Belasco (Stuyvesant) Theatre / NYC
The Belasco Theatre is a Broadway theatre opened in 1907 at 111 West 44th Street in midtown-Manhattan. Originally the Stuyvesant Theatre, it was designed by architect George Keister for impresario David Belasco. The interior featured Tiffany lighting and ceiling panels, rich woodwork and expansive murals by American artist Everett Shinn, and a ten-room duplex penthouse apartment that Belasco utilized as combination living quarters/office space.
The theatre opened as the Stuyvesant Theatre on October 16, 1907 with the musical A Grand Army Man with Antoinette Perry. Technically, the theatre was outfitted with the most advanced stagecraft tools available, including extensive lighting rigs, a hydraulics system, and vast wing and fly space. Meyer R. Bimberg was the actual owner of the Stuyvesant/Belasco. He made his fortune selling political campaign buttons.
In 1910 Belasco attached his own name to the venue. After his death in 1931, it was leased first by actress Katharine Cornell and then playwright Elmer Rice. Marlon Brando had his first widely noticed success in this theater, in a production of Maxwell Anderson's Truckline Cafe, which opened on Feb. 27th, 1946. He played the small but crucial role of Sage MacRae. The play flopped, but the press celebrated Brando as a new genius actor; occurring before his noted film performance in A Streetcar Named Desire. The Shuberts bought it in 1949 and leased it to NBC for three years before returning it to legitimate use.
This theater is the subject of an urban legend that David Belasco's ghost haunts the theater every night. Some performers in the shows that played there have even claimed to have spotted him or other ghosts during performances. It was also reported that after Oh! Calcutta! (a musical revue with extensive full frontal male & female nudity) played the theater the ghost of David Belasco stopped appearing.
Stage Door in 1910 and as it looks today.
Programs available from this theatre:
Dead End / 1936
A Raisin In the Sun / 1960
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