A CHRONOLOGY, 1900-1949

[See also sidebar link above: American theatre at the turn of the century.]

February 5, 1900: Broadway audiences at the Madison Square Garden Theatre are scandalized by the play Coralie & Company, Dressmakers, in which a white man is discovered in bed with a black woman. On the same night, Sapho, opens at Wallack’s Theatre and causes enough stir that the police close the production a month later and bring both the show’s producer and the star, Olga Nethersole, to trial. Objections stem from the sexual overtones of actor Hamilton Revelle carrying Nethersole upstairs to an unseen bedroom. The production is permitted to resume on April 7th and has several revivals. 

June, 1900: William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle’s play Sherlock Holmes finally closes, after a popular run of 256 performances. Gillette also stars as the famous detective. The play is revived four more times by 1915, each time with Gillette in the lead.

September 6, 1900: The famous vaudeville comedy team of Joseph Weber and Lew Fields produce a hit musical burlesque, Fiddle-dee-dee, which runs for 262 performances at their Weber and Fields' Broadway Music Hall. They follow up with a string of shows with silly names, including Hoity Toity (1901), Twirly Whirly (1902), and Whoop-Dee-Doo (1903) among others. 

September 27, 1900: Oscar Hammerstein, grandfather to the famous lyricist of the same name, opens the Theatre Republic on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenue. It becomes Minsky’s Burlesque house in the 1930s, then a movie theatre called the Victory, showing XXX-rated movies in the 1970s. The theatre is renovated in the early 1990s as the New Victory and used for family-oriented theatre productions, reopening in 1995.

November and December, 1900: Famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt tours, performing five productions in repertory on Broadway: Hamlet, Cyrano de Bergerac, La Tosca, La Dame aux Camelias, and L'Aiglon. She plays the title role of Hamlet as a breeches role (a woman dressed as a man), but critics found her ill-suited to the role.

1901: The star power continues to prevail on Broadway, with performers such as Maude Adams, E. H. Southern, Anna Held, Minnie Maddern Fiske (a.k.a. Mrs. Fiske), Ada Rehan, Maxine Elliot, Julia Marlowe, and the comedy duo of Weber and Fields, who’s musical burlesque Hoity Toity runs for 259 performances. Reportedly, Broadway has more legitimate theatres at this time than any other city in the world.

February 4, 1901: Actress Ethel Barrymore, one of the great Barrymore family of actors, gains stardom at the age of twenty-one in a production of Clyde Fitch’s comedy, Captain Jinks and the Horse Marines. The Barrymore clan retains star status in the twenty-first century  through actress Drew Barrymore.

February 25, 1901: The performing family “The Four Cohans” moves from vaudeville to Broadway with the musical, The Governor’s Son, with book, music, and lyrics by George M. Cohan. Young George does not become a star in his own right until 1904 with Little Johnny Jones.

January 1902: The British import musical, Florodora, achieves hit status with over 500 performances since its Broadway opening on November 10, 1900. Part of the success is attributed to the beautiful and flirtatious “Florodora Sextette” the chorus dancers.  Featured dancer Evelyn Nesbit goes on to marry millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, who murders architect Stanford White over Nesbit in the “Crime of the Century.”  

January 13, 1902: Mrs. Patrick Campbell, a respected British actress, made her Broadway debut at the Theatre Republic in a repertoire that included The Second Mrs. Tanqueray, Magda, The Happy Hypocrite, and Pelleas and Melisande. George Arliss also made his debut in these productions. 

February 27, 1902: Shakepeare’s comedy As You Like It opens and runs for 60 performances at Broadway’s Theatre Republic, a popular success.

September 11, 1902: Comedy team Weber and Fields open another smash hit with their musical burlesque Twirly Whirly, which plays for 247 performances on Broadway.

November 12, 1902: Respected performer, writer, and director Minnie Maddern Fiske directs and takes the title role in Mary of Magdala, a critical and popular success with over 100 performances at the Manhattan Theatre. The production is revived in the fall of 1903. 

1903: Seventy-four year-old actor Joseph Jefferson III, descended from generations of American actors of the same name, tours the country in Dion Boucicault’s play, Rip Van Winkle, based on Washington Irving’s novel. Jefferson passes away in 1905, survived by his son Thomas Jefferson, who plays the title role in Rip Van Winkle on Broadway in 1905.

January 20, 1903: A musical version of Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz finds Broadway success, but varies with the later movie version. In the original stage musical, Dorothy is accompanied not by Toto, but her pet cow, Imogene. The Wizard of Oz plays nearly 300 performances and is revived in 1904 later for an additional 171 performances.

February 18, 1903: In Dahomey becomes the first all-black musical on Broadway, playing at the New York Theatre. The musical farce was based on an idea by African American vaudevillians George Walker and Bert Williams, who also starred in the production. The show later travels to England, where it becomes a novelty hit in London. 

September 24, 1903: Comedy team Weber and Fields open another hit in their string of musical extravaganzas at the Weber and Fields’ Broadway Music Hall. Whoop-Dee-Doo runs for 165 performances. The cast of more than fifty performers includes Weber and Fields as well as the hour glass-figured Lillian Russell. 

October 13, 1903: Victor Herbert's musical extravaganza Babes in Toyland premieres on Broadway, running 192 performances. On November 16th, Herbert makes a second New York premiere with Babette, which runs only 59 performances. An extremely popular composer, Herbert gathers 50 additional Broadway credits (including revivals) by 1930.

October 26, 1903: The New Amsterdam Theatre opens, an Art Nouveau jewel on West 42nd Street. The first production is Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with music arranged by Victor Herbert. By 1913 it becomes the home of the Ziegfeld Follies. Disney renovates the 1,750 seat theatre to great acclaim in 1997. 

November 2, 1903: Only a week after the opening of the New Amsterdam Theatre, the Lyceum Theatre opens on West 45th Street. The decorative new theatre accommodates approximately 950 patrons and has an unusual ten-story tower in the rear with carpentry shops, paint shops, and wardrobe area as well as additional dressing rooms. In 1974 it becomes the first Broadway theatre to be declared a landmark. The architecture firm of Herts & Tallant designed both the New Amsterdam and the Lyceum.

1904: Broadway producers are looking to England and Europe for plays to import, and likely candidates were few and far between, opening the door for American playwrights. Statistics on the season are at odds. Variety reports the 1904-1905 season saw openings of 127 plays and musicals while the Dramatic Mirror calculates 313, but that includes touring productions playing Broadway, special engagements, and try out productions, among other special categories. 

1904: Times Square (formerly Long Acre Square) is named in New York City, after the New York Times building on 42nd and Broadway.

September 14, 1904: Popular star and director/producer Minnie Maddern Fiske revives her performance in Langdon Mitchell’s play Becky Sharpe, based on the novel Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. Fiske is blacklisted by the theatre’s producers and ends the 1904 run prematurely, after 116 performances. She revives the play, again playing the lead of Becky, in 1911.   

October 4, 1904: The New York City subway opens, allowing audience members easy access to an evening’s entertainment. 

November 17, 1904: Peformer/composer/lyricist George M. Cohan  becomes a star when his musical, Little Johnny Jones, premieres. One highlight of the show is Cohan singing his own composition, “Give My Regards to Broadway.” He goes on to write and perform in many hit Broadway musicals, earning him the title “ Father of the American Musical.” 

1905: Rival producers the Shuberts battled the Theatrical Syndicate over who would own major theatres in the Broadway district. The Theatrical Syndicate, formed in 1896 and also known as “The Trust,” was a group of six producers with a monopoly on U. S. theatres.

April 12, 1905: New York City’s Hippodrome, a 4,678 seat theatre, opens with a production called A Yankee Circus on Mars. The Hippodrome accommodates a high level of spectacle and features a large pool area for water ballets, sea battles, and other water spectacles. A production called The Raiders features “Plunging Horses” that dive into the pool. The water feature is removed in 1923, when the theatre is renovated as a vaudeville  stage.

October 23, 1905: Irish-born playwright George Bernard Shaw causes controversy when his play about prostitution, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, opens at the Garrick Theatre and plays only one performance. Shaw’s other plays in repertory that season at the Garrick include How He Lied to Her Husband, The Man of Destiny, You Never Can Tell, John Bull's Other Island, and Candida. His highly-regarded Man and Superman also opens in 1905 and runs nearly 200 performances.

November 6, 1905: James M. Barrie’s stage adaptation of Peter Pan opens on Broadway at the Empire Theatre, starring Maude Adams as Peter, the boy who won’t grow up. It is a hit and plays 223 performances as well as numerous revivals. 

November 14, 1905: Theatre impresario David Belasco opens Girl of Golden West at his Belasco Theatre on Broadway. He writes, directs and produces the drama, which is set in a California mining camp. It runs for more than 200 performances and is produced again in 1907 and 1908. Belasco quickly becomes known for his insistence on realistic production aspects. 

1906: Provessor George Pierce Baker teaches “47 Workshop” at Harvard University, a playwriting workshop that inspires burgeoning dramatists and starts the trend toward the inclusion of theatre classes in the university curriculum. Baker starts teaching at Yale University in 1925, where he becomes director of the university theatre. 

1906: At a time when immigrants have been steadily flooding into New York City, Paul Orleneff brings his theatre company from Moscow to open New York’s first Russian theatre on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  

January 1, 1906: Writer/director/composer/performer George M. Cohan  starts the year off by opening his new production, Forty-five Minutes from Broadway, at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre. The prolific Cohan serves as writer/director/composer/performer for two more Broadway musicals that year: George Washington, Jr. and The Governor’s Son. He also writes music for the play Gallops and writes the comedy Popularity, both of which open on Broadway this year. Poor critical response to Popularity helps Cohan decide to pursue only musical theatre in the future.

June 25, 1906: Millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, husband of former Florodora dancer Evelyn Nesbit, murders New York architect Stanford White, reportedly for taking Nesbit’s virginity during the run of Florodora. Called “The Crime of the Century,” it sets New York City’s newspapers into high gear. 

October 5, 1906: William Vaughn Moody’s play The Great Divide opens at Broadway’s Princess Theatre and becomes a hit, playing 238 performances. Margaret Anglin and Henry Miller star, and Miller also directs and produces.

October 17, 1906: Rachel Crothers’ first full-length Broadway play, The Three of Us, opens to excellent reviews and opening in London a year later. Crothers becomes a pioneering woman as a commercial playwright, director, performer, and producer of plays about women. 

December 4, 1906: George Broadhurst’s play The Man of the Hour opens at Broadway’s  Savoy Theatre and becomes a hit, running for 479 performances. 

1907: Theatre impresario George M. Cohan writes, composes, directs, and stars in two more new musicals on Broadway: The Honeymooners, which opens June 3rd at Aerial Gardens, and The Talk of New York (a sequel to Forty-five Minutes from Broadway), which opens December 3rd. He also revives Little Johnny Jones and George Washington, Jr. On a more personal note, Cohan marries his second wife, Agnes Nolan, a chorus girl from Little Johnny Jones, after divorcing performer Ethel Levey, who had once performed with his family in vaudeville and musicals.

1907: New York audiences have an easier time getting to and from productions when taxis begin running in the city.

January 28,1907: After fifty years on the stage, highly regarded English star Ellen Terry makes her last Broadway appearance in three plays in repertory: Captain Brasshound’s Conversion, The Good Hope, and Nance Oldfield. She gives only lectures and readings in the U. S. thereafter. 

July 8, 1907: Producer Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. produces his first Follies on Broadway on the roof of the New York Theatre. The Follies (renamed the Ziegfeld Follies in 1911) continue almost annually until 1931, and occasionally after Ziegfeld’s death in 1932. With his beautiful set of hand-picked chorus girls, Ziegfeld becomes known for “Glorifying the American Girl,” or more precisely, glorifying her body through glamorous, revealing costumes. 

August 31, 1907: Billie Burke, the future wife of Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., makes a splash opposite John Drew in Michael Morton’s play My Wife. It runs for 129 performances.

October 16, 1907: Theatre impresario David Belasco opens the Stuyvesant Theatre on West 44th Street in New York City, renaming it The Belasco in 1910. One of its unusual features is the penthouse he built for himself within the structure. 

October 21, 1907:  Franz Lehár’s operetta, The Merry Widow, opens at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway after its initial success in Europe. It becomes a hit and runs for nearly a year, with 416 performances. It remains popular for years to come, often touring or in revival, and is made into a movie in 1934, starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald.

1908: Playwright/director/performer Rachel Crothers opens her play Myself-Bettina in Chicago. It was likely the first play she directed, making her an early pioneer among women directors in the United States.

1908: George M. Cohan again impresses Broadway audiences with a number of new musicals and plays. Fifty Miles from Boston opens February 3rd; one of Cohan’s famous songs, “Harrigan” emerges as a favorite and is still considered an American classic.  On April 20th Cohan reunites his family, once a vaudeville performance team, to play in his new musical, The Yankee Prince. On October 5th he opens The American Idea, staring Trixie Friganza of vaudeville fame. He also finds time to produce and write for Cohan and Harris Minstrels, co-produced by Sam H. Harris, who continues as Cohan’s co-producer for years to come. 

January 2, 1908: The Merry Widow Burlesque opens at Weber’s Music Hall, poking fun at the popular operetta. It becomes a hit in its own right, playing 156 performances.

June 15, 1908: "Shine on, Harvest Moon" becomes a hit song from Ziegfeld’s Follies of 1908, compliments of performer Nora Bayes, who co-wrote the song with her second husband, Jack Norworth. They recorded the song in 1910, and it has since become an American classic. In 1944 Warner Brothers release a movie based on Bayes’ life, entitled Shine on Harvest Moon.

August 8, 1908: Novelist/playwrights Booth Tarkington and Harry Leon Wilson team up to write a Broadway comedy hit, The Man from Home, which opens at the Astor Theatre and plays nearly 500 performances. Tarkington and Wilson continue to collaborate successfully over the next several decades, writing ten more plays together.

December 23, 1908: Peter Pan star Maude Adams headlines another hit by James M. Barrie, a comedy called What Every Woman Knows. It is a hit with 198 performances. 

1909: Melodramas, which had toured the U.S. and were popular at the turn of the century, were dying out at this time. 

May 3, 1909: Actress Laurette Taylor makes her Broadway debut in The Great John Ganton, which opens at the Lyric Theatre. Taylor soon becomes a star, appearing on Broadway numerous times over nearly three decades. Her last Broadway role is as Amanda Wingfield in the premiere of Tennessee Williams’ Glass Menagerie in 1945. Taylor became known for her mood swings and her strong personality; reportedly, playwright Noel Coward was inspired to write his hit comedy, Hay Fever, after spending a weekend in her home.

October 11, 1909: Theatre creator/performer George M. Cohan premieres a new musical called The Man Who Owns Broadway, based on his only true flop, the 1906 comedy Popularity. He reconfirms that his calling is musical theatre when the production runs 128 performances at the New York Theatre. His next production, The Fortune Hunter, helps propel leading actor, John Barrymore, to stardom. 

November 6, 1909: The New Theatre opens on Central Park West at West 62nd Street. Nicknamed the Millionaires’ Theatre because of its rich sponsors, the theatre was run by Winthrop Ames and the Shubert brothers. The first production was Antony and Cleopatra, starring Shakespearean actors Julia Marlowe and E. H. Sothern. 

November 22, 1909: Nine year-old actress Helen Hayes makes her Broadway debut in a musical farce called Old Dutch, which opens at the Herald Square Theatre. Her last Broadway role is in a revival of Mary Chase’s hit play Harvey in 1970. The following year, at the age of seventy, she wins an Academy Award for her supporting role in the movie Airport. Dubbed the First Lady of the American Theatre, Hayes’ career also includes radio, television, and film. Her list of awards is long and includes the first Tony Award ever granted for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in 1947 for Happy Birthday. A Broadway theatre is named after her in 1955, and when that theatre is demolished, another is named for her in 1983. 

1910: Married Shakespearean actors Julia Marlowe and E. H. Sothern form the Sothern & Marlowe Repertory, the resident company of the New Theatre. They performed ten plays their first year, and they produce eight to thirteen Shakespeare plays in each repertory season until October of 1913. Marlowe takes the following season off because of illness, and her husband Sothern tours alone. Throughout the course of their careers, Marlowe and Sothern toured Shakepeare and classic plays around the United States.

June 20, 1910: Ziegfeld’s Follies of 1910 opens at the Jardin de Paris on Broadway. The Follies star an African American performer for the first time: Bert Williams. Williams had already made a name for himself on Broadway in all black musicals such as In Dahomey and Abyssinia, and he had performed in minstrel shows with his partner George Walker, but it was controversial for an African American to appear on stage with a white cast. Under Ziegfeld, Williams becomes one of the highest paid performers on Broadway. Comedy legend Fanny Brice makes her debut in the Follies this year as well. Both Williams and Brice are featured stars in the Ziegfeld Follies for years to come.

September 19, 1910: George M. Cohan finds he has a hit with his newest creation, the musical Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford, which plays more than 400 performances at the Gaiety Theatre on Broadway. Producers Cohan and Harris send several companies on tour, and soon it becomes popular with stock companies across the country. 

October 1, 1910: Belgian symbolist Maurice Maeterlinck’s play, The Blue Bird, opens at Broadway’s New Theatre and transfers to the Majestic Theatre on November 8th, where it remains until January of 1911. This eye-catching play blends symbolist and realist design styles.

November 7, 1910: Victor Herbert’s operetta, Naughty Marietta, opens on Broadway and includes the popular song "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life!" Naughty Marietta does well at the box office, running 136 performances. The operetta gains renewed fame when Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald star in the 1935 film version.

December 5, 1910: French diva Sarah Bernhardt begins another of her many farewell tours, this time produced by her own Sarah Bernhardt Repertory Company. They perform  twelve plays on Broadway in rotation at the new Globe Theatre on West 46th (later renamed the Lunt-Fontanne) and tour the U.S.

1911: This year sees a trend toward longer runs of productions at Broadway theatres.

February 27, 1911: Everywoman, a modern adaptation of the medieval morality play Everyman, opens at the Herald Square Theatre and causes much discussion among the theatre-going public. The settings of the five-act play include Everywoman's home, a metropolitan theatre, and New Year's Eve on Broadway. The play enjoyed a long run of 189 performances. 

March 20, 1911: One of Broadway’s new spectacular theatres opens: The Winter Garden on Broadway and West 50th Street. Run by producers J. J. and Lee Shubert, the original design embodies an English garden, with lattices on the walls and trellises over the audience’s heads. Another unusual feature is a runway extending from the stage to the back of the house, bringing performers near the audience. The opening night performance features singer Al Jolson. 

June 19, 1911: Sixty-nine year-old French actress Sarah Bernhardt ends a cross-country tour on Broadway, playing only four performances: Jean Marie / Sister Beatrice, L'Aiglon, La Femme X, and La Dame aux Camelias.

June 26, 1911: Producer Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. produces another Follies, officially adding his name to the title for the first time: The Ziegfeld Follies of 1911. Yiddish comedienne and torch singer Fanny Brice is back, as is African American performer Bert Williams. Ziegfeld’s famous chorines are as popular as ever, as is Lillian Lorraine, a featured performer who became his mistress for a number of years.

September 11, 1911: Female impersonator Julian Eltinge stars in The Fascinating Widow at New York's Liberty Theater. Eltinge is one of the highest paid actors of the time and  has a Broadway theatre named for him in 1912 (a.k.a. the Empire Theatre).

September 18, 1911: George Arliss plays the title role of Disraeli, based on the life of England’s 19th century Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. The play becomes a Broadway success, with 280 performances and kudos for Arliss.

September 26, 1911: George Broadhurst’s play Bought and Paid For opens and becomes the hit of the Broadway season at the Playhouse Theatre, running 431 performances. 

November 20, 1911: Irish playwright John Synge’s Playboy of the Western World premieres on Broadway, produced by the Irish Players. Author Daniel Blum reports, “[T]here was quite a disturbance in the gallery when partisan Irishmen showed their objections to certain lines by throwing potatoes.”

1912: With a gathering political storm in Europe, Broadway audiences continue to enjoy comedies, musicals, and other light entertainments. The trade newspaper Variety counts 162 Broadway productions in the 1912 - 1913 season, up twenty-two shows from the 1911 - 1912 season.

1912: Following in the footsteps of the stagehand’s union, created in 1910, The Dramatists Guild forms, representing labor rights for playwrights across the United States. 

1912: After decades of success and starting their own theatre, vaudeville’s  comedy duo, Weber and Fields, retire.

January 16, 1912: Highly regarded German director Max Reinhardt brings his production of Sumurun to Broadway from the Deutsches Theatre in Berlin. It is performed in pantomime, in nine Tableaux.

March 12, 1912: The Little Theatre opens on Broadway’s West 44th Street. It is officially renamed the Helen Hayes Theatre in 1983, after the famous actress. 

September 11, 1912: Bayard Veiller’s Within the Law opens, bringing stardom to Jane Cowl in the role of Mary Turner. It runs for a successful 541 performances at Broadway’s Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre.

September 23, 1912: George M. Cohan presents a modest success in Broadway Jones, in which he stars as Jackson "Broadway" Jones. The production is mounted at the George M. Cohan Theatre on Broadway and 43rd Street, owned by Cohan and co-producer Sam Harris. 

December 20, 1912: J. Hartley Manners' comedy, Peg O' My Heart, premieres at Broadway’s new Cort Theatre, starring Laurette Taylor in the title role of Peg. It becomes one of her most memorable roles, and the production becomes a hit, playing more than 600 performances. Playwright Manners was Taylor’s husband, and his play provided the longest run of her career. She went on to play the role in London and also starred in a revival of the play in 1921, which ran nearly 700 performances. 

1913: Theatre magazine notes that large, cavernous theatres with poor acoustics are becoming a thing of the past. The new theatres being built show a tendency of becoming more intimate. Despite this observation, the large new Palace Theatre opens in March at 47th and Broadway as a vaudeville house, seating over 1,700 people. The opening bill stars comedian Ed Wynn, and soon vaudevillians aspire to “play the Palace.” Like many vaudeville houses of the period, the theatre is converted into a movie house at mid century, falls into disrepair, and is later restored to its former glory. The grand reopening of the palace is in January of 1966.

1913: Vaudeville attracts major stars, including French actress Sarah Bernhardt, magician/escape artist Harry Houdini, dance partners Fred and Adele Astaire, and popular singer/dancer Eva Tanguay. Popular musicals of the season include High Jinks and Adele.

February 10, 1913: Edward Sheldon’s sentimental drama, Romance, opens on Broadway and becomes popular. It stars Doris Keane, who goes on to play the role in London, then again in a touring production in the United States.

April 2, 1913: Jessie Bonstelle, one of the few women to direct on Broadway in the early 20th century, opens in Elizabeth Jordan’s comedy The Lady from Oklahoma. Bonstelle co-directs, produces, and stars in the production, which plays at the 48th Street Theatre for only sixteen performances. 

May, 1913: The Actors' Equity Association (also called AEA, or Equity) is organized in New York City. The labor union helps negotiate wages and appropriate working conditions for professional actors across the United States. Prior to the formation of AEA, producers often took advantage of actors, providing unsafe working conditions and little to no pay for rehearsals or holidays. 

May 1, 1913: The Longacre Theatre, seating just over 1,000 people, opens on Broadway’s West 48th Street. It is presumably named for Longacre Square, the former name of Times Square. A second Broadway house, The Shubert Theatre on West 44th Street, opens on October 2nd, built by legendary producers Lee and J. J. Shubert. It is built as a tribute to their brother Sam, who died in 1905 in a train accident. The more intimate Booth Theatre opens that year on October 16th, seating some 670 patrons. All three theatres are designed by architect Henry B. Herts. 

August 16, 1913: Potash and Perlmutter opens and becomes the longest running show to open for the season, playing 441 performances at George M. Cohan’s Theatre. Montague Glass and Charles Klein’s comedy is based on stories from the Saturday Evening Post. 

September 22, 1913: Theatre impressario George M. Cohan opens a successful mystery-farce called Seven Keys to Baldpate, which runs for 320 performances. 

1914: World War I puts a damper on Broadway profits as well as road tours. The war also decreases the number of productions coming from London to New York or vice versa, putting even more reliance on American playwrights to create new works. With the popularity of silent film and the decrease in tours, some smaller neighborhood theatres across the country convert to film houses.

1914: The famous Apollo Theater, then called Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theatre, opened in New York City’s Harlem. Originally the producers did not allow African Americans in the audience, a rule that was maintained for twenty years. Renamed the Apollo under new management in the late 1920s, the theatre’s producers turned away from vaudeville and burlesque. Known primarily for launching great musical and dance acts, the Apollo became a legacy, and the theatre owners trademarked the phrase “Where stars are born and legends are made.” Famous singers who have performed there include Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson. Like many theatres of the early 20th century, it fell into disrepair in the 1970s before being renovated in the 1980s and again in the 21st century.

1914: Vaudeville performer Harry Fox introduces the foxtrot to a mass-audience, starting a dance craze. Though stories of the history vary slightly, it seems Fox incorporated trotting dance steps, referred to as Fox’s Trot, to ragtime music while performing between movies at the New York Theatre. When a dance contest was introduced on the theatre’s roof garden that summer, Fox performed and the foxtrot was born. Ballroom dancers Vernon and Irene Castle were famous for performing the foxtrot and giving it added style.

August 19, 1914: Playwright Elmer Rice makes his Broadway debut with On Trial, which plays 365 performances. Rice incorporates the technique of using flashback sequences, as found in film. Subsequently, Rice gained a reputation as a new American playwright of quality, and his plays were produced on Broadway with some frequency for years to come. His most famous plays include is his expressionistic drama The Adding Machine (1923) and Street Scene, which won him the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for drama. In addition to playwriting, Rice directed, produced, and wrote lyrics. 

December 8, 1914: Irving Berlin, famous for his ragtime music, premieres his first full-length musical revue, Watch Your Step at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre. Featuring popular dance team Vernon and Irene Castle, it becomes a success with 175 performances. Other popular musicals in 1914 include Chin Chin and The Only Girl, both playing well over 200 performances. 
1915: With a war raging in Europe, Broadway captivates audiences with light entertainment, a way to escape the realities at hand. The hit plays of the season include a comedy called The Boomerang, which played over 500 performances, and Fair and Warmer, a farce that played more than 350 performances. Musical hits included The Blue Paradise, with more than 350 performances.

1915: For several years, seasoned stage actors try their hand at film, only to find they are not suited. A few theatrical producers, too, dabble in film, and the conversion of theatres to film houses continues. Theatre magazines host articles about the artistry of theatre over film as the debate rages on. This same year Birth of A Nation is released, directed by D. W. Griffith. Despite racist content, the full length film gains press as a ground-breaking  masterpiece.

1915: The Little Theatre movement begins as non-commercial, art theatres are formed in New York City and across the United States. By 1925 some 2,000 art theatres exist, including those below. Several theatres started humbly, but become famous for innovative experimentation that is lacking in the commercial theatre. Often their inspiration is found in modernist Europe and Russia.

1915: The Provincetown Playhouse is founded in Massachusetts, moving to Greenwich Village in 1916.  The Playhouse provides a training ground for new American playwrights, actors, directors, and designers including Susan Glaspell, Eugene O’Neill, and Robert Edmund Jones. 

1915: The Neighborhood Playhouse is founded on New York City’s Lower East Side by sisters Alice and Irene Lewisohn. The theatre produces a wide range of plays, from ancient to modern. Their annual Grand Street Follies, a burlesque of the Broadway season, becomes so popular that the productions moved uptown to larger Broadway theatres from 1927 to 1929. 

1915: Performer and pioneer Anita Bush forms an African American stock company, which becomes the Lafayette Players, producing serious drama at the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem. Her company has the distinction of being the first professional African American company in the United States. The Lafayette Players provides a fertile training ground for hundreds of African American artists until it folds during the Depression, in 1932. 

1915: The Washington Square Players, an early art theatre, produce their first performance in New York at the Bandbox Theatre. This group of amateurs goes on to launch the careers of well-known artists, several of whom form the highly respected Theatre Guild four years later. The Washington Square Players present some thirty plays and one acts in repertory their first full year (two seasons, spring and fall); many plays are original, but those from abroad include Anton Chekhov’s A Bear and Maurice Maeterlinck’s Interior. Admission is fifty cents the first season, but by the second season  it is raised to a dollar to allow the actors to be paid. By 1916 the group gains a reputation for producing experimental works. 

1916: The season on Broadway is entertaining and star-studded, but the hits of the season are long since forgotten. Long running plays included Turn to the Right and Cheating Cheaters. Popular musical entertainments include Sybil and The Cohan Revue of 1916.

1916: The 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death brings a number of the Bard’s plays to the stage. Broadway audiences see productions of Macbeth and The Tempest. The famous British actor, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, appears in King Henry VIII, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Merchant of Venice.

1916: French diva Sarah Bernhardt conducted yet another farewell tour of the United States, playing in a variety of roles from fifteen plays in repertory. Madame Bernhardt had a leg amputated in 1915, but continues to perform.

1916: Little theatres, also called art theatres, continue to experiment and bloom. The Washington Square Players bring Anton Chekhov’s The Sea Gull to the stage, presented in semi-darkness. It is received with a mixed response.

March 3, 1916: Rachel, by Angelina Weld Grimke, becomes the first successful straight play written by an African American, performed by African Americans. The three-act play opens at the Myrtilla Miner Normal School in Washington, D.C. and is subsequently produced in 1917, both at the Neighborhood Theatre in New York City and in Cambridge Massachusetts. Rachel is published in 1920. Grimke, from a biracial family, was a noted poet who also wrote essays, short stories, and plays. She wrote Rachel to protest the popular yet degrading black stereotypes of the time and to protest lynching and discrimination, in part as a response to the epic film, Birth of a Nation.

1917: Despite World War I and top ticket prices rising to $2.50, Variety reports 156 Broadway productions (plays and musicals) for the 1917-1918 season.

1917: When the U. S. declares war against Germany, “Father of Broadway” George M. Cohan writes the hit song “Over There.” The song is introduced on stage at a Red Cross benefit in the fall, but becomes truly popular when singer and comedienne Nora Bayes records it. By the end of World War I more than two million copies of sheet music have been sold. 

February 20, 1917: Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton, and P. G. Wodehouse team up to create the hit musical Oh Boy!, which premieres at the Princess Theatre, then transfers to the Casino Theatre, playing a combined total of 463 performances on Broadway. A second popular musical of the season is Maytime, which plays at four different theatres to run for nearly 500 performances before going on tour.

September 27, 1917: Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre opens next door to the Shubert Theatre. Named for playwright George H. Broadhurst, it opens with a production of George Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance. On October 11th the 1,000 seat Plymouth Theatre opens on West 45th Street. Architecht Herbert J. Krapp designs both theatres for the Shuberts.

October 31, 1917: Playwright Eugene O’Neill has his first one act produced on Broadway when “In the Zone” opens at the Comedy Theatre, produced by the Washington Square Players. 

November 28, 1917: Ballroom dancers Fred and Adele Astaire make their Broadway debut in Over the Top, a musical revue at Lew Fields’ 44th Street Roof Garden.

December 1917: The Madame Sarah Bernhardt Company returns to the U.S., playing fifteen plays in repertory. This is the last time Bernhardt performs on Broadway, just shy of her seventy-third birthday. 

December 25, 1917: Jesse Lynch Williams’ comedy, Why Marry? opens and plays 120 performances at the Astor Theatre. It becomes the first play picked for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

1918: America is more optimistic about victory in World War I, and that optimism translates to high attendance in Broadway theatres. Prices keep climbing, and some musicals have reached $3.00 for best seats. 

1918: Musical revues have grown in popularity over the years, and this season is no exception. George M. Cohan and Irving Berlin compose songs for The Cohan Revue of 1918, which opens on New Year’s Eve of 1917 and features singer Nora Bayes. The Ziegfeld Follies of 1918 open on June 18th, starring such big names as Will Rogers, W. C. Fields, and Eddie Cantor. Ziegfeld also produces the first Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic. On July 25th The Passing Show of 1918, produced by the Shubert brothers, opens June 25th, featuring ballroom duo Fred and Adele Astaire, among others. 

1918: The Society of American Singers produce seventeen operas and operettas on Broadway, including Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Gondoliers, Patience, and Iolanthe.

January 1918: Another American dance craze is born when Gilda Gray performs the shimmy at the Winter Garden Theatre. Some accounts say Gray appropriated the dance from singer Sophie Tucker. Comedienne Mae West also claims to have introduced the shimmy in 1918.

March and April, 1918: Russian-born star Alla Nazimova gains artistic acclaim on Broadway in three plays by Henrik Ibsen: The Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler, and A Doll’s House.

August 26, 1918: Winchell Smith and Frank Bacon have a run-away hit comedy in Lightnin’, which opens at Broadway’s Gaiety Theatre and plays nearly 1,300  performances. Bacon stars as Lightnin’ Bill Jones, a man who drinks and tells tall tales. It is the best and last role of his career. 

1919: The Theatre Guild is formed from the disbanded Washington Square Players. They become known for producing important new American playwrights as well as European masters. Although their first production does poorly, the second production, John Ferguson, is a commercial hit with 354 performances and sets the stage for their future success.

May 26, 1919: Composer George Gershwin debuts his first full Broadway musical, La, La, Lucille. The production run is interrupted by the Actors’ Equity strike in August.

June 2, 1919: George White opens his first Scandals revue, which he continued to produce annually until 1926, and periodically thereafter. Over the years George White’s Scandals star Broadway diva Ethel Merman and soon-to-be film star Alice Faye. The 1919 production features Ziefgeld dancer Ann Pennington and White himself as the “Dancing Leading Man.”

June 10, 1919: A Lonely Romeo opens, with composer Richard Rodgers working for the first time with lyricist Lorenz Hart – a musical theatre duo that lasts some twenty years. The musical plays 215 performances. They collaborate on another team the following year for Poor Little Ritz Girl. 

July 18, 1919: In the face of an impending strike, the Actors’ Equity Association, a newly formed professional actors union, is recognized by the American Federation of Labor (later known as the AFL-CIO). 

On August 7, 1919: Several major productions close in New York City as actors walk out on strike just before curtain time. Audiences and managers alike are stunned, despite rumors of a strike. More performances close in coming days, and on August 12th, the newspapers report that the Shuberts are suing Actors’ Equity for $500,000. By August 13th, Chicago productions are closing as well, with Boston theatres on the brink of the same fate. By August 17th the New York Times reports that stagehands and musicians have joined the strike, effectively closing 16 theatres. On September 6th, the newspapers herald the end of a massive actor’s strike. Several productions re-open that night. Among the many details arbitrated by Actors’ Equity is a $30 a week pay minimum for chorus members performing in New York City and $35 for chorus performing out of town. 

September 13, 1919: The leading comedy of the year, Adam and Eva, by Guy Bolton and George Middleton, opens and plays 312 performances. Also popular is Booth Tarkington’s Clarence, which plays 300 performances and stars such well-known actors as Mary Boland, Helen Hayes and Alfred Lunt.

October 7, 1919: The musical Apple Blossoms opens at Broadway’s Globe Theatre and becomes a success with 256 performances. Ballroom dancers Fred and Adele Astaire are in the cast.

November 18, 1919: The musical Irene opens and becomes a run away hit at the box office with 670 performances. Based on a variation of the Cinderella story, it features an upbeat score by Harry Tierney and lyrics by Joe McCarthy. The musical launches several road tours and holds the record number of performances of a musical until Oklahoma! surpasses it in the 1940s.

1920: Despite a post-war recession, Broadway has several big successes, some of which  become classics.

February 2, 1920: Playwright Eugene O’Neill sees his first full-length tragedy premiere on Broadway: Beyond the Horizon. The play wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the 1919-1920 season. 

August 23, 1920: Mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart and playwright Avery Hopwood open The Bat, a mystery-melodrama a Broadway’s Morosco Theatre. A hit, it plays for two years, with 867 performances. 

November 1, 1920: Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones premieres on Broadway, produced by the Provincetown Players. Set on an island in the West Indies, it stars Charles S. Gilpin, a pioneering African American actor. The drama has a highly successful run of 204 performances, and is revived in 1926, again with Gilpin in the lead. Famed African American actor Paul Robeson played the lead in the London and in a 1925 Broadway revival. 

November 10, 1920: George Bernard Shaw’s play Heartbreak House premieres on Broadway, produced by the Theatre Guild, and plays for 125 performances. 

December 21, 1920: Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. produces Sally on Broadway, featuring one of Ziegfeld’s favorite performers, Marilyn Miller. The popular musical runs over 500 performances, thanks not only to Miller’s star turn but also to Ziegfeld’s hand-picked chorus of lavishly costumed beautiful young women. The memorable score by Jerome Kern and Victor Herbert includes the hit song, “Look for the Silver Lining.”

December 27, 1920: Zona Gale’s dramatization of her best selling novel, Miss Lulu Bett, opens at Broadway’s Belmont Theatre and runs nearly 200 performances. Gale, a novelist, poet, journalist, and story writer, became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play in 1921. A film version of the story was released in 1921.

1921: Variety reports 142 new straight (non-musical) plays opening on Broadway in the 1921-1922 season, though Best Plays reports 130. Either way, the number was large, and though there was appreciable quality at the top, there were a number of flops that closed early. Though one production charged a top admission of $5, it closed quickly. Most prices remained steady, in the $2 - $3 range for the best seats for straight plays.

1921: Sardi’s restaurant opens in the heart of the Broadway theatre district. It moves to a new location in 1927. Decorated with Alex Gard’s hand-drawn caricatures of theatre folk, the restaurant becomes a hot spot for opening night parties and pre and post show meals. 

May 23, 1921: Shuffle Along, an all-black musical with music by Eubie Blake and lyrics by Noble Sissle, opens on Broadway with hit songs like “I’m Just Wild about Harry,” and “Love Will Find a Way.” Sources disagree on the total number of performances, listing either 484 or 504. 

March 21, 1921: The Shuberts open another new Broadway theatre, built in a record sixty-six days. The Ritz on West 48th provides a more intimate house (under 1,000) for plays. It is renamed the Walter Kerr in 1990, for the well-known writer and theatre critic.

September 1, 1921: The National Theatre opens on West 41st Street, managed by the Shuberts. It undergoes a number of transformations and name changes over the years: the Billy Rose Theatre, the Trafalger Theatre, and the Nederlander Theatre.

September 22, 1921: Irving Berlin launches his first of four annual Music Box Revues in a theatre built specifically for their use, The Music Box on West 45th Street. The first Music Box Revue becomes a success, running 440 performances. Berlin himself performs as well as writing the book, lyrics and music. Producer Sam H. Harris reportedly spent $187,613 on the production. Other popular revues of 1921 include The Ziegfeld Follies, George White’s Scandals, and the Greenwich Village Follies.

September 29, 1921: Sigmund Romberg’s operetta Blossom Time, which fictionalizes the life story of composer Franz Schubert, opens on Broadway. It proves successful, playing more than 500 performances, with five revivals staged on Broadway over the next twenty-two years.

November 2, 1921: Eugene O’Neill’s[hyperlink] Anna Christie opens at Broadway’s Vanderbilt Theatre, where it plays for 177 performances. The drama earns O’Neill a second Pulitzer Prize in 1922. 

February 1922: Irish-born playwright George Bernard Shaw sees three of his productions on Broadway this year: a revival of Mrs. Warren’s Profession, a premiere of Back to Methuselah (produced in three sections), and a revival of Candida, all opening in February and March.

February 25, 1922: Producer/director/writer Earl Carroll opens the Earl Carroll Theatre on Broadway’s 7th Avenue at West 50th.

March 1922: Eugene O’Neill experiments with German expressionism in his play The Hairy Ape, first at the Provincetown Playhouse in March, then at the Plymouth Theatre in April. Other playwrights soon follow in his footsteps, including Elmer Rice with The Adding Machine in 1923 and Sophie Treadwell with Machinal in 1928.

May 23, 1922: Anne Nichols’ comedy, Abie’s Irish Rose, opens in New York City. Despite less than stellar notices, it runs for more than five years, breaking records with 2,327 performances.

October 9, 1922: R. U. R., likely the first science fiction-based play on Broadway, opens at the Garrick Theatre and plays for 184 performances, produced by the Theatre Guild. It causes much discussion by including the robots as characters. 

October 29, 1922: The musical Runnin’ Wild opens on Broadway and popularizes the Charleston dance craze, though the dance is thought to have appeared on Harlem stages as early as 1913. The Broadway production is successful, with 228 performances.

October 30, 1922: Producer/director Brock Pemberton brings Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author to Broadway. The experimental play focuses on characters who enter the theatre looking for their author, arguing that their characters have never been fully realized.

November 7, 1922: A much talked about drama of the season is Rain, adapted by John Colton and Clemence Randolph and based on a story by W. Somerset Maugham. It opens  at Maxine Elliot’s Theatre on Broadway and plays 256 performances. Rain is revived in 1924 and plays another 648 performances. Set in a hotel on an island in the South Seas, it tells the tale of travelers caught in an outbreak of cholera. Jeanne Eagles stars in both productions as Miss Sadie Thompson. 

1923: Perhaps due to ticket prices edging to $3.50 for some straight plays, Broadway sees good profits by mid-season. Conservative groups had begun crying for censorship the previous season, but based on ticket sales, audiences were happy with the Broadway fare. 

January 8, 1923: The Broadway season starts with a visit from Constantin Stanislavsky’s famous Moscow Art Theatre. The repertoire includes such masterworks as Gorky’s The Lower Depths, Ibsen’s The Enemy of the People, and several plays by Chekhov, including Uncle Vanya, Ivanov, The Cherry Orchard, and The Three Sisters. The Moscow Art Theatre forges a profound influence on American realism and actor training, mainly via Stanislavsky’s innovations.

February 10, 1923: Owen Davis’s play, Icebound, opens on Broadway and goes on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It tells the story of a cold-hearted siblings in Maine waiting for their mother to die, and their surprise upon reading her will. 

February 19, 1923: Philip Barry’s play You and I opens, marking Barry’s Broadway debut. He had been a student of George Piece Baker’s 47 Workshop at Harvard, and the play had already won the Harvard Prize, ensuring a Broadway production. Barry became a well-known American playwright with such comic classics as The Philadelphia Story and Holiday. 

August 7, 1923: Kate McLaurin’s play, Whispering Wires, opens at Broadway’s 49th Street Theatre and runs till the following June, totaling 352 performances. A suspenseful detective story, the play was based on a story from the Saturday Evening Post. 

November 1, 1923: One highlight of the Broadway season is Edmund Rostand’s popular play, Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Walter Hampden in the title role. It opens November 1st and plays 232 performances. 

November 29, 1923: Famous Italian actress Eleonora Duse performs in Henrik Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea, followed by Ibsen’s Ghosts, as part of her farewell tour of the United States. Tragically, she dies of pneumonia in Pittsburg on April 23, 1924. 

December 25, 1923: The Imperial Theatre becomes the newest theatre built in New York City by producers Lee and J. J. Shubert. It opens on Christmas day with a now-forgotten musical, Mary Jane McKane, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

December 28, 1923: Set in 15th century France, George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan debuts on Broadway, produced by the Theatre Guild. It plays nearly 200 performances with Winifred Lenihan in the lead role of Joan of Arc. Other quality productions from the Theatre Guild this year include Ibsen’s Peer Gynt and Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple.

1924: The Pulitzer Prize for Drama goes to Hell-Bent Fer Heaven, by Hatcher Hughes.

September 2, 1924: The popular musical Rose Marie opens, with music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert P. Stothart, and book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II. Set in the Canadian Rockies, the most famous song is “Indian Love Call,” sung by Marie Ellis as Rose Marie La Flamme and Dennis King as Jim Kenyon. The show achieves hit status with 557 performances. 

September 3, 1923: Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings’ drama, What Price Glory? opens at Broadway’s Plymouth Theatre and runs for a year. 

January 16, 1924: Famed German director Max Reinhardt brings his second production to the U. S.: The Miracle, written by Reinhardt and Karl Vollmoeller. It plays for 175 performances at the Century Theatre. 

May 20, 1924: The Grand Street Follies opens and become a hit from the Neighborhood Playhouse, one of the nation’s “Little Theatres” located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Agnes Morgan was a force behind this burlesque of the Broadway season, providing book and lyrics as well as performing and directing. The Follies became an annual tradition through the 1920s.

February, 1924: Broadway actress Eva Le Gallienne steps forward to direct for the first time when the director of Gerhart Hauptmann's The Assumption of Hannele falls ill. Le Gallienne goes on to direct as well as star in numerous productions on and off of Broadway, to critical acclaim. 

October 13, 1924: Actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne have their first big success playing husband and wife in the Theatre Guild’s production of The Guardsman, by Ferenc Molnár. It runs 248 performances. Lunt and Fontanne go on to great stardom and Broadway’s Globe Theatre is renamed Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1957.

November 11, 1924: The new Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway’s West 45th Street opens its first production, a musical called Madame Pompadour. The Beck is unique at the time for its Byzantine design, courtesy of San Francisco architect G. Albert Lansburgh. Originally named for the vaudeville mogul who built the theatre, it is renamed the Al Hirschfeld Theatre in 2003, in honor of the famous theatre cartoonist who had recently passed away.

December 1, 1924: Dancers Fred and Adele Astaire star in George and Ira Gershwin’s musical Lady, Be Good! at Broadway’s Liberty Theatre. The tuneful production featured “Fascinating Rhythm” and plays for 330 performances. 

December 2, 1924: Sigmund Romberg’s operetta, The Student Prince, opens on Broadway. With a tale of unrequited love and arranged royal marriages, it pleases audiences and plays more than 600 performances. 

December 24, 1924: Broadway’s new 46th Street Theatre opens its doors to the public. Architect Herbert J. Krapp designed a highly slopped orchestra section so those seated in the back could have an excellent view. That same evening, B. F. Moss’s Colony Theatre opens as a vaudeville and movie palace. After numerous name changes, it becomes the Broadway Theatre. With nearly 2,000 seats, it’s a popular house for stage musicals.

1925: Variety counts a record 178 new plays on Broadway in the 1925-1926 season.

January 5, 1925: James Gleason and Richard Taber’s comedy Is Zat So? opens at Broadway’s 39th Street Theatre and becomes a hit with 618 performances. 

June 8, 1925: The Theatre Guild produces The Garrick Gaieties, opening at the Garrick Theatre on Broadway. Composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart team up to write many of the songs.

September 16, 1925: Englishman Noel Coward makes his Broadway debut as a playwright and performer with The Vortex. By the end of the year he has two more successful plays opening: Hay Fever and Easy Virtue. He is in his mid-twenties at the time.

September 19, 1925: Already a hit in London and Chicago, the musical No, No, Nanette opens at Broadway’s Globe Theatre and runs for more than 300 performances. Hit songs include “Tea for Two” and “I Want to Be Happy.”

November 24, 1925: Sidney Howard’s play They Knew What They Wanted opens, produced by the Theatre Guild. It ran for 192 performances and wins the 1925 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

November 25, 1925: The Forrest Theatre opens on Broadway, named for the 19th century classical actor Edwin Forrest. It becomes the Coronet Theatre in 1945, and finally the Eugene O’Neill in 1959, after the famous American playwright. The architect, Herbert J. Krapp, sees a second theatre open on Broadway that year: the Biltmore Theatre. Located on West 47th Street, the theatre was declared unsafe in the 1980s after vandals had lit fires inside. It was restored by the Manhattan Theatre Club for $35 million and reopened in 2003. 

December 8, 1925: The Marx Brothers open on Broadway in the musical The Cocoanuts, with book by George S. Kaufman and music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Set in and around Cocoanut, Florida, the Marx Brothers run a hotel and ruin a jewel heist among other shenanigans. A success, it runs for nearly a year and was adapted into a movie, released in 1929.

December 28, 1925: The famed composer/lyricist team of George and Ira Gershwin  premiere their new musical, Tip-Toes, on Broadway.

February 25, 1926: Another new Broadway theatre designed by Herbert J. Krapp opens: the Mansfield, named for the classical American actor Richard Mansfield. After several name changes and a period of disuse, it becomes the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 1960, named for the famous journalist and theatre critic.

April 26, 1926: Mae West’s play, Sex, which she wrote under the pen name Jane Mast, opens on Broadway. Set in a brothel in Montreal, the play is considered scandalous and lewd. After 375 performances, police close the production and arrest the cast. West, also the play’s star, pays a $500 fine and is sentenced to 10 days in jail, but she also proves that sex sells.

March 15, 1926: Irish dramatist Sean O’Casey makes his Broadway debut with the now-classic play, Juno and the Paycock. His second Broadway production, The Plough and the Stars, premieres the following year. 

June 14, 1926: George White’s Scandals includes two hits: composer George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and “The Black Bottom,” with music by Ray Henderson and lyrics by B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown. The Black Bottom dance had been previously introduced to the public, but this performance, danced by Ann Pennington and Tom Patricola, was very popular.

October 25, 1926: Craig's Wife, by George Kelly, opens on Broadway and runs for 360 performances. Kelly wins the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

October 25, 1926: Actress/director/writer Eva Le Gallienne opens her Civic Repertory Theatre on New York City’s West 14th Street. Her goal is to produce artistic plays, many from the European masters, at low prices. Le Gallienne directs the first production, Saturday Night, by Jacinto Benavente. Subsequent productions in 1926 include The Masterbuilder, The Three Sisters, John Gareil Borkman, La Locandiera, and Twelfth Night. In 1933 the theatre folds in the midst of the Great Depression. 

November 8, 1926: George and Ira Gershwin’s new musical, Oh Kay!, opens at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre and plays for 256 performances. “Someone to Watch Over Me” becomes a hit song from the show. 

November 29, 1926: Famed actress Ethel Barrymore has a hit in W. Somerset Maugham’s play The Constant Wife. It runs for nearly 300 performances on Broadway. 

November 30, 1926: The exotic musical The Desert Song, set in Morocco, opens at Broadway’s Casino Theatre and plays for 471 performances. The score features music by Sigmund Romberg and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II.

December 30, 1926: Paul Green’s In Abraham's Bosom opens in New York. Set in North Carolina in 1885, the Provincetown Playhouse sees a run of 200 performances, and it wins the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

1927: Though sources for the number of productions often conflict, Daniel Blum reports that 268 productions were launched this year, a record for Broadway. The building boom of new theatres continues on Broadway as well.

1927: Four new Broadway theatres of note open: On February 25th architect Herbert J. Krapp celebrates the opening of the 800 seat Masque Theatre on West 45th Street. On March 28th Krapp’s Majestic Theatre opens on West 44th Street; it is traded to the Shuberts during the Depression. On September 26th Erlanger’s Theatre opens on Broadway’s West 44th Street, designed by Warren & Wetmore, architects. Producer Abraham J. Erlanger sells the theatre to the Shuberts during the Depression, and it is renamed the St. James Theatre in 1932. The Alvin Theatre on West 52nd is another Krapp design. Again, the Shuberts buy it in 1932, and the Nederlanders buy it in 1977 and rename it the Neil Simon in 1983, after the famous American playwright.

February 2, 1927: Producer Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. opens his new Ziegfeld Theater with the popular musical, Rio Rita. In typical Ziegfeld style, it features a large cast filled with beautiful women and becomes very popular, running nearly 500 performances. 

May 19, 1927: The Neighborhood Playhouse’s annual burlesque of Broadway, The Grand Street Follies, opens at their home theatre on Manhattan’s Lower East side, but becomes so popular that it transfers to a theatre in the Broadway district. The following two years it plays at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Agnes Morgan, a pioneering theatre woman of the time, directs and writes the book and lyrics each year. 

October 6, 1927: The release of the first “talkie” (talking picture), The Jazz Singer, revolutionizes the popular entertainment industry. Over the next several years, Broadway producers struggle to keep their audience numbers high, and stage actors try their luck in film, with varying success.

November 3, 1927: The musical A Connecticut Yankee delights Broadway audiences with the premise of a contemporary citizen of Connecticut finding himself in the midst of King Arthur’s court in 534 C. E. Music is by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Moss Hart, and book by Herbert Fields. The production runs for 421 performances. 

November 17, 1927: Legendary German director Max Reinhardt returns to the U.S. with his company, performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Jederman (Everyman), a medieval morality play.

November 22, 1927: Dance team Fred and Adele Astaire headline the Gershwin’s new musical, Funny Face, at Broadway’s Alvin Theatre. It runs for 244 performances.

December 27, 1927: Show Boat opens on Broadway, produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. at the Ziegfeld Theater. Jerome Kern (composer) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyricist and librettist) break new ground for musicals on Broadway by featuring serious themes and songs that forward the plot and characterization. Famous songs include “Ol’ Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.” The musical runs 572 performances.

Dec 28, 1927: George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's popular comedy, The Royal Family, opens at Broadway’s Selwyn Theatre and entertains audiences for 345 performances.

January 30, 1928: The Theatre Guild produces Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude at the John Golden Theatre. Written in nine short acts, performances starts at 5:15 p.m., recesses for dinner, and resumes at 8:30 p.m. O’Neill reintroduces asides and soliloquies into the play—devices common to classic theatre, but uncommon to contemporary drama of the time. He wins the Pulitzer Prize for his work, and finds popular success with the play as well; it runs for 426 performances. Other works by O’Neill on Broadway in 1928 include Marco Millions, Where the Cross Is Made, and The Dreamy Kid. 

February 21, 1928: The play Maya, by Simon Galtillon opens on Broadway at the Comedy Theatre. Set in a house of prostitution in Marseille, France, the police consider the play morally offensive and threaten to lock the theatre. The producers opt to close the production, and amidst a flurry of press about the incident, eleven other plays close as well.

March 13, 1928: Rudolph Friml's musical version of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers opens at Broadway’s Lyric Theatre and finds an audience for 318 performances. 

April 9, 1928: Mae West makes a splash with two plays she wrote. Set in the Bowery during the Gay Nineties (1890s), West stars as Lil in Diamond Lil. It runs for 176 performances at Broadway’s Royale Theatre. Her next play, Pleasure Man, opens October 1st and does not fare as well. The police close the play after the second performance for indecent content. 

August 14, 1928: The Front Page, a new Broadway comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, opens at the Times Square Theatre and becomes a hit, playing 276 performances. Set in a press room in Chicago, the fast-paced comedy is released as a film in 1931. 

October 23, 1928: The Marx Brothers star in the hit comedy Animal Crackers, by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, at Broadway’s 44th Street Theatre. The play runs for nearly 200 performances, and a film version is released in 1930. 

December 4, 1928: Eddie Cantor stars in the musical Whoopee!, which scores a success at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre, playing over 400 performances. A hit song from the show is “Makin’ Whoopee,” sung by Cantor. 

December 20, 1928: The Ethel Barrymore Theatre opens on Broadway’s West 47th Street. Built by the Shuberts (by architect Herbert J. Krapp) to lure Barrymore under their management, they star her in the opening play: The Kingdom of God, by Gregorio Martinez Sierra. Barrymore’s role as Sister Gracia requires her to play a wide span of  ages: 19, 29, and 70. The actress is 49 at the time. 

1929: Although the early season holds some promise, the stock market crash and the advent of talkies both take a heavy toll on theatre attendance. Vaudeville, already in decline, dies out after the October stock market crash of 1929. Many theaters around the country close or convert to cinemas. Musical theatre suffers as well, and many of Broadway’s great composers, writers, and stars flee to Hollywood. The cross-over from Broadway to Hollywood is demonstrated by the first film to win the Academy Award in 1929: The Broadway Melody.

January 10, 1929: Playwright Elmer Rice earns respect for his serious drama, Street Scene, which plays at Broadway’s Playhouse Theatre for over 600 performances under Rice’s own direction. Set in New York, the play is lauded for its multiple plots, structure considered unusual at the time. The play earned Rice the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 1931 a film version is released, and in 1947 an operatic version opens with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Langston Hughes.  

February 19, 1929: Playwright Rachel Crothers scores another success with her comedy Let Us Be Gay, which opens at Broadway’s Little Theatre and runs for 353 performances. Crothers also directs the production. 

April 30, 1929: One of the season’s most popular musical revues opens at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre: The Little Show, with music by Arthur Schwartz and lyrics by Howard Dietz. The cast includes comedian Fred Allen, who goes on to fame in radio, and performer Clifton Webb, who goes on to fame on stage and in film. It runs for 321 performances. 

June 20, 1929: Trumpeter/performer Louis Armstrong makes his Broadway debut when the all-black cast of Hot Chocolates moves from Harlem to the Hudson Theatre. The revue, with music by Thomas “Fats” Waller and Harry Brooks, plays for 219 performances on Broadway and features Armstrong playing the song “Ain’t Misbehavin’. Nearly five decades later, in 1978, the revue Ain't Misbehavin' opens on Broadway, based on the Waller’s music. It becomes a smash hit, with over 1,600 performances. 

September 11, 1929: Legendary British actor Laurence Olivier makes his Broadway debut at the age of 22 in Murder on the Second Floor. 

September 18, 1929: The most popular comedy of the Broadway season proves to be Preston Sturges’ Strictly Dishonorable, which opens at the Avon Theatre and runs over 500 performances. Set in a speakeasy, the play speaks to the time: the roaring twenties, which are about to give way to the Great Depression. Brock Pemberton and Antoinette Perry, for whom the Tony Awards are named, co-direct, with Pemberton producing. 

December 13, 1929: Despite the stock market crash, author A. A. Milne, famous for his Winnie the Pooh books, finds success with Michael and Mary at Broadway’s Charles Hopkins Theatre. The comedy runs for 246 performances. 

January 14, 1930: The Gershwin’s musical, Strike Up the Band, drums up business for 191 performances at the Times Square Theatre on Broadway. The title song becomes well known.

February 26, 1930: The Green Pastures, written and staged by Marc Connelly, opens at Broadway’s Mansfield Theatre, where it runs for 640 performances. Based on the stories published in "Ol' Man Adam an' His Chillun" by Roark Bradford, the play is set in Louisiana, and based on an African American preacher retelling stories from the Old Testament, complete with the angels having a fish fry. Connelly wins the 1930 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

March 3, 1930: Producer/director George White brings the musical Flying High to the Apollo Theatre on West 42nd Street, where it runs for 355 performances. Performers includes comedian Bert Lahr and singer Kate Smith. 

September 24, 1930: Comic playwrights Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman team up to present Once in a Lifetime at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway, where it plays for more than 400 performances. Kaufman also directs. 

October 14, 1930: Performer Ethel Merman makes her Broadway debut in George & Ira Gershwin’s musical, Girl Crazy. One of her most famous songs is “I Got Rhythm,” which helps her gain a reputation as a “belter.”

November 13, 1930: W. A. Drake’s play, Grand Hotel, based on Vicki Baum’s German novel, opens at Broadway’s National Theatre and becomes a big success, with 459 performances. The story revolves around a group of strangers staying in a posh hotel in Berlin, Germany.

December 1, 1930: Susan Glaspell’s drama, Alison’s House, opens at the Civic Repertory Theatre. Although it only plays for 41 performances, it is a critical success and wins the 1931 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 

1931: The exodus of Broadway talent to Hollywood becomes increasingly apparent, as does the influence of the economic depression on theatres across the country. So-called “legitimate” theatres of live performance increasingly turn into movie houses. The number of new plays in the season is reduced by twenty percent in the 1930-31 season, and some forty plays that manage to open close within two weeks.

1931: The Group Theatre is founded by Harold Clurman, Lee Stasberg, and Cheryl Crawford. The Group sought to form their own version of the Moscow Art Theatre, based on Constantin Stanislavsky’s theories. This left-wing, non-commercial theater launches the career of playwright Clifford Odets, who makes history with the play Waiting for Lefty in 1935. Legendary actor/teacher Stella Adler was a founding Group Member. After infighting caused The Group’s dissolution at the end of the decade, Group members went on to illustrious careers, such as Strasberg’s leadership at the Actor’s Studio in New York. Other legends include Sanford Meisner, Elia Kazan, Robert Lewis, and John Garfield.

January 27, 1931: Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence star in Coward’s comedy, Private Lives, at the Times Square Theatre. The popular comedy runs 256 performances. 

June 3, 1931: Fred Astaire and his sister Adele perform together for the last time in a Broadway revue, The Band Wagon. It plays for 260 performances at the New Amsterdam Theatre. 

August 27, 1931: The new Earl Carroll Theatre opens on Broadway’s 7th Avenue at West 50th. This is the last large Broadway theatre to be constructed until 1972. The original Earl Carroll theatre was built in 1922 by producer/director Earl Carroll. In 1930 he bought the building next door, demolished the original theatre, and rebuilt a larger theatre under the same name. It housed movies and live entertainment, but struggled financially over the years under several owners. The building was razed in 1990. 

October 26, 1931: Eugene O’Neill’s[hyperlink]  trilogy, Mourning Becomes Electra debuts on Broadway at the Guild Theatre and runs for 150 performances. O’Neill adapted Aeschylus’ ancient Greek trilogy of plays, The Oresteia, and changed the setting to New England, after the Civil War. The three plays in O’Neill’s trilogy are called Homecoming, The Hunted, and The Haunted. Scenery and costumes are designed by the innovative Robert Edmond Jones. 

November 16, 1931: Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne star in Phillip Barry’s popular comedy, Reunion in Vienna, which plays at Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre for 264 performances. 

December 26, 1931: Of Thee I Sing, a satirical political musical, opens at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. The popular musical runs 441 performances at a time when Broadway is in a major financial slump. It becomes the first musical to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1932. Cited in the award are book writers George S. Kaufman and Morrie Riskind, as well as lyricist Ira Gershwin, though composer George Gershwin is left out. 

1932: In the face of the Depression and the increasing popularity of talking pictures, bankruptcy looms for many theatre owners and producers. Several theatres are sold, converted to movie houses, or simply closed. Historian Gerald Bordman reports that by the 1932-1933 season, the number of new plays opening had dropped to “somewhere between 109 and 124, depending on who counted what.” Admissions prices dropped as well, in an attempt to keep people coming. Most producers relied on comedy to boost the spirits of the public. Of the dramas being produced, many had a leftist perspective. 

1932: The 1932-1933 Pulitzer Prize for Drama goes to Maxwell Anderson for Both Your Houses.

May 19, 1932: Producer Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. revives Show Boat on Broadway, with Paul Robeson singing “Old Man River” in the role of Joe. Considering the economic depression, it does good business with 180 performances. On July 22nd, Ziegfeld dies in Hollywood; after a lifetime of producing lavish spectacles, he leaves his widow, actress Billie Burke, several million dollars in debt.

October 22, 1932: George Kaufman and Edna Ferber's comedy, Dinner at Eight, opens at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre and becomes one of the biggest successes of the season, with 232 performances. Kaufman also directs the production. 

November 29, 1932: Cole Porter's musical, Gay Divorce, opens at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre, then transfers to the Shubert Theatre, where it runs for a total of 248 performances. One of the most famous songs from the show, “Night and Day,” is now a classic. Fred Astaire stars as Guy Holden, a role he plays in the 1934 movie version (spelled Gay Divorcee) as well.

December 27, 1932: Radio City Music Hall opens on 6th Avenue in New York City. The theatre seats approximately 5,880. Though the theatre became popular for movie premieres, it also houses live entertainment, including the annual Christmas Spectacular with the Radio City Rockettes.

January 24, 1933: Noel Coward’s sophisticated comedy, Design for Living, opens at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway with Lynn Fontanne, Alfred Lunt, and Coward himself, who also directs. The production runs for 135 performances.  

February 15, 1933: James Hagan’s comedy One Sunday Afternoon opens at Broadway’s Little Theatre and enjoys one of the longest runs of the season, with 322 performances. 

September 30, 1933: A new revue, As Thousands Cheer, opens at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre, combining the music and lyrics of Irving Berlin with the sketch comedy of playwright Moss Hart. Starring are Ethel Waters, Marilyn Miller, Clifton Webb, and Helen Broderick.  The revue finds success, with 400 performances.

October 2, 1933: Entertainer George M. Cohan stars in Eugene O’Neill’s  comedy, Ah, Wilderness! at the Guild Theatre. It enjoys a successful run of nearly 300 performances.

October 21, 1933: The creative team of the award winning musical Of Thee I Sing find a flop in the sequel, Let ‘em Eat Cake.  The frightening vision of a fascist America runs only 89 performances. 

November 18, 1933: Roberta opens at Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Otto Harbach. The cast includes comedian Bob Hope, and the most famous song from the production becomes “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” The success of the stage musical triggers a 1935 film version, staring Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

December 4, 1933: Jack Kirkland's drama, Tobacco Road, based on the novel by Erskine Caldwell, premieres on Broadway and plays for an astounding 3,182 performances, breaking Broadway records to that date. Set on a farm in rural Georgia, it tells the story of Jeeter Lester and his family as they eek out a living as sharecroppers during the Depression.

1934: Theatres are running more productions by foreign authors, a sign that many American writers have left for more lucrative opportunities in Hollywood.

January 4, 1934: Billie Burke, widow of producer Florenz Ziegfled, Jr., grants permission for a new Ziegfeld Follies, the first Follies since his death in 1932. The production, which runs for six months, features comedienne Fanny Brice and introduces Eve Arden, who goes on to a radio, television, stage and film career.  

September 26, 1934: Set in a hospital, Men in White plays at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre for 351 performances. Playwright Sidney Kingsley wins the 1934 Pulitzer Prize for the drama.

September 29, 1934: Comic playwrights George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart open their comedy, Merrily We Roll Along, at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre, where it plays for 155 performances. 

November 20, 1934: Lillian Hellman's drama, Children's Hour, opens on Broadway at Maxine Elliott’s Theatre, where it becomes the hit of the season, playing for 691 performances.  Hellman tackles the issue of a student at a girl’s school accusing her teachers of an “unnatural” (lesbian) relationship. Scenic design is by Aline Bernstein, one of the few women scenic designers of the time. 

November 21, 1934: Cole Porter’s upbeat musical, Anything Goes, opens at Broadway's Alvin Theatre, then transfers to play for a total of 420 performances. Ethel Merman stars as Reno Sweeney, bringing the audience such classic songs as "You're the Top" and "I Get a Kick out of You."

1935: The number of productions on Broadway is down, but the quality improves overall, sparking hope for the Great White Way as it struggles to rebound from the Depression.

January 5, 1935: The Group Theatre produces Clifford Odets’ one-act, Waiting for Lefty, at the Civic Repertory on 14th Street in Manhattan. Set at a Taxi Union Committee meeting, it ends with the famous line, “STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE!!!” – a call that stirred to audience chant along defiantly. The play moves to Broadway’s Longacre Theatre on March 26th, where it plays for 144 performances; it returns in September for 24 additional performances. 

January 7, 1935: Zoe Akin’s play, The Old Maid, based on a novel by Edith Wharton, opens at Broadway’s Empire Theatre. It runs for more than 300 performances and wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

February 19, 1935: The Group Theatre produces Clifford Odets’ drama, Awake and Sing!, at Broadway’s Beleasco Theatre, where it runs for 184 performances, returning for 24 additional performances that September. The play tells the story of a lower-middle class Jewish family in the Bronx and their struggles.

August 27, 1935: After legislative pre-empting, the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) was officially launched as part of Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). In order to combat unemployment, the FTP eventually employed artists and technicians in 40 states, creating the closest thing the U.S. has ever had to a national theatre. Under Hallie Flanagan’s leadership, the FTP produced Living Newspapers (plays based on factual stories), dramas, musicals, children’s plays, and puppet shows. In 1939 the U.S. Congress pulled funding from the theatre, accusing of them of being leftist and linking them to communist sympathizers. (See Tim Robbins’ movie The Cradle Will Rock [1999] for an account government censorship of the FTP musical by the same name.) 

September 25, 1935: Maxwell Anderson's tragedy Winterset opens at Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre, where it plays for nearly 300 performances. The critics laud praise not only on the playwright, but on Jo Mielziner for his impressive scenic design. Anderson wins the first New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play. 

October 10, 1935: Porgy and Bess opens at the Alvin Theater on Broadway. George Gershwin composed the music to this folk opera based on a novel (and later a play) by Dubose Heyward. Set in the 1930s on “Catfish Row” in the south, the story is of a poor crippled man, Porgy, and is love for Bess amidst the hardship of their lives. Famous songs include “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’,” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” 
The production was fairly successful, with over 100 performances, but became more famous after a 1942 revival. Porgy and Bess also found success in Europe.

October 12, 1935: composer/lyricist Cole Porter finds success with Jubilee, which plays for 169 performances and features his famous song “Begin the Beguine.”

October 24, 1935: Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes’ play Mulatto opens on Broadway, addressing the identity crisis of a mulatto boy living in the south. It’s successful run of 373 performances sets a record number of performances for a straight play by an African American playwright. Actress Rose McClendon earns positive reviews as Cora Lewis.

November 16, 1935: Richard Rodgers' and Lorenz Hart's musical, Jumbo, premieres at Broadway’s jumbo-sized Hippodrome Theatre, where it plays for 233 performances. Well-known songs include “My Romance” and “Little Girl Blue.”

December 26, 1935: Actress Helen Hayes has great success with Laurence Housman’s drama Victoria Regina, which plays at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway for 203 performances and returns in August of 1936 for 314 performances. 

January 30, 1936: The Winter Garden Theatre once again hosts the Ziegfeld Follies, starring such famous names as comedienne Fanny Brice, comedian Bob Hope, and exotic dancer Josephine Baker. The production runs until May 9th, then resumes September 14th through December 19th, giving it a total run of 227 performances for the year. The return engagement features burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee.

March 24, 1936: The Theatre Guild has a hit with Robert Sherwood’s Idiots Delight, which plays for 300 performances at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre. The play wins the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and also is listed as the runner-up for the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award as Best American Play. Husband and wife actors Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt head the cast.

April 4, 1936: Orson Welles directs the Federal Theater Project's Negro Unit in a production of Macbeth set in Haiti, dubbed “Voodoo Macbeth,” at the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem. Thousands are turned away at the door in what proves to be the FTP’s first big success. 

April 11, 1936: On Your Toes, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart, opens at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre and moves to the Majestic to complete a 315 performance run.  The musical stars Ray Bolger and features choreography by ballet master George Balanchine. “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” becomes a well-known dance number.

December 14, 1936: Playwriting team George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart open their new comedy, You Can’t Take It with You, which becomes a hit at Broadway’s Booth Theatre, then transfers to Imperial Theatre for a total run of nearly two years and 838 performances. Telling the story of a wacky, dysfunctional  middle-class family, it strikes a chord with audiences. In 1937 it wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

December 26, 1936: Clare Boothe Luce’s comedy The Women opens and becomes a hit, running 657 performances at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Set in New York and Reno, the chatty play tells a story of divorce, gossip, and back-biting.

1937: The number of straight plays opening on Broadway drops below one hundred and stays there. Revivals seem popular, including classics such as Shakespeare’s Richard II and Julius Caesar, Shaw’s Candida, and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

1937: The era is ripe for political satire, and three such productions find success on Broadway: I’d Rather Be Right, Pins and Needles, and the ill-fated FTP production The Cradle Will Rock, which officially closes before it opens. 

January 9, 1937: Maxwell Anderson’s play, High Tor, opens at the Martin Beck Theatre and runs for 171 performances. It stars famed actors Peggy Ashcroft and Meredith Burgess and proves to be popular with the New York critics. Anderson is honored with his second consecutive New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for the production.

July 11, 1937: Composer and conductor George Gershwin dies unexpectedly of a brain tumor a few months shy of his 39th birthday. Gershwin’s Broadway career began in 1918, when he wrote additional music for Ladies First. His first full score in a musical premiered on Broadway in La, La, Lucille a year later.  For much of his career he teamed up with his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin. Together they wrote music and lyrics for such well-known musicals as Lady Be Good (1924), Funny Face (1927), Strike Up the Band (1930), Of Thee I Sing (1931), and Porgy and Bess (1935). In 1983 Broadway’s Uris Theatre, on West 51st Street, is renamed the George Gershwin Theatre in his honor. 

November 4, 1937: The Group Theatre produces Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy at the Belaco Theatre on Broadway, where it runs for 250 performances. The drama about an aspiring violinist who has a chance to become a boxer, is directed by Harold Clurman, the Group Theatre’s co-founder. A film version starring William Holden is released in 1939, and a musical version opens in 1964. 

November 11, 1937: An oddity opens on Broadway: a musical revue called Pins and Needles, produced by Labor Stage Inc. The cast are all member of the International Ladies’ ‘Garment Workers’ Union. New York audiences flock to the production, which runs for 1,108 performances. The musical helps establish songwriter Harold Rome in his career.

November 23, 1937: John Steinbeck’s masterpiece, Of Mice and Men, opens at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre, where it plays for 207 performances. Steinbeck adapted his own novel to create the play, which was directed by George S. Kaufman. The play earns excellent reviews as well as the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award as Best American Play. 

1938: The number of plays opening on Broadway in 1938-1939 continues to drop, tallying from 65 to 68, depending on who is counting. Both the New York Times and Variety exclude the plays of the Federal Theatre Project in their counts.

February 4, 1938: Thornton Wilder’s Our Town opens at Broadway’s Henry Miller’s Theatre and transfers to the Morosco for a total of 336 performances. Our Town, directed and produced by Jed Harris, challenges conventions of Broadway plays by having no set and employing a narrator to introduce the characters and setting. A popular and critical success, the play earns the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

September 22, 1938: Billed as “The Screamlined Revue,” Hellzapoppin delights audiences with comedy from vaudevillians Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson, running an impressive 1,404 performances at three consecutive theatres on Broadway.

October 15, 1938: Robert Sherwood's historical drama, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, opens at Broadway’s Plymouth Theatre, where it runs for more than a year and wins the Sherwood the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

November 23, 1938: Composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Moss Hart adapt Shakespeares’s The Comedy of Errors to create a new musical: The Boys from Syracuse. It runs for 235 performances at Broadway’s Alvin Theatre.

December 1, 1938: The musical Great Lady is a flop but gives dancer Jerome Robbins his Broadway debut, with choreography by George Balanchine. Robbins goes on to great fame as an innovative director/choreographer on Broadway.

1939: The New York World's Fair in Flushing pulls audiences away from Manhattan and results in a loss of ticket sales on Broadway. Variety and the New York Times count between sixty and sixty-two straight plays opening in the 1939-1940 season.

February 15, 1939: Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes premieres at Broadway’s National Theatre and plays for a year, strengthening Hellman’s reputation as a playwright. Tallulah Bankhead heads the cast as Regina in one of the most memorable roles of her career.

March 28, 1939: Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story opens at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre and is a success with 417 performances. Katherine Hepburn plays the lead, Tracy Samantha Lord, a role she reprises in the movie version in 1940.

October 16, 1939: George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart make audiences laugh with The Man Who Came to Dinner at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. The comedy pokes fun at Alexander Woollcott, a prominent New York critic, and plays nearly two years, for 739 performances. 

October 25, 1939: William Saroyan’s drama, The Time of Your Life, opens at Broadway’s Booth Theatre, produced by the Theatre Guild. Saroyan’s Broadway debut wins the 1940 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. The play has an episodic plot, centering around an eclectic mix of patrons at a seedy waterfront bar in San Francisco.

November 8, 1939: Howard Lindsay’s and Russel Crouse’s play, Life With Father, based on the book by Clarence Day, opens at Broadway’s Empire Theatre and transfers to two other theatres before completing its seven and a half year, record-breaking run of 3,224 performances.  Playwright Howard Lindsay also heads the cast, playing the father.

December 6, 1939: Cole Porter’s musical, Du Barry Was a Lady, opens at Broadway’s 46th Street Theatre and transfers to the Royale Theatre for a total run of 408 performances. The cast includes such stars as Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman, and Betty Grable. “Well, Did You Evah!” becomes a well-known song from the show.

1940: With World War II raging on, the number of plays opening on Broadway continues to fall; Variety counts forty-eight, the New York Times forty-nine. 

1940: The American Negro Theatre (ANT) is founded in Harlem to help train African American artists for the stage. Famous actors who came through ANT include Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, and Ossie Davis. 

April 29, 1940: Robert Sherwood’s drama, There Shall Be No Night, opens at the Alvin Theatre for 115 performances, with a return engagement of 66 performances. It wins Sherwood the 1941 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Alfred Lunt both directs and stars opposite his wife, Lynn Fontanne.

October 10, 1940: Ice-skating movie star Sonja Henie produces a highly popular ice show at Radio City Music Hall, called It Happens on Ice. 

October 25, 1940: The musical fantasy Cabin in the Sky opens with an all-black cast at Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre. Famous names associated with the production include choreographer George Balanchine, performer Katherine Dunham (in her Broadway debut) and her dance troupe, and performer Ethel Waters in the lead role of Petunia Jackson. After 156 performances on Broadway, the company goes on a national tour. A 1943 film version stars Ethel Waters and Lena Horne, and includes trumpeter Louis Armstrong.

October 30, 1940: Singer Ethel Merman takes the lead in Cole Porter’s musical, Panama Hattie, which opens at Broadway’s 46th Street Theatre and runs for just over 500 performances.

November 26, 1940: Emlyn Williams’ drama, The Corn is Green, opens at the National Theatre on Broadway, then transfers to the Royale to complete a run of 477 performances. Set in a small village in Wales, the production features Ethel Barrymore  in one of the best roles of her career.

December 25, 1940: Composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Moss Hart team up to open the musical Pal Joey on Broadway. Set in Chicago in the late 1930s, it features performer Gene Kelly in the lead of Joey Evans; songs include "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered."

1941: With the United States at war, Broadway offers a plethora of escapist comedies and thrillers. With few high quality dramas, no Pulitzer Prize is offered this season.

January 10, 1941: Joseph Kesselring’s comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace, opens at Broadway’s Fulton Theatre, plays for nearly two years, then transfers to the Hudson Theatre for a total of 1,444 performances. The story about two old ladies who poison lonely old men is made into a film in 1944, starring Cary Grant.

January 23, 1941: The musical Lady in the Dark, written by Moss Hart, with music by Kurt Weill, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin, opens at Broadway’s Alvin Theatre and plays more than a year. Performer Gertrude Lawrence heads the cast, with comedian Danny Kaye in a supporting role. Ginger Rogers stars in the 1944 film version.

April 1, 1941: Lillian Hellman's drama, Watch on the Rhine, premieres at Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre, where it runs for 378 performances. Hellman wins the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play.

November 5, 1941: British playwright and performer Noel Coward opens his comedy Blithe Spirit at Broadway’s Morosco Theatre. After transferring to the Booth Theatre, it plays a total of 657 performances. 

December 12, 1941: Set in London in the 1880s, Patrick Hamilton’s thriller, Angel Street, opens on Broadway and plays for 1,295 performances. Vincent Price, known later for his horror films, plays the vicious husband. The British title for this play is Gaslight.

1942: A series of vaudeville-style shows are popular on Broadway, including Priorities of 1942, Keep ‘Em Laughing, Top-Notchers, Laugh, Town, Laugh! and Show Time.

June 3, 1942: Richard Rodgers’ and Lorenz Hart’s musical, By Jupiter, opens at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre and becomes the biggest musical hit of the season, with 427 performances. 

June 24, 1942: The musical revue Star and Garter entertains audiences at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. Featuring burlesque star and stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, it packs in audiences for more than 600 performances.

July 4, 1942: Writer/composer/lyricist Irving Berlin’s musical revue, This Is the Army, opens on Independence Day, with the producer listed as Uncle Sam. He creates the revue to entertain the troops and takes it on tour. Berlin also performs in the production, which features the well-known songs “This Is the Army” and “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.”

November 5, 1942: “Father of Broadway” George M. Cohan dies.

November 18, 1942: Thorton Wilder’s comedy, The Skin of Our Teeth, opens at Broadway’s Plymouth Theatre, where it remains for 359 performances. Tallulah Bankhead, Florence Eldridge, and Fredric March star. Wilder is awarded the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

December 30, 1942: Joseph Field’s comedy about wartime Washington, D.C., The Doughgirls, opens to enthusiastic audiences at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre, where it plays for 671 performances. 

1943: Wartime prosperity brings the audience back to Broadway. Several productions become smash hits.

January 29, 1943: Sidney S. Kingsley’s The Patriots opens at Broadway’s National Theatre and plays for 173 performances. A critical success, it wins the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play.

March 31, 1943: The first collaboration of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist/book writer Oscar Hammerstein II strikes gold. The musical Oklahoma! opens and becomes a triumph, playing for five years and 2,212 performances. The original cast includes Alfred Drake and Joan Roberts playing the romantic leads, Curley and Laurey. Agnes De Mille’s choreography proves to be a stand-out component of the production, particularly the dream ballet. After its initial success on Broadway, the innovative musical goes on to successful road tours and becomes a hit in London as well.

October 7, 1943: Though overshadowed by Oklahoma!, Kurt Weill, S. J. Perelman and Ogden Nash premiere their musical, One Touch of Venus, on Broadway, where it plays for 567 performances. Mary Martin stars.

October 19, 1943: African-American performer Paul Robeson plays Othello on Broadway, a role that historically had been performed by white actors in blackface. Critics are impressed, and the production runs for nearly 300 performances. Margaret Webster directs and also plays Emilia to José Ferrer’s Iago. 

November 20, 1943: Moss Hart writes and directs a play with music, Winged Victory, on Broadway. Starring actual servicemen and produced by the United States Air Force, the production keeps audiences coming for 212 performances.

December 2, 1943: Oscar Hammerstein II opens Carmen Jones, set to the music of Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen. Set in 1940s Chicago, it features an all-black cast. The film version is released a decade later, in 1954, starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte in the lead roles.

December 8, 1943: John Van Druten’s romantic comedy The Voice of the Turtle, opens on Broadway and proves to be a smash hit, running for five years and 1,557 performances.

1944: More than sixty new dramas and comedies open on Broadway. Theatres are packed, and producers take advantage of the situation by raising prices; top tickets to a play could cost from $4.20 to $4.80 .

April 8, 1944: The musical Follow the Girls premieres on Broadway, and audiences do indeed follow, for 888 performances.

June 27, 1944: Popular mystery writer Agatha Christie is a hit on Broadway with her play Ten Little Indians. It plays for 426 performances.

August 20, 1944: Philip Yordan’s drama, Anna Lucasta, opens on Broadway after a previous production at the American Negro Theatre in Harlem. The all-black cast includes Alice Childress (later well-known as a playwright) and Canada Lee. The Broadway version has humor added and a new happy ending tacked on; it pleases audiences for 957 performances at the Mansfield Theatre. 

August 21, 1944: The musical operetta Song of Norway, based on the life and music of Edvard Grieg, opens on Broadway and succeeds with 860 performances. 

October 19, 1944: John Van Druten’s I Remember Mama premiers at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre, where it plays for 713 performances. Marlon Brando makes his Broadway debut as Nels. The 1948 film version stars Irene Dunne as Mama.

November 1, 1944: Mary Chase’s popular comedy, Harvey, opens at Broadway’s 48th Street Theatre. The story about a man and his invisible friend, a 6-foot-tall rabbit, captures the public’s imagination, playing 1,775 performances and earning Chase the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A Oscar-winning film version is released in 1950, starring Jimmy Stewart. 

November 23, 1944: Playwright Arthur Miller has his Broadway debut with The Man Who Had All the Luck, however Miller proves himself unlucky when the production closes after four performances.

December 28, 1944: On the Town opens at Broadway’s Adelphi Theatre, marking the Broadway debut of composer Leonard Bernstein, writers and performers Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and choreographer Jerome Robbins. The musical is based on Robbin’s American ballet, “Fancy Free,” in which three sailors go to New York City on shore leave. Songs include "New York, New York (It's a Helluva Town)."

1945: Despite a high quality season with excellent ticket sales the year before, the number of plays opening on Broadway drops by twenty percent in 1945-1946.

March 31, 1945: Thirty-four year old Tennessee Williams makes his Broadway debut as a playwright with The Glass Menagerie. The story of a dysfunctional southern family becomes a hit, running for 563 performances. Margo Jones and Eddie Dowling co-direct, with Dowling also playing the role of Tom. Laurette Taylor plays Amanda in her final Broadway role. The play wins the 1944-1945 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play. 

April 19, 1945: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II premiere their musical, Carousel, on Broadway.  Based on Ferenc Molnar’s play Lilliom, it presents a haunting, sobering tone. Famous songs include “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” “If I Loved You,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The musical wins the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, a new award category.

November 14, 1945: Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s comedy, State of the Union, set in the early years of the new U.S. government, opens at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway, where it plays for 765 performances. Lindsay and Crouse win the 1946 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play.

February 4, 1946: Garson Kanin's comedy, Born Yesterday, premieres at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre, where, it plays nearly three years, for 1,642 performances. Set in Washington, D.C. in 1945, the play revolves around a crass nouveau-riche man and his “dumb blonde” girlfriend. Paul Douglas and Judy Holliday star, and Holliday reprises her role in the Oscar-winning film version in 1950.

May 6, 1946: Britain’s Old Vic Company tours to Broadway in a limited engagement. Stars of the stage include Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier, and Margaret Leighton.

May 16, 1946: Composer/lyricist Irving Berlin’s musical, Annie Get Your Gun, opens at the Imperial Theatre and stars Ethel Merman as Annie Oakley. Famous songs include "There's No Business Like Show Business,” and “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better).” The hit production closes in 1949 after 1,147 performances. 

November 6, 1946: The newly formed American Repertory Theatre, founded by Cheryl Crawford, Eva Le Gallienne, and Margaret Webster, opens their first season in New York City with King Henry VIII.

November 20, 1946: Playwright Lillian Hellman's drama, Another Part of the Forest, opens at Broadway’s Fulton Theatre. She directs the production herself, and it plays for 182 performances. Patricia Neal stars as Regina Hubbard and wins 1947 Tony and Theatre World Awards for her performance. 

1947: The American Theatre Wing holds the first Antoinette Perry Awards (Tony Awards) ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

1947: Margo Jones founds Theatre ’47 in Dallas, Texas. It starts a trend in the development of U.S. regional theatres: professional theatres with nonprofit status.  

January 10, 1947: The luck of the Irish is with the new musical Finian's Rainbow when it opens at Broadway’s 46th Street Theatre. The musical fantasy wins three Tony Awards: Michael Kidd for Best Choreography, David Wayne for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and Milton Rosenstock for Conductor and Musical Director. The production runs for 725 performances and features stand-out songs “How Are Things in Glocca Morra” and “Look to the Rainbow.”

January 29, 1947: Arthur Miller’s post-war tragedy, All My Sons, opens at Broadway’s Coronet Theatre, where it plays for 328 performances. All My Sons wins two Tony Awards, Best Play and Best Direction (Elia Kazan), as well as the 1946-47 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play.

March 13, 1947: Composer Fredrick Loewe and lyricist/book writer Alan Jay Lerner open their musical, Brigadoon, at Broadway’s Ziegfeld Theatre, where it becomes their first big success, running 581 performances. Agnes De Mille earns a Tony Award for her choreography and the production wins the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical. A memorable song is “Almost Like Being in Love.”

October 9, 1947: The musical High Button Shoes opens on Broadway and plays 727 peformances. Jerome Robbins wins a Tony Award for Best Choreography in 1948.

October 10, 1947: Anticipation runs high for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s next musical, Allegro, but it receives mixed reviews and runs only 315 performances, far fewer than their first two hits, Oklahoma! and Carousel. 

December 3, 1947: Tennessee Williams’ drama, A Streetcar Named Desire, opens on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it becomes a critical and popular success for 855 performances. The production stars Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski, Jessica Tandy as Blanche DuBois, and Kim Hunter as Stella Kowalski. Williams wins the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the 1947-1948 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play.

1948: In this season of high quality, the Tony Awards expand the number and types of awards. Three women tie for acting awards (dramatic): Judith Anderson for Medea, Katherine Cornell for Antony and Cleopatra, and Jessica Tandy for A Streetcar Named Desire. Likewise three men win as best actor (dramatic): Henry Fonda for Mister Roberts, Paul Kelly for Command Decision, and Basil Rathbone for The Heiress. 

1948: “First Lady of American Theatre” Helen Hayes wins the Theatre Arts Magazine Top Stage Performance of the Past Quarter-Century Citation for her performance in Victoria Regina, which she played on Broadway in three productions from 1935 to 1938.

February 18, 1948: Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan’s wartime comedy, Mister Roberts, premieres at Broadway’s Alvin Theatre, where it becomes a hit for 1,157 performances. Starring Henry Fonda as Lieutenant Roberts, the play revolves around life on a navy cargo ship. Heggen also wrote the best-selling novel on which it was based, and Logan directs the production. Mister Roberts wins five Tony Awards, including Best Play.  Henry Fonda repeats his role in the Oscar-winning film version, released in 1955.

December 30, 1948: Cole Porter’s musical, Kiss Me, Kate, debuts on Broadway at the New Century Theater and runs for 1,077 performances. Based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, it pokes fun at life on stage and backstage; songs include "So in Love," "Too Darn Hot," and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare."

October 6, 1948: Tennessee Williams’ drama, Summer and Smoke, opens on Broadway, produced and staged by Margo Jones. It runs for 102 performances at the Music Box Theatre; Jo Mielziner wins a Tony Award for his scenic design. 

October 11, 1948: The musical comedy, Where's Charley?, based on Brandon Thomas’ farce, Charlie’s Aunt, opens at Broadway’s St James Theatre and plays for 792 performances. Comedian  Ray Bolger keeps audiences laughing, dressed as the elderly Aunt, and wins a Tony Award for his performance.

December 27, 1948: French playwright Jean Giraudoux’s comedy, The Madwoman of Chaillot, opens on Broadway and plays for 368 performances. 

1949: The post-war economy has production prices soaring, a trend that continued from the previous season. The number of plays opening drops thirty percent, and ticket prices for a straight play climb to $6 top as producers try to stay in the black. 

January 22, 1949: The Mark Hellinger Theatre opens on Broadway and West 51st Street. Originally built by Warner Bros. as a movie palace in 1928, the theatre serves as both a movie theatre and live theatre venue from 1934 to 1948, when it is sold. It serves solely as a legitimate Broadway theatre from 1949 to 1989, at which point it is sold again and becomes the Times Square Church. 

February 10, 1949: Arthur Miller's great American tragedy, Death of a Salesman, premieres at Broadway's Morosco Theatre, starring Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman. It sweeps six Tony Awards, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and also wins the 
New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play.

April 7, 1949: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s new musical, South Pacific, sets new records for advance ticket sales and plays 1,925 performances on Broadway. Based on the novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener, the musical addresses issues of racism and tolerance. Directed and co-written by Joshua Logan, it wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical. South Pacific sweeps the Tony Awards, oddly enough winning one award in 1949 for scenic designer Jo Mielziner and nine more in 1950, including Best Musical. Famous songs include “There’s Nothing Like a Dame,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “Bali Ha’i.” 

October 30, 1949: Composer Kurt Weill and dramatist/lyricist Maxwell Anderson's musical tragedy, Lost in the Stars, opens at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. The haunting musical presents an examination of racial strife in South Africa. It plays for 273 performances. 

December 8, 1949: Jule Styne's musical comedy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, opens at Broadway’s Ziegfeld Theatre for 740 performances. Carol Channing delights audiences in her memorable portrayal of Lorelei Lee, singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Marilyn Monroe shines in the film version in 1953. 

--compiled by Anne Fliotsos, Copyright 2010

Sources and further readings: 

Atkinson, Brooks. Broadway. New York: MacMillan, 1970.

Blum, Daniel. A Pictorial History of the American Theatre. New York: Greenberg, 1950.

Bordman, Gerald. American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama. 3 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994-1996.

Botto, Louis. At This Theatre: An Informal History of New York’s Legitimate Theatres. New York: Dodd Mead & Co., 1984.

Clurman, Harold. The Fervent Years: The Group Theatre and the Thirties. New Ed. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 1983.

Collins, David. George M. Cohan in America’s Theater.

Henderson, Mary C. Theater in America. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1986.

Kenrick, John. History of Stage Musicals. Musicals101.com. 

League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. Internet Broadway Database. www.imdb.com.

PBS Website. Broadway: The American Musical. Http://www.pbs.org/wnet/broadway/.

Schwartz, Bonnie Nelson. Voices from the Federal Theatre. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003. [A DVD documentary is included with the book.]