The Broadway Theater District developed in the early 1900s when theaters began relocating from Union Square to the Times Square neighborhood, where real estate was more affordable. The famed electric signpost and the eponymous “The Great White Way” are both thanks to the advent of the electric light bulb. Millions of tourists come to the region every year, and its reputation as New York City’s and the world’s entertainment capital continues to grow.
Broadway has been attracting audiences with its mix of classic theater and contemporary hits for decades. These days, millions of people visit the theaters along the Great White Way every year because of the bright lights.
Blockbuster hits coexist with off-Broadway transfers, performances from the 1930s are revived alongside state-of-the-art works, and up-and-coming actors share the stage with Hollywood A-listers. Whether you prefer to buy your tickets at the box office, online, or in line at the TKTS booth in Duffy Square, Broadway in Times Square has something for everyone.
Show business, especially on Broadway, is unlike any other industry, yet it is also one of the most dynamic. There are several Broadway in New York City; for example, there is Broadway in Brooklyn, Broadway in Queens, Broadway in Manhattan proper, Broadway in Midtown, and Broadway in Times Square. Here then, is your New York City Broadway Insider’s Guide.
New York’s Broadway stretches for 21 kilometers through the Manhattan district and another 3.2 kilometers through The Bronx. It begins at State Street, a tiny road in the financial sector of Manhattan, and ends at Bowling Green, a small public park in the financial district of Lower Manhattan. (Bronx County borough).
From there, it’s another 29 kilometers through Yonkers, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Tarrytown, and Dobbs Ferry before reaching Sleepy Hollow in northern Westchester County. Since the entire stretch is 53 kilometers long, a Guide to Broadway in New York is essential for seeing all that it has to offer.
The History of The Broadway Theater District
The Great White Way is the designation given to a certain portion of Broadway. Times Square is located here, and in 1880 it was one of the first stretches of road to have electric lighting installed.
A little over a decade later, much of the theater area was illuminated so brilliantly that it was dubbed the Great White Way. Vaudeville acts were common in the theater area before the Great Depression, and they competed for head-on with newly-emerging motion pictures for the interest of theatergoers. But producers and songwriters kept at it, and the 1927–1928 season was one of Broadway’s most successful ever.
Broadway was not immune to the effects of the Great Depression. All aspects of life were challenging between 1929 and 1939. Theater tickets were out of the question for many individuals who struggled to put food on the table and keep the roof over their heads.
During this time, numerous theaters shut down, which left many performers and others without work. There was an improvement on Broadway before World War II. In reality, Oklahoma! had its Broadway debut during the war, which ushered in the Golden Age of Broadway and brought national prominence to New York City’s theatrical area.
Many classic musicals, such as West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and The King and I, were produced during the Golden Age, which spanned from 1943 to 1959.
Broadway adapts to the needs of its audience. Young people’s interest in New York City’s theatrical area has increased because of the phenomenal success of productions like Wicked and Hamilton.
Producers on Broadway are always innovating new works to satisfy the preferences of theatergoers, and they frequently look for fresh ways to push audiences’ minds. The theatrical scene, in an effort to attract new viewers, also frequently features successful adaptations of well-known stories and characters.
Long-running shows in The Broadway Theater District
Since its debut on January 26, 1988, The Phantom of the Opera has played on Broadway for more than 12,000 performances.
However, there is still some time until it becomes New York City’s longest-running musical: The Fantasticks, an off-Broadway musical, premiered in 1960 and ran for 17,162 performances before closing in 2002. After a brief hiatus, the musical returned to Broadway in 2006, making its total time on the Great White Way more than 50 years.
Other long-running productions include Les Misérables, which first premiered in 1987, closed in 2003, and has since been resurrected twice, Chicago, which had its revival premiere in 1996, and The Lion King, which has been presented since 1997.