Location: Located on 2nd level, up 3 flights (51 steps). Please Note: On the Mezzanine level, there are approximately 2 steps up/down per row. Entrance to Mezzanine is behind row G of the front Mezzanine.
Handrails: Available at every stepped-row,except in the Mezzanine and Rear Orchestra, where handrails are only available on the far side aisles.
Located in the lobby. Accessible at 54".
There is a wheelchair accessible restroom.