The theater happens to be the oldest continuously operating legitimate theater on Broadway. Built by Daniel Frohman, the Broadway producer, the theater was designed by architects Herts and Tallant in the Beaux Arts style. The Lyceum Theater featured a gray limestone façade, six ornate Corinthian columns, two grand staircases leading from the foyer to the mezzanine, and a state-of-the-art ventilation system. To keep the auditorium cool in summer, the air was passed over ice chambers, and in winter, air over steam coils kept the auditorium warm. The marble in the foyer had been given the ‘marble of Athens’ finish.There were no events found for The Lyceum Theater.
The Beaux Arts façade had a beautiful waving marquee in the front, and the walls and the ceiling of the interior were plastered and painted lavishly and included marble panels, murals, and bronze statues. The theater featured a popular 19th-century design of two balconies, but the Lyceum Theater’s design incorporated the first-ever cantilevered balcony on Broadway. This enabled clear sightlines without obstructing any view.
Through The Decades
This crown jewel among the Broadway theaters, Lyceum Theater opened on November 2, 1903, with the production of The Proud Prince. The Admirable Crichton by J.M. Barrie in 1903 was its first original play. The other early productions at the Lyceum Theater were The Other Girl starring Lionel Barrymore in 1904; A Doll’s House featuring Ethel Barrymore in 1906; and The Thief with Margaret Illington in 1907.
Fanny Brice, Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Judith Anderson, Leslie Howard, and Bette Davis were some of the stars of the day who graced the stage of the theater in its early years. In 1946, the hit Born Yesterday, ran the Theater’s longest run – 1,642 performances and launched Judy Holiday to stardom. Some of the popular productions during the 1950s and 1960s were A Hatful of Rain with Shelley Winters in 1955; The Happiest Millionaire starring Walter Pidgeon in 1956; Alan Bates in John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger in 1957; and Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker starring Alan Bates, Robert Shaw and Donald Pleasance in 1961.
The Association of Producing Artists (APA)-Phoenix Repertory Company, belonging to Daniel Frohman, called the theater it’s home and produced You Can’t Take It with You, The School for Scandal, and The Cherry Orchard, during its stay there.
A one-person show Whoopi Goldberg in 1984 at the theater helped launch Goldberg’s film career. Other one-person shows include Ian McKellan: A Knight Out at the Lyceum in 1994; Julia Sweeney’s God Said “Ha!” in 1996; Mandy Patinkin in Concert in 1997; and as recent as 2003, the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony award-winning I Am My Own Wife.