David Belasco opened the Stuyvesant in October 1907, having already bequeathed his name on his 42nd St playhouse, now the New Victory. When he relinquished the 42nd St theatre in 1910, he immediately renamed the Stuyvesant as the Belasco. He provided himself with a duplex apartment above the theatre that had the décor of a Gothic church, and housed much of his theatrical memorabilia. Following his death, the theatre was rumored to be haunted by his ghost, until it was banished by the risqué production, Oh Calcutta!. The theatre came under Shubert ownership in 1948.
Belasco conceived the auditorium of the Belasco Theatre as a living room. He was a proponent of the “Little Theater” movement, which held that the dramatic experience depended partly on the proximity of the audience to the actors, and the shallow depth of the Belasco auditorium accomplishes just that. George Keister was commissioned to design the theatre, with Everett Shinn producing murals (18 of them) and other interior décor. The playhouse is Keister’s earliest surviving theatre; he later designed 12 others, including the Apollo in Harlem. His choice of the neo-Georgian style, often used for residences, complemented Belasco’s desire for theatrical intimacy. The theatre also boasted a state-of-the-art lighting board capable of producing magical lighting effects. With its freight elevator connecting the basement shops with the stage, it set the technological standard for theatre design. In 2010, the historic Belasco was restored to its former grandeur.
Details on the Belasco Theatre's Accessibility
Access Into Theatre: Theatre is not completely wheelchair accessible. There are 2 steps to box office/lobby. The side entrance has no steps. Please be advised that where there are steps either into or within the theatre, we are unable to provide assistance.
Shubert Audience Services
The Belasco Theatre provides at least 10 infrared assistive listening devices for every performance at the theatre. Beginning 4 weeks after a show’s official opening night performance, at least 10 audio description devices are available for every performance at the theatre. In addition, there is unlimited access to downloadable audio description software for personal mobile devices, available beginning 4 weeks after a show’s official opening night performance, which provides an automated detailed account of the visual of the production, free of charge, for blind or partially sighted patrons. The theatre also offers hand-held devices and software that provide captioning for deaf or hard of hearing patrons, available beginning 4 weeks after a show’s official opening night performance. Additional devices can be available with at least 24 hours’ notice by contacting Shubert Audience Services at 212-944-3700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a representative at the Shubert Audience Services kiosk at every performance to assist any patron with the audio description devices, software, or captioning devices.
Accessibility by Seating Section
Orchestra Location: Seating is accessible to all parts of the Orchestra without steps. There are no steps to the designated wheelchair seating location.
Mezzanine Location: Located on 2nd level, up 1 flight of stairs. Once on the Mezzanine level, there are approximately 2 steps up/down per row. Entrance to Mezzanine is behind row H.
Balcony Location: No elevator, stairs only. Once on the Balcony level, there are approximately 2 steps up/down per row. The entrance to the Balcony is behind row F.
Handrails: Available at the end of every stepped seat row in the Mezzanine and Balcony.
Located in lobby. Accessible at 54".
Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
The use of cameras, recording devices, cell phones, beepers, and other electronic devices during the performance is prohibited. Everyone attending a performance must have a ticket. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of management. Wheelchair and mobility-impaired seating is intended for patrons with mobility disabilities. Children under the age of four years will not be admitted. No outside food or beverage permitted. No weapons permitted on the premises.