The Walter Kerr Theatre is a Broadway theatre located at 219 West 48th Street in midtown Manhattan. Designed by Herbert J. Krapp for the Shubert family, it operated as the Ritz Theatre from 1921 to 1990. In 1990, the theatre was named after Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Theatre critic Walter Kerr, and since 1980 has been owned and operated by Jujamcyn Theaters (Jordan Roth, President). Being one of the smaller Broadway houses in the Theater District, the Walter Kerr seats 975. The seats are arrayed on a main level and two balconies. The top balcony has only two rows of seats. Hadestown is currently running at the Walter Kerr Theatre, after opening April 17, 2019.
The Shubert family engaged Herbert J. Krapp to design their Ritz Theatre in 1921. ABC operated it as a radio and then television studio between 1943 and 1965. The Shuberts sold the theatre to John Minary in 1956, who sold it to Joseph P. Blitz later that year. In 1963, a partnership including Roger Euster acquired the property; in 1964 Euster sold his stake to Leonard B. Moore. It remained vacant from 1965 to 1971, when it reopened with the musical Soon, book by Martin Duberman, which closed after three performances. It housed several productions in the next two years and even screened adult films for a period before it became a children's theater named in honor of Robert F. Kennedy in 1973. Jujamcyn Theaters acquired the property in 1980. The last production staged at the Ritz was Chu Chem in 1989. On March 5, 1990, the theatre reopened after a $2 million restoration now renamed for theater critic Walter Kerr with August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. Since then it has housed seven winners of the Tony Award for Best Play: Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Angels in America: Perestroika, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Proof, Take Me Out, Doubt, and Clybourne Park. It also housed two winners of the Tony Award for Best Musical: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and its current production, Hadestown.
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