NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Shubert Theatre has been hailed “birthplace of the greatest hits” for good reason. Among the many greats who graced the theatre’s stage was Sidney Poitier.

America’s first Black matinee idol passed away last week at the age of 94.

As his star was rising, Poitier performed at the Shubert. In 1959, the groundbreaking play “A Raisin in the Sun” made its world premiere months before the Broadway release of the same play.

Poitier was a trailblazer on stage and the big screen.

“The fact that they premiered it here first before bringing it to Broadway, bringing it to the movies, because there was something special about that story, about showing an everyday life of African Americans in this country during a time where we didn’t fully have a voice in this country that was seen as equal, and fair and just,” said Anthony McDonald, executive director at the Shubert Theatre.

WEB EXTRA: Full interview with Shubert Theatre Executive Director Anthony McDonald

McDonald said through the years, the Shubert has done a great job of preserving its history and people will often find playbills and send them to the theatre.