It has been suggested that this article should be split into articles titled Bijou Theatre (Manhattan, 1878) and Bijou Theatre (Manhattan, 1917). You can discuss on the talk page (January 2022)

Since 1878, there have been two Broadway theatres that have carried the name the Bijou Theatre during their histories.

1239 Broadway

1239 Broadway
1239 Broadway
General information
LocationManhattan, New York City

The first theatre to carry the Bijou name was the Theatre Brighton, which also served as an opera house and silent movie venue throughout its history.[1][2] Located at 1239 Broadway between 30th and 31st Streets, had been converted from a drinking and gambling establishment into a theatre for variety, and opened August 26, 1878 with Jerry Thomas as proprietor.[3] The house had many changes and names until John A. McCaull, a Baltimore lawyer, and Charles E. Ford took charge of it. Considerable money was spent and when they reöpened the house on March 31, 1880, as the Bijou Opera-house, it looked like a modern and well-regulated theatre.[3][4] In 1881 and 1882, Lillian Russell appeared in three different operettas.[5][6][7][8]

But the house proved too small to be profitable, so after the performance of July 7, 1883 preparations for tearing it down began.[9] R. E. J. Miles and Gen. W. B. Barton leased the premises for five years from its owner, Edward F. James. They agreed to advance sufficient funds to erect a new house, which was designed by J. B. McElfatrick & Son and opened December 1, 1883 as the Bijou Theatre.[10] The first production was Orpheus and Eurydice, an adaption by Max Freeman of Jacques Offenbach's Orfée aux enfers."[3][11][12]

Adonis, starring Henry E. Dixey, played its record-breaking run of 603 performances at the Bijou beginning September 4, 1884. Another long run was The Music Master, starring David Warfield, transferred from the Belasco Theatre on January 9, 1905,[13] and playing 511 performances, for a total at the two theaters of 635, before closing September 29, 1906. The next big hit was A Gentleman from Mississippi, starring Thomas A. Wise and Douglas Fairbanks, which opened September 29, 1908.[14] From June 29 to August 7, 1909, it played at the Aerial Gardens atop the New Amsterdam Theatre, with new scenery and costumes,[15] moving back to the Bijou August 9. After giving its 400th performance (counting the Aerial Gardens) on August 25, the play closed on September 18.[16][17]

The Bijou was later used as a silent movie house. It was demolished in 1915 and replaced by the present high-rise office building, which opened in 1917.[18]

Selected shows

209 West 45th Street

209 West 45th Street
209 W. 45th St.
General information
LocationManhattan, New York City

The second Bijou Theatre was built by the Shubert family in 1917 at 209 W. 45th Street in New York City, and was the smallest of the houses they operated with a capacity of 603.[20][21] Although it didn't keep the planned Theatre Francais name, it retained its French decor.[20] It was one of three theaters that hosted the premiere season of the musical Fancy Free—but primarily it presented plays by many writers, including Sacha Guitry, John Galsworthy, A. A. Milne, James M. Barrie, Herman J. Mankiewicz, Leslie Howard, Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, Luigi Pirandello, Graham Greene, Eugene O'Neill, William Saroyan, and Seán O'Casey.[22]

The Oscar-winning British film The Red Shoes played the Bijou for 107 weeks, from 21 October 1948 to 13 November 1950.

Starting on 16 November 1950, as the Bijou, it hosted the film Cyrano de Bergerac, starring José Ferrer.[23]

In 1951, it became a CBS radio studio, then—as the D. W. Griffith Theatre—it presented art films, and was subsequently reduced in size due to the expansion of the adjacent Astor.[20] It was reinstated as the Bijou Theatre in 1965, and was home to arguably its largest hit--Mummenschanz[24]—but was demolished in 1982 to make room for the Marriott Marquis Hotel.


  1. ^ "Demolished Broadway Theatres - A to B". Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  2. ^ "Advertisement for Theatre Brighton". The New York Sun. August 25, 1878.
  3. ^ a b c Brown, Thomas Allston (1903). A History of the New York Stage from the First Performance in 1732 to 1901. Dodd, Mead. pp. 272–287.
  4. ^ "Record of Amusements. Bijou Opera-House" (PDF). New York Times. April 1, 1880.
  5. ^ "Bijou Theatre" (PDF). New York Times. October 30, 1881. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  6. ^ "Bijou Opera-house" (PDF). New York Times. December 20, 1881. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  7. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (October 30, 1881). "The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, October 30, 1881, Image 5". The Sun. p. 5. ISSN 1940-7831. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  8. ^ "General Mention" (PDF). New York Times. June 6, 1882.
  9. ^ "General Mentions" (PDF). New York Times. July 29, 1883. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  10. ^ Real Estate Record. July 21, 1883
  11. ^ The Sun (New York). December 2, 1883
  12. ^ "Bijou Opera-House" (PDF). New York Times. August 19, 1883.
  13. ^ "Fire Scare at the Bijou". New York Times. January 10, 1905.
  14. ^ "New Comedy at Bijou; A Night of Laughter" (PDF). New York Times. September 30, 1908. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  15. ^ The Sun (New York). June 30, 1909
  16. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (August 22, 1909). "The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, August 22, 1909, Third Section, Image 30". The Sun. p. 6. ISSN 1940-7831. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  17. ^ Humanities, National Endowment for the (September 10, 1909). "The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, September 10, 1909, Image 9". The Sun. p. 9. ISSN 1940-7831. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  18. ^ "Busy Centre-Sixteen Story Business Structure to Replace Bijou Theatre" (PDF). New York Times. January 10, 1915. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  19. ^ New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division-First Department. 1903. pp. 18–20.
  20. ^ a b c "Bijou Theatre in New York, NY - Cinema Treasures". Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  21. ^ The New York Times. April 13, 1917
  22. ^ Barrows, Roger E. (June 12, 2019). The Traveling Chautauqua: Caravans of Culture in Early 20th Century America. McFarland. pp. 199–200. ISBN 978-1-4766-3714-3.
  23. ^ The New York Times. November 17, 1950
  24. ^ Neuner, Allen (September 2, 2021). "Tales of Broadway: One theatre for the price of five". Out In Jersey. Retrieved October 31, 2021.

Coordinates: 40°44′50″N 73°59′19″W / 40.74721°N 73.988584°W / 40.74721; -73.988584