NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Shubert Organization today marked the opening of the Little Shubert Theatre, a new state-of-the-art Off-Broadway theatre located at 422 West 42nd Street.
Shubert Chairman Gerald Schoenfeld and President Philip J. Smith greeted members of the New York theatre community and members of the press to celebrate the completion of the Little Shubert.
Speakers at the informal ceremony included the architect Hugh Hardy of Hardy Holzman Pfieffer Associates. Tommy Tune and the Manhattan Rhythm Kings performed highlights from the new big band show "Tommy Tune: White Tie and Tails," the Little Shubert Theatre's inaugural production, which is currently in previews and opens on December 18.
The Little Shubert is the first Off-Broadway theatre in New York built from the ground up and the first Off-Broadway theatre owned by the Shubert Organization.
The 499-seat Little Shubert theatre is housed in a new 39-story residential tower named Theatre Row Apartments, located on West 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. Other businesses included in this award-winning development are Theatre Row, a new 6-theatre complex created by the 42nd Street Development Corporation, and a new restaurant space. Also located on the block is the new Playwrights Horizons theatre complex, currently under construction.
Notable features of the Little Shubert Theatre include an exceptionally well-configured auditorium with state-of-the-art seating, combining ergonomically designed comfort with generous legroom. The orchestra floor incorporates stadium seating providing excellent sightlines and proximity to the stage. The stage itself and the orchestra pit are comparable in size to the dimensions of many Broadway theatres. Like the public spaces, the modern backstage facilities are fully accessible to persons with disabilities.
In the design of the Little Shubert Theatre, great attention has been paid to both the interior acoustics as well as attenuation of exterior noise. The interior décor blends exposed technical infrastructure with warm, rich colors, and an interplay of textures and surfaces leads one's focus to the stage picture.
On the exterior of the building, the marquee consists of an ornamental canopy in architectural metal and glass topped by an illuminated sign for the attraction in residence. Above this is a vertical sign with the name Little Shubert Theatre. The theatre entrance, consisting of two pairs of glass doors, is surrounded on both sides and above with back-lit signage.
The front of the house includes a fully computerized box office serviced by Shubert Ticketing Services and TeleCharge.com. The inner lobby contains generously sized restroom facilities. The upper lobby is accessed by an open stairway, an escalator, and an elevator providing wheelchair patrons full use of the theatre. The upper lobby features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking 42nd Street, a refreshment bar and concession stand.
Shubert Chairman Gerald Schoenfeld stated, "The Shubert Organization has been represented Off-Broadway in its co-ownership of the Variety Arts Theatre and its role as co-producer of Off-Broadway plays including 'Little Shop of Horrors,' 'Nixon's Nixon,' 'Standup Shakespeare,' and A.R. Gurney's 'The Middle Ages.' It appeared to us it would be appropriate to have an Off-Broadway theatre of our own, built from the ground up, a first for an Off-Broadway theatre. We are pleased to be a part of the Off-Broadway community of theatres and to be represented on 42nd Street, together with the theatres comprising Theatre Row."
The Little Shubert Theatre is the first new theatre built by the Shubert Organization in New York City since 1928, when the Ethel Barrymore Theatre opened on West 47th Street. The Shubert Organization owns 17 Broadway theatres, including co-ownership (with the Irving Berlin Estate) of the Music Box theatre.
The Shubert Organization has been in the forefront of the American theatre since the start of the 20th century. Under the leadership of Gerald Schoenfeld, Chairman; Philip J. Smith, President; and Robert E. Wankel, Executive Vice President, the firm continues its involvement in the presentation of distinguished theatrical productions. Notable Shubert productions and co-productions include "Cats," "Sunday in the Park with George," "Dreamgirls," "The Heidi Chronicles," "Jerome Robbins' Broadway," "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby," "Song and Dance," "Amadeus," "The Gin Game," "The Blue Room," "Dirty Blonde," "Dance of Death," and "Amour."