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[[Image: line drawing of the façade of the Cort Theatre, attributed to Stan Stark]]


John Cort built his theatre as a showcase for his own productions. For opening night, December 20, 1912, he chose Laurette Taylor to act in a play written for her by her husband – [[italics]] Peg O' My Heart. It ran for 607 performances. Other early successes included Victor Herbert's musical The Princess Pat; George S. Kaufman and Mark Connelly's famous satire, Merton of the Movies; and The Swan, starring Eva Le Gallienne and Basil Rathbone.

From 1933 until 1942, a series of comedies held the stage, including The Bishop Misbehaves, Room Service and Charley's Aunt, with José Ferrer. World War II inspired Maxwell Anderson's The Eve of St. Mark, and A Bell for Adano  starring Fredric March and Margo. Katherine Cornell arrived on February 18, 1946 to play Antigone,with Cedric Hardwicke. In that same year, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Henry Daniell, Estelle Winwood and Cecil Beaton breezed through Lady Windermere's Fan.

The Cort's first taste of Shakespeare came with Theatre Guild productions of A Winter's Tale and As You like It, in 1950, starring Katharine Hepburn. Among the familiar place of the 50's were The Shrike, The Rainmaker, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Rope Dancers,and Sunrise at Campobello.

In November 1960 Advise and Consent opened, followed in 1961 by Purlie Victorious, starring Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Godfrey Cambridge and Alan Alda. Next a young Robert Redford was featured in the comedy Sunday in New York.  on November 13, 1963, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest opened, starring Kirk Douglas. The play did not find much favor on Broadway, although it later enjoyed great success as a movie. Jean Anouilh's Poor Bitos brought Donald Pleasance to the New York stage in 1964, 

[[Image: a smiling, fatherly man hugs his daughter, her cheek to his shoulder. With text: The PLAYBILL for the Cort Theatre The Diary of Anne Frank]]

and 1965 saw the unlikely combination of Ossie Davis and Menasha Skulnik starring in The Zula and the Zayda. Something Different,a comedy by Carl Reiner, opened in 1967, starring Linda Lavin, Bob Dishy and Gabriel Dell.

The highlight of the 70's was The Magic Show, which opened on May 28, 1974 and stayed until the end of 1978. Al Pacino brought his interpretation of  Richard III to the court in 1979, and the Negro Ensemble Company's Home opened in 1980.

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[[image: color photograph of party can be seen going on through the French doors of a large house. A man in white tuxedo is about to light the cigarette of a woman in a cocktail dress, and champagne glasses can be seen on the rail. Two different boxes of Benson & Hedges lights cigarettes are superimposed in the lower right-hand corner.]]

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