7/7Photograph: Courtesy the Shubert ArchiveThe Belasco Theater
By Adam Feldman|
Of New York theater's 40 official Broadway houses, the Belasco may well be the loveliest. Built in 1907—only the New Amsterdam and the Lyceum are older—it doesn’t look like much from the staid, neo-Georgian facade. But walk inside and you’ll find yourself in an Edwardian fantasy of theatrical magic, with decorative marvels wherever you look. The eccentric stage impresario David Belasco was friends with Louis Comfort Tiffany, and his theater bears the fruit of that friendship: Bunches of purple grapes burst from the room’s exquisite stained-glass column capitals. Octagonal panels of Tiffany glass, 22 in all, are set in the coffered ceiling; carved dark wood and elegant murals add to the theater’s cozy, quasigothic splendor (magnificently restored by the Shubert Organization in a $14.5 million renovation, unveiled in 2010). David Belasco has long been rumored to haunt the building, and who could blame him if he did? It’s the kind of place you never want to leave.