American Airlines Theatre

The American Airlines Theatre, originally the Selwyn Theatre, is a historic Italian Renaissance style Broadway theatre in New York City built in 1918. It was designed by George Keister and built by the Selwyn brothers. Used for musicals and other dramatic performances it was eventually converted for film. It was used briefly as a visitor's center but stood vacant for years until a 1997 renovation and restoration. It is located at 227 West 42nd Street.

American Airlines Theatre
Selwyn Theatre
Address227 West 42nd Street
New York City
United States
Coordinates40°45′23.4″N 73°59′15.8″W
Public transitTimes Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal or 42nd Street–Bryant Park/Fifth Avenue
OwnerCity and State of New York (leased to New 42nd Street)
OperatorRoundabout Theatre Company
TypeBroadway
Capacity740
Construction
OpenedOctober 2, 1918[1]
ReopenedJune 30, 2000
Website
www.roundabouttheatre.org

History

Design

Originally named the Selwyn Theatre, it was designed by the architect George Keister and constructed by the Selwyn brothers, Edgar and Archie, in 1918.[2] It was one of three theatres they built and controlled on 42nd Street, along with the Apollo and the Times Square Theater. It was decorated in the style of the Italian Renaissance, and originally had 1,180 seats.[3] At the time of its opening, the design had several innovations. Its most novel feature was separate smoking rooms for men and women.[3] Additionally, each dressing room was equipped with a shower and telephone.[3]

Productions

The venue initially hosted major musical and dramatic productions, including Cole Porter's Wake Up and Dream in 1929, and Three's a Crowd starring Clifton Webb in 1930–31,[4] but eventually became a cinema. In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s the theatre featured double features of standard Hollywood films. Beginning in the 1960s, until the theatre closed, the theatre featured grindhouse programs. It would return to legitimate theater several times over the next six decades, but eventually fell into disrepair. It was used briefly in the early 1990s as a home for the Times Square Visitors Center and for a limited production of Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape, but for the most part, stood vacant.

Renovation

The City and State of New York took possession of the Selwyn in 1990. In 1992, it was one of six 42nd Street theatres to fall under the protection of the New 42nd Street organization. The Roundabout Theatre Company committed to renovating the Selwyn in 1997. It was restored to its former grandeur (albeit now with just 740 seats), renamed the American Airlines in honor of its principal sponsor, and reopened on June 30, 2000. The American Airlines Theatre currently serves as the home of the Roundabout and houses its major dramatic productions.

Productions since June 30, 2000

ShowOpening dayClosing dayNotes
The Man Who Came to DinnerJuly 27, 2000October 8, 2000Revival
BetrayalNovember 14, 2000February 4, 2001Revival
2001 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play Nominee
Design for LivingMarch 15, 2001May 13, 2001Revival
Major BarbaraJuly 12, 2001September 16, 2001Revival
The WomenNovember 8, 2001January 13, 2002Revival
An Almost Holy PictureFebruary 7, 2002April 7, 2002
The Man Who Had All the LuckMay 1, 2002June 30, 2002Revival
The Boys from SyracuseAugust 18, 2002October 20, 2002Revival
TartuffeJanuary 9, 2003February 23, 2003Revival
A Day in the Death of Joe EggApril 3, 2003June 1, 2003Revival
2003 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play Nominee
Big RiverJuly 24, 2003September 21, 2003Revival
2004 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Nominee
The CaretakerNovember 9, 2003January 4, 2004Revival
Twentieth CenturyMarch 25, 2004June 6, 2004Revival
After the FallJune 25, 2004September 12, 2004Revival
12 Angry MenOctober 28, 2004May 15, 20052005 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play Nominee
The Constant WifeJune 16, 2005August 21, 2005Revival
2006 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play Nominee
A Naked Girl on the Appian WayOctober 6, 2005December 4, 2005
The Pajama GameFebruary 23, 2006June 17, 2006Revival
2006 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical
Heartbreak HouseOctober 11, 2006December 17, 2006Revival
Prelude to a KissMarch 8, 2007April 29, 2007Revival
Old AcquaintanceJune 28, 2007August 19, 2007Revival
PygmalionSeptember 21, 2007December 16, 2007Revival
The 39 StepsJanuary 10, 2008March 16, 20082008 Best New Play Nominee
Les liaisons dangereusesMay 1, 2008July 6, 2008Revival
2008 Tony Award Best Revival of a Play Nominee
A Man for All SeasonsOctober 7, 2008December 14, 2008Revival
Hedda GablerJanuary 25, 2009March 28, 2009Revival
The PhilanthropistApril 26, 2009July 5, 2009Revival
After Miss JulieOctober 22, 2009December 6, 2009Broadway Premiere
Present LaughterJanuary 21, 2010March 21, 2010Revival
Everyday RaptureApril 19, 2010July 11, 2010Broadway Premiere
Mrs. Warren's ProfessionOctober 3, 2010November 28, 2010Revival
The Importance of Being EarnestJanuary 13, 2011July 3, 2011Revival
Man and BoyOctober 9, 2011November 27, 2011Revival
The Road to MeccaJanuary 17, 2012March 4, 2012Broadway Premiere
Don't Dress for DinnerApril 26, 2012June 17, 2012Broadway Premiere
Cyrano de BergeracOctober 11, 2012November 25, 2012Revival
PicnicJanuary 13, 2013February 24, 2013Revival
The Big KnifeApril 16, 2013June 2, 2013Revival
The Winslow BoyOctober 17, 2013December 1, 2013Revival
MachinalJanuary 16, 2014March 2, 2014Revival
Violet April 20, 2014 August 10, 2014 Broadway Premiere
The Real ThingOctober 30, 2014January 4, 2015[5]Revival of the 1982 Tom Stoppard play
On the Twentieth CenturyMarch 15, 2015July 19, 2015[6]Revival
Old TimesOctober 6, 2015November 29, 2015Revival
Noises OffJanuary 14, 2016March 6, 2016Revival
Long Day's Journey into NightApril 27, 2016June 26, 2016Revival
The Cherry OrchardOctober 16, 2016December 4, 2016Revival of Chekhov play with reworked script by Stephen Karam
The PriceMarch 16, 2017May 14, 2017Revival
Marvin's RoomJune 29, 2017August 27, 2017Broadway Premiere
Time and the ConwaysOctober 10, 2017November 26, 2017Revival
John Lithgow: Stories by HeartJanuary 11, 2018March 4, 2018Solo Show, Broadway Premiere
TravestiesApril 24, 2018June 17, 2018Revival
Bernhardt/HamletSeptember 25, 2018November 18, 2018Broadway Premiere
True WestJanuary 24, 2019March 17, 2019Revival
All My SonsApril 22, 2019June 30, 2019Revival
The Rose TattooOctober 15, 2019December 8, 2019Revival
A Soldier's PlayJanuary 21, 2020TBARevival
Birthday CandlesApril 21, 2020June 21, 2020Broadway Premiere
1776 TBA (Spring 2021) TBA Revival

Selected productions at Selwyn Theatre

Productions that had more than 100 consecutive performances at the Selwyn Theatre:

Box office record

The Pajama Game achieved the box office record for the American Airlines Theatre. The production grossed $477,030 for the week ending April 30, 2006.[7]

References

Citations

  1. "Jane Cowl in Quest of Information", The New York Times (October 3, 1918)
  2. Henderson, Mary C., The City and the Theatre: New York playhouses from Bowling Green to Times Square (1973), p. 275: "Selwyn Theatre 229 West Forty-second Street, Standard house. Architect: George Keister. Opening production: October 2, 1918, Information Please."
  3. Bianco, Anthony (2004). Ghosts of 42nd Street: A History of America's Most Infamous Block. New York: Harper Collins. p. 82. ISBN 0-688-17089-7.
  4. Parker, John (ed), Who's Who in the Theatre, 10th revised edition, London, 1947: 1430
  5. Roundabout Theatre: The Real Thing. Accessed January 22, 2015
  6. Roundabout Theatre: On the Twentieth Century. Accessed January 22, 2015
  7. American Airlines Theatre, Playbill Vault

Bibliography

  • Broadway Theatres: History and Architecture, William Morrison, 1999, Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-40244-4
  • Lost Broadway Theatres, Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, Princeton Architectural Press, 1997, ISBN 1-56898-116-3
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