Happy 90th Birthday to another one of Broadway’s most legendary houses…. The Neil Simon Theatre. It was designed by Herbert J. Krapp (who has designed majority of some of Broadway’s beloved houses). Originally built at the Alvin Theatre (named as an amalgam after Broadway producers Alex Aarons and Vinton Freedly), the 1,362 seat house opened on this day with the original production of The Gershwin’s Funny Face (starring Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire).
From there, the show was home to some of the most incredible plays and musicals ever written for the stage including the Broadway Debut of Ethel Merman in The Gershwin’s later musical Girl Crazy before later returning there starring in the original production of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. Other shows include the original Flora the Red Menace (The Broadway debut of Liza Minnelli), The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess on Broadway, The Boys from Syracuse, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Bells Are Ringing, Once Upon A Mattress (staring Carol Burnett), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (starring the late Zero Mostel), Stephen Sondheim’s Company, Merrily We Roll Along (which closed after 16 performances), Annie The Musical (starring Andrea McArdle and the late Dorothy Loudon).
Following the success of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues (both starring Matthew Broderick), the Theater was renamed after it’s playwright Neil Simon.
The most famous and longest running show ever to have played the Neil Simon Theatre for 6 years and 2,642 performances was the tow tapping 60’s groove musical Hairspray (starring Harvey Fierstein, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Matthew Morrison, and more).
Some of the later shows included revivals of The King and I the Musical (starring Donna Murphy and Lou Diamond Phillips). The Music Man (starring Craig Berko and Rebecca Luker), Ragtime the Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, GIGI on Broadway (starring Vanessa Hudgens), and more. Other shows included Catch Me If You Can (starring Aaron Tviet), Sting’s short lived The Last Ship, and Big Fish.
The Theater is currently home to the revival of Cats the Musical which is set to close on December 30th, 2017.
Upcoming shows: A revival of Angels in America on Broadway (starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield) which will run for a strictly limited 18 week engagement. Previews begin February 23rd, 2018, Opening Night set on March 25th, 2018, and will close on June 30th, 2018.
The Cher Show will have us BELIEVE beginning this Fall 2018. Dates will be announced soon.
What shows have you experienced in the Neil Simon Theatre?!
Additional shows included revivals of
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