Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Venue: Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Broadway Believes in 'The Book of Mormon'

(except where noted, all photos by TheHopefulTraveler)
The venue that now houses 'The Book of Mormon' has gone through a few name changes over its lifetime. It originally opened in 1925 as the Forrest Theatre named for Edwin Forrest, a classical actor of the time and then in 1945 renamed the Coronet Theatre by its new owners. The Eugene O'Neill Theatre came to be in 1959 when the venue was renamed in honor of one of America's greatest playwrights.

Besides 'The Book of Mormon' which I will be seeing tonight, other productions I've witnessed at the Eugene O'Neill are a revival of 'Grease' (1994); a revival of 'Nine' (2003) starring Antonio Banderas and Jane Krakowski; and 'Spring Awakening' (2006) starring Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele.

Some notable productions to open at the O'Neill include: 'The Full Monty' (2000), 'M. Butterfly' (1988), and 'Big River' (1985).

The versatile theater is popular to host both plays (with a seating capacity of 1,102) and musicals (1,065 seats). Though sight lines are good from most seats, this is one venue where I always immediately walk outside during intermission. There is no lobby so all the aisles become traffic jams and the orchestra bar and restrooms are down narrow steps to the basement. The venue is one of five houses owned by Jujamcyn Theatres.

Theatre interior
(image credit: unknown)


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