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Music Box Theatre

History of the Music Box Theatre

Erik Altemus gives us a history of the Music Box Theatre where PIPPIN is currently performing!

215px-Music_Box_Theatre_NYC_2007_DeuceMusic Box Theatre, showing Deuce, May 2007

The Music Box Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 239 West 45th Street (George Abbott Way) in midtown-Manhattan.

The once most aptly named theatre on Broadway, the intimate Music Box was designed by architect C. Howard Crane and constructed by composer Irving Berlin and producer Sam H. Harris specifically to house Berlin’s famed Music Box Revues. It opened in 1921 and hosted a new musical production every year until 1925, when it presented its first play, Cradle Snatchers, starring Humphrey Bogart. The following year, Chicago, the Maurine Dallas Watkins play that served as the basis for the hit musical, opened here. It housed a string of hits for the playwriting team of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, from their first collaboration Once in a Lifetime to their hit play The Man Who Came to Dinner.Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin also presented shows here.

In the 1950s, playwright William Inge found a home at the Music Box, where he had success with PicnicBus Stop, and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.

One of the smaller Broadway houses, with a seating capacity of 860, the theater was co-owned by Berlin’s estate and the Shubert Organization until the latter assumed full ownership in 2007. Its box seats are notable for being unusually large and round, and Dame Edna lovingly described them as “ashtrays” during her successful run there. The lobby features a plaque and wall exhibit commemorating its rich history.

The Brown Theatre in LouisvilleKentucky is modeled after the Music Box Theatre.

275px-Music_Box_Theatre_interior_NYCOther Notable Productions

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