Built in 1927, The St. James Theatre originally opened as Erlanger’s Theatre, named after Broadway booking Abraham Erlanger who built it.
According to The New York Times, it cost $1.5 million to build, featuring a Georgian interior design, "the color scheme coral and antique gold.”
With an ample capacity of 1,600 seats, Erlanger’s Theatre was aimed primarily at the production of musicals and when it opened on September 26, 1927, the opening attraction was George M. Cohan’s musical The Merry Malones.
From May 1931 until March 1932, the theatre was taken over by the Civic Light Opera Company, which presented a successful repertory of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and other musical entertainments.
St. James Theatre auditorium
The dark period followed, during which it was decided to rename the theatre the St. James, inspired by the St. James Theatre in London.
The theatre reopened on December 7, 1932 with a production of Walk A Little Faster, starring London’s favorite revue comedienne, Beatrice Lillie.