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The Longacre Theatre was designed by Henry Beaumont Herts and named after Longacre Square (now Times Square). It was built by producer/manager H.H. Frazee, also known as the owner of the Boston Red Sox who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, and officially opened on May 1, 1913 with the William Hurlbut-Frances Whitehouse comedy Are You a Crook?
After Frazee fell into financial difficulties, the theatre changed hands many times before being sold to Astor Theatre Incorporated, a Shubert subsidiary, in 1919. During the 1940s and 1950s, the building also served as a radio and television studio.