Broadway fans may be surprised to learn that the historic Winter Garden Theatre was originally the site of the American Horse Exchange, the center of the horse and carriage trade in the late 1900s. The Shubert Organization converted the building into a theater in 1911, and it was completely remodeled in 1922, making it one of the most elegant theaters on Broadway. In 2001, it underwent a multimillion-dollar restoration to bring it back to its 1920s glory days. Because of the size of its auditorium, stage and backstage facilities, the theater is mostly used for large-scale musical productions today.
Except for a brief period in its history when it was used as a movie house between 1928 and 1933 and in 1945, the Winter Garden Theatre has been the home of major Broadway productions including West Side Story, Funny Girl, Camelot and Rocky the Musical. The theater was the home of Cats for almost 18 years, making it one of the longest-running Broadway shows until it closed in 2000. School of Rock the Musical, one of the most popular shows on Broadway opened in 2015 at the Winter Garden Theatre.
Visitors can reach the Winter Garden Theatre by New York City’s extensive public transportation network. Although there are many parking garages and lots near the theater, visitors are advised to reserve a parking spot beforehand. The theater is close to other Broadway venues including the Gershwin Theatre and the August Wilson Theatre along with Carnegie Hall. Central Park is a few blocks away.