The Shubert

The Shubert Theatre is the flagship musical palace of The Shubert Organization.
Opened in 1913, the Shubert Theatre had its genesis in the New Theatre, an “art” playhouse devoted to serious repertory drama. Lee Shubert and Winthrop Ames, a former New Theatre partner, agreed to build two adjoining playhouses on the midtown site. Lee and J.J. operated the larger of the two, 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 exterior was done in the style of the “Venetian Renaissance,” and 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 could project beyond the building line.

Another distinctive feature is Shubert Alley, the private roadway connecting 44th and 45th Streets, which runs between the two 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 proscenium arch, and ceiling. Lee built his office and apartment above the theatre, now the location of Shubert’s executive offices.
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