Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Venue: The John Golden Theatre Holds 'The Normal Heart' on Broadway

(all photos except where noted: TheHopefulTraveler)

Originally opened as the Theatre Masque in 1927, producer John Golden renamed the venue after himself when he assumed management in 1937. The intimate theatre with 804 seats on two levels primarily hosts plays. In the last 20 years only two musicals, ‘Avenue Q’ and ‘Falsettos’, have played the house. Since 1946, the theatre has been owned and operated by the Shubert Organization and today is one its seventeen Broadway venues.

I’ve only seen two productions at the Golden before tonight’s performance of the revival of ‘The Normal Heart’. In 1996 I saw Patti Lupone take over the lead from Zoe Caldwell in Terrence McNally’s play ‘Master Class’ and attended performances in 2004 and 2006 of the long-running Tony-Award winning musical ‘Avenue Q’.

Other recent noteworthy productions to open at the Golden include: ‘Red’ (2011) starring Alfred Molina; ‘Oleanna’ (2009) starring Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles; and “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?’ (2002) with Mercedes Ruehl and Pullman.

Unlike most Broadway theatres, the Golden seating arrangement splits the house in half with a centre aisle and seats on either side. Sight lines in the orchestra are good from most seats except from those in the rear section. Because the theatre hosts mainly plays it lacks an orchestra pit so those seated in the first row are inches from the stage. The theatre is located at 252 West 45th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The interior of the John Golden Theatre
(image: Shubert Organization)


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