Purchase tickets online, at the theatre box office, or by phone at 212-239-6200.
Group Tickets (10+)
Book online or call 800-714-8452.
About This Theatre
The Helen Hayes Theater, previously called the Little Theatre, was built in 1912 by Winthrop Ames as a 299-seat venue to avoid a fire department regulation that required a 10-foot alley on either side of auditoriums seating 300 or more.
A wealthy New Englander and Harvard graduate, Ames financed the construction with his inheritance money from Ames Shovel and Tool Company. Ames was interested in the Little Theater Movement and wanted to build an intimate venue where audiences felt like they were sitting in a living room watching a play. Ames, who had studied architecture, contributed to the design and worked closely with two young architects with no theater experience, Harry Creighton Ingalls and F. Burrall Hoffman, who had studied at the École de Beaux-Arts in Paris. Designed to look like a colonial New England house, the theatre was adorned with redbrick laid in the Flemish bond style, alternating long and short bricks, shutters on the windows, and iron balconies. The interior was designed in the plainer neo-Colonial or Federal style, a departure from most other Broadway theatres that were more formal. In 1920 Herbert J. Krapp redesigned the theatre and added a balcony to accommodate additional seating. The theatre was renovated again in 1979 and renamed the Helen Hayes in 1983 after the original theatre of that name was torn down to make room for the New York Marriott Marquis.
The Hayes Theater is accessible, with an elevator reaching from the lower level café to the Mezzanine. The Orchestra has a ramp aisle, while the Mezzanine utilizes stairs. The Hayes box office also has an accessible window.
There are accessible men’s and women’s restrooms on both the lower lobby and Mezzanine levels.
Wheelchair seating is located in both the Orchestra and Mezzanine.
Orchestra: There are no steps to the designated wheelchair sections.
Mezzanine: There are no steps to the designated wheelchair sections. There are steps between the rows. Entrance to Mezzanine is behind row J.
The Tony Kiser Theater is fully equipped with Infrared Assisted Listening Devices. Devices can be obtained at the Fassst Café counter upon request. Patrons must provide a form of identification to receive a device. At the end of the performance, the ID will be returned once the device is brought back to the café. For optimal performance, please turn off your hearing aid when using Infrared headsets. The Hayes Theater will have access to the Loop Assistive Listening System – a wireless technology that transmits speech or music on stage directly to theatergoers’ cochlear implants and hearing aids with T-coils.
This theatre opened as the Winthrop Ames in 1912, became the Little in 1957, and finally, in 1983, was named the Helen Hayes Theatre. In the spring of 2015, it was acquired by Second Stage Theater. Under Second Stage’s ownership, it is the only Broadway theatre dedicated exclusively to living American playwrights. Designed by David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group, the newly renovated and upgraded theatre officially reopened in March 2018 with Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, followed by Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men and Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song.
Recent productions include The Humans; Dames at Sea; Rock of Ages, which moved here from the Brooks Atkinson Theatre; Colin Quinn: Long Story Short; Next Fall; The 39 Steps; Slava’s Snowshow; Xanadu; Jay Johnson: The Two and Only; Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway; Bridge & Tunnel, starring Special Tony winner Sarah Jones; Latinologues; Jackie Mason: Freshly Squeezed; Golda’s Balcony; Frank Gorshin in Say Goodnight, Gracie; By Jeeves; George Gershwin Alone; Dirty Blonde; Getting and Spending; The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Tony, Best Play); Defending the Caveman; Joan Rivers in Sally Marr and Her Escorts; Lynn Redgrave’s Shakespeare for My Father; Prelude to a Kiss; Artist Descending a Staircase; Romance, Romance; The Nerd; Corpse!; and Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy.
The 1980s saw Ned and Jack; Faye Dunaway in Curse of the Aching Heart; and Solomon’s Child. In 1977, Albert Innaurato’s Off-Broadway hit, Gemini, ran for an amazing 1,788 performances. Another 1970s hit: The Runner Stumbles.
From 1964 to 1974, this theatre hosted Merv Griffin’s and David Frost’s television shows. Prior to that, the theatre housed Tambourines to Glory, a gospel-music play by Langston Hughes and Jobe Huntley; the Paul Taylor Dance Company; Habimah, the National Theatre of Israel; James Costigan’s Baby Want a Kiss, with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Costigan; and Frank Gilroy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Subject Was Roses, which moved here.
From 1942 to 1959, this house was known as the New York Times Hall and, later, the ABC Television Studio.
Highlights of the 1930s included Edward G. Robinson in Mr. Samuel; Elmer Rice’s The Left Bank; and Honeymoon, One More Honeymoon, and Pre-Honeymoon by Anne Nichols. At this time the theatre’s name was changed to Anne Nichols’ Little Theatre.
In 1936, Sir Cedric Hardwicke made his U.S. debut in Promise, and the following year, Cornelia Otis Skinner entertained in her solo show Edna His Wife. Hits of the 1920s included O’Neill’s Pulitzer-winning Beyond the Horizon; Thomas Mitchell in The Wisdom Tooth; and Rachel Crothers’s Let Us Be Gay.
Used with permission by Playbill, Inc. Playbill is a registered trademark.
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