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All about: Gershwin Theatre, New York

Many theatres across the United States are named after the composer George Gershwin and his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin. The most famous of the theatres is Broadway's Gershwin Theatre in New York City. This unique cultural sanctuary has an amazing history. This article aims to address Gershwin Theatre's most important moments over the years.

History of Uris

Revolutionary design Initially named Uris - after the building which has been housing it since 1972 when it opened - it is the largest Broadway theatre built since the Earl Carroll in 1931. Located on 222 West 51st Street, encompassing 1,900 seats, it was designed in an Art Nouveau style by the late designer Ralph Alswang. It was his idea to represent the philosophy of the modern musical house in terms of acoustics, seating and sight lines. Alswang introduced a set of revolutionary elements such as water curtains instead of asbestos, dark removable proscenium panels which serve as light towers and an automatic rigging system called Hydra-float. Hall of Fame The theatre includes two rotundas. One showcases Broadway's own Theatre Hall of Fame, while the other one can be used for theatrical exhibitions. In 1983, during the Tony Awards ceremony, the Uris has been renamed Gershwin Theatre in honour of the two Gershwin brothers. With the largest seating capacity of any other Broadway theatre - after New York State Theatre and the City Centre - Gershwin Theatre was designed not only for rich musicals, but also for showcasing personal appearances and dance companies.

Performances staged at Gershwin Theatre

Musicals The musical set at the Uris on the opening night of 8 November 1972, Via Galactica, a sci-fi rock musical starring Raul Julia and Virginia Vestoff, wasn't a hit. It closed after only seven performances. The next one, Seesaw, a musical version of William Gibson's hit comedy Two for the Seesaw, was much more successful. It earned two Tony Awards for best supporting actor (Tommy Tune) and choreography (Michael Bennett). It ran for nearly 300 performances. An acclaimed revival of Gershwin's opera, Porgy and Bess was also presented there in 1976 and received a Tony Award for the most innovative production of a revival. Personal appearances In 1974, the theatre hosted many successful personal appearances which included Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Williams and Michel Legrand, Johnny Mathis and Nureyev & Friends. They were followed in 1975 by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Box office records Many other successful performances followed, but the smash hit musical Wicked, the untold story of the witches of Oz, broke all the box office records in the history becoming a Broadway legend. It won 35 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards.

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