The Belasco Theater on West 44th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues is just a half block west of Shimmie Horn’s Iroquois Hotel. The Belasco has been the home to some of New York’s most beloved theater since David Belasco opened it in 1907.
Designed by George Keister, the Belasco’s design was conceived to reproduce
the intimate setting of a living room or salon. Belasco was a supporter of the “Little Theater” movement which was popular in his day. “Little Theater” propounded that the dramatic experience was determined in a large part by the proximity of the audience to the stage and action of the performance. When one enters the Belasco one is struck by the shallow depth of the auditorium, creating a close environment in which the players and audience can interact in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways.
The Belasco is Keister’s earliest theater still extant, Having designed 12 others through the years, including Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater. It is adorned with 18 murals created at the theater’s founding by Everett Shinn. A major renovation was undertaken in 2010, and now the Belasco can be enjoyed as it was back in its glorious, earlier days.
Through the years the Belasco was the venue for such startling new concepts in theater such as Oh Calcutta! (1971) and The Rocky Horror Show (1975.) Today the theater is getting ready to showcase End of the Rainbow, which was a huge hit in London and hopes to reproduce the same success on the Broadway stage. The show opens on March 19 at 8pm, and is now scheduled to run through early September. Treat yourself to a great time, especially if you are staying at the Iroquois, or any other of Shimmie Horn’s Triumph Hotels located throughout Manhattan.