Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
242 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10019
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The Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre is located on the south side of 45th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenue. It is number 24 on The Broadway Map.
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Built by the Chanin brothers, the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre opened as the Royale Theatre in 1927. In its early years, the Royale was "invaded" variously by specialty troupes, like a group that performed several Gilbert & Sullivan operettas here, and a Dublin-based company that did a slew of Irish plays. In 1934, after producer John Golden lost his self-named theater on 58th Street, he leased the Royale and renamed it the Golden. (It only retained this name briefly, until the producer moved in on the Masque next door, which to this day is known as the John Golden Theatre.) CBS Radio then took over the theater in 1937, until it became the Royale once more three years later. The theater is now owned by the Shubert Organization and on May 9, 2005 it was officially named the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, after the man who was president of the Shubert Organization from 1972 until his death in '96. The Jacobs has seen some big stars in its time, from Mae West, who did her shows Diamond Lil and The Constant Sinner here, to Julie Andrews in her Broadway debut The Boy Friend, Laurence Olivier in The Entertainer, Lauren Bacall in Cactus Flower, Madonna in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, and A Raisin in the Sun starring hip-hop icon Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
Like so many of the theaters on Broadway, the Bernard B. Jacobs was designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp. With just over 1,000 seats, the space is suitable for musicals but is much more often used for plays, especially in recent years.
By Subway, take the A/C/E to 42nd Street, walk north on Eight Avenue and then turn right onto 45th Street. Or take the 1/2/3/9 to 42nd Street, walk north on Seventh Avenue and then make a left onto 45th Street.
Fairly small and with only two levels, the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre has generally good sightlines all around. For the very best viewing, go for mid-center orchestra or the front mezzanine.
Many of the more noteworthy shows to play the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre were plays and musicals that initially opened in other theaters and then transferred, such as Du Barry Was a Lady, The Corn Was Green, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Grease (which occupied the theater from 19'72 to 1980), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine. Other notable shows that played here include The Lady's Not for Burning, Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952, Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, The Night of the Iguana, The Subject Was Roses, Hughie, Moonchildren, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song & Dance (starring Bernadette Peters), Lend Me a Tenor, Conversations with My Father, The Kentucky Cycle, Skylight, Art, Copenhagen, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Anna in the Tropics.