The Shubert Theatre had its genesis in the New Theatre, an “art” playhouse located on Central Park West that was devoted to serious repertory drama. Although the project was a critical and commercial flop, the New Theatre Group, which included Lee Shubert, leased a plot of land between 44th and 45th street to construct a new venue. The plan was abandoned, but Lee Shubert and Winthrop Ames, a former New Theatre partner, acquired a lease for the site, and built two adjoining playhouses there. Lee and J.J. operated the larger of the two auditoriums, which they named the Sam S. Shubert Memorial Theatre to commemorate their brother, who had died in May 1905. Ames managed the smaller Booth Theatre.
The Shubert and Booth theatres utilized an unusual design scheme, sharing an architecturally unified exterior (in the style of the “Venetian Renaissance”), but completely distinct interiors. The sgraffito (plaster frescoes created by etching plaster while it is still wet) that decorates the exterior was architect Henry B. Herts’s unusual decorative solution to a statute in the city’s building code dictating that no part of the edifice project beyond the building line. Another distinctive feature is the private roadway connecting 44th and 45th Streets, which runs between the two new theatres and the rear of the adjacent building--formerly the Astor Hotel, now the Minskoff. This thoroughfare, which came to be called Shubert Alley, allowed each theatre to occupy a corner lot. The Shubert's elegant interior is marked by elaborate plasterwork, and a series of theatrically-themed painted panels that adorn the boxes, the area above the proscenium arch, and the ceiling. Lee chose to build an office/apartment above the theatre, which is now the location of the Shubert Organization’s executive offices.
Spotlight on Broadway: Shubert Theatre from Spotlight on Broadway on Vimeo.
Details on the Shubert Theatre's Accessibility
Theatre is not completely wheelchair accessible. There are no steps into the theatre from the sidewalk. Please be advised that where there are steps either into or within the theatre, we are unable to provide assistance.
Accessibility by Seating Section
Orchestra Location: Seating is accessible to all parts of the Orchestra without steps. There are no steps to the designated wheelchair seating location.
Mezzanine Location: Located on the 2nd level, up 2 flights of stairs (34 steps). Please Note: On the Mezzanine or Balcony level, there are approximately 2 steps per row. Entrance to Mezzanine is behind row K.
Balcony Location: Located on the 3rd level, up 3 flights of stairs (56 steps) from the Orchestra. Please Note: On the Mezzanine or Balcony level, there are approximately 2 steps per row. Entrance to Balcony is behind row J.
Handrails: Available at the end of every stepped seat row in the Mezzanine and Balcony.
Located in the ticket lobby. Accessible at 54".
Not wheelchair accessible. Located down 1 flight of stairs (20 steps). Restrooms are also located on the Mezzanine & Balcony Levels. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are located at Sardi's Restaurant (4th floor, accessible via elevator) directly across the street.
Located in the ticket lobby.