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The term Broadway is synonymous with theater. Every artist dreams of acting in at least one Broadway show at some point in their career. It’s a stamp of recognition like no other.
Broadway shows are theatrical performances in 41 professional theaters from the Theater District on Broadway, Manhattan. While only three theaters are actually located on Broadway, all the 41 establishments with a minimum seating capacity of 500 (in and around the region) are called Broadway theaters.
People from different countries come to New York to watch a Broadway show live in the theater and experience the thrill.
History of Broadway
The first Broadway theater was established by Walter Murray and Thomas Keane in New York in 1750. It had a small capacity of 280 people and hosted Shakespeare’s ballad operas and plays.
In 1775, the start of the American Revolution put a temporary halt on the growth of theaters in New York. However, people were back in action by 1798. The Park Theater on Chatham Street (Park Row) was built in the same year and could house 2000 people.
More theaters followed in the subsequent years, and Shakespeare’s plays continued to be an attraction. Edwin Booth became famous for playing Hamlet, which he continued to enact for 100 consequent plays at the Winter Garden Theater.
Union Square became the heart of Broadway by 1870. By the end of the nineteenth century, the theaters bloomed around Madison Square. The twentieth century saw theaters expand to Times Square.
In 1898, a musical comedy was produced entirely by African Americans on Broadway. Titled A Trip to Coontown, Bob Cole and Billy Johnson wrote and performed in the musical.
Motion pictures became a stiff competition for theater performances by the 1920s. However, musicals continued to be a hit with the public.
Most Broadway shows today are musicals and music-based performances. You can buy the tickets online to get the best seats in the house.
The Great Depression, WWII, and Broadway
It’s no surprise that Broadway suffered during the Great Depression and the subsequent Second World War. There weren’t enough audiences to run shows, leading to the closure of some theaters. Actors turned to Hollywood to try their luck and make a living.
Among the positive aspects of the event was the exposure of African American talent. The theater groups performed during WWII (Oklahoma! in 1943, for example), bringing Broadway back to its previous glorious state.
Though Broadway still had to deal with the cultural changes during the 1960s, it still managed to survive the rough times. Many Broadway shows are performed even today to a large and exciting audience.
People who love watching live performances in theaters should attend Broadway shows for the best experience. Book tickets online and save money.