The Shubert Theatre had its genesis in the New Theatre, an “art” playhouse located on Central Park West that was devoted to serious repertory drama. Although the project was a critical and commercial flop, the New Theatre Group, which included Lee Shubert, leased a plot of land between 44th and 45th street to construct a new venue. The plan was abandoned, but Lee Shubert and Winthrop Ames, a former New Theatre partner, acquired a lease for the site, and built two adjoining playhouses there. Lee and J.J. operated the larger of the two auditoriums, which they named the Sam S. Shubert Memorial Theatre to commemorate their brother, who had died in May 1905. Ames managed the smaller Booth Theatre.
The Shubert and Booth theatres utilized an unusual design scheme, sharing an architecturally unified exterior (in the style of the “Venetian Renaissance”), but completely distinct interiors. The sgraffito (plaster frescoes created by etching plaster while it is still wet) that decorates the exterior was architect Henry B. Herts’s unusual decorative solution to a statute in the city’s building code dictating that no part of the edifice project beyond the building line. Another distinctive feature is the private roadway connecting 44th and 45th Streets, which runs between the two new theatres and the rear of the adjacent building--formerly the Astor Hotel, now the Minskoff. This thoroughfare, which came to be called Shubert Alley, allowed each theatre to occupy a corner lot. The Shubert's elegant interior is marked by elaborate plasterwork, and a series of theatrically-themed painted panels that adorn the boxes, the area above the proscenium arch, and the ceiling. Lee chose to build an office/apartment above the theatre, which is now the location of the Shubert Organization’s executive offices.
Details on the Shubert 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.
Shubert Audience Services
The Shubert Theatre provides accommodations for patrons who are blind, deaf, partially sighted, and/or have hearing loss. The theatre provides infrared assistive listening devices for every performance at the theatre. In addition, beginning four weeks after a show’s official opening night performance, hand-held audio description devices, hand-held captioning devices, and unlimited access to downloadable audio description and/or captioning for personal mobile devices are all available free of charge. Prior thereto, we offer live-caption via CART using a hand-held device, upon request with two-weeks’ advance notice. For assistance, or If you have questions, contact Shubert Audience Services at 212-944-3700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a representative at the Shubert Audience Services kiosk at every performance to assist any patron with any of our devices, software, or technology. Hand-held devices are limited, although additional devices can be obtained with at least twenty-four hours’ notice.
Accessibility by Seating Section
Orchestra Location: Seating is accessible to all parts of the Orchestra without steps. There are no steps to the designated wheelchair seating location.
Mezzanine Location: Located on the 2nd level, up 2 flights of stairs (34 steps). Please Note: On the Mezzanine or Balcony level, there are approximately 2 steps per row. Entrance to Mezzanine is behind row K.
Balcony Location: Located on the 3rd level, up 3 flights of stairs (56 steps) from the Orchestra. Please Note: On the Mezzanine or Balcony level, there are approximately 2 steps per row. Entrance to Balcony is behind row J.
Handrails: Available at the end of every stepped seat row in the Mezzanine and Balcony.
Wheelchair | Companion Seat Locations:
Orchestra: T101 | T102, S103-104; T2 | T4, S2-4; T13 | T11, T7-9; T17 | T19, S19-21; T113 | T112, S111-112; T1 | T3, S1-3; T23 | T21, S23-25
Aisle Seat with Folding Armrest | Companion Locations:
Orchestra: S101 |S102; S114 | S113; R2 | R4; R25 | R23; O26 | O24
There is no wheelchair accessible restroom in the theatre. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are located in the Sardi Building, across the street from the Shubert Theatre on the 4th floor. Front of house staff is available for assistance in crossing the street. Restrooms are down 1 flight of stairs from the Orchestra, up 2 flights of stairs from the Orchestra, and up 3 flights of stairs from the Orchestra. Gender diversity is welcome here. Please use the restroom that best fits your identity or expression.
The water fountain is located in the lobby.
The use of cameras, recording devices, cell phones, beepers, and other electronic devices during the performance is prohibited, except as permitted for accessibility services. Everyone attending a performance must have a ticket. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of management. Wheelchair and mobility-impaired seating is intended for patrons with mobility disabilities. Children under the age of four years will not be admitted. No outside food or beverage permitted, unless medically necessary. No weapons permitted on the premises.