John Golden Theater

252 W 45th St New York

LGBT Theater District/John Golden Theater
NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project
Written By NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

The first initiative to document historic and cultural sites associated with the LGBT community in New York City, illustrating the richness of the city's history and the community's influence on America.

History

Theater Masque

Four LGBT-associated plays at the Theatre Masque were Young Love (1928-29), directed by George Cukor; Bird in Hand (1929, opened at the Booth Theater), a big hit, with Jill Esmond; Tobacco Road (1933-34), an enormous hit, with Will Geer; and Invitation to a Murder (1934) by Rufus King.

John Golden Theater

In 1937 it was re-named the John Golden Theater (not to be confused with the Royale Theater, which was named the John Golden Theater in 1934-36). The single biggest LGBT-associated hit here was Angel Street (1941-44) with Vincent Price. Other big hits included Look Back in Anger (1958, opened at the Lyceum Theater) with Alan Bates; Beyond the Fringe (1962-64), a revue written and performed by Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore (Special Tony Award); A Day in Hollywood/ A Night in the Ukraine (1980), directed by Tommy Tune, and choreographed by Tune and Thommie Walsh (Best Choreography Tony Award); Crimes of the Heart (1981-83), with scenic design by John Lee Beatty; Falsettos (1992-93) by William Finn and James Lapine (Best Book of a Musical Tony Award), with music and lyrics by Finn (Best Original Score Tony Award), and with actor Michael Rupert; and Master Class (1995-97) by Terrence McNally (Best Play Tony Award and Outstanding Play Drama Desk Award).

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Other shows with LGBT associations at the John Golden Theater included The Green Bay Tree (1951), the first revival of Mordaunt Shairp’s 1933 play about the spoiled ward of a gay foster-father, with actor Denholm Elliott; Springtime for Henry (1951) with Edward Everett Horton; Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens (1952), starring Emlyn Williams; Monique (1957) with Denholm Elliott; Billy Barnes Revue (1959), with music and lyrics by Billy Barnes; After the Rain (1967) with Alec McCowen; Bob and Ray – The Two and Only (1970-71), with scenic design by William Ritman; Kennedy’s Children (1975-76) by Robert Patrick; Dirty Linen/ New-Found-Land (1977) with Remak Ramsay; Eastern Standard (1989) by Richard Greenberg, with costume design by William Ivey Long, and with actor Peter Frechette (Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Drama Desk Award); and Michael Feinstein in Concert: Piano and Voice (1990) starring Michael Feinstein.

Building Information

Architect or Builder: Herbert J. Krapp Year Built: 1926-27

Sources

“The 1st List of: Gay/Lesbian/Bi Industry People, Both in Front and Behind the Camera,” www.imdb.com, May 31, 2013. Adam Hetrick, “The Work of Broadway’s Gay and Lesbian Artistic Community Goes on Display Nov. 14 When the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation Gallery Presents ‘StageStruck: The Magic of Theatre Design’,” Playbill, Nov. 14, 2007. Internet Broadway Database. John Golden Theater Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1987).

Cover Photo

Credit: Sarah Sargent/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2019.

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