Before we get into the history of the James Earl Jones Theatre, once known as the Cort Theatre, we want to discuss getting the best seats inside the James Earl Jones Theatre. You will have plenty of options if the show isn’t sold out. Listed below are tickets available for all the upcoming shows. If you don’t see tickets to a date you want to see, please use the load more button to open more dates. This is your way to finding the cheapest tickets possible.
After succeeding as a successful theater operator on the West Coast, John Cort, like all ambitious producers, wanted to succeed on the Great White Way – Broadway. He was a part of the vaudeville comedy duo Cort and Murphy, and in the 1890s moved from performance to managing. He was the General Manager of the Northwestern Theatrical Association, based in Seattle.
He commissioned Thomas W. Lamb to build a Broadway theater, based on his version of the 18th-century Petit Trianon in Versailles. Its architecture inspired the exterior of what was to become the James Earl Jones Theatre. The classic exterior of the James Earl Jones Theatre and the lavishly designed interiors were based on the architecture of the Louis XVI period. The Pavonazzo marble was used in the construction of the lobby, which also had Marie Antoinette plasterwork panels.
The arch of the Proscenium stage, constructed in perforated plaster treated with art glass, was designed to be lit during performances. This arch, though it still exists to this day, is not in operation, today. The James Earl Jones Theatre is the only active and legitimate theater designed by Thomas Lamb that survives today. The Shubert Brothers acquired the James Earl Jones Theatre in 1927, two years before John Cort died.
The James Earl Jones Theatre opened on December 20, 1912, with the production of J. Hartley Manner’s My Heart which starred Laurette Taylor – the then superstar. The show ran for 603 performances – a record. Such performances were unheard of then when the shows were expected to run out of steam after about 100 performances. The James Earl Jones Theatre routinely hosted shows running over 300 performances, for the next decade or so. It has been quite successful as a legitimate Broadway venue all throughout, except for a short period in the 1960s when it was leased as a television studio.
John Cort’s first production at his own theater was an operetta – Princess Pat, in 1915. This was the first of only 12 musicals, out of which four were produced by Cort himself, to be performed here. The Magic Show, in 1974, was the longest-running musical at the Theater with 1,920 performances. Sarafina, in 1988; Kat and the Kings, in 1999; and A Year with Frog and Toad, in 2002; are the three recent musicals.
Roi Cooper Megrue’s Under Cover in 1914, John Drinkwater’s Abraham Lincoln in 1919, and George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly’s Merton of the Movies in 1922, were the non-musical hits in the early days of the theater that enhanced its reputation for being lucky.
The Cort Theater has a seating capacity of 1082, with 503 in the Orchestra, 264 in the Mezzanine, and 283 in the Balcony. In addition to other seats, it has 20 standing places and two wheelchairs. Currently, August Wilson’s “Fences” is showing, since April 26, 2010, and is set to close on July 11, 2010.
Best Seats in the James Earl Jones Theatre
Finding that one seat to make your experience better is what it is all about. In fact, the best seats inside the James Earl Jones Theatre are all over the place. We do recommend you stick to the center section and the interior aisle areas of the outer sections. This will give you the views you want and the sound will be great. If you move up to the balcony level try and focus on the first couple of rows so you still feel immersed in the show.