247 College Street
New Haven, CT 06510 USA
Two years after opening their first theater in New York, Lee and J. J. Shubert built the Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut. New Haven's Sam S. Shubert Theater opened on December 11, 1914 with "The Belle of Bond Street." Since then, the theater has played host to over 600 pre-Broadway tryouts, including over 300 world premieres and 50 American premieres. The totals are double that of any theater in New York or any of the other try out cities like Boston, Philadelphia, or Washington. The Shubert, New Haven earned the title Birthplace of the Nation's Greatest Hits for the number of productions that first came to life on its stage. One of the first shows to premiere on the Shubert stage was Robinson Crusoe, Jr. in 1916. It starred Al Jolson, who became the greatest musical comedy performer of the day. He was followed through the twenties and thirties by stars including Ethel, John and Lionel Barrymore, Will Rogers, W.C. Fields, Sara Bernhardt and The Marx Brothers. The Shubert, New Haven was the scene of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's greatest triumphs. In 1943, New Haven audiences went wild over their first collaboration, a musical entitled "Away We Go!" (renamed "Oklahoma!"). In all, seven Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals premiered at the Shubert, New Haven including "South Pacific" (1949), "The King and I" (1951), and their final show, "The Sound of Music" (1959). The forties through sixties were the most exciting days in the Shubert's annals with the premieres of "Annie Get Your Gun" (1946) with Ethel Merman, "A Streetcar Named Desire" with Marlon Brando, "My Fair Lady" (1956) with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959) with Sidney Poitier, and the pre-Broadway productions of "Gigi" with Audrey Hepburn and "Barefoot in the Park" (1963) with Robert Redford to name just a few. The Shubert, New Haven is the theater in which many of the world's best and most popular actors received their first professional acclaim: in the early days, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Mary Martin, and more recently Paul Newman, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, James Earl Jones, Liza Minnelli and John Travolta. Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, also got her first important break here.