19. American Airlines Theatre

Built by the Selwyn Brothers, American Airlines Theatre opened on October 2, 1918, operating as a fairly successful theater until 1934. The Selwyn Brothers, who would found the American Play Company, were famous in the business, and after opening the Selwyn, they opened two more theaters in New York (the Times Square and the Apollo), and two more in Chicago (Selwyn and Harris). In 1934, the theater began to suffer in the decline of popular performances and was forced to become a movie theater. In 1950, it became a hybrid movie and short performance house where it was able to put on a few shows, including Sartre’s The Respectful ProstituteIn 1960, it became a double-feature movie house and continued to be a movie theater throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

The theater was also part of the 42nd Street redevelopment plan headed by the city. In 1987, when the Roundabout Theatre Company was looking to lease one of Broadway’s decaying theaters, it originally wanted the Liberty but got the Selwyn instead. After years of renovations, Roundabout reopened the Selwyn in 2000 as the American Airlines Theatre (they were lead supporters of the renovation project). Today it continues to operate as a legitimate Broadway theater once more but was also removed off of landmarks consideration. It will reopen with performances of Trouble In Mind on October 29th.