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Designed by Herbert J. Krapp for the Shuberts, the Walter Kerr Theatre opened under the name, the The Ritz Theatre. The theatre functioned as a radio and television studio for ABC from 1943 to 1965. Ownership changed hands a number of times between the 1950s and 1970s, during which time it operated as a traditional theatre, an adult movie cinema and then a children's theatre under the name after Robert F. Kennedy from 1973.
Jujamcyn took ownership in 1980 and, after renovations, re-opened the theatre on 5th March 1990 under its new name — in honour of the theatre critic Walter Kerr - with a production of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson. In 2017, Bruce Springsteen made his Broadway debut at the Walter Kerr Theatre with a new show, which broke box office records. In 2021, Jujamcyn Theaters celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Walter Kerr Theatre.