The Broadhurst was designed by architect Herbert J. Krapp, one of the major theatre designers of the early 1900s. Built back-to-back with the Plymouth, it was meant to resemble the style of the neighboring Henry B. Herts-designed Shubert and Booth theaters, using less expensive brick and terra cotta materials on the facades. Like all of Krapp's work during this period, it features minimal ornamentation, a single balcony, wide space, and excellent sightlines.
It was named after George Howells Broadhurst, an Anglo-American dramatist who came to America in 1886. In addition to writing plays, he managed theatres in Milwaukee, Baltimore, and San Francisco before he decided to open his own in association with the Shubert brothers. The theatre was constructed to house both musicals and plays, which it has done successfully for nearly ninety years. It has been designated a New York City landmark.
The Broadhurst opened on September 27, 1917 with George Bernard Shaw's Misalliance, the first New York production of Shaw's philosophical 1910 comedy. It ran for only 52 performances and was not performed on Broadway again until 1953.
- 1918: The George and Ira Gershwin composition "The Real American Folk Song" is included in Ladies First, the first time one of their co-written tunes is heard on the Great White Way.
- 1924: Dixie to Broadway, starring Florence Mills, first all-Black show to have mainstream Broadway production
- 1924: Beggar on Horseback, a George S. Kaufman-Marc Connelly collaboration, stars Roland Young.
- 1928: The Ray Henderson-Buddy De Sylva-Lew Brown musical Hold Everything introduces the public to "You're the Cream in My Coffee."
- 1929: Leslie Howard produces and stars in Philip Barry's Animal Kingdom opposite Ilka Chase.
- 1933: Sidney Kingsley's Men in White stars Luther Adler and Morris Carnovsky and ultimately wins the Pulitzer Prize.
- 1935: Robert E. Sherwood's classic, The Petrified Forest, features Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart
- 1935: Helen Hayes and Vincent Price enjoy a 517-performance run in Victoria Regina.
- 1944: Agatha Christie arrives on Broadway with Ten Little Indians.
- 1946: Anita Loos' comedy hit, Happy Birthday, wins star Helen Hayes the first Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.
- 1956: Rosalind Russell has the title role in Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's Auntie Mame.
- 1958: France Nuyen and William Shatner co-star in Paul Osborn's The World of Suzie Wong.
- 1959: Fiorello!, with a Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick score, is directed by George Abbott, stars Tom Bosley, and wins a Tony and the Pulitzer.
- 1963: 110 in the Shade enjoys a 330-performance run with Robert Horton, Will Geer, Lesley Ann Warren, and Inga Swenson in her Broadway debut.
- 1966: Jill Haworth, Joel Grey, Jack Gilford, Lotte Lenya, and Bert Convy invite audiences to come to John Kander and Fred Ebb's Cabaret 1,165 times.
- 1967: More Stately Mansions, one of Eugene O'Neill's lesser eforts, has an all-star cast including Ingrid Bergman, Arthur Hill, and Colleen Dewhurst.
- 1969: Woody Allen, Tony Roberts, and Diane Keaton foresake the screen to star in Allen's Play It Again, Sam.
- 1970: Cry for Us All, a musical adaptation of the hit off-Broadway play Hogan's Goat, was far less than its source, closing after only eighteen previews and nine performances.
- 1971: 70, Girls, 70 was an uncharacteristically unsuccessful collaboration by Kander and Ebb.
- 1972: Alan Arkin directs Jack Albertson and Sam Levene in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys
- 1976: Katharine Hepburn and Christopher Reeves co-star in Enid Bagnold's drama A Matter of Gravity.
- 1976: Larry Gelbart's Sly Fox, directed by Arthur Penn, stars George C. Scott, Jack Gilford, Gretchen Wyler, and Hector Elizondo.
- 1978: Ann Reinking and Wayne Cilento star in director and choreographer Bob Fosse's Dancin'.
- 1980: Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, with Ian McKellen, Tim Curry, and Jane Seymour, settles in for a 1,181-performance run.
- 1983: Alfonso Ribeiro plays the title role in The Tap Dance Kid with Hinton Battle, who wins a Tony.
- 1984: Dustin Hoffman is the toast of Broadway as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.
- 1986: Linda Lavin wins a Tony for her performance in Neil Simon's Broadway Bound, co-starring Jason Alexander and Phyllis Newman.
- 1990: Aspects of Love proves to be one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's least successful shows.
- 1993: The Terrence McNally-John Kander-Fred Ebb Tony-winning musical Kiss of the Spider Woman stars Chita Rivera, Brent Carver, and Anthony Crivello.
- 1996: Sarah Jessica Parker stars in a revival of the musical Once Upon a Mattress.
- 1999: Fosse is a revue featuring dance numbers from Chicago, Sweet Charity, and Pippin, among others.
- 2002: Vanessa Williams plays the Witch in a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods.
- 2003: A musical adaptation of the John Travolta film Urban Cowboy fails to find an audience.
- 2005: Lennon, featuring the former Beatle's music and lyrics, runs for 42 previews and 49 performances.
- 2006: Alan Bennett's The History Boys transfers from London with its cast intact.