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On the Shubert Theatre's opening night, Dec. 11, 1914, Sam Bernard sang "Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winkle When Rip Van Winkle Was Away?" in The Belle of Bond Street. He was the first of many world-class stars to perform on the legendary stage in New Haven, CT.

Lee and Jacob J. Shubert named the theatre after their brother Sam, who died in a train accident in 1905, leaving behind an empire that was just dawning. Sam had climbed his way up in the industry from working the box office at an opera house in Syracuse to establishing a network of theatres across upstate New York. And in 1900, he and his brothers leased the Herald Square Theatre on Broadway, solidifying the Shubert name in American theatre history.

New Haven's Sam S. Shubert Theatre was one of 100 or so venues the surviving brothers went on to establish across the country. The H.E. Murdock construction company of New Haven built it in collaboration with New York architect Albert Swazey. The ivory, ecru and gold leaf interior pleased critics and patrons. Adjoining the Taft Hotel, The Shubert seated 1,820 people.

Sixty miles away from New York City, The Shubert became known as "The Birthplace of the Nation's Greatest Hits"