The 499-seat playhouse, which was built from the ground up in 2000 by Broadway's Shubert Organization as part of its ongoing foray into Off-Broadway production, is being rechristened Stage 42. In a statement, the Shubert Organization said the new name adopts the terminology used for the five venues within New World Stages, the recently purchased Off-Broadway theatre complex eight blocks uptown at 340 West 50th Street: Stage 1 through Stage 5. When the Little Shubert (an allusion to the "big" Shubert Theatre on 44th Street, which currently houses Matilda the Musical) opened, it was the first theatre built by the Shubert Organization since the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1928. It was designed to meet a need for medium-sized legitimate theatres in Manhattan. Nevertheless, at 499 seats, it is the largest that a theatre can be and still meet the contractual definition of an Off-Broadway house. One additional seat and it would be considered a Broadway house — with higher Broadway salary requirements for workers there. The wide stage is already as large as some on Broadway.
The first show to play Stage 42 under its new name will be the musical dance revue, Trip of Love, which is scheduled to begin performances Sept. 26.