The Shubert Theatre had its genesis in the New Theatre, an “art” playhouse located on Central Park West that was devoted to serious repertory drama. Although the project was a critical and commercial flop, the New Theatre Group, which included Lee Shubert, leased a plot of land between 44th and 45th street to construct a new venue. The plan was abandoned, but Lee Shubert and Winthrop Ames, a former New Theatre partner, acquired a lease for the site, and built two adjoining playhouses there. Lee and J.J. operated the larger of the two auditoriums, which they named the Sam S. Shubert Memorial Theatre to commemorate their brother, who had died in May 1905. Ames managed the smaller Booth Theatre.