While many major cities have "theatre districts," this particular lineup pertains to the theatre district of Boston, Massachusetts
. Except the difference between other cities "theatre districts" and Boston's is that the Boston theatre district is officially called theatre district
The Theatre District in Boston is mostly located around the Boston Common. The neighborhood is best defined by the abundance of very lively bars and nightclubs off Boylston Street, an extremely strong presence at Emerson College, the New England Medical Center, its proximity to Chinatown and of course the theatres themselves. The highlights of which are as follows:
The Wilbur Theatre: Located on 246 Tremont Street. Built in 1914 on the former site for the Winthrop School for Girls. Among the famous people that have performed onstage there are Ethel Barrymore, Fred Astaire, Claire Luce, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Montgomery Clift, Joan Blondell, Karl Maiden and Brian Bedford. It's also worth noting that Marlon Brando had a run as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire in it's post-Broadway run and that Broadway vet and Tony Award winner Katharine Cornell gave her final performance at the theatre in King Lear in 1960. The theatre was given a $500,000 renovation in 1989 which included re-rigging the stage, soundproofing the theatre, restoring the seats and making the theatre handicapped accessible. It is home to many premieres, pre-Broadway and national touring shows.
The Charles Playhouse: Located at 74 Warrenton Street. The building was first built to be the Fifth Universalist Church in 1839 and in 1864 it became Boston's first synagogue. In the early 1940s the venue was turned into a cabaret nightclub. In 1958, The Actors Company, a group of Boston University graduates converted the venue into a theatre. Since then performers such as Al Pacino, Olympia Dukakis, Jill Clayburgh and Jane Alexander have performed at the Charles Playhouse. The theatre hosts off-Broadway and fringe theater performances and has gained fame with Bostonians and tourists alike for hosting Shear Madness and The Blue Man Group.
The Colonial Theatre: Located on 106 Boylston Street. Built in 1900, it is actually the oldest continuously operating theatre in Boston. The Colonial put Boston up with Washington, DC and Chicago as a "try out" town for the Great White Way with pre-Broadway runs of Anything Goes, The Ziegfield Follies (played eight times in Boston before becoming a huge hit in New York), Porgy And Bess, Oklahoma! (which will still titled Away We Go! when it played Boston!!!), Thornton Wilder's The Merchant Of Yonkers (the inspiration for Hello, Dolly!), Born Yesterday, Carousel, Annie Get Your Gun and many more. It still holds national touring shows, pre-Broadway shows and post-Broadway shows.
The Boston Opera House: Located at 539 Washington Street. Opened in 1928 and was recently renovated and reopened after a $31 million facelift in July 2004. The theatre opened as B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre and was famous for vaudeville performances. Yet in 1990, the Opera House closed. It was used periodically between now and then, but the 2,500 seat theatre wasn't easy to book or to fill. Since opening though, it's been a great place to see national touring shows.
The Cutler Majestic Theatre: Located at 219 Tremont Street. Built in 1903, the theatre continues to live up to it's name with its 2003 restoration. The Majestic hosts an incredible amount of Boston based performance arts organizations. Such as Opera Boston, Handel and Haydn Society, FleetBoston Celebrity Series, The Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Gay Men's Chorus, The New England Conservatory Opera Program and Emerson College's theatre productions. The theatre seats 1,200 and continues to host an incredibly diverse offering of arts and entertainment.
Boston's theatre district also has many theatres off the beaten path that are worth visiting, as well as noteworthy venues to see live comedy (Nick's Comedy Stop on 100 Warrenton Street, Comedy Vault at Remington's Restaurant on 124 Boylston Street) and films (the Loews Boston Common on 175 Tremont Street).