The Shubert Theatre
225 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
The Shubert Theatre had its origin in The New Theatre and was located on Central Park West. It was dedicated to serious repertory drama. Despite the fact that it was a failure, the New Group (which included Lee Shubert) rented out land between 44th and 45th Streets to build a new theatre. The plan was neglected for some time, but eventually Lee Shubert and his former New Theatre partner, Winthrop Ames, obtained a lease for the site, and constructed two contiguous theatres there. Shubert managed the larger house and named it the Sam S. Shubert Memorial Theatre in honor of his brother who had died in May 1905. Ames operated the smaller house.
The famous British actor Johnston Forbes-Robertson opened the theatre with his repertory company in 1913, staging productions of Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and other plays. Designed by architect Henry Herts, the exterior of the Shubert is in the style of the “Venetian Renaissance”. To conform to a law in the city’s building code stating that no part of the structure could protrude past the building line, Herts decorated the exterior with graffito. The Shubert’s interior is made up of ornate decoration and theatrically-themed painted panels that garnish the boxes, the area above the proscenium arch, and the ceiling.