Crafting Your Experience

New YorkHistory
NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

LGBT Theater District

This experience is sponsored, in part, by the generous support of American Express, Con Edison, and a Humanities New York Action Grant. As the birthplace of American theater, New York City is home to a vibrant theater district that has been disproportionally impacted by LGBT people for well over a century. Explore Broadway through LGBT-themed plays, production teams, performers, and related associations. In addition to celebratory contributions, learn about the impact of the Wales Padlock Law (1927), which forbade the depiction of “sex perversion” on the stage. The tour highlights: the Belasco Theater, connected to A Raisin in the Sun, by lesbian playwright Lorraine Hansberry; Ethel Barrymore Theater, associated with productions by gay playwrights Noel Coward, Tennessee Williams, and James Baldwin; Little Theater (now Helen Hayes), where gay-themed plays Gemini and Torch Song Trilogy were performed; and the Winter Garden Theater, where West Side Story premiered as the result of an all gay, lesbian, and bisexual creative team. This tour represents a selection of extant sites associated with LGBT history that are located within a small geographic area. As such, it does not represent the entire long LGBT history of New York City, nor does it entirely reflect the diversity of today’s LGBT community. This collection is limited to the research we have included on the project website so far. For more information or to suggest a site, please visit our website at www.nyclgbtsites.org.

  • 1.

    About the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

    About the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

    Learn about the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

  • 2.

    Carnegie Hall: Studio Towers

    Carnegie Hall: Studio Towers

    Constructed atop Carnegie Hall, the Studio Towers was the residence of LGBT artists over the years.

  • 3.

    New York City Center

    New York City Center

    The Moorish-inspired building has many LGBT associations with American opera and dance.

  • 4.

    Bernstein Residence at the Osborne Apartments

    Bernstein Residence at the Osborne Apartments

    Leonard Bernstein lived in the Osborne Apartments from 1951 until c. 1960.

  • 5.

    Carnegie Hall

    Carnegie Hall

    Carnegie Hall has featured the work and performances of countless LGBT artists since its opening in 1891.

  • 6.

    Studio 54

    Studio 54

    In 1977, Studio 54 opened and became one of the world’s most famous discos with a fusion of LGBT patrons.

  • 7.

    Winter Garden Theater

    Winter Garden Theater

    The theater has been home to many musicals created by LGBT community members including West Side Story.

  • 8.

    Belasco Theater

    Belasco Theater

    Numerous plays with LGBT associations were staged here including the lesbian drama Trio in 1945.

  • 9.

    Little Theater

    Little Theater

    The smallest house on Broadway has been home to plays with gay themes in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

  • 10.

    Ethel Barrymore Theater

    Ethel Barrymore Theater

    Noel Coward, Lorraine Hansberry, Tennessee Williams, and James Baldwin had their work performed here.

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