The theatre, originally named the Selwyn, was constructed by the Selwyn brothers in 1918. It was one of three theatres they built and controlled on 42nd Street, along with the Apollo and the Times Square Theatre. It initially hosted major musical and dramatic productions, including Cole Porter's Wake Up and Dream, but eventually became a cinema. It would return to legitimate theatre several times over the next six decades, but eventually fell into disrepair. It was used briefly in the early 1990s as a home for the Times Square Visitors Center and for a limited production of Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape, but for the most part, stood vacant.
The City and State of New York took possession of the Selwyn in 1990. In 1992, it was one of six 42nd Street theatres to fall under the protection of the New 42nd Street organization. The Roundabout Theatre Company committed to renovating the Selwyn in 1997. It was restored to its former grandeur, renamed the American Airlines, and reopened on June 30 2000. The American Airlines, which is still informally known by its former name among many theatre fans, currently serves as the home of the Roundabout and houses its major productions.
- Broadway Theatre Guide with full show details for the American Airlines Theatre
- Information and virtual tour at the Roundabout Theatre site
- The Selwyn at the New 42nd Street
- Seating chart
- Template:Ibdb venue
- Broadway Theatres: History and Architecture, William Morrison, 1999, Dover Publications, IBSN 0486402444
- Lost Broadway Theatres, Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, Princeton Architectural Press, 1997, ISBN 1-56898-116-3