John Golden Theatre / NYC
(from the Shubert Organization)
Stage Type: Proscenium
Proscenium Opening: 30' 6"
Height of Proscenium: 24' 0"
Depth to proscenium: 24' 9"
Depth to front of stage: 27' 5"
Year Built: 1927
Seating Capacity: 804
Front Mezzanine: 110
Rear Mezzanine: 227
Pit (Add'l): 12
The John Golden Theatre was originally built in 1927 as the Theatre Masque 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 Majestic (a large house). The
Theatre Masque, the most intimate of the three, was designed for serious dramas. In 1930, the Chanins transferred ownership
of all three venues to the Shuberts. In 1937, when John Golden assumed its management, he renamed it after himself, the third
playhouse to bear his name. The Shuberts took back control of the theatre in 1946, turning it into a film house for two years
before restoring it to legitimacy in the late 1940s.
The Chanins hired the Shuberts’ favorite architect, Herbert J. Krapp, to design their three-theatre complex. The Golden’s
interior has a Spanish influence, an example of the Mission Revival style popular on the West Coast. Interior features include
rough plaster walls, wrought iron fixtures, spiraled columns, and ceiling arches.
The theatre's premiere production was the not-so-successful Puppets of Passion (1927) by Rosso di San Secondo. The Shuberts
had a few successes at the theatre in the 1930s, including Louder Please (1931) starring Louise Brooks, Goodbye Again (1932)
with James Stewart, and Tobacco Road (1933), which was such a triumph it had to be moved to a larger venue. John Golden
had less success, producing only one significant hit, Angel Street (1941).
John Golden Theatre was renamed The Nine O'Clock Theatre. 8th Oct 1959.
'The Happy Wanderers', a troupe of imported London buskers, perform on the awning.
The Golden was home to many significant playwrights and productions throughout the 1950s and 60s. Samuel Beckett’s
Waiting for Godot (1956) had its Broadway premiere here, starring Bert Lahr. An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May
opened in 1960, followed by Beyond the Fringe (1962), and a South African musical revue entitled Wait a Minim! (1966).
Some distinguished plays of the 1970s include David Rabe’s Sticks & Bones (1972), the Shubert-produced, Pulitzer Prize-winning
The Gin Game (1977), directed by Mike Nichols and starring Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. Tommy Tune’s A Day in
Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (1980) began the 1980s with a bang. The Golden then played home to three more Pulitzer Prize
winners: Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart (1981), Marsha Norman’s ‘night Mother (1983), produced by the Shuberts and starring
Kathy Bates, and David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross (1984).
The last two decades have seen shows such as Falsettos (1992) by William Finn and James Lapine, Terrence McNally’s
Master Class (1995) starring Zoe Caldwell as opera diva Maria Callas and Audra McDonald as her student, Side Man (1998),
Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2002), and the Tony-winning musical, Avenue Q (2003), by Robert Lopez,
Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty.
Programs available from this theatre:
Much Ado About Everything (2000)
Victor Borge: Comedy in Music (1954)
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