Known over the years as the National, the Billy Rose, and the Trafalgar, the David T. Nederlander Theatre stands in honor of the patriarch of the Nederlander Family, now in its third generation as the owners and operators of many of the most distinguished theatres and concert venues throughout America.
Built in 1921, some of the best known plays have been presented here including Cyrano de Bergerac, Private Lives, Julius Caesar, King Lear, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. One of its most distinguished attractions was Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, for which she won a special Tony Award.
Located near the heart of the Times Square Theatre District, it was the perfect venue for Jonathan Larson’s rock opera, Rent, which was inspired by Puccini’s La Boheme. To reflect the aura of the East Village, the theatre façade and interior were decorated to resemble a downtown nightclub.
Refunds/Exchanges The Nederlander Theatre does not provide ticket refunds.
Dress Code There is no dress code at the theatre. For all performances, attire should be comfortable and appropriate for the occasion. The theatre is air-conditioned during the summer months and kept cool in winter.
All persons entering the theatre, regardless of age, must have a ticket. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted in the theatre.
The seating procedure for latecomers varies by seat section. Late patrons who are seated in the Orchestra will be held at the back of the theatre, where they can watch the show through the first song. They are then escorted directly to their seats by an usher.
Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is prohibited in the Nederlander Theatre.
There is one bar located on the theatre’s orchestra level, one bar located on the mezzanine level, and one bar located on the upper mezzanine level where alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages as well as snacks can be purchased. Bottled water and beverages with secure tops are permitted in the auditorium. The bars begin serving patrons 30 minutes prior to the start of the performance and at intermission.
Nederlander Theatres do not permit outside food or beverages.
Male and female restrooms are located on the Mezzanine level of the theatre.
Cloakroom service is not available.
We are partnered with ParkWhiz to help our customers book parking in advance. ParkWhiz features hundreds of parking locations all over NYC at discounted rates. Book parking here before you head in for the show.
Patron Security For the protection of our patrons, theatre managers and private security personnel are on duty during performances.
All bags will be inspected upon arrival. Luggage, shopping bags, and other large packages that will not fit comfortably with you at your seat will not be checked or allowed inside the theatre. For your convenience, please make other arrangements for these items before arriving.
Do not leave your personal bags (purses, backpacks) unattended while in the theatre.
House Manager: David R. Calhoun
Treasurer: John Rooney
Accessible seating is available for this performance as indicated on the seating map.
Wheelchair locations are available in the orchestra section of the theatre (pending availability). You may purchase one wheelchair and three companion seats per order if available.
For guests with limited mobility, there are seats available with folding armrests (“Aisle transfer seats”) in these locations: Orchestra: B1, B2, K1, K2, O114, Q1, Q2, Mezzanine: DD101, EE115, NN27, NN28.
For low vision or hearing-disabled guests, accessible seats are available in the Orchestra C 1-7, C 6-8.
The Nederlander Theatre is committed to the needs of our patrons with disabilities. For more details on policies or assistance purchasing accessible seating, please contact 212-921-8000 or [email protected].
The Nederlander Theatre is equipped with one wheelchair-accessible restroom on the Orchestra level (house left), as well as wide stalls in the male and female restrooms on the Mezzanine level.
Services for Patrons With Disabilities
Theatre representatives are available to meet patrons with disabilities in the lobby of the building to escort them to designated wheelchair accessible areas.
Policy on Guide Dogs and Service Animals
Although animals are not permitted in the theatre, an exception is made for guide dogs and service animals. Please inform your ticket sales representative if any accommodations are required.
Assisted Listening Devices
Headsets for sound augmentation are available at the theatre, free of charge. Photo identification is required as a deposit.
For patrons with a tele coil, personal induction loop devices are also available at the theatre, free of charge. A photo identification is required as a deposit. Please set your device to the “t” setting.
Multilingual commentary is currently not available.
The Nederlander Theatre has had a long and distinguished history as the National Theatre, the Billy Rose, and the Trafalgar. The National Theatre opened in 1921; it was renamed the Billy Rose in 1959, when the famed producer/songwriter bought it; christened the Trafalgar in 1979 when it was bought by James and Joseph Nederlander and the British firm of Cooney-Marsh; and renamed The Nederlander in 1980 in honor of the late David Tobias Nederlander.
Productions in this beautiful theatre have included Stacey Keach in Solitary Confinement; Our Country’s Good; Sherlock’s Last Case starring Frank Langella; the dance production Dangerous Games; the musicals Raggedy Ann and Wind in the Willows; Glenda Jackson in O’Neill’s Strange Interlude; and Peter Ustinov’s Beethoven’s Tenth. Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road starred Ellen Burstyn and Joseph Maher, and this was followed by a musical version of James Baldwin’s Amen Corner.
In 1981 Lena Horne dazzled Nederlander audiences in her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which won her a special Tony Award. During its time as the Trafalgar, this theatre housed two British hits: Whose Life Is It Anyway? starring Tom Conti (Tony Award) and Harold Pinter’s Betrayal starring Raul Julia, Blythe Danner, and Roy Scheider.
As the Billy Rose Theatre, it housed the following productions: Brian Bedford and Jill Clayburgh in Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers (1974); Pinter’s Old Times starring Robert Shaw, Mary Ure, and Rosemary Harris (1971); Peter Brook’s acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1971); Brian Bedford and Tammy Grimes (Tony Award) in Private Lives (1969); Edward Albee’s Tony Award–winning scorcher Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962); and the Billy Rose Theatre’s opening production, Heartbreak House, with Maurice Evans and an all-star cast (1959).
In its many years as the National Theatre, this house offered such distinguished fare as Paul Muni, Ed Begley and Tony Randall in Inherit the Wind — this theatre’s longest-running play (806 performances with Tony Awards for Muni, Begley, and set designer Peter Larkin—1955); Margaret Sullavan and Joseph Cotton in the charming Sabrina Fair (1953); Katharine Cornell, Grace George, and Brian Aherne in Maugham’s The Constant Wife (1951); Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Lilli Palmer, and Arthur Treacher in Caesar and Cleopatra (1949); John Garfield and Nancy Kelly in Odets’s The Big Knife (1949); Carol Channing in the sensational revue Lend an Ear (1948); Judith Anderson (Tony Award), John Gielgud, and Florence Reed in Medea (1947); the hit military revue Call Me Mister (1946); Sidney Kingsley’s The Patriots (N.Y. Drama Critics Circle Award — Best Play, 1943); Maurice Evans and Judith Anderson in their memorable Macbeth (1941); Ethel Barrymore in her most cherished role in The Corn Is Green (1940).
There were hits galore at the National in the 1930s: Tallulah Bankhead in her greatest hit — Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes (1939); Orson Welles and his epic Mercury Theatre players in Julius Caesar and The Shoemaker’s Holiday (1938); Gertrude Lawrence and Noël Coward in nine one-act Coward plays collectively called Tonight at 8:30 (1936); Raymond Massey, Ruth Gordon, and Pauline Lord in an admirable production of Ethan Frome (1936); O’Casey’s Within the Gates starring Lillian Gish (1934); and Herman Shumlin’s famed production of Grand Hotel starring Eugenie Leontovich, Sam Jaffe, and Henry Hull, with the first revolving stage used in a Broadway play.
In the 1920s Houdini appeared at this theatre; hit plays included Ann Harding in The Trial of Mary Dugan; Spencer Tracy in Yellow; the excellent prison drama The Criminal Code; Florence Eldridge in the creepy The Cat and the Canary; Walter Hampden in his celebrated interpretations of Cyrano de Bergerac and Hamlet; and Sidney Howard’s Swords, which opened the National Theatre on September 1, 1921. Howard married his leading lady, Clare Eames, and the marriage lasted far longer than the play.
Written by Louis Botto
Used with permission by Playbill, Inc. Playbill is registered trademark.