The 1,700 seat Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre was designed by Clarence Blackall and first opened its doors for a performance of Ben-Hur on December 20, 1900. In the early and mid 20th century, Boston was considered a launching pad for Broadway producers to try out new productions before bringing them to New York. Boston theatergoers were treated to a sneak peek of many well-known Broadway shows at the Colonial including Anything Goes, Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, and La Cage aux Folles. July 2012 will mark the beginning of a new chapter for the Colonial Theatre. The nonprofit Citi Performing Arts Center will assume operations of the theatre, with a booking agreement with Broadway In Boston, ensuring that the Boston tradition of presenting Broadway shows continues in its historic home.