236 West 45th StreetNew York, NY
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Architectural Historian, Columbia University
Jeffrey Eric Jenkins
President and Co-CEO, Schubert Organization
For tickets & showtimes,visit www.broadway.org
Mark E. Swartz, Courtesy of The Shubert Archive
Originally named the Plymouth Theatre, it was built in 1917 as one of a pair with the Broadhurst by the Shubert Organization.
These two theaters mimic the configuration of the Booth and Shubert Theatres. Each pair comprises two similarly designed theaters that back up to each other. The theater was first leased to Arthur M. Hopkins, a pioneering producer of Broadway who was nicknamed “the Sphinx of Forty-fifth Street” since he spoke little but always to the point. He was responsible for bringing many high quality productions to Broadway including works by Henrik Ibsen and for producing John Barrymore’s most important stage performance in Hamlet. In 2005, the theater was renamed in honor of the late chairman of the Shubert Organization, and has been home to such important works as Equus, The Real Thing, and The Heidi Chronicles.
Herbert J. Krapp was the most prolific theater designer on Broadway; he was the architect for fifteen of the remaining Broadway theaters. Krapp studied at Cooper Union and started his career at Herts & Tallant, where he met the Shubert brothers.
Krapp became the Shubert brothers’ house architect and designed twelve theaters for them. He also designed six theaters for the Chanin brothers. Krapp was famous for his ability to work with low budgets and small or awkward plots of land. For example, Krapp designed a diagonal floor plan for the Ambassador Theatre to fit it into an awkward space.
He innovated the use of stadium seating, first seen in the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Krapp often used most of his budget on the interiors of his theaters. While he left the exteriors relatively bare, he used elaborate brickwork to add visual interest for a small cost. Examples of this brickwork can be seen on the exteriors of the Broadhurst and the Gerald Schoenfeld Theaters. Krapp's career as a theater designer ended with the bust of the theater boom during the Depression. He transitioned to industrial design and became a building assessor for New York City. He also continued to work with the Shuberts until 1963 as the supervisor of existing venue maintenance and renovations.
Photo by Vandamm Studio © Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public for the Performing Arts
Martha Swope/© The New York Public Library
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