The Vivian Beaumont Theater is a theater in New York City in the United States. It is located at Lincoln Center, 150 W. 65th Street, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It was designed by the renowned Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen. Although it was built for the presentation of plays such as those produced on Broadway, it differs from traditional Broadway theaters because of its amphitheater configuration and thrust stage. The building includes two auditoriums, the 1,080-seat Vivian Beaumont Theater and the 299-seat Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (called The Forum until 1973). The Beaumont is considered a fairly large theater for dramatic plays and a medium-size theater for musicals.
The Beaumont is named after Vivian Beaumont Allen, a former actress and heiress to the May Department Stores fortune, who donated several million dollars in 1959 for the establishment of a permanent repertory theater at Lincoln Center.
Opened in 1965, the Vivian Beaumont is New York's only Broadway-class theatre (eligible for Tony Awards) that is not located in the Theatre District near Times Square. Since 1985, the Beaumont has been operated by Lincoln Center Theater (now under the direction of André Bishop and Bernard Gersten), and it has been renovated several times to improve its acoustics and technical facilities.
Notable productions by Lincoln Center Theater at the Vivian Beaumont have included Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia and Arcadia, The Light in the Piazza, Dana Ivey in The Rivals, Stephen Sondheim's The Frogs, Christopher Plummer in King Lear, Kevin Kline in Henry IV, Contact, Nicholas Hytner's production of Twelfth Night, Stockard Channing in Six Degrees of Separation, Patti Lupone in Cole Porter's Anything Goes, and the 1994 Tony Award revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel starring Tony-winner Audra McDonald, Sally Murphy, Michael Hayden, and Taye Diggs.
Before 1985, the theater had several other managers and some periods of inactivity:
- 1965-1973: Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center (under the direction of Jules Irving and Herbert Blau)
- 1973-1977: New York Shakespeare Festival (under the direction of Joseph Papp)
- 1980-1981: Lincoln Center Theater Company (under the direction of Richmond Crinkley)
The theater has been rented occasionally over the years to commercial producers, most memorably in 1983 for Peter Brook's production of La Tragedie de Carmen.