The Imperial Theater was The Shubert Organization's fiftieth theater in New York City. Built in 1923 at 249 West Forty-fifth Street, it seats 1,650. It was designed by Herbert J. Krapp as a musical comedy house. Mary Jane McKane was the first production, opening on Christmas night, 1923.
Some notable productions include:
- Cole Porter and Moss Hart's musical Jubilee, featuring two classic Porter songs, "Begin the Beguine" and "Just One of Those Things".
- Bob Merrill's musical Carnival , produced by famous producer David Merrick ran for 719 performances.
- Another David Merrick musical, Destry Rides Again opened in 1959 and ran for 472 performances.
- A musical by Frank Loesser, The Most Happy Fella opened in 1956 and played for 676 performances.
- Starring the famous Gertrude Lawrence, written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, Oh, Kay! opened in 1926 and ran for 256 performances.
- Featuring the famous Kurt Weill song, "Speak Low", One Touch of Venus opened in 1943 and ran for 567 performances.
- Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and George Abbott's Russian ballet spoof On Your Toes, with two George Balanchine ballets.
- John Gielgud played the title role in Hamlet, which ran for 132 performances.
- Kurt Weill, S. J. Perelman and Ogden Nash scored 567 performances with One Touch of Venus (1943), with Mary Martin as the classical goddess of Love out of place in the modern world. This was his New York premiere for Weill (most famous as Bertolt Brecht's collaborator), who had fled both Germany and France to escape the Nazis.
- Dreamgirls opened on December 20, 1981 and ran for 1522 performances. This musical featured the song "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", sung by Jennifer Holliday. Holliday's performance of this song stopped the show and became her signature song.
- Ethel Merman ran up an impressive 1,147 performances in Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun.
- Zero Mostel opened in the multi-Tony Award-winning Fiddler on the Roof.
- The muti-Tony Award winning Les Misérables which transferred from the The Broadway Theatre on 17 October 1990 and ran for 6880 performances. It closed on 18 May 2003 and became the Imperial's longest running show at that time.
- Hugh Jackman opened The Boy From Oz in October 2003, in a role that earned him his first Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. The show closed after Jackman ended his contract.
- The multi-Tony Award-nominated musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based off the film of the same name inhabited the Imperial from 2005-2006. For his role in this show, Norbert Leo Butz won his first Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.
- High Fidelity opened at the Imperial on December 7, 2006 and closed December 17, 2006 after only 14 performances due to poor reviews and attendance.
- Billy Elliot the Musical, which swept all the British theatre awards in 2006, is scheduled to open on Broadway at the Imperial in the summer of 2008.