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Majestic Theatre (Broadway)

The Majestic Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 245 West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan. It is one of the largest Broadway theatres with 1,681 seats, and traditionally has been used as a venue for major musical theatre productions. Among the notable shows that have premiered at the Majestic are Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The Music Man (1957), Camelot (1960), A Little Night Music (1973), and The Wiz (1975). It was also the second home of 42nd Street and the third home of 1776. The theatre has housed The Phantom of the Opera since it opened on January 26, 1988. With a record-breaking over 13,300 performances to date, it is currently the longest-running production in Broadway history.

History



Designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp, the present-day Majestic was constructed by the Chanin Brothers as part of an entertainment complex including the Theatre Masque, the Royale Theatre, and Lincoln Hotel (now the Row NYC Hotel, and previously the Milford Plaza). It opened on March 28, 1927 with the musical Rufus LeMaire's Affairs. The theater was designed in a Spanish style, with Adam style detailing within the auditorium, a large single balcony, and steep stadium seating in the orchestra section, all under an expansive plaster dome. A large staircase leads patrons up to the orchestra level one story above the expansive street frontage. On the Spanish terracotta and stone facade, ornate loggia mask the fire escapes from the auditorium, mirroring the neighboring St. James Theatre across 44th Street. With 1,681 seats, the Majestic is one of the largest of the Broadway theaters, and has been home to primarily large musicals in its ninety year history. The venue hosted the 50th Tony Awards in 1996, on the set of Phantom.

The Majestic was purchased by the Shubert brothers during the Great Depression and currently is owned and operated by the Shubert Organization. Both the interior and exterior were designated New York City landmarks in 1987, just prior to the theater's current long-running tenant, The Phantom of the Opera. For Phantom, the theater's stage was expanded and modified extensively to fit the show's complex scenic elements, the Shuberts spending more than $1 million to accommodate the show after considering the Martin Beck and Mark Hellinger theaters with the show's producer Cameron Mackintosh, and moving long-running tenant 42nd Street was moved across the street to the St. James. Much of the theater's large, ornate proscenium arch has been obscured and painted black since Phantom's installation in 1987. A long alleyway connects the theater backstage to the surrounding Golden, Jacobs and Broadhurst theaters.

Timeline of productions

Productions are listed by the year they commenced performances:
  • 1927: The Letter; Rang Tang; Rio Rita
  • 1931: Simple Simon; The Student Prince
  • 1933: Pardon My English
  • 1936: On Your Toes
  • 1937: Babes in Arms
  • 1941: Hellzapoppin
  • 1942: Porgy and Bess
  • 1945: Carousel
  • 1947: Call Me Mister; Allegro
  • 1949: South Pacific
  • 1953: Me and Juliet
  • 1954: By the Beautiful Sea; Fanny
  • 1956: Happy Hunting
  • 1957: Meredith Willson's The Music Man
  • 1960: Camelot
  • 1963: Tovarich; Hot Spot; Jennie
  • 1964: Anyone Can Whistle; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Golden Boy
  • 1966: Funny Girl; Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • 1967: Marat/Sade; Fiddler on the Roof
  • 1970: Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen
  • 1972: Sugar
  • 1973: A Little Night Music (moved from Shubert)
  • 1974: Mack & Mabel
  • 1975: The Wiz
  • 1977: ''The Act
  • 1978: First Monday in October; Ballroom
  • 1979: I Remember Mama; The Most Happy Fella; Bette! Divine Madness
  • 1980: Grease; Blackstone! The Magnificent Musical Magic Show; Brigadoon
  • 1981: 42nd Street (moved from Winter Garden)
  • 1988—present: The Phantom of the Opera

    Box office record



    The Phantom of the Opera achieved the box office record for the Majestic Theatre. The production grossed $1,843,296 over nine performances, for the week ending December 29, 2013, topping the previous record of $1,390,530.53 set on the week ending January 2, 2011.

    In popular culture

  • The Majestic is featured in David Fincher's 2008 film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; in the film, the title character attends a performance of Carousel, where Daisy (played by Cate Blanchett) plays the role of Louise in the show's ballet (the role played by Bambi Linn originally in the production).
  • The exterior of the Majestic is featured in Billy Wilder's 1960 film The Apartment, where Jack Lemmon's character, C.C. Bud Baxter is stood up by Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) outside a performance of The Music Man. In an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Joel Maisel (Michael Zegen) attends a performance of The Music Man, but the episode was not filmed at the Majestic, where The Apartment was filmed on the street front.