The Vivian Beaumont Theater opened to the public on October 21, 1965. Designed by the renowned architect Eero Saarinen and named for Vivian Beaumont Allen, a prominent New York philanthropist, the Beaumont was originally the home of the now-defunct Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, which closed in 1973 after nine seasons (two of which were presented in a temporary theater erected in Washington Square Park). From 1973 to 1977, Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival was in residence at the Beaumont. From 1978 through 1985, the Beaumont was mostly rented to outside producers or was not used at all; a new resident company was formed in 1979, but it only presented one Beaumont season in 1980-81.
In 1985, the building's current management -- Lincoln Center Theater -- was established. Former New York Mayor John V. Lindsay assembled a new board of directors and signed Gregory Mosher as Director and Bernard Gersten as Executive Producer. In 1991, Linda LeRoy Janklow and Andre Bishop succeeded Messrs. Lindsay and Mosher as Chairman and Artistic Director. Lincoln Center Theater has not only outlasted all the prior managements combined, but it has become America's largest not-for-profit theater, producing a year-round program of plays and musicals at the Beaumont and at various other theaters around New York City.