Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater (originally Jones Beach Marine Theater or commonly Jones Beach Theater) is an outdoor amphitheatre at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, New York. It is one of two major outdoor arenas in the New York metropolitan area, along with PNC Bank Arts Center. The theater was designed to specifications provided by Robert Moses, who created Jones Beach State Park.
Opened in 1952 as the Jones Beach Marine Theater, the venue originally had 8,200 seats and hosted musicals. Moses had several boxes designated for his own use, and Moses' friend Guy Lombardo performed often in the early years.
The opening show was the operetta extravaganza A Night in Venice by Johann Strauss II, produced by film producer, Mike Todd, complete with floating gondolas and starring Enzo Stuarti, Thomas Hayward (tenor), Norwood Smith and Nola Fairbanks. During one of these Lombardo performances, the singer Billy Murray died in 1954. Lombardo's final show was the 1977 production of Finian's Rainbow, with Christopher Hewett in the title role. After Lombardo's death in 1977, the series resumed in 1978 with Annie Get Your Gun, starring Lucie Arnaz. Beginning in the 1980s, the primary focus of the venue would change to concerts.
In 1991 and 1992, under contract from concert promoter Ron Delsener, the theatre underwent an extensive renovation, adding a second level and increasing the capacity to 11,200 seats. The capacity was expanded again in 1998 to hold 15,000 seats.
The theater's original design featured a moat; the stage was actually situated on Zachs Bay and was separated from the beach. Performers used an underwater tunnel that connected the main theatre to the stage or were brought to the stage by boat, and some scenes had floating scenery. Each night, Guy Lombardo would arrive in one of his luxurious speed boats, hop out and take his place in front of the orchestra and the show would start. The Guy Lombardo Orchestra would pass through the moat on a yacht during the intermissions and play tunes while floating in front of the audience. The moat was covered or filled in during the first renovation and seats were installed closer to the stage.