The Hayes Theater officially opened as The Little Theatre on March 12, 1912. The building was designed by Harry Creighton Ingalls and built by Winthrop Ames, opening with John Galsworthy's play The Pigeon.
During the 1920s, the theatre was redesigned by Herbert J. Krapp to increase the capacity from 300 to 590. The New York Times purchased the building in 1931, converting it to a conference hall under the name of New York Times Hall.
In 1979, Martin Markinson and Donald Tick bought the theatre and renamed it in 1983 to the Helen Hayes Theatre to honor the actress. A previous theatre bearing her name was demolished in 1982 to make way for the Marriott Marquis Hotel.
On April 18, 2015, it was officially announced that Second Stage Theater had purchased the property. It was later revealed that the venue would be renamed the Hayes Theater, and it opened in spring 2018. The Hayes Theater is the smallest Broadway theatre, now with 597 seats.
The Hayes Theater, located on 44th Street between Eighth Avenue and Broadway, is closest to the 42nd Street - Port Authority subway stop on the A, C, and E lines. Additionally, the nearest bus stops are 8th Ave/W 46th St. on the M20 and M104 lines; 7th Ave/W. 44th St. on the M104 line; and 8th Ave/W 43rd St. on the M20, M104, and M34A-SBS lines.