17 Historical Theaters in NYC’s Times Square

December 13, 2011: New Amsterdam Theatre tour and architectural details.Image via allticketsinc.com

Today, Times Square is filled with commercial businesses, drowned in tourists (and its famous lights), and hosts secrets under its surface. Notably, the area is also home to the city’s theater district where plays, musicals, actors, writers, and everyone in the industry go to make their mark. The area is home to beautiful historic theaters, some still standing as operating theaters, others converted repurposed, while some have closed. Just recently, the New York City Landmarks Commission removed seven theaters in Times Square from landmarks consideration, which we will note below in our collection of historic theaters in New York City’s Times Square.

17. Nederlander Theater

Image via Take me to the World

The David T. Nederlander Theatre opened on September 1st, 1920 as the National Theatre with 1,232 seats and is the southern-most Broadway theater. Built by Walter C. Jordan at the cost of $950,000, it was owned by the famous Shubert Organization until 1956. The Nederlander Organization, the owner of a total of nine Broadway theaters, purchased the venue from Billy Rose, a famous showman and lyricist, in 1979. They briefly named it the Trafalgar Theatre before changing it to the David T. Nederlander in 1980.

Some notable productions include Lena Horne’s 1981 one-woman show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music which won her a special Tony Award, along with two original Broadway productions: 1962 Edward Ablee, Tony Award winning production of Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? and Jonathan Larson’s 1996 acclaimed Rent. Famous illusionist and stunt performer Harry Houdini appeared on stage at the National Theatre in the 1920s. Recently, Newsies was shown on its stage, and Disaster! is currently showing. Motown will be returning to Broadway once more to the Nederlander this July.

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3 Responses
  1. The Mark Hellinger theater was left out probably because it is now Times Square Church. It was restored back to its original glory about 15 years ago. It is beautiful. The staff have no problem letting you in to take a look. It’s located at 237 W 51 St between Broadway and 8th ave.

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