Nederlander

Inside the
Nederlander
Theatre

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Located at 208 West 41st Street

About the Theater

The National, the original name of the David T. Nederlander Theatre, was built in 1921 by Walter C. Jordan, a noted theatrical agent, and managed by the Shubert organization.

When it opened on September 1, 1921, the New York Times reported that the new house cost $950,000 to build and contained 1,200 seats, the perfect size to present both dramatic productions and musicals. The theater’s interior featured burnished Italian walnut with gold embellishments. “The style is early Renaissance, and the carved figures are of lyric and epic subjects, unobtrusive but attractive, and emerging in the half round from wood like Flemish carvings,” stated the New York Times. The paper went on to praise Jordan for providing actors with luxurious dressing rooms with baths and the audience with the most modern restrooms and lounges, which made a trip to the new theater a comfortable and pleasurable experience.

Billy Rose bought the theater from the Shuberts in 1959 and renamed it after himself. It was briefly named the Trafalgar. The Nederlander family purchased the theater and in 1980 permanently changed its name to honor the founder of the organization, David Tobias Nederlander. In 1996, the theater was about to undergo a major renovation. Serendipitously, the producers of Rent were looking for a venue that was run down to evoke the Lower East Side and the Nederlander fit the bill. After presenting Rent for twelve years, the theater underwent an extensive renovation. Other notable productions include a revival of Guys and Dolls and Newsies! The Musical.

Marc Bryan Brown

Located at 208 West 41st Street

Theater Architect

Theater Architect

William Neil Smith

1878-1934
Born and based in Brooklyn, William Neil Smith maintained an active architectural practice in New York City.

In addition to the Nederlander, he also designed the 1927 Block Club, Block Hall, and the Fairway Club, an indoor golfing club. Smith’s designs for these buildings, as well as No. 9–11 South William Street, were especially influential in defining the architectural style of lower Manhattan’s Financial District.

Tanya Braganti

Theater Architecture

Tanya Braganti

Theater Architecture

Joan Marcus/Photofest

Featured Shows

Broadway Debut 1996

Rent

Playbill Inc.

Featured Shows

Broadway Debut 2012

Newsies