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St. James Theatre
Erlanger's Theatre
Stjamestheatre.jpg
The St. James Theatre, 2006
Address 246 W. 44th St
New York City
United States
Coordinates 40°45′29″N 73°59′17″W / 40.75806°N 73.98806°W / 40.75806; -73.98806Coordinates: 40°45′29″N 73°59′17″W / 40.75806°N 73.98806°W / 40.75806; -73.98806
Owner Jujamcyn Theaters
Type Broadway
Capacity 1,710
Construction
Opened 1927
Architect Warren and Wetmore

The St. James Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 246 West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan. With 1,710 seats over three levels, it is one of the largest Broadway theatres. The St. James Theatre, named after the famed St James's Theatre in London, is owned and operated by Jordan Roth, President, and owner of Jujamcyn Theaters.

Disney Theatrical Productions's musical Frozen was the theatre's most recent tenant, running from March 2018 to March 2020.

History

Abraham L. Erlanger, theatrical producer and a founding member of the Theatrical Syndicate, constructed the St. James on the site of the original Sardi's restaurant. Designed by architects Warren and Wetmore (one of two firms that designed Grand Central Terminal), the theatre's simple brick facade is dominated by a large cast iron loggia, masking the fire escapes from the auditorium over the expansive street front. The gilded, landmarked auditorium is ornate, with two balconies. It opened in 1927 as The Erlanger Theatre. Upon Erlanger's death in 1930, the Astor family, who owned the land on which the theatre stood assumed control of the venue and renamed it the St. James Theatre.

The theatre was taken over by the Shuberts in 1941. They were forced to sell it to William L. McKnight in 1957 following the loss of an antitrust case. McKnight renovated the St. James and reopened it in 1958. In 1970, McKnight then transferred the theatre to his daughter Virginia and her husband James H. Binger, who had formed Jujamcyn Theaters. After Binger's death in 2004, producer and president of Jujamcyn, Rocco Landesman, announced his plans to buy the company. Landesman purchased the group in 2005, and in 2009 he sold half his stake to up-and-coming theatrical producer, Jordan Roth. Shortly after, Landesman was asked to head the NEA and Roth and assumed control of the group. The theatre has been home to a number of long-running and Tony Award-winning musicals in its ninety-one-year history, including original productions of Oklahoma!, The King and I, Hello, Dolly!, The Who's Tommy and The Producers. Located on 44th Street in the Theater District, the St. James neighbors a handful of large musical houses including the Majestic, Broadhurst, Shubert, and the Hayes Theater.

In 2017, the St. James completed a renovation which extended its stage by ten feet into the alley between the Hayes Theater and the St. James. The stage expansion was to accommodate the Broadway run of the Disney musical Frozen.

Box office record

Frozen achieved the box office record for the St. James Theatre. The production grossed $2,624,495 over eight performances for the week ending December 30, 2018.

Filming location

In April and May 2013, film director Alejandro González Iñárritu spent 30 days shooting his film Birdman almost entirely within the St. James Theatre and its environs. The film depicts the production of a Broadway show during its preview nights and premiere and utilizes the theatre's stage, lobby, and backstage areas. The theatre features in the opening montage of Woody Allen's Manhattan, his "love letter" to New York City. St. James Theatre is also shown in the season 4 finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry David and David Schwimmer star in the Broadway version of The Producers. There is also a scene on the street in front of the theatre in which Larry David gets into a confrontation with a tourist played by Stephen Colbert. The theatre has also appeared in several episodes of NBC's Smash and was featured in season 5 of the FOX Television series Glee as Lea Michele's Rachel Berry stars in the revival of Funny Girl staged at the theatre.

Notable productions with opening dates

  • Merry Malones (September 26, 1927) – Inaugural Production
  • Fine and Dandy (September 23, 1930)
  • 1931–33, 1942 and 1951 seasons of Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Thumbs Up! (December 27, 1934)
  • Native Son (March 24, 1941)
  • Oklahoma! (March 31, 1943)
  • Where's Charley? (October 11, 1948)
  • The King and I (March 29, 1951)
  • The Pajama Game (May 13, 1954)
  • Li'l Abner (November 15, 1956)
  • Flower Drum Song (December 1, 1958)
  • Becket (October 5, 1960)
  • Do Re Mi (December 26, 1960)
  • Hello, Dolly! (January 16, 1964)
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona (December 1, 1971)
  • Vieux Carré (May 11, 1977)
  • On the Twentieth Century (February 19, 1978)
  • Carmelina (April 8, 1979)
  • Barnum (April 30, 1980)
  • Rock 'N Roll! The First 5,000 Years (October 24, 1982)
  • My One and Only (May 1, 1983)
  • The Secret Garden (April 25, 1991)
  • The Who's Tommy (April 22, 1993)
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (April 18, 1996)
  • High Society (April 27, 1998)
  • Swing! (December 9, 1999)
  • The Producers (April 19, 2001)
  • Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (November 23, 2007)
  • Gypsy (March 27, 2008)
  • Desire Under the Elms (April 27, 2009)
  • Finian's Rainbow (October 29, 2009)
  • American Idiot (April 20, 2010)
  • Hair (July 5, 2011)
  • On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (December 11, 2011)
  • Leap of Faith (April 26, 2012)
  • Bring It On: The Musical (August 1, 2012)
  • Barry Manilow – "Manilow on Broadway: Live at the St. James" (January 29, 2013)
  • Let It Be (July 24, 2013)
  • Bullets Over Broadway (April 10, 2014)
  • Side Show (November 17, 2014)
  • Something Rotten! (April 22, 2015)
  • Present Laughter (April 5, 2017)
  • Frozen (March 22, 2018)
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