“a little home to a lot of talent”
The Ethel Barrymore Theatre is the only surviving theatre of the many Lee and J.J. Shubert built for performers who were affiliated with them. Ethel Barrymore was part of the renowned Barrymore acting dynasty, and her tremendous popularity in New York and London society established her as a household name in the US and England. She had achieved stardom under the management of producer Charles Frohman beginning in 1901. In 1928, the Shuberts offered to build her a theatre and commission a play for her to premiere in her namesake house. Ethel Barrymore’s premiere at her theatre was The Kingdom of God in December 1928. In April, she opened in another vehicle, The Love Duel(1929), and then toured the country in both, not returning to her theatre until Scarlett Sister Mary (1930). She followed this with a revival of The School for Scandal (1931), her last show under her Shubert contract. Her final appearance at her theatre was in 1940, in An International Incident. Even without Barrymore herself, the theatre was home to many successes in the 1930s and 40s. Fred Astaire starred in Cole Porter’s Gay Divorce (1932), and Noel Coward wrote, produced and staged two plays with Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne: Design for Living (1933) and Point Valaine (1935). Other notable productions include Death Takes a Holiday(1929), Clare Booth Luce’s The Women (1936), Rodgers and Hart’s Pal Joey (1940) starring Gene Kelly, and Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) with Jessica Tandy and Marlon Brando. The second half of the 20th century proved even more star-studded. Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn played in The Fourposter (1951), Anthony Perkins received a Tony nomination for his role in Look Homeward, Angel (1957), Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee starred in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959), Lee Remick appeared inWait Until Dark (1966), Robert Duvall starred in David Mamet’s American Buffalo (1977), and August Wilson presented his Tony Award winning Best Play Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1988). Among other prominent shows and performers at the at the Barrymore were Peter Shaffer’s Lettice & Lovage (1990), starring Maggie Smith and produced by the Shubert Organization, and Wendy Wasserstein’s The Sisters Rosenzweig(1993), with a scene-stealing performance by Madeline Kahn. Kathleen Turner and Jude Law came to Broadway in Indiscretions (1995) and Dame Judi Dench starred in David Hare’s Amy’s View (1999).
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Ethel Barrymore Theater
- Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
- Sun: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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