Imperial Theatre

249 West 45th Street / NYC

(from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Architect: Herbert J. Krapp
Owned by: The Shubert Organization
Capacity: 1417
Opened: December 25, 1923

(from )

The Shubert Organization's fiftieth venue in New York City, the Imperial Theatre was constructed to replace their outdated Lyric Theatre. Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp specifically to accommodate musical theatre productions, it opened on December 25, 1923 with the Oscar Hammerstein II-Vincent Youmans production Mary Jane McKane. Since then, it has hosted numerous important musicals, including Annie Get Your Gun (1946), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), Dreamgirls (1981), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1985) and Les Miserables (1990), which played at the theatre until 2003.

Among the famed 20th century composers and lyricists whose works were housed here are Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Irving Berlin, Harold Rome, Frank Loesser, Lionel Bart, Bob Merrill, Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne, E.Y. Harburg, Harold Arlen, and George and Ira Gershwin. Performers who have graced the stage include Gertrude Lawrence, John Gielgud, Clifton Webb, Montgomery Clift, Mary Boland, Ray Bolger, Desi Arnaz, Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, Zero Mostel, Danny Kaye, Jerry Orbach, Shelley Winters, Bernadette Peters, Ben Vereen, George Rose, Hugh Jackman, and John Lithgow.


Seating Capacity: 1443 Total
Orchestra: 759
Front Mezzanine: 283
Rear Mezzanine: 377
Boxes: 24
Pit: (Add'l) 16
Wheelchair: 2

Theatre Dimensions:
Proscenium Opening: 39' 7"
Height of Proscenium: 25' 0"
Depth to proscenium: 33' 8"
Depth to front of stage: 40' 2"
Stage Type: Proscenium

Like many other Shubert theatres, the Imperial was designed by Herbert Krapp in his trademark Adam-style. The recessed ceiling and ornamental panels that grace the walls are elaborately decorated with a number of motifs, including florals and geometrics. The rectangular auditorium is wider than it is deep, which allows most audience members to feel close to the stage and performers.

Notable productions:
1924: Rose Marie
1926: Oh, Kay!
1927: The Desert Song
1928: The New Moon
1932: Flying Colors
1933: Of Thee I Sing; Let 'Em Eat Cake
1935: Jubilee
1936: On Your Toes
1938: Leave It to Me!
1939: Too Many Girls
1940: Louisiana Purchase
1941: Let's Face It!
1943: One Touch of Venus (Kurt Weill's Broadway debut)
1944: Song of Norway
1946: Annie Get Your Gun
1949: Miss Liberty
1950: Call Me Madam
1952: Wish You Were Here
1955: Silk Stockings
1956: The Most Happy Fella
1957: Jamaica
1959: Destry Rides Again
1960: Gypsy
1961: Carnival!
1963: Oliver!
1964: Fiddler on the Roof
1967: Cabaret
1968: Zorba
1970: Minnie's Boys; Two by Two
1971: On the Town
1972: Pippin
1977: Mark Twain Tonight!; Chapter Two
1979: They're Playing Our Song
1981: Dreamgirls
1985: The Mystery of Edwin Drood
1988: Chess
1989: Jerome Robbins' Broadway
1990: Les MisÚrables
2003: The Boy from Oz
2005: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
2006: High Fidelity (closed after only 14 performances)
2007: Coram Boy, August: Osage County (limited run)
2008: Billy Elliot the Musical


Programs available from this theatre:

  • Fiddler On the Roof (1966)
  • Leave It To Me (1938)
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1986)
  • Silk Stockings (1955)
  • Zorba the Greek (1969)

  • Return to Index of Theatres