249 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036
The Imperial Theatre was the Shubert’s fiftieth New York venue and was constructed to house musical theatre hits. The theatre was built to replace the Shubert’s 20 year old Lyric Theatre. The Imperial opened in 1923 with Mary Jane McKane. Broadway’s biggest money-maker followed in 1924 with the operetta Rose-Marie. In 1926, Oh, Kay! opened starring Gertrude Lawrence. In 1938, Mary Martin made her Broadway debut in Cole Porter’s Leave It to Me in which she sang “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” She was backed up by chorus boy Gene Kelly. Other successes of the 1930s include the Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing and Let ‘Em Eat Cake, Moss Hart’s and Cole Porter’s Jubilee, and Rodgers’ and Hart’s On Your Toes. The building was designed by Herbert Krapp in his characteristic Adam-style. The ceiling and wall panels are ornately decorated with numerous themes, such as floral and geometrics. Krapp designed the auditorium to be wider rather than deeper so the audience would feel closer to the performers.