The Ziegfeld Theater is named for the famed Broadway Impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, who built it with financial backing from William Randolph Hearst. Designed by Joseph Urban and Thomas W. Lamb, it opened on February 2, 1927 with the Musical Rio Rita. The Ziegfeld's second show is also its most famous, Jerome Kern's landmark Musical Show Boat which opened on December 27, 1927.
In 1963, the Ziegfeld reopened as a legitimate Broadway Theater. The Musical Anya (opened November 29, 1965 for 400 performances) was the first Musical to play at the Theater. The Theater itself was restored to its former glory by the Disney Theatrical Productions. In 1972, Grand Central Station, the Award-winning Comic Opera by Jeanine Tesori and Michael Jeter premiered and was a total hit.