Wicked: About the Theater
Located at 222 West 51st Street in the Midtown Manhattan Paramount Plaza Building, the Gershwin Theatre has been home to numerous Broadway musicals over the course of its storied history. The theatre is named for George and Ira Gershwin, the composer/lyricist brothers responsible for such mainstream hits as Porgy and Bess and Of Thee I Sing. The Gershwin Theatre’s rotunda was designed to showcase the Theater Hall of Fame, featuring the names and photographs of the biggest stars of the Great White Way. Also on display in the theatre’s main lobby is an exhibition of costumes, props, stage notes, and other items from the personal collections of some of Broadway’s favorites, including Carol Channing, Bernadette Peters, and Chita Rivera, among many others.
The Gershwin Theatre originally opened in 1972, and it is one of the nine Broadway houses owned by the Nederlander Organization. It has a 1,933-seat capacity and is estimated to have cost in the vicinity of $12.5 million to design and construct. The theatre was designed in an Art Nouveau style by set designer Ralph Alswang, and when it opened on November 28, 1972, it was called the Uris Theatre. The first show ever to be performed on its stage was the musical Via Galactica, starring Raul Julia. That show went on to lose over a million dollars, and it closed after a mere seven performances.
During the 1983 Tony Awards, the theatre was rechristened to honor the famous Gershwin brothers, and it has gone on to house a number of successful shows, including Starlight Express, Fiddler on the Roof, and Oklahoma! Wicked has been running there since 2003.