Cort Theatre

The Cort Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 138 West 48th Street in the Theater District of midtown Manhattan in New York City. It is owned by the Shubert Organization, the largest owner of Broadway theatres.

Cort Theatre
Address138 West 48th Street
New York City, New York
United States
OwnerThe Shubert Organization
DesignationBroadway theatre
ProductionDerren Brown: Secret
OpenedDecember 20, 1912
ArchitectThomas W. Lamb

The Cort Theatre was designated a New York City landmark on November 17, 1987.[1]


John Cort (ca. 1861-1929), founder of the Northwestern Theatrical Association,[2] commissioned architect Thomas W. Lamb to design the theater. Its façade was modeled on the Petit Trianon in Versailles. The resulting 1082-seat Cort Theater is one of the few Lamb theaters still extant and functioning as a legitimate theater. The interior was designed in the style of the era of Louis XVI, with a Pavanozza marble lobby with plasterwork panels. The arch of the proscenium stage consists of perforated plaster treated with art glass, and was designed to be lit during performances. The arch still exists as of 2007, although the lighting feature is no longer in operation.

The Cort Theatre opened on December 20, 1912 with Laurette Taylor starring in the play Peg o' My Heart, which ran for 603 performances, an auspicious start for the new venue.[3] Numerous famous British actors have appeared at the Cort: Basil Rathbone played Dr. Nicholas Agi in The Swan in October 1923, and in April 1927 appeared as Vladimir Dubriski in Love is Like That. In October 1924, Henry Daniell appeared as Aubrey Tanqueray in The Second Mrs Tanqueray, was there again in August 1943 in Murder Without Crime, and in January 1946 appeared as Leontes in The Winter's Tale. This was also the theatre where the aspiring actor James Dean made his broadway debut in 1952 with the play "See The Jaguar".

The Shubert Organization purchased the theatre in 1927, two years before John Cort's death.[3] The theatre was used as a television studio for The Merv Griffin Show from 1969 to 1972.

In the 1968 version of the comedy film The Producers, directed by Mel Brooks, the Cort Theatre was seen in the movie across the street from the Playhouse Theater (torn down in 1969), whose marquee can be glimpsed momentarily and exterior was used only. However, in the scene where the theater blows up, the marquee of the Cort Theater can be seen.

Notable productions

Box office record

The Tony Award-winning revival of Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, achieved the box office record for the Cort Theatre. The production grossed $1,175,626 over eight performances, for the week ending July 11, 2010.[4]

See also




  • Parker, John (ed.) Who's Who in the Theatre, (tenth edition, revised) London, 1947, pp.477-478, 1184.

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